Sarah Hueniken

Ever since I was 15, I understood what being challenged in the outdoors could offer me, and I sought this path to where I am today, where I am able to live it and share it daily.  Currently I live in Canmore, Alberta and guide year round in the surrounding mountains. Ice and mixed climbing fill my winters and rock and alpine adventures compose the summer months. The majority of my work is private guiding, but I also run women-specific rock, ice and alpine camps every year with the emphasis on building the confidence and judgment required to be out front.



After taking an Outward Bound course at the age of 15, I pursued paddling and worked as a canoe tripper for various camps, youth-at-risk organizations and Outward Bound schools throughout Canada and the US.  Following this, my passion for climbing consumed me and I headed to Wyoming to work as a mountain instructor for NOLS, where I could share my love for climbing in amazing places like Red Rocks, Devils Tower, Sinks Canyon, Wind River Ranges, Cochise and the City of Rocks.

The opportunity to create a climbing program while being the Associate Director of Outdoor Programs for St Lawrence University arose and I moved to upstate New York to head this project.  In this position I built, managed and ran an indoor climbing wall, and created winter ice and mountaineering courses (including a trip to Orizaba Mexico and the White Mountains) and spring rock courses (including trips to Red Rocks, Nevada and the Adirondacks).
The lure of the Canadian Rockies brought me back to Canmore where I pursued my ACMG Rock and Alpine certifications. I am currently one of only 10 women to hold this level of certification in Canada.  Having traveled to various places throughout the US, Mexico, South America, Europe and Asia to explore the mountains of the world, I feel truly fortunate to have the Canadian Rockies as my backyard.


  • ACMG Alpine Guide and Rock Guide
  • CAA Avalanche Operations, Level 2
  • Wilderness First Responder 80 hr
  • Leave No Trace Master
  • Honors Outdoor Recreation Parks and Tourism/Natural Science HBOR/BSC



Climbing Highlights

  • First North American Woman to climb M11 and M12, M13 and M14-
  • First ascent team to climb Niagara Falls with Will Gadd
  • First ascent of unclimbed peak Schacun (5.10+ M5, 19’570 feet) in Western China
  • First ascents of ice routes in Iceland and the Canadian Rockies, and mixed routes in Japan
  • Part of team that built Overhead Hazard M13 at Helmcken Falls
  • Climbed new sea stacks in Newfoundland and remaining ice on top of Kiliminjaro
  • North American lead difficulty ice champion 2014-2016
  • Personal climbing achievements: 5.13b rock, WI6 ice, M14- mixed


  • Jury Member Banff Film Festival 2015
  • Bozeman Ice Festival, 2008-present Featured presenter 2011 and North American Champion 2014-current
  • RedBull Whitecliffs 2015 3rd place finisher
  • Mt Washington Icefest 2015 feature presenter
  • City Rock Mixed Competition- 2015 female winner
  • Ouray Icefestival, 2015- 2nd place
  • Gore Mountaineering Council, 2008
  • International Climbers Festival, 2007 (female representative for Canada)

Sarah Hueniken flashing her hardest route, Zero to Hero, Hall of Justice, Camp Bird Road, Uncompaghre National Park, Ouray, Colorado.

Additional work experience

  • Instructor and Examiner for the ACMG Rock guide and Top Rope Instructor courses and exams
  • Alpine Club of Canada (Calgary, Red Deer, Rocky Mountain and National section)
  • Outward Bound Canada and US- Course Leader
  • NOLS – Course Leader
  • St Lawrence University- Associate Director of Outdoor Program
  • MCR committee



Nophobia Video by Renee Lavergne