Assistance to Individuals or Groups in the Backcountry
ACMG members are competent guides and instructors, and experts in both first aid and rescue within their specific disciplines. There are many examples where ACMG guides and instructors have assisted members of the public who have found themselves in some sort of (often life-threatening) difficulty.
The type of assistance given is wide ranging. It includes actions such as providing navigation assistance to those needing directions, applying major and minor first aid, radioing for outside help or evacuation, running or assisting technical and avalanche rescues, and other actions that have reduced suffering and saved lives in the past. Additionally, many senior federal and provincial rescue specialists in the mountain parks are ACMG members.
ACMG members who are guiding or instructing private individuals or groups will suspend all other activities to help out the public, as long as doing so does not jeopardize the safety of their clients or themselves. The ACMG believes so strongly in the importance of this aspect of public service that it is written into our Code of Conduct.
Winter Snow Pack Observations
The Canadian Avalanche Centre, Parks Canada, Kananaskis Country, Whistler-Blackcomb and the North Shore Avalanche Advisory Group publish on-line bulletins during the winter season that provide regional backcountry skiing conditions and avalanche hazard assessments for Alberta and British Columbia mountain areas. They are the key tools used by professional and amateur recreationists to determine the relative safety of winter backcountry trips.
These organizations gather information from a variety of sources, including commercial helicopter and snow cat skiing operations, which typically employ ACMG-certified Ski and Mountain Guides. These guides are fully trained in avalanche hazard evaluation. Because they are in the field almost daily, they are able to observe and report on important weather events that lead to significant changes in snow pack stability. In addition, many of the avalanche forecasters employed by the CAC and Parks Canada are also ACMG-certified. In these ways, the skills of ACMG members feed directly into helping the public make informed and safer decisions on winter backcountry travel.
Mountain Conditions Report
While avalanche bulletins provided by other organizations provide excellent information on mountain snow pack stability and skiing conditions in the winter, members of the public have access to the ACMG Mountain Conditions Report (MCR) all year long. This report covers all aspects of specific trips including access, approach, route, and weather conditions.
Where the CAC bulletin is regional and specific to winter backcountry travel, the MCR is local and covers climbing, hiking and skiing activities. The MCR has an editorial panel that provides feedback to ACMG members who post their observations, ensuring that they remain within prescribed guidelines. There is also a group of members who supply a weekly high season summary. Members of the public may access the information by visiting Mtn Conditions, or by subscribing to the service and receiving reports by e-mail.
Many commonly used techniques in mountain travel and climbing instruction have their origins in ACMG training. The ACMG regularly incorporates new or refined techniques from several sources, including the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA), technical courses and reports from research and testing.
This information is, in turn, passed along to the climbing and skiing recreational community through programs, courses, ACMG manuals (which are available to the public), and sharing from guide/instructor to clients and/or friends. In this way, the ACMG contributes directly and indirectly to increased safety for many recreationists.
The ACMG takes its directive to assist the public very seriously. If you can think of ways in which this service can be enhanced, please contact the Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.