Rescue Dynamics
Edmonton, AB, Canada T6L 1K5

return to top

Alpine Club of Canada Central Canadian Sections
Rock Climbing Leadership Course 2005

Session Dates: September 2 - 5, 2005 tentative
Location: Val David, Quebec

The Central Canadian Sections Rock Leadership Course is now completed. Articles on techniques presented during the course are no longer available below for download.

Alpine Club of Canada Central Canadian Sections
Rock Climbing Leadership Course 2005
Val David, Quebec
September 2 - 5, 2005

Abridged Guide's Report
submitted by Cyril Shokoples
September 10, 2005

Cyril Shokoples
Jeremy Mackenzie
Calvin Klatt (camp manager)

Calvin Klatt (Ottawa Section Chair)
Robert Mohid (Ottawa Section)
Jean-Philippe Dery (Montreal Section)
Steve Castonguay (Montreal Section & FQME VP)
Steve Traversari (Montreal Section)
Paul Chapman (Montreal Section)
Norbert Cyr (Montreal Section)
Sandra Bowkun (Toronto Section Chair)
Karen McGilvray (Toronto Section)
Will Richardson-Little (Toronto Section)
David Lue Chee Lip (Toronto Section)


This event was essentially a beta test of a rock leadership course for members of Central Canadian Sections of the Alpine Club of Canada. The course was held over the September Long Weekend in the area in or near Val David, Quebec. The curriculum was based on one of several draft proposals submitted by Cyril Shokoples (ACMG / IFMGA Guide) to David Zemrau (ACC VP - Services).

The technical staff consisted of Cyril Shokoples, a Mountain Guide and 30 year member of the ACC together with Jeremy Mackenzie, an ACMG Ski Guide and Assistant Rock Guide who is also an ACC member. The camp manager was Calvin Klatt, chairperson of the Ottawa Section, who also attended as a participant. The eleven participants (including camp manager) came from the Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto Sections of the ACC. One representative of the FQME was in attendance (also a Montreal Section member).

The initial feedback at this point is that the course was very successful and provided an excellent opportunity for many section members to exchange ideas and techniques with guides from western Canada and with each other. The club should be encouraged to continue to provide experiences of this type for sections across the country.

August 31, 2005 Arrival - Montreal / Scouting - Val David

By mid-afternoon both Jeremy Mackenzie and Cyril Shokoples had arrived in Montreal via separate flights from Calgary and Edmonton. They were picked up by Murray Levine (Montreal Section Chairperson) at the Airport. Murray transported them to his home where they met camp manager / participant Calvin Klatt and departed for Val David.

Upon arriving at Val David the staff group checked in to the Chalet Beaumont (Hostel) and immediately departed to begin scouting locations for the various aspects of the course. Scouting began at the Condor area of Val David. After a couple of hours the staff returned to Val David for supper and to settle in. The late evening was spent discussing curriculum and reviewing resource materials.

September 1, 2005 Scouting - Val David & Montagne d'Argent

After breakfast, location scouting in Val David continued and every venue except Mont King was visited. The staff then drove an hour and continued scouting at Montagne d'Argent until late in the afternoon. Essentially every venue at Montagne d'Argent was given at least a cursory inspection. It was decided that about half of the program objectives could be best met at Val David and half at Montagne d'Argent. (This led to an unexpected expenditure of $136.00 as day use fees for hiking and climbing were incurred at Montagne d'Argent.)

Participants began arriving late in the afternoon and into the evening. At 21:00 there was a group meeting at the Chalet Beaumont during which there were cursory personal introductions and a general introduction to the program. Staff met in the evening after the group meeting to finalize various aspects of the program.

September 2, 2005 Gear, Anchors & Rappels - Val David

Condor area: First thing in the morning after arriving at the venue more formal introductions took place with Cyril facilitating the session. The gear placement and anchor building session was led by Jeremy. This took until noon and lunch.

Cyril did an introduction to rappel stations and management. The participants then did a rappel station management practical scenario from the top of the cliffs at Condor. Cyril began an introduction to lowers which was cut short by a rapidly advancing storm front. The group quickly packed up and left at 15:30 due to thunderstorm activity. The group returned to the hostel where a knot practice session took place until 17:30.

September 3, 2005 Lowers, Rappels, Rescue, Climbing - Montagne d'Argent

Supercrackspot area: Due to the previous day's session being cut short due to storm activity the group did a three person lower / lower / rappel scenario (exercise repeated three times with a different person in charge each time). Everyone then did a 2 person rappel scenario which was repeated to allow everyone to be in charge of a rappel scenario as well. This took until lunch. Cyril introduced a “preemptive” rope rescue scenario with a Munter rapidly converted into progress capture device with the addition of a carabiner. The classic belay escape scenario followed by the 3:1 simple pulley system followed. There was some discussion of modifications for lighter individuals. Each pair of participants did two practices of the system.. The group then did top-rope climbs on crack routes which were still a bit damp from the previous nights rains. At 18:30 the group had a common supper at the hostel prepared by the hostel staff.

September 4, 2005 Multi-Pitch Climbing - Montagne d'Argent

La Petite Foley & Le Fou areas: Three easy climbs had been selected for multi-pitch climbing. The climbs were short enough to be led in one pitch but a mid-point ledge allowed the group to practice a multi-pitch scenario. The group was split randomly into teams of two and one team of three. The three multi-pitch climbs in this venue were done repeatedly by the teams until almost everyone had led or followed every pitch. Lunch was staggered to allow concurrent climbing. In the afternoon some teams continued climbing the easier routes (5.4 / 5.5) at Petite Foley while others moved over to harder (5.8 - 5.10) climbs of one to three pitches at Le Fou. By the end of the afternoon all parties were climbing at Le Fou. Rope teams were allowed to mix participants if desired. Climbing ended at 18:00.

September 5, 2005 Rappels, Soft Skills, Rescue & Climbing - Val David

Mont Cesaire / Dizzy area: Jeremy supervised the group from above while they did a two pitch rappel station practice scenario. Immediately following these scenarios Cyril conducted a soft skills session including legal liability, risk homeostasis (target risk), common expert errors and concluding with characteristics of good climbers, good leaders and expert leaders. Questions were fielded regarding dealing with dissent in a group and several other soft skill areas. Lunch followed.

Mont Cesaire / Chico & Arabesque areas: Following lunch the group was allowed to chose between climbing and rescue practice for the remainder of the day. One pair chose to complete a multi-pitch climb on Arabesque while the remainder of the group went to the Chico area to do a final rock rescue practice. Different members of the group were allowed to depart at varying times due to travel requirements. The remaining climbers top-roped a few climbs at the end of the day and the course was formally wound up by 16:00.

Calvin drove Cyril and Jeremy to Montreal where Cyril departed directly from Dorval Airport. Calvin had made arrangements for Jeremy to stay with a friend overnight as his flight did not depart until the next day. Jeremy flew to Calgary on September 6.

Author's Conclusions

I believe that the initial offering of the Central Canada Rock Climbing Leadership Course was very successful. Suggestion for how to improve the program were provided to the national office. My hope is to see the same kind of accelerated growth in the amateur leading community that we have begun to see in professional guiding and the avalanche industry in the last decade. Courses of this nature will help achieve that aim.

Special Thanks

Thanks are due to the following people and organizations for helping facilitate this program:

return to top

Home Page What is Rescue Dynamics ?
Summer Climbing Courses Animated Rescue Dynamics Logo Custom & Private Guide Services
Winter Climbing and Skiing Courses Mountain Weather Forecasts
First Aid and WEC Courses Photo Essays
Rescue Courses Outdoor Article of the Month
Custom Courses Current Climbing and Ski Conditions
Upcoming Course Dates What's New ? Course Application Forms

[Made with Macintosh Icon]Further Information, Comments, Suggestions?

Rescue Dynamics
Edmonton, AB, Canada T6L 1K5
Last updated Saturday, May 27, 2023