Rescue Dynamics
Edmonton, AB, Canada T6L 1K5


Alpine Club of Canada Toronto Section
& Rescue Dynamics Present:

In 2010 Rescue Dynamics was contracted by the Toronto Section to provide a number of leadership courses for 2010. The courses were Rock Solid Leadership and the Rescue Dynamics Mountain Leadership Seminar. Courses were arranged through Rescue Dynamics in Edmonton and are taught by Cyril Shokoples, an internationally certified mountain guide and Past President of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. Locations for each course are listed in the course information. Course details will be provided when participants sign up. Participants were required to complete a medical form and waiver before each course. For general information follow the links:

Rock Solid Leadership - rock climbing Rescue Dynamics Leadership Seminar

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Alpine Club of Canada Edmonton & Toronto Sections
& Rescue Dynamics Present:

Rock Solid Leadership

Jasper National Park - Alberta, Canada
July 10th - 16th, 2010

General Description

NOTE: Further information regarding price, application procedures, subsidies and more will be available through the course coordinator of the ACC Edmonton Section. This course is now open for applications from ACC members. Applications may also be accepted from non-ACC members if any spots remain open.

In 2008 we were excited to say that "We think there has never been a course quite like Rock Solid Leadership". Now that we have run the course twice and have made some additional improvements based on our experience in 2009, we are sure that is the case. Some courses are geared toward providing you with skills for placing gear. Some hone your climbing. Others work on techniques for leading. Yet other courses provide rock rescue training. A limited number work at improving your alpine rock climbing skills. Very few technical climbing courses provide soft skills to enhance your understanding of issues as a leader. And a large number of courses are simply too short to cover all the things that instructors and participants alike would love to address.

Enter ROCK SOLID LEADERSHIP. Created by Cyril Shokoples, a well-known western Canadian mountain guide with an extensive background in training mountain leaders. Rock Solid Leadership addresses all of these technical topics while focusing on leadership issues and filling in the gaps with soft skills. During course development the curriculum was scrutinized by Sandra Bowkun, an active leader in the eastern Canadian climbing community and advocate of leadership training at the climbing club level. Prior to this course, concurrent instruction in these areas could only be easily obtained by training to become a professional mountain guide. At long last all of these skills have come together in a single week long program designed specifically for the amateur leader with emphasis on the climbing club setting.

Rock Solid Leadership is a seven day course during which a number of hard and soft skills sessions related to leading club trips to rock climbing venues are presented. It is not a course about leading hard rock climbs but rather a course to introduce you to leading others on rock climbs of almost any grade.

We will spend some time dealing with managing personal and climbing club trips to shorter one pitch venues but our aim is to go well beyond that. Managing a small party during ascent and descent on multi-pitch rock routes and/or alpine rock routes will be what we are eventually striving for. We will also begin to learn and practice the art and science of shortroping, rock rescue, group handling, group dynamics and so much more.

Participants must have experience following traditional rock climbs with an experienced partner. Some previous gym, outdoor sport and traditional leading experience is required with a minimum of a half dozen leads on each type of route required. You don't have to be leading hard routes but you should have begun your leading career. This is NOT a beginner course. If you attend this course you must be mentally and physically ready to lead. The days will be long and participants are expected to give a 100% commitment to the program.

This is a leadership course above all. You must be willing to spend at least as much time thinking about others as you spend thinking about your own needs. If all you want is to be a good rock climber, then you are better off seeking a good technical skills course. This course is about leading routes and leading others who may be perhaps far less experienced than you. There will be plenty of leading and technical skills involved but there will also be so much more.

Typical Soft Skills Covered
(a revised subset of the Rescue Dynamics weekend seminar skills)

o Waivers, information forms, legal liability
o Roles and responsibilities of climbing club trip leaders
o Attributes of a good trip leader in a climbing club context
o Conflict management
o Decision making on trips
o Risk homeostasis theory
o Risk taking on club trips
o Accident management

Typical Hard Skills Covered

o Gear placement
o Anchor construction
o Setting up a top-roping site
o Multi-pitch belay station management (2, 3 & 4 person teams)
o Multi-pitch rappel station management (2, 3 & 4 person teams
o Shortroping
o Rope rescue
o Routefinding

The Setting

Rock Solid Leadership will take place in Jasper National Park. This beautiful mountain national park is over 100 years old and provides every possible type of venue for rock climbing from short sport crags to long alpine rock routes. In addition, Jasper Park has far less climber traffic than Banff, her better known southern sister. During the week we can expect to share the expansive venues with very few if any other climbers! It is the ideal setting for a course of this nature. Some of the multi-pitch traditional climbs and venues have only recently been documented and several climbing areas have only recently been developed. This is the climber's equivalent to finding sunken treasure. Most of the climbing is on limestone with some on classic quartzite.

Course Faculty / Staf

Course creator Cyril Shokoples will be one of our instructors. Cyril's professional mountain guiding began a quarter century ago and he is an internationally certified mountain guide. He is a past president of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and has received distinguished service awards from the Alpine Club of Canada and the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. He was the coordinator of Prehospital Care programs at the Alberta Vocational College where he trained Emergency Medical Technicians and developed the Parks Emergency Responder course for national park wardens. He delivers that course all across Canada and teaches Wilderness Emergency Care to mountain guides. Cyril trains the Canadian Forces Search and Rescue Technicians in Mountain Rescue and is one of the primary instructors on the ACC summer and winter TNF national leadership courses.

Jeremy Mackenzie will be our primary instructor. Jeremy is also an internationally certified mountain guide. He was of the senior ski guides at RK HeliSki until accepting a winter public safety specialist position with Kananaskis country in 2009. He has guided at the ACC GMC and taught on the 2005 Central Canada Rock Leadership course in Quebec. He teaches many programs for Rescue Dynamics. Jeremy has skied and climbed extensively across North America.

Course Manager Sandra Bowkun will provide the prospective of the amateur leader / camp manager and will be acting as the intermediary between the participants and staff. Her sixteen years of climbing have taken her across Canada, the US and Italy. She has rock climbed at such venues as the Gunks, Canadian Rockies, Niagara Escarpment, Bon Echo, Red Rocks, Joshua Tree, and Adirondacks. Sandra has attended six GMCs in western Canada and has been alpine rock climbing in the Dolomites, Tetons and Bugaboos. Sandra has held various positions with the ACC Toronto Section including sitting on the Leadership Committee. She has been the Section Chair and national representative for the past three years and is active at the ACC national level as a member of the national Leadership and Membership Committees.

Participant Instructor Ratios

This course has been designed to have an excellent staff to participant ratio. With a 4:1 participant to staff ratio, participants will not be lost in the crowd!

Course Price

$1,200 - Contact your Section Executive for information on course subsidies which may be as high as 50% for active Section Leaders from Edmonton and Toronto. If you are not an ACC member no subsidies are available but you can still attend! Send us an email for further details.

Rock Solid Leadership 2010 - Course Outline

© Cyril Shokoples 2007 / 2010

Day 1

o Meet for orientation to program and introductions
o Purpose of the program
o Expectations
o Participant Contract
o Learning Journals
o Review of knots, equipment and harnesses
o Rope handling, belaying technique and mechanical belay systems
o Piton, nut (artificial chockstone) and SLCD placement
o Belay anchor establishment - EARNEST / IDEAL
o Review and enhancement of techniques of movement on rock
o Top - roped leading - safe preparation for traditional lead climbing
o Rappelling and related safety systems part I - BRAKES
o Ascending / prusiking at instructor's discretion

Day 2

o Leading sport climbs
o Setting up anchors and lowers on sport climbs.
o Placing running belays (placement / removal)
o Seconding pitches with running belays
o Belay station rope management
o Rock climbing skill refinement
o Belay technique refinement
o Rappel technique refinement
o Rappel safety systems part II - practice & additional methods
o Practice leading on easy traditional "Gear" routes
o Routefinding - 3Ms - Macro / Medium / Micro
o Safety in leading - multi-dimensional experiments and recipes for failure

Day 3 Rescue Day (scheduling flexible)

o Stretchers and carries
o Tie offs and basics of simple pulley systems
o Options System concept
o Lowers for climbing and rescue - 1 person and multi-person
o Rappel safety systems part III - practice & additional methods

Day 4

o Traveling at Light Speed - Rock
o Shortroping on rock - it is NOT roped soloing or simul-climbing
o Shortening the rope - over shoulder / in pack
o Moving with coils vs. running belays vs. short pitches vs. regular belayed climbing
o Direct belays / body belays sans anchor / indirect belays - body, mechanical
o Routefinding on alpine rock terrain
o Increasing safety / reducing weight - packing appropriate to objective
o Time loss areas - group, routefinding, belay stations, poor timing
o Using terrain on approaches - the shortest distance is NOT a straight line
o Shortroping and multi - person belays
o Geology of the route you are on
o Route descriptions
o Relating major features to where you are - photographic memorization
o Review 3Ms - Macro / Medium / Micro
o Efficient travel during roped climbing - physical and mental techniques
o Situation awareness / attentional capture / perceptual narrowing

Day 5

o Multi-pitch rock climbs according to participant skill levels
o Multi-pitch rappel descents

Day 6

o Groups lead an alpine rock route involving both shortroping and technical pitches

Day 7

o Rock Climbs TBA
o Wrap up

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Alpine Club of Canada Toronto Section

Rescue Dynamics

Leadership Skills and Risk Management for ACC Leaders

This year Rescue Dynamics has contracted with the Toronto Section to provide a return engagement of the Mountain Leadership Seminar that we delivered in 2005. The seminar is facilitated by Cyril Shokoples, an internationally certified mountain guide and Past President of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides.

Participants are asked to apply directly through the ACC Toronto Section. Payment is made directly to the Toronto Section for this seminar only.

General information:

Leadership Skills and Risk Management for ACC Leaders
Dates: September 18, 19, 2010 (Saturday Sunday)
Location: Hardwood Hills Ski & Bike - Conference Room, Barrie Ontario
Time: Saturday 08:30 AM - 5:00 PM / Saturday 08:30 AM - 5:00 PM

This is a two day seminar designed to assist the trip leader or aspiring leader to further develop the skills necessary to safely plan, coordinate and lead group outings in the mountains within a club setting. The program consists of classroom learning sessions and workshop style group discussions. Major content areas will include roles and responsibilities of leaders, trip preplanning, decision making, group dynamics, conflict management, management of risks & safety, basic legal issues, and a variety of other leadership related topics.

Seminar Goal

To enhance leadership skills of outdoor and mountain leaders and trip participants

Note to club seminar participants: When this seminar is delivered to club groups (such as the ACC) it is very specifically club oriented and may or may not apply to other settings. Discussions will generally be limited to club oriented situations for those sessions.This is a very intensive seminar conducted over two long days. Participants must be willing to contribute to all sessions where required.

Seminar Format

This seminar is presented using mixed media including extensive PowerPoint presentations, overhead and flip-chart presentations and small group workshop discussions. A workbook of the various PowerPoint presentations will be given to each participant.

Seminar Objectives

Upon completion of this seminar, the participant will be able to:
A. Discuss ACC leadership training locally and nationally.
B. Discuss the roles and responsibilities of ACC trip leaders.
C. Describe attributes of a good trip leader in the context of the ACC.
D. Discuss waivers, information forms and legal liability.
E. Discuss group development stages.
F. Discuss leadership styles and how they affect ACC trips.
G. Discuss conflict management.
H. Discuss decision making on trips.
I. Discuss the concept of target risk (risk homeostasis) and how it may affect our risk taking behaviours.
J. Discuss risk management and safety management systems or models.
K. Have fun while learning new things about ourselves and the ACC.

Seminar Outline (tentative)

1. Introduction & Orientation
2. Basic Legal Issues in Outdoor Recreation
3. Roles & Responsibilities of Leaders
4. Group Development & Group Dynamics
5. Decision Making in Climbing
6. Conflict Management
7. Trip Planning – The Proof Testing Checklist & Route Cards
8. Safety Management and a Safety Culture
9. Wrap-up

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Rescue Dynamics
Edmonton, AB, Canada T6L 1K5
Last updated Monday, May 29, 2023