One of the amazing things about the Chamonix valley is the easy access to glaciers. A lot of routes, whether it is skiing or accessing climbing and mountaineering routes, require travelling across a glacier to get to them. Crevasses come hand in hand with glaciers. A crevasse is a deep crack found in glaciers which are formed as a result of the natural movement as the glacier progresses down a valley. These can be obvious, and spotted from afar, but they can also be surprisingly-well hidden after snowfall, or a sudden lowering of visibility. The main danger with crevasses is falling down them. Each one is different in terms of width, length and depth, and a snow bridge can give way at any time depending on snow and weather conditions.
Crevasse rescue is an important technique to know when travelling across a glacier. In the unfortunate event that someone you are roped-up with falls into a crevasse, it is essential to know how to stop yourself from being pulled in but also how to get them out.
So what will you learn on a crevasse rescue course with us?
You will learn a number of different skills on a crevasse rescue course with us. To begin with, our guides will run through all the equipment that you need to have on you when travelling across a glacier, and how to use it. Our qualified guides will then teach you how to stop a fall, or to stop yourself from being pulled in if your partner has already fallen in. You will learn how to create fixed points in snow and ice, using the different equipment that you have on you. You will then run through and learn how to deal with two different scenarios: rescuing your fallen partner, and self-rescue. Both techniques are important to master as you cannot foresee the circumstances. For example, the fallen partner may be injured and require the other member(s) to pull them out completely, or perhaps the more experienced member of the team is the one that has fallen in, but uninjured, is able to use the self-rescue technique to get themselves out. There are different pully systems that can be used, and you will be taught several variations. In addition to this, we will run through some basic first aid skills adapted to the scenario.
If it is possible, we like to put you in a realistic scenario working on a glacier and within a crevasse, to give you an idea of what it would really be like. However, this is dependent on the weather and snow and ice conditions.
We run courses for all different levels, whether it is your first course and your first-time using equipment, or if you are a hardened mountaineer, looking for your annual revision session.
Our courses run on demand so please get in touch if you are looking for either a group course or a private course. The location will be adapted to your requirements, weather and snow conditions, as these will vary throughout the year. The course is available both on foot or on skis, however in addition to the weather, location and snow conditions, this will also depend on your ability and previous experience. The length of the course can also be adapted to you.
For equipment, please see directly with the guide once you have booked. It is possible to rent a certain amount of gear from us, or we can advise you on where to rent your gear if you do not have your own. What you need will depend on the course that you choose, and we will send you a comprehensive list of equipment when you book the course. Please do not hesitate to send us an email if you have any questions about courses or gear.
Our courses are tailored to you: your level, your experience, and your group, to make you as safe as possible in the mountains. Come and join us to update your skill base so that you can enjoy winter in complete safety.