AMGA SMGC/AE Rescue Practice

Part of the SMGC/AE is a rescue exam.  There are several components to this aspirant rescue exam and today Michael Arnold a climbing and ski guide from Climbing Life Guides, Thor Husted a U.S. guide based in Chamonix France, and myself ventured out to the Duffey Lake area to work on rescue skills we will be tested on tomorrow.  The skills are as follows:

  • Avalanche transceiver search
  • Rescue sled lowering and raising
  • Bivouac construction

1) Avalanche Transceiver Search Time allowed: 7 minutes

Three avalanche transcievers, each in the top of an average sized pack (35-45 liters) are buried.  The candidate may have one assistant for digging if working in a constructed exam site.  After digging out the first two transceivers the assistant may turn them off.  The excersie is complete the moment the probe strike and confirmation fothe third buried pack.

2) Rescue Sled Lowering Time allowed: 7o minutes

Equipment allowed:

  • One CE rested half rope
  • One ice axe
  • One pair of skis
  • One pair of ski poles
  • One snow shovel
  • One ice screw
  • One harness
  • One cordelette
  • Three locking carabiners plus one additional from the victim’s harness
  • Four non-locking carabiners plus one additional from the victim’s harness
  • Four slings
  • One emergency rescue sled
  • Victiom’s skis, poles, pack
  • Bivouac sack or guides tarp

On a slope of 40 degrees or steeper, lower the victim two rope lengths from the most appropriate anchor (rock, snow, or ice), managing one lowering station transfer.  During the final lower a knot pass must be efficiently executed.  If appropriate for security, the rope end must be anchored.  A second candidate may be used as an assistant.

3) Bivouac Construction Time allowed: 30 minutes

Construct an effective emergency bivouac shelter for three people suitable to the snow conditions and depth.

Equipment allowed:

  • One snow shovel
  • One 2-person bivouac sack or guides tarp
  • 3 pairs of skis
  • 3 sets of poles

See some pictures from todays practice at

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