Companion Rescue Skills Course

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Summary

This clinic is a brief overview (2-3 hours) of one of the 5 major learning goals discussed on Avalanche Safety Training Level 1 courses (AST 1). In addition, if you were to learn one skill for going on a winter backcountry trip with a more experienced group, especially if it involves skiing, snowboarding, sledding, or ice climbing, THIS SKILL IS GENERALLY REGARDED AS A PRE-REQUISITE FOR ATTENDANCE ON THESE TRIPS. Companion rescue involves utilizing an avalanche transceiver, probe, and shovel for searching and rescuing your partner(s) in the event of an avalanche. We will discuss how to use these tools, why companion rescue is necessary and important to keep practiced, and practice with scenarios that mimic real-life search and rescue situations. NOTE: THIS COURSE IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A PROPER, ACCREDITED AST COURSE. WE CANNOT OFFER CERTIFICATION FROM THIS COURSE, AND MANY OTHER CRUCIAL PREVENTION TECHNIQUES ARE TAUGHT IN AST COURSES OFFERED BY PROFESSIONAL GUIDING SERVICES. THIS COURSE IS SIMPLY TO LEARN THE TECHNIQUES TO REDUCE THE CHANCE OF BEING A LIABILITY ON WINTER BACKCOUNTRY TRIPS.

Itinerary

Basic Companion Rescue Course

  • 1st 30 mins: Meet at clubroom and obtain any neccessary gear (avalanche transceiver, probe, shovel, pack). *Note: the VOC does NOT provide AAA batteries for our transceivers. Therefore, it is your responsibility to bring your own AAA batteries. Most transceivers the club use require 3 AAA batteries.
  • 45 mins in: Meet at top of Trail 6 at Wreck Beach. If you already have your own gear for companion rescue, you are welcome to meet us at this location 45 minutes following the start of the course.
  • 1 hour in: Discuss gear required for companion rescue; how to use it, and why companion rescue is a necessary skill to know and have mastered.
  • 1 hr, 20 mins in: Demonstration of companion rescue drill with instructor commentary.
  • 1hr, 50 mins in: Regroup; begin mock companion rescue scenarios. Note: if you wish to ONLY attend for scenario practice, please show up at this time.
  • 3 hrs in: Depart from beach, return gear to clubroom, and debrief.

Advanced Companion Rescue Course

  • 1st 30 mins: Meet at clubroom and obtain any necessary gear (avalanche transceiver, probe, shovel, pack). *Note: the VOC does NOT provide AAA batteries for our transceivers. Therefore, it is your responsibility to bring your own AAA batteries. Most transceivers the club use require 3 AAA batteries.
  • 45 mins in: Meet at top of Trail 6 at Wreck Beach. If you already have your own gear for companion rescue, you are welcome to meet us at this location 45 minutes following the start of the course.
  • 1 hour in: Discuss additional skills needed for advanced companion rescue techniques, including: multiple burial functions, marking features, and additional transceiver technology.
  • 1 hr, 20 mins in: Demonstration of multiple burial techniques, three-circle method, flagging, and triage techniques.
  • 1hr, 50 mins in: Regroup; begin mock companion rescue scenarios. *Note: if you wish to ONLY attend for scenario practice, please show up at this time.
  • 3 hrs in: Depart from beach, return gear to clubroom, and debrief.

Gear

  • Avalanche transceiver (digital 457 kHz, 3 antennae beacons)*
  • 3-5 AAA batteries (for use in avalanche transceiver)
  • Collapsible probe*
  • Collapsible shovel*