Climber Self-Rescue

Climber Self-Rescue

Level I & II Course

This two part course will make you aware of a number of crucial techniques to either avoid or more easily deal with situations involving climber rescue. The Level I course (day one) is designed to teach fundamental self-rescue techniques to rock climbers. The Level II course (day two) reinforces Level I techniques under more complicated rescue situations with focus on improvisation. See skills covered for each Level below.

When: Usually the last weekend in April.

Where: McQuirks Mountain; both days; camping Saturday night.

Cost: $150/person for both Level I & II (you must be, or become, an Ascent NB member)

  • $100 for only Saturday (SR level I) if you can’t make level 2 on Sunday.
  • Money collected will be 100% used for buying rope rescue equipment for NB climbing areas
  • Preference will be given to those that sign up for both Levels because we teach them back to back on the same weekend.

Instructors: Greg Hughes, Shawn Bethune, Chris Hennigar, Joe Kennedy, Steve Adamson, Adam Morgan, and others TBD

Prerequisites: See below.

Sign up: Email Chris Hennigar; first come first serve; 15 participants max; booking starts on January 1st each year.

Self-Rescue Level I Program (Saturday)

  • Knots: Improved Prusik, Munter Hitch, Munter Mule Overhand (MMO), Improved Prusik MMO (PMMO), Autoblock, Klemheist, Bachmann, EDK
  • Proper use of EDK and water knot, and where use of these knots should be avoided.
  • Ascend and descend a fixed line.
  • Belay escape: transfer leader load to ground anchor & rescue cord, transfer load back to baseline.
  • Lowering a second on an auto-locking belay device; 3 methods: 1) ratchet, 2) mechanical advantage with backup, 3) PMMO.
  • Simple 3:1 haul system, mechanical advantage theory.

Self-Rescue Level II Program (Sunday)

  • Passing a knot
  • Advanced haul systems: 3:1, 5:1
  • Tandem & counterbalance rappel
  • Belay escape and leader rescue
  • Improvisation (mariner’s knot and other useful tricks)
  • Rescue scenarios and practices


Participants must be 19 years or older, be (or become) a member of Ascent NB, and meet experience and personal gear requirements outlined in prerequisites below to participate.

Minimum experience required

  • Basic belay & rappel with an ATC or equivalent.
  • Knots: figure-8 series (rethreaded, on a bight, bend), overhand series (on a bight, European Death Knot [EDK]), clove hitch, double fisherman
  • Basic anchor experience (from bolts or tree).
  • Lead climbing experience not required.

Minimum gear required

  • Helmet, harness, belay device (preferably ATC Guide or Petzl Reverso plus Petzl Hera carabiner)
  • Carabiners (6)
    • Two small locking carabiners, two non-locking carabiners,
    • One or two large locking carabiners (anything made of the heavy bar stock such as the Petzl William or the BD Rocklock if possible),
    • One HMS carabiner (such as the Petzl Hera) would be good to have
  • Cord & slings
    • Two prusik loops (5 feet of 6mm cord each) or equivalent (e.g., Sterling hollow blocks)
    • Two single (60 cm) sewn slings; two double (120 cm) sewn slings;
    • Rescue cord (about 18-20 feet of 6mm cord)
    • Anchor material (7-8mm cord or sewn sling; ~ 240cm loop (480 cm total) ideal)
  • Dynamic climbing rope (9-10mm, 60m+; bring it if you have it; one rope per two participants; enquire if you need one).


Good References: