Some personal notes about the scheduling of the annual ACC Vancouver Basic Mountaineering Course.
Note to Instructors
This plan is entirely unofficial. While it’s been pretty consistent over the years, if we get bad weather we may change the plan significantly.
There’s typically somewhere around 25 students and 5 instructors. Given those numbers, we’ll typically split into groups of 5 students & 1 instructor. As a general rule, we usually have 1 instructor talk about a skill and maybe demo it first, and then we have the students work on it themselves in groups, with an instructor available to give them pointers or help them with questions.
Also, if someone has a 2 foot top-clip picket or a fluke it would be nice to bring them for demoing anchors (I only have mid-clip pickets).
Meet at parking lot, basic introductions, make sure everyone has tent situation, getting lost, etc.
Hike to where the trail crosses Scott-Goldie Creek, break & talk about some soft skills like pace setting, clothing management.
Hike to where the trail meets up with the ski run. Assign small groups. Cover climbing up on low-angle snow.
Hike to little lake west of Brockton Substation, cover putting on ropes, prussic rigging, and kiwi coils. Hike up to Brockton Point, practicing switchbacks and positioning.
Switch rope positions, walk up to Pump Peak, eat lunch.
Practice snow descent and self arrest.
Go to campsite between Pump & Second Peak, talk about camping considerations.
Set up campsite, have dinner.
Optional time for whatever (like demoing a rappel off a cliff bar).
Get up & breakfast.
In large group, assemble with mountaineering gear. Talk about crampon use.
In small groups, practicing crampon use and whatever skills are necessary. Optionally hike to peak. Slopes on north side of second peak make for good moderate snow practice.
Take down camp & second breakfast.
Anchors & crevasse rescue
Climbing on steep snow (if exists).
Practice falls on rope. Return to parking lot.
Arrive at cars.
Other Didactic Notes
The way we teach a kiwi coil should involve 1 locker with a clove hitch between the exiting rope and the belay device. Extra lockers are unnecessary and a clove hitch makes rope length adjustments safer.
In my experience, splitting up into groups, and doing practice within each group works well. I’d like to be more intentional about this practice. Each instructor should assess their group members and make sure they have a sufficient level of competence with the taught skills.
The official course page.