Summer Crevasse Rescue & Glacier Travel: Alberta
Banff / Canmore

Summer Crevasse Rescue & Glacier Travel

Summer Crevasse Rescue & Glacier Travel


  • Cost:
  • Per Person: $399

Location: Canmore and Banff   Duration: 2 Days   Fitness: Average   Ability: Introductory   Prerequisites: Knot tying  

Summer Crevasse Rescue and Glacier Travel is a comprehensive course featuring efficient and effective rescue systems for backcountry and mountaineering.

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The following dates are available for this course.

If you would like different dates, or to book a private course, please contact us.

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Course Information

This comprehensive crevasse rescue and glacier travel course is a gold standard of the industry for mountaineers and alpine climbers.

Participants learn critical glacier travel safety skills, geomorphology, and the essential skills for rescuing a roped or un-roped victim from a crevasse including:

  • Arresting a roped fall
  • Building an anchor while holding a victim
  • Transferring the load
  • Ascending, descending, and hauling
  • Crevasse rescue scenarios will include variations of individual and 2 team rescue, victim self rescue, and group rescue.

The course is primarily field based and will challenge you to problem solve complex situations like rescuing an injured or unconscious climber, insufficient rope, middle person is crevasse victim, and many more scenarios that need specific thought and training, and are common enough to need to know.

Practice the following key knots to prepare for the course: Figure 8 on a Bight; Clove-Hitch; Munter-Hitch; Girth-Hitch; Auto-Block; and Munter-Mule.

Day One

  • Meet and greet, sign waivers, discuss course objectives
  • Morning Meeting: Discuss current weather, local conditions, gear check
  • Drive to local outdoor rescue practice area
  • Lessons 1 – 3
  • Introduction to prussics
  • Lessons 4 – 9
  • Glacier Travel rope handling & Crevasse Rescue – direct haul system & drop loop
  • Lunch at around noon
  • Lessons 10 – 21
  • End of day. Debrief, discuss following day

Day Two

  • Meeting time and location will be determined by your guide at the end of Day 1
  • Morning Meeting: Discuss current weather, local conditions, objectives, gear check
  • Drive to a local glacier – Athabasca, Lower Victoria, Crowfoot – conditions dependant
  • Lessons 22 – 31
  • End of day. Debrief, discuss next steps
  • Course closure


  • Warm hat
  • Warm top and bottom under layers, warm socks
  • Mid layer fleece top
  • Weatherproof shell jacket and pants, soft shell jacket and pants are optional
  • Gaiters (optional)
  • 2 pairs of gloves, optional mittens
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen


  • Mountaineering boots – available for rent
  • Harness – available for rent
  • Helmet – available for rent
  • Mountaineering axe – available for rent
  • Crampons – available for rent
  • Belay device
  • Ice screws
  • Snow picket
  • 4 locking carabiners
  • 6 non-locking carabiners
  • 2 x 5m x 7mm prussic
  • 1 x 1.5 x 7mm prussic
  • 2 x 120cm slings
  • 6 trad draws (1 x 60cm sling + 2 non-locking carabiners = 1 trad draw)

Your guide/instructor will also bring along:

  • Group ropes
  • First aid kit with splint
  • Cell phone / satellite phone
  • Guide’s tarp
  • Programmable Radio

We have kits available to rent, however, if you have your own gear bring it along so you can get comfortable using your own gear under the guide’s instruction.


Day One

  • Lesson 1 Glacier formation, geomorphology, terminology and travel- hand out
  • Lesson 2 Introduction to summer Glacier Kit
  • Lesson 3 Knots The Münter hitch, clove hitch and figure eight on a bite
  • Lesson 4: Rappelling with safety backup prussic
  • Lesson 5: Ascending the rope with 2 prussics
  • Lesson 6: Diverse ratchets (prussic. Garda, Reverso, Plaquette, Ropeman, T-bloc)
  • Lesson 8: Ascend the rope with preferred ratchet, reverse and rappel.
  • Lesson 9 Situational Awareness, review hazards.
  • Lesson 10 Dividing the rope – tying into the rope/triple action carabiner, stowing extra rope.
  • Lesson 11 The prussic – tying in, daisy chaining and deploying.
  • Lesson 12 Arresting the fall, strategies for holding the victim while building an anchor – testing the fall arrest.
  • Lesson 13 Building an anchor – which team member builds an anchor strategies, summer glacier anchor types – ice screw anchor and ice axe t-slot anchor
  • Lesson 14 Transferring the load and backing up the anchor – dealing with the rescue rope.
  • Lesson 15 Surface rope team members approach the anchor, approaching the lip. Above firnline: padding the lip, probing technique and securing the lip pad.
  • Lesson 16 Summer glacier direct haul technique as well as Canadian drop loop system demo – measuring, dropping and clipping the drop loop.
  • Lesson 17 Incorporating a ratchet – different types of ratchets
  • Lesson 18 First raise method, z-pulley raising system, adding advantage.
  • Lesson 19 Reversing the raise to a lower, the block and tackle, the münter hitch and münter mule tie off- lowering & resetting to a raise.
  • Lesson 20 Crevasse Rescue Scenario: Victim falls into a snow plug, is injured, needs first aid and the rope bites into the lip. Descend to victim, administer, stabilize them, ascend rope and evacuate victim from crevasse.
  • Lesson 21 Problem Solving: insufficient rope, middle person is crevasse victim

Day two

  • Lesson 22 Rope up point strategy (map & altimeter)
  • Lesson 23 White out plan discussion
  • Lesson 24 Glacier formation, physiology, terminology and travel Lesson 25 Glacier travel rope handling – dividing the rope reviewed
  • Lesson 26 Taking coils
  • Lesson 27 Safe glacier travel route finding and track setting – crevasse avoidance, serac hazard mitigation, snow plug & crevasse bridge – integrity and evaluation
  • Lesson 28 Traveling in echelon
  • Lesson 29 When and how to belay across snow plug & crevasse bridges
  • Lesson 30 Re-grouping and spacing on a glacier
  • Lesson 31 Above firn line safety strategy

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Important Information

We strongly recommend you purchase insurance for Trip Cancellation, Emergency Evacuation and Adventure Sports Coverage (some backcountry adventures are excluded from coverage).

Emergency Evacuation and Medical Insurance

This coverage provides you with emergency air rescue if required and full medical. Parks Canada provides free evacuation within the Parks and if you are a Canadian resident your medical will be covered by your provincial health plan (except ambulance/air ambulance transport). We strongly recommend international visitors purchase this insurance.

Emergency evacuation insurance is compulsory for all our hut trips, as these typically take place outside of Parks Canada’s jurisdiction.

Trip Cancellation Insurance

To prepare for unforeseen circumstances we strongly recommend purchasing Trip Cancellation Insurance at the time of booking your trip. Trip Cancellation insurance covers many scenarios to reimburse you for cancelled trips outside of your control.

Our recommended insurance provider is Tugo.Com who can be reached via the following:

All prices are quoted in Canadian dollars and are exclusive of a 5% tax (GST). Prices are subject to change. Guide gratuities are not included in fees.

Full payment is required at time of registration. Our preferred method of payment is by Mastercard or VISA through our online payment portal. We also accept credit card payment over the phone, bank transfer and cash.

Mountain Skills Academy takes mountain safety very seriously, however there is no way to completely mitigate risk in alpine environments. Prior to undertaking any of our courses or trips we require you to sign a waiver.

Mountain conditions are extremely unpredictable and can change at short notice. Our guides endeavor to undertake the routes and/or peaks that our clients desire, however our decisions will be impacted by conditions. Unfortunately we are not able to offer refunds if conditions are not suitable to undertake a particular route on the day you have booked. We will however make every effort to take you out for the best day possible given the conditions.

Applicable to all tours and courses*: If conditions force us to cancel a course or trip we will do all we can to accommodate you at another date. If this isn’t possible we will offer a full refund. We reserve the right to decline rescheduling dates based on availability.  *Does not apply to First Aid and Wilderness First Aid courses.

Late Arrival Policy

Guests arriving more than 15 minutes late for an activity forfeit 100% of the tour price. Tours leave promptly; it is recommended to arrive 15 minutes early to sort out gear and sign waivers.

Adventures Cancellation Policy

Half Day and Full Day Programs

  • Within 48 hours of start time:  Cancellation will result in a 100% forfeit of tour price, no rescheduling.
  • More than 48 hours:  $25 rescheduling & refunding fee (per booking).
Multi Day Programs
  • 2 Day Programs: Within 10 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 10 days: $25 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.
  • 3+ Day Programs: 30 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 30 days: $75 penalty to reschedule or full refund.
  • Customized Trips: 30 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 30 days: $75penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

**On all multi day trips pre arranged add-ons are non-refundable (food, accommodation, etc).

Courses Cancellation Policy

1-2 Day Courses

  • Within 10 days: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
  • Outside of 10 days: $75 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

3+ Day Courses

  • Within 30 days: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
  • Outside of 30 days: $75 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

**If you are able to find someone else to take your place on a course, please let us know as we are more than happy to transfer bookings.

Minors (under the age of 18 for our courses based in Alberta and 19 for those based in BC) and custodial groups (youths affiliated with an institution where the parents/legal guardian are not present on the trip) may register for certain trips and courses with a letter of consent from parents or legal guardian as well as must sign a waiver and have their parents or legal guardian sign a waiver. Further, we abide by the Parks Canada Custodial Group winter backcountry policy as outlined here.

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