Pre-Whitetail Crevasse Rescue Clinic

  • Sunday, February 24, 2019
  • 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Carderock, MD, meet in south parking lot, near the pavilion


  • Make sure you have gear to top-rope outside!

Registration is closed

Crevasse Rescue Sequence Clinic

Location change to Carderock, south parking lot, near the pavilion, because of rain. Clinic will happen rain or shine.

At the Whitetail Snow Skills day most intermediate climbers want to learn glacier travel and crevasse rescue techniques. Whitetail is a great place to practice those techniques, but learning them there is a waste of time better spent using the snow. The core elements (tying in, load shifting, lowering, hauling) are the same no matter where you do them. There is nothing special about doing them on snow. So this year I will hold a clinic to go through the glacier travel and crevasse rescue sequence, with time for some practice, before we go to Whitetail. If you want to work on this at Whitetail come to this clinic. We will not re-teach this at Whitetail, you will have the opportunity to practice it with advice, hopefully several times.


    This is an intermediate to advanced clinic with prerequisite expectations.

    Solid intermediate skills on rock (you can belay, set a top rope anchor, rappel on your own)

    Knots: Figure 8 on a bight, prussic hitch, alpine butterfly, munter-mule-overhand (be sure you can do these in advance). Other friction hitches may be useful.

    Gear: Helmet, harness, 5 lockers, 5 non-lockers, cordelette, autoblock belay device or mini-traxion, a few slings, Texas prussik’s (see photo), extra prussic loop.

    Optional gear: More pulleys, mechanical ascender

    Group gear: One rope per two people, one TR kit per three people. Bring ropes and TR kits if you have them and we’ll sort out how many to carry in the parking lot.

    Other stuff: Water, snacks, weather appropriate clothes. Assume we’ll be out for a few hours.

Plan: I will demonstrate two crevasse rescue sequences, the “basic” method and the “advanced” method. The “basic” method is intended for rope teams of 3-5 traveling on low hazard terrain. The “advanced” method is based on that taught by the AMGA and is appropriate for a two person team on more hazardous terrain. If the person falling in the crevasse is significantly injured then the advanced method may be required, and you would switch to it from the basic method. 

The plan is that I will demonstrate then you’ll copy. You are encouraged to take notes, pictures, and even videos. Then you’ll rope up in teams and walk through the sequences. At Whitetail we can move onto cycling everybody through the sequence as the lead rescuer using snow anchors.

The method I will demonstrate is based primarily on Glacier Mountaineering by Andy Tyson and Mike McClelland. A very similar method is shown in Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills with a slightly different prussic set up. You are welcome to use the “Freedom” version prussic if you like. Whichever version you use the exact lengths are likely to require some modification for your height and build. The lengths in the photo were set up for me (5’ 7”).



PATC-MS Member Only policy: This event is for members of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club-Mountaineering Section only, in good standing with liability waivers on file. Please go to this page to join


Reminder: Climbing is a dangerous sport and serious injury may occur.

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