CMC Crevasse Rescue Practice Area
After two in-class days of instructing the Advanced Crevasse Rescue class we move the progression outside with a final field day to put everything together. I was also instructing High Altitude Mountaineering School in 2021 and we always overlapped ACRS so advanced students could further their foundational crevasse rescue skills.
We all met at Loveland pass early the morning of the field day. We had three students and four instructors for the group. From the parking lot we discussed the plan for the day and then headed across to hike the hill over to our chosen corniced area where we planned to set up if conditions warranted.
Being careful and mindful of cornice terrain and avalanche dangers, we set up our anchors and ropes to drop our fallen climber over the “lip” or in our case a cornice we were staging as a pretend lip. After we rigged our safety anchors and backup rope line, I tied in and set up to rappel over the cornice to help the students go through all the steps of setting up the system.
I had fun hanging around snapping photos and helping Trey run through the entire system before he ascended the rope to finish the system. I then ascended back up to help the next student walk through their turn.
Unfortunately during the second rotation snow conditions started to deteriorate. Before the second climber had time to get to the step of rappelling down to the fallen climber the cornice started shifting and further away from us a portion broke off. We instantly told our students to pause the practice rotation as three of our instructors, myself included, jumped into action rigging a live second line haul to get our climber out from under the cornice as quickly as possible. It was a great live demo for the students to witness us set up and haul him out as fast as we did and in a real life scenario, albeit with a cornice not a crevasse.
After snow conditions shifted, we packed up our current location, dug out anchors and moved further downhill to more stable snow in less consequential slope terrain. The final climbers then ran through their turns in rotation to dial in the practice they had in the classroom.
A bummer not everyone was able to do the entire rotation with live load simulation as that is the key to this advanced system, but a great day out practicing nonetheless. On our way back to the parking lot we had some lovely snow and a little whiteout!
We all drove down the hill to enjoy some food and bevies after a successful field day practicing advanced crevasse rescue skills!