Winter Crevasse Rescue and Glacier Travel
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Winter Crevasse Rescue & Glacier Travel

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Crevasse Rescue Training Courses

Summary

 Winter
  • Cost:
  • $325

Location: Whistler  Duration: 2 Days  Fitness: Good  Ability: Intermediate  Prerequisites: Ski touring & knot tying  

Learn to be self-sufficient with our Winter Crevasse Rescue and Glacier Travel course. Backcountry skiers and alpine climbers learn the three all-important skills: rope ascension, crevasse rescue and glacier travel. This is a great next step to start getting into more complex terrain.

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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 fully comprehensive crevasse rescue course for backcountry skiers & splitboarders features our very own efficient, effective, light and fast crevasse rescue system.

From experience garnered worldwide and testing many different systems, ours combines the best elements of safety, lightness and ease of use.

An important point that differentiates our course from others is the un-roped victim course component. This includes rappelling and ascending into and out of a crevasse to perform rescue of an un-roped victim – an essential skill considering over 85% of glacier skiing is performed un-roped.

In order to be self-sufficient, backcountry skiers and alpine climbers learn the three all-important components: rope ascension, crevasse rescue and glacier travel.

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

*All Courses subject to a minimum number of participants. 48 hour notice will be given if minimum number has not been reached.

“Notice: MSAA pledges to always cover all of the critical skill sets. However, though rare, conditions or other constraints may cause for certain lessons to not be appropriate or safe to undertake. Be sure to address your instructor at the time if you have any concerns.”
Day 1
  • Introductions, safety discussion, harness fitting, sign waivers.
  • Drive to the field location.
  • Lesson 1: Introduction to Glacier Kit and equipment check
  • Lesson 2: Equalized anchor, knots, and rappelling
  • Lesson 3: Ascending the rope – prussic, ratchet, reverse
  • Lesson 4: Situational awareness, review hazards
  • Lesson 5: Glacier travel rope handling & crevasse rescue
  • Lesson 6: Dividing the rope – tying into the rope/triple action carabiner, stowing extra rope
  • Lesson 7: The prussic – tying in, daisy chaining and deploying
  • Lesson 8: Arresting the fall, holding the victim and anchor building
  • Lesson 9: Backing up anchor and approaching the lip
  • Lesson 10: Crevasse rescue system, direct haul demonstrated (drop loop discussed); measuring, dropping and clipping the rope in either a roped or un-roped incident
  • Lesson 11: Incorporating a ratchet – different types of ratchets (autoblock or micro-traxion)
  • Lesson 12: First raise method, z-pulley raising system, adding advantage.
  • Lesson 13: Reversing the raise & lowering
  • Lesson 14: Crevasse Rescue Scenario
  • Lesson 15: Problem-solving specific scenarios
  • Course Finish: 16:00 +/-

Day 2 (All day spent on the glacier)

  • Indoor meeting: Review current weather, avalanche forecast & day plan
  • Lesson 16: Glacier morphology, physiology, terminology
  • Take lifts up to Glacier. If access to the glacier is not possible or unsafe, all lessons will non the less be held in an appropriate non-glaciated location
  • Lesson 17: Rope up point strategy (map & altimeter) & white out plan
  • Lesson 18: Glacier travel, rope handling, route finding & track setting – crevasse avoidance, serac hazard mitigation, dealing with avalanche terrain, crevasse bridge integrity, and evaluation
  • Lesson 19: Traveling in echelon & belaying across crevasse bridges (crevasse maze)
  • Lesson 20: Belaying from an anchor over a bridge
  • Lesson 21: 2 Team rescue scenario
  • Lesson 22: Downhill glacier skiing safety strategy discussion
  • Course debrief

Weather conditions are constantly changing in the alpine so be prepared for both cold days, snow and even rain. It is essential that you pack enough clothing to be prepared for any weather conditions. Dress according to the forecast for the course days and pack layers for varying conditions.

  • Touring skis or splitboard with skins, poles, and appropriate boots – Day 2 only
  • Avalanche safety equipment – shovel, probe and beacon – Day 2 only
  • If in course is at Whistler Blackcomb: Backcountry Lift Ticket or valid Whistler Blackcomb lift pass for Day 2 only

A Crevasse rescue kit required* (see complete list below) – both days. Kit can be rented from MSAA

 

Crevasse Rescue Kit
  • Locking Carabiners x 4
  • Non-locking Carabiners x 4
  • Sewn Sling 1 x 120cm
  • Cordalette’s:  2 x 5m (7mm) for ropes 9mm and up (5mm for ropes 8mm and less, i.e. Petzl Rad Line) if using skinny ropes or Rad line, add 2 locking carabiners, stamped as opposed to round aluminum stock best.
  • Cordalette 1 x 1.5m (7mm)
  • Ratchet: 1 x Auto-Block Device  or Ratcheting pulley (Petzl Reverso, BD ATC Guide, Petzl Micro-traxion (best)). If using micro-traxion, add 1 munter/pearshaped locking carabiner, stamped as opposed to round aluminum stock best.
  • Harness
  • Helmet
  • Warm clothing (wool/synthetic recommended)
  • Warm socks (wool/synthetic recommended)
  • Insulating jacket (down or similar)
  • Shell jacket (Gore-tex or similar)
  • Shell trousers (Gore-tex or similar)
  • Warm gloves and shell gloves
  • Warm Hat
  • Goggles
  • Backpack
  • Sunscreen
  • Lunch/Snacks
  • Water (approx. 1-2L)
  • Hot tea, coffee or hot chocolate in a thermos (optional)

We have rental equipment available if needed.
– Advantage of renting:  It will help you decide what equipment is best to buy
– Advantage of using your own equipment: Save rental fees and get used to your own equipment

 

  • Lesson 1: Introduction to Glacier Kit and equipment check
  • Lesson 2: Equalized anchor, knots, and rappelling
  • Lesson 3: Ascending the rope – prussic, ratchet, reverse
  • Lesson 4: Situational awareness, review hazards
  • Lesson 5: Glacier travel rope handling & crevasse rescue
  • Lesson 6: Dividing the rope – tying into the rope/triple action carabiner, stowing extra rope
  • Lesson 7: The prussic – tying in, daisy chaining and deploying
  • Lesson 8: Arresting the fall, holding the victim and anchor building
  • Lesson 9: Backing up anchor and approaching the lip
  • Lesson 10: Crevasse rescue system, direct haul demonstrated (drop loop discussed); measuring, dropping and clipping the rope in either a roped or un-roped incident
  • Lesson 11: Incorporating a ratchet – different types of ratchets (autoblock or micro-traxion)
  • Lesson 12: First raise method, z-pulley raising system, adding advantage.
  • Lesson 13: Reversing the raise & lowering
  • Lesson 14: Crevasse Rescue Scenario
  • Lesson 15: Problem-solving specific scenarios
    Lesson 16: Glacier morphology, physiology, terminology
  • Take lifts up to Glacier. If access to the glacier is not possible or unsafe, all lessons will non the less be held in a non-glaciated location
  • Lesson 17: Rope up point strategy (map & altimeter) & white out plan
  • Lesson 18: Glacier travel, rope handling, route finding & track setting – crevasse avoidance, serac hazard mitigation, dealing with avalanche terrain, crevasse bridge integrity, and evaluation
  • Lesson 19: Traveling in echelon & belaying across crevasse bridges (crevasse maze)
  • Lesson 20: Belaying from an anchor over a bridge
  • Lesson 21: 2 Team rescue scenario
  • Lesson 22: Downhill glacier skiing safety strategy discussion

 

 

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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.

Learn about training courses at the academy: 

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.

Our preferred method of payment is by Mastercard or VISA. We also accept bank e-transfers and cash.

• For 1-2 day adventures/courses booking must be paid in full.
• For longer adventures/courses a deposit of 50% is required at the time of booking.
• The remaining balance is due 30 days before the start date.
• Bookings made less than 30 days before adventure/course must be paid in full.

Next day bookings are taken up until 5pm the day before any tour or course. *Subject to guide availability

Full Terms & Conditions

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 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 Tours

  • With less than 48 hours of the tour start time:  Cancellation will result in a 100% forfeit of tour price, no rescheduling.
  • With more than 48 hours notice:  We will reschedule or refund with no penalty.
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 of the course date: 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 of the course date: 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 19) and custodial groups (youths affiliated with an institution where a parent or legal guardian is not present on the trip) may register for certain trips and courses with a letter of consent from parents or legal guardian as well, they must sign a waiver and have a parent 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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