Intro to Mountaineering 2017

On the beautiful and excessively hot sunny day of May 27th this year a group of VOC’ers headed up Mt. Seymour for this year’s intro to mountaineering course. A few of the instructors decided that it would be good to have some of our newer members prepared for the epic summer challenges ahead.


Practicing self-arresting (photo by Heather Filyk)

Similar to Sam McKoy’s “Alpine Skills Course” and “G1 Glacier School”, this course was meant to teach the very basics of safe mountain travel and rope techniques, without the advanced crevasse rescue or glacier travel material.
An emphasis was placed on roping up and rope management, self-arresting, knots and anchors, and safe travel methods. We started with the basics, and probably the foundation of good mountaineering: how to walk/step properly in the mountains and use the ice axe.
The curriculum was kept basic enough in order to emphasize in our new members the importance of the foundational tools in the mountain and how good practice can allow safe travel and reduce the likelihood of accidents. Each group instructor(s) catered the course to their own group’s preference, skill level and interest.

Zack teaching the skills (photo by Heather Filyk)

We didn’t expected so much spring corn, and so deep! Those who decided on skis made a good call, as for the others we slushed our way up to mountain to a spot in the shade. If there’s a similar snowpack next year, I recommend┬áthe use of snowshoes!

Practicing the important moves while roped up! (photo by Heather Filyk)

Mt. Seymour is a great location to hold this type of trip since access is relatively quick, there’s plenty of parking and many sites along the way to the summit with safes slopes facing multiple directions.
Several trees here and there, as well as some short rocky outcrops, can also be used to teach anchors and be used as rappel sites. Our team members were fast learners and so we had time to build a solid snow bollard and rappel off the side of a hill.

A snow bollard that Martin was very proud of (photo by Cora Skaien)

I’d like to thank all the members that came out and a special thanks to the instructors that volunteered their time to make this trip a success! I look forwards to being part of this trip next year!
Safe travels in the mountains this summer to all and make sure to keep practicing knots,anchors,etc. at home so it becomes second nature.

Awesome pictures of a group practicing what looks like alpine butterflies (photo by Cora Skaien)

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