Climbing can be dangerous and serious accidents happen every year, so be prepared for the worst. Anything can happen and lead to an accident, whether it’s a broken grip or a gear being pulled during worsening conditions or even escalating into another team having an epic. Rescue techniques, such as hauling, lowering, tandem rappelling and how to escape belaying are skills everyone should have.
Squamish-based ACMG rock climbing guide and rock climbing veteran Kinley Aitken is offering three one-day rock rescue courses on April 22, 23 and 24. in one day and made his first ascents in the Waddington Range in British Columbia.
We recently got in touch with her about upcoming classes. Visit Aitken’s website here or use his poster contact details below to book a class.
Why should climbers be prepared for a rescue scenario? Climbers can get to some pretty wild places pretty quickly and with that comes some responsibility for their own climbing team and potentially helping those around them. Invariably accidents can happen and when climbers find themselves in situations where they may feel they need to call for help, advance planning and preparation along with basic rope rescue skills can go a long way. very far.
Is this course for experienced climbers or can beginners enroll? No prior lifesaving experience is necessary to attend this clinic, but the following skills are good to know in advance (but not required): building an anchor from two bolts, overhand and in eight knots, using a prusik knot. extra points if you have a guide-style belay device and know how to use it.
What are the basics you will teach? I will cover the basics such as equipment, planning and preparation, attaching a belay device to be hands free, transferring loads, backing up a rappel, building a simple mechanical traction system, rappelling with a climber injured. There’s a lot more we can cover if time permits.
What equipment do people need for the course? At a minimum people need a harness and helmet, a selection of locking and non-locking carabiners, a belay device (self-locking such as a Black Diamond ATC Guide is ideal), some slings (120 and 240cm are good lengths) and a rappelling rescue rope (1.5 meters of 6-7mm rope or a “hollow block” works well). Bonus points if you have a piece of 7mm cord (or two!) 5 meters long.
Have you ever participated in a climbing rescue? Yes, to varying degrees. One of the most memorable was 500 meters from a wall in Madagascar. After breaking a hold and then my ankle, the self-rescue was long and painful but I only used the gear I had on me and called on those rescue skills for sure!
Follow Aitken on Instagram for course updates and inspiring climbing content.