Logo Jim Frankenfield
jim@mountain-guiding.com; 1-877-604-0166

Mountain Guiding; Mountain Safety
An Experienced Professional

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Great Cairn Instructional Week

Instructional and Practical Content

[Main Front Page for the Trip]

You will spend a week learning all aspects of ski touring, ski mountaineering, and winter alpine skills in the remote and spectacular Sir Sandford range of the Selkirk mountains in British Columbia, accessed by helicopter. This trip is intended for relative beginners and does not require established skiing or climbing skills. Students should have a reasonable level of comfort being outdoors in winter in all conditions and enough familiarity with their personal (and perhaps rented) travel and climbing equipment to be confident that it fits and functions satisfactorily.

Students will be involved in trip planning, equipment selection and food planning and preparation prior to the actual trip. A US Level 1 avalanche course is included in the trip cost and will be completed before the actual trip, allowing the time we spend on the trip on this topic in the field to focus on practical application of the avalanche course content. In the field the relative mix of ski touring, ice climbing, and development of skills such as snow stability assessment and rescue/emergencies will depend on a variety of factors including conditions and weather.

The following topics will be covered through discussion, review and - most importantly - practical "hands-on" experience!

  • Recognition of hazards specific to winter recreation
  • Winter weather including localized effects
  • Winter navigation using map, compass, altimeter and GPS
  • Glacier travel and rescue
  • Winter survival tips
  • Injured skier/climber rescue and evacuation systems
  • Avalanche considerations in planning, route finding, and decisions in the field
  • Snow pack evaluation
  • Snow stability analysis
  • Interpretation and application of stability analyses
  • Weather observations and their correlation to snow stability
  • Efficient and safe travel on skis
  • Track setting in complex terrain
  • Basic rope management techniques
  • Snow and Ice anchor construction
  • Movement on steep snow with crampons and ice ax
  • Climbing on ice with crampon and ice tools

 Keeping the course safe and comfortable as well as enjoyable is important. Some of these objectives may not receive the same amount of attention as others as conditions, group abilities, individual desires, weather and many other factors all influence the actual content - but your experience during this wilderness week will be a great one which you will remember for a long time! 

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