This course can be taken year round as one or multiple days. We most often teach this course as rock climbing rescue, but the skills and course can also apply to ice & mixed climbing, mountaineering, and ski mountaineering. In one day we can cover a lot of the basics including the belay escape, rappelling or ascending to an injured partner, raising and lowering systems, load transfers, tandem rappels, counter-balance rappels, friction hitches, and of course the all important munter-mule hitch. We can help you plan the course length based on your goals.

During the course we’ll discuss several hypothetical worst case scenarios and then practice hands-on how you would extricate yourself and your partner from a serious accident in the vertical environment. Most of our guides are members of the Mountain Rescue Service, so in addition to teaching these valuable technical skills, we can also share first hand our stories from real life rescues we’ve conducted over the years.

This course is available as a private, pre-existing group, or via our flexible booking option (we’ll try to match you with other climbers).

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  • Online booking is available 2 days from today (please call or email to inquire about earlier dates; we can often accommodate last minute requests). If you are booking for multiple days, this will be your starting date.
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    Online Bookings
    Online bookings are subject to guide availability and other factors such as weather and climbing conditions. After receiving your online booking, we will get back to you within 1 business day via phone or email to confirm your booking. In the event that we cannot accommodate your booking, you have the option of having your payment refunded or applied to a future booking.

    SMG accepts credit cards, PayPal, checks, and cash. Payment is due in full 7 days before a booking (or at time of booking confirmation when a course/trip is less than 7 days away). An exception is made for payment by check or these cases, payment is due in full at or before the course/trip.

    If you have to cancel your booking, please give us as much notice as possible. If you cancel 30+ days before the booking, we’ll apply the deposit/payment towards another booking at a later date or you can request a refund. If you cancel from 14-29 days before the booking, we’ll apply the deposit/payment towards another booking at a later date. If you cancel 13 days or sooner from the booking, for any reason, the deposit/payment is forfeited.

    Weather & Winter
    Winter courses/trips are rain or shine. If SMG cancels a booking due to weather, we will reschedule you for an alternate date of your choice.

  • Total

Pay a 50% Deposit

Course Information

The bottom line with self rescue is that these hypothetical worst case scenarios are not actually all that far fetched. For example, you’re belaying your partner up on a multi-pitch backcountry rock or ice climb when they are hit and knocked unconscious by rock or ice. Would you know what to do? If they were not breathing, do you have the knowledge and expertise to escape the belay and get to them within three minutes? Or how about if the leader falls on a traversing pitch and ends up badly hurt, dangling in space away from the wall? Do you know how to get to them? Are you solid with doing a series of load transfers with an unconscious partner who is dead weight on the rope?

Synnott Mountain Guides founder Mark Synnott has remarked that “my honest assessment as someone who regularly teaches these classes and as someone who spends a lot of time climbing is that the vast majority of climbers do not have these critically important skills.” Accidents do happen in climbing and if you are involved with this sport for long enough it is only a matter of time before an accident occurs to you or to someone climbing nearby. Do yourself a favor and invest in acquiring this knowledge before you actually need it. As part of the course you’ll receive photo-copies of essential systems and a suggested reading list so you can continue to study afterwards. Even after you learn the techniques, it’s not a bad idea to practice them on a regular basis.

Mountains, Cliffs, & Routes

Cathedral Ledge


Beginner to Advanced


One to Multiple Days


Normally Spring to Fall, but available year round.


Have a question about Intro to Self Rescue?