Learn the Skills Needed to Travel Across Glaciers Safely and Independently on Skis

If you're planning on venturing onto a glacier this winter, it is vital that you practice or refresh your crevasse rescue skills. And who better do it with than Canada's national mountaineering organization?

Our Winter 2023 offerings are led by our highly experienced Lead Winter Guide, Doug Latimer. Doug is currently authoring an e-book on the subject (to be included in your course fee if completed in time) and will teach all of the skills necessary to maximize safety skiing across glaciated terrain and deal with a crevasse fall scenario.

The course will start with an evening session the Thursday before your field day where you will go over gear, take a look at systems to understand how they work and review basic knots. The Saturday will be the field day where you will dive into hands on learning at a climbing crag, like Rundle Rock. Here you will set up different systems and practice setting up anchors. On the final field day, the group will have the opportunity to ski to a glacial environment to practice the systems and apply the skills learned in a realistic setting.
Camp Objectives

Skills you'll learn on this course include:

  • Basic knots
  • Essential climbing knots (prusik, clove hitch, munter hitch, munter-mule-overhand, double-fisherman’s, girth hitch)
  • Ascending & descending rope
  • Mechanical advantage: setting up a haul system
  • Use of specific equipment (pulleys, micro-traction, ready-built systems)
  • Glacier travel basics (where & why crevasses form)
  • Roped & unroped skiing and hiking
  • Transferring load
  • Types of snow anchors
  • Review of crevasse rescue steps
  • Arresting a crevasse fall
  • Transferring load to an anchor
  • Hands-on practice of setting up and executing hauling systems
  • Special scenarios: 2-person rescue, unroped fall into crevasse 

  • Day by Day Adventure Itinerary 

    Day 1 (Online evening session):

    • You will get instructions a week ahead to join our online platform. Evening session will start at 6 pm MST and run until 9 pm MST.
    • The evening session will go over gear, knots and diagrams of the systems you will be creating in the field day.
    • If you have any questions about gear you currently own this is a great time to ask about it.
    Day 2:

    • Participants will meet at the trailhead at 9 am MST.
    • Here, you will go over how to descend and ascend a rope, and learn how to set up a hauling system.
    • You will have an opportunity to practice with the use of commercially-available crevasse rescue equipment (pulleys and ready-made systems) that was shown during the online session.
    • Other topics to be taught include glacier travel basics, roped and unroped skiing/walking, types of anchors, and review the different steps to a crevasse rescue
    • This field day will let you practice your new skills in a realistic outdoor environment. You will be using live loads (ie.. you!) to test your new skills (don't worry we will have a safety attached just in case). Be sure to bring a comfy harness to sit in while your partner takes their turn "rescuing" you.
    Day 3: 

    • The meeting time and location will depend on conditions and the guide's discretion. One location the group may visit is the toe of the Victoria Glacier near Lake Louise.
    • Here, you will practice the systems and skills learned from the previous sessions in a realistic, glacier environment. 
    • If time permits you’ll also get a chance to practice advanced crevasse rescue scenarios, including a 2-person rescue and an unroped fall into a crevasse. 
    • The group will return to the parking area by 4 PM (MST) to allow for everyone enough time to make it home safety.
    Is this Camp For Me?
    Intermediate

    This camp is introductory, however, you will get more out of this course if you know basic climbing knots and are familiar with glacier gear.

    Food, Accommodation and Guiding

    Food

    Food is not provided as part of the course. Please bring along a packed lunch and some snacks for your field days.

    Accommodation

    As this course is offered out of the ACC Clubhouse in Canmore, we invite all out-of-town participants to stay with us. Located on a high bench overlooking the Three Sisters, Ha Ling and Mount Rundle, the ACC Clubhouse hostel is the perfect place to relax while completing your Crevasse Rescue Course. You can reserve a room for the night between your classroom day and field day upon reservation. Or if you need to stay longer, call our reservations team on 403 678 3200 ext. 300. 

    For full details on the Canmore Clubhouse accommodation click here.

    Guiding

    Our on-staff ACC guide, Doug Latimer, oversees our crevasse rescue program. Doug has almost 20 years of experience in teaching instructional courses and is currently writing his own e-book on crevasse rescue which we hope to include with the course as soon as it is available. We are extremely excited to have him on board for another season after rave reviews in his past years working with us.

    We want to provide the best possible learning experience and give you maximum opportunity to ask questions. So, for our field days, we bring in an extra guide/instructor where necessary to keep participant-to-guide ratios below a maximum of 6:1.  

    The ACC hires guides certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG). Visit the ACMG website to learn more about what they do!

    Gear and Rentals

    Don't have everything on the gear list (found on the right hand side of this webpage)? We recommend heading to Gear Up in Canmore to grab any items your might be missing. To ensure availability of items call ahead to book. ACC members get a 10% discount.

     

    Backcountry Skiing Hazards

    • Avalanche
      • Avalanches can occur in the terrain you will be entering. Caused by natural forces, or by people travelling through the terrain  
      • What are the risks
      • Anyone caught in a avalanche is at risk of personal injury, death, and or property damage or loss
      • Hazard Mitigation
      • Our ACMG certified guides have experience and training to manage this risk
      • Daily risk assessment processes
      • Guest training
    • Terrain
      • Cornices
      • Crevasses
      • Trees, tree wells, and tree stumps
      • Cliffs
      • Creeks
      • Rocks and Boulders
      • Variable and difficult snow conditions
      • Impact or collision with other persons or objects
      • Encounters with domestic or wild animals
      • Loss of balance or control
      • Becoming lost or separated from the group
      • Slips, trips, and falls
      • Hazard Mitigation
      • Our ACMG certified guides have experience and training to manage this risk
      • Radios and/or other communication devices
    • Boots and Binding systems
      • Even when set up correctly, a ski binding might not release during every fall or may release unexpectedly. The ski boot/binding system is no guarantee that the skier will not be injured. Non-DIN-certified bindings, such as pin/tech bindings, present a higher risk of pre-release and/or injury as they are not designed to the same safety standards as a DIN-certified alpine binding.
      • Unlike alpine ski boot/binding systems, snowboard and some telemark boot/binding systems are not designed or intended to release and will not release under normal circumstances. Using such a system increases the risk of injury and/or death when caught in an avalanche.
    • Communication, rescue, and medical treatment
      • Communication can be difficult and in the event of an accident rescue and treatment may not be available
      • Adverse weather may also delay the arrival of treatment or transportation out of the field,
      • Alpine weather conditions can be extreme and change rapidly without warning making travel by helicopter, snowmobile, snowcat, dangerous
      • If an injury occurs in challenging terrain movement to an evacuation point may be slow
      • Hazard Mitigation
      • Your guide is trained in both backcountry first-aid and rescue techniques
      • Emergency response plans
      • Satellite communication tools
    • Other
      • Slips trips and falls indoor or outdoor
      • Infectious disease contracted via direct or indirect contact, including but not limited to influenza or Covid-19
      • Equipment failure
      • Negligence of other persons, including other guests
      • Negligence of the guide Including failure to to take reasonable steps to safeguard or protect you from or warn you of risk, dangers, hazards, oh participating in ACC activities
      • Hazard Mitigation
      • Your guide is trained in both backcountry first-aid and rescue techniques
      • Satellite communication tools

    Your Guides

    DOUG LATIMER

    Doug has 20+ years of guiding experience behind him as an ACMG ski guide and an ACMG apprentice rock guide. As well as his private guiding he has spent a number of years working for the UoC where he taught a range of instructional programs in avalanche training, crevasse rescue and backcountry ski and ski mountaineering. He also somehow finds time to run a multimedia production company! On top of all that, we are lucky to have Doug as our lead winter guide, where he shares his fantastic enthusiasm and extensive knowledge throughout our winter programs.


    WILL WOODS

    Will was born in Calgary, Alberta. He spent a large amount of time playing in the mountains with his family growing up and decided to turn his love of adventuring outside with people into a profession. Graduating from Mount Royal College in Calgary with a Bachelors of Applied Eco-Tourism and Outdoor Leadership in 2006, he is also a proud member of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, the Outdoor Council of Canada and the Canadian Avalanche Association. Over the past 20 years he has built and lead adventure trips for a variety of different guests, who all seem to catch Will’s passion for wild places. Will has been lucky enough to guide in some pretty unique places, like past the Arctic Circle on Baffin Island, down under in Australia and all over Western Canada.


    Derek Tyron

    Derek has a nine year background in industrial avalanche forecasting for mining and railway operations in BC and AB. He is now transitioning to guiding with both apprentice ski and rock guiding certifications. Derek is a passionate skier and rock climber, who loves sharing his knowledge and helping others achieve their goals in the mountains.


    Adventure Map

    Details

    •  Nov 19-20 2022
    •  Dec 6-7 2022
    •  Jan 3-4 2023
    •  Feb 11-12 2023
    •  $375 + Tax
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    Included WITH YOUR CAMP FEE

    • 2 days instruction by ACMG certified guides at max 6:1 ratio
    • 1 evening online session
    • Group gear including ropes, first aid kit, etc

    Participants Must Provide

    • Transportation to and from the field location on Day 2 and 3
    • Accommodation
    • Meals and lunches
    • Personal gear (see gear list)

    Organizing Fantastic ACC Adventures For Over 100 Years

    • Local Knowledge - based out of Canmore, AB, we know the Rockies region and the best local caterers, guides and porters
    • Dedicated resources - full-time office staff, ACMG guides and group equipment on-hand to ensure your trip runs smoothly
    • Not-for-profit - any money we make on camps and courses is reinvested into providing services for our members and the mountain community