1 Day Crevasse Rescue Clinic

One Day Crevasse Rescue Clinic

Our one-day crevasse rescue clinic teaches skills essential for traveling safely over glaciated terrain. This program is ideal for experienced backcountry travelers and mountain athletes who are already familiar with moving on snow and wish to expand their adventures into more technical terrain. It’s also a great course for those who have taken a prolonged break from mountaineering and would like to revisit skills before a climb.

The training takes place on the Lower Nisqually Glacier of Mount Rainier, about an hour from the Paradise Visitor Center. Participants can expect a full day of learning and practicing crevasse rescue systems in addition to reviewing glacier travel techniques.

Skills Covered in Crevasse Rescue Clinic

Glacier travel systems
Rope/belay techniques
Knots & hitches used in crevasse rescue
Construction/evaluation of snow anchors
Basic haul systems (2:1 and 3:1)
Advanced haul systems (5:1 and 6:1)
Ascending and descending in rescue scenarios
Glacier travel risk management

Prerequisites

Experience ascending and descending steep snow slopes
Basic ice axe skills
Self-arrest
Cramponing

Itinerary

The day starts at 7:00AM in Ashford, Washington with a quick equipment check, introductions, and an overview of the day. From Ashford, we’ll drive about 45 minutes to Paradise on a beautiful winding road flanked by old growth trees and peek-a-boo views of Mount Rainier. From the Paradise parking lot, we’ll hike about two miles and 1,500′ to our highly scenic classroom on the Lower Nisqually Glacier. This approach is all on snow during the early season, and we’ll need to rope up for glacier travel on the final stretch there. Guides will use this time to teach and review setting up a rope for glacier travel with emphasis on proper rope interval, shortening and lengthening the rope, team communication, route finding, and hazard assessment.

Upon reaching our classroom site, guides will teach an assortment of essential knots and hitches and students will have a chance to practice these, along with tying prussiks. Next we’ll demonstrate snow and ice anchors useful for belaying, running protection, and rescue scenarios. Once students are comfortable constructing a variety of anchor types and styles, we put it to test. We fully weight and test all of the student anchors to ensure they are constructed properly for our intended purpose.

After a brief lunch, we dive into hauling systems, with emphasis on understanding the mechanical advantage each system employs. Combining these systems with the skills developed earlier in the day – knots, prussiks, rope handling, anchor construction – students should now have the necessary tools to execute crevasse rescue. Our standard instruction is a 3:1 Z-Pulley rescue system on a three-person rope team. We will also demonstrate (if not practice) the 2:1 Drop-C on a two-person rope team.

Around 4:00PM we’ll rope up and head back across the Lower Nisqually Glacier, using the hike to reinforce and practice proper glacier travel. We’ll aim to be back at Paradise around 5:00PM for a recap of the day.

1 Day Course FAQS

Please note you will be emailed specific information for your climb upon registration. The following is to serve as a helpful guideline.

What knots should I practice prior to arrival?

We recommend practicing the figure eight, overhand on a bight, butterfly, clove hitch, munter hitch, prussik hitch, klemheist hitch, and autoblock hitch.

Where do I stay the night before and after the course ?

Our course begins in Ashford, Washington at 7:00AM. Here are some lodging options in Ashford that climbers have used in the past:

Whittaker’s Bunkhouse
Phone: (360) 569-2439
Website 

Nisqually Lodge
Phone: (360) 569-8804
Website

Alexander’s Lodge
Phone: (360) 569-2300
Website

There are many Ashford rental options on AirBNB as well.

What do I need to bring?

When you sign up for a course we will send you a confirmation package that includes an equipment list detailing each piece of equipment you will need. Please read your equipment list very carefully. You are required to bring every item on the list so be as precise as possible when packing. Alpine Ascents rents quality technical equipment at reasonable rates. If you have any equipment-related questions please call us (206-378-1927). You can also email us at: [email protected] We have a full-time gear expert on staff.

Where do I pick up my rental gear for the climb?

Rental gear is available at our facility in Lower Queen Anne, Seattle. You can arrange a time to pick up your rental gear with our gear department by emailing [email protected]

Where is a good, trustworthy store to purchase gear?

We run our own retail climbing shop and online gear store, where all Alpine Ascents climbers receive a discount and can receive personalized advice from our gear experts.

I am concerned that the gear I am renting will not fit or work properly.

The boots, packs, crampons, ice axes, tents, and other items are cleaned and checked on a daily basis. Gear is sized at the gear check and changes can be made at that time. All of our gear is of the highest quality. Please note that double plastic boots do not break in.

What kind of experience do I need to participate in this course?

We recommend participants have prior experience traveling on snow in crampons as well as self-arrest training.

Is food provided on my course?

No. Students will need to bring a lunch and ample snack food.

How many students/guides are there per class?

This course has a maximum 4:1 climber to guide ratio.

Reading List

This is a highly recommended shortlist. We are happy to pass along a longer reading list for those interested. These links will bounce to Amazon.com with reviews.

The Illustrated Guide to Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue
Andy Tyson, Mike Clelland, Climbing Magazine
Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue
Andy Selters, Mountaineers Books
Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills
Don Graydon (Ed.), Kurt Hanson (Ed.), Mountaineers Society, Mountaineers Books

The guides did an awesome job teaching skills and then allowing students to apply them. This being my first experience ever being on a glacier, I feel the guides did an incredible job teaching as well as demonstrating and assuring safety throughout.

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Partners & Accreditations

Alpine Ascents International is an authorized mountain guide service of Denali National Park and Preserve and Mount Rainier National Park.
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