The rock rescue Systems Course 

Learn these Vital Rescue Techniques


The Outdoor Rock Rescue Systems Course will benefit from learning the tools and systems presented in this course, in partnership with our friends at Calgary Climbing Centre. This Rock Rescue course will help increase your confidence and knowledge of ways to get out of situations many climbers find themselves in. Fallen leaders, stuck ropes, injuries, and weak seconds can all cause problems when attempting a climbing objective. This course will help you overcome some of these challenges.

This specialty course includes 2 full days of outdoor climbing, with instruction on rescue techniques from above and below. Some of the skills learned include escaping the belay, raising an injured climber, passing a damaged section of rope, as well as rope ascending and lowering options for individuals and teams.


When booking this course via our website, your booking will be registered directly with The Calgary Climbing Centre. The Booking Terms and Conditions that apply to your registration will be those provided by The Calgary Climbing Centre alone, and those provided by Cloud Nine Guides will not apply. Contact our Program Managers for more details.













day 1

Top Down Rock Climbing Rescue Techniques

Typically located at rock climbing venues in Kananaskis Country or near the Banff Townsite, our first day will focus on what we call "top down rescue". The day will focus on the skill sets required to provide assistance to a climber who is located below you. These skill sets then become the foundation for moving onto Day 2. Skills you'll learn:

  • Review steps and procedures for initiating an external response from professional rescue teams (National Parks / Alberta Parks Visitor Safety Teams)
  • Discuss potential hazards and the inevitable increases in risk levels tied to responding to an incident yourself. Learn to recognize where these hazards exist and to consider the acceptability of these increases to risk levels to you as the rescuer
  • Review anchor construction
  • Review a variety of belay methods (direct anchor belay, redirected belay, fixed point belay)
  • Learn to "escape the belay" by transferring the victim/load directly to an anchor above, freeing you from the system
  • Learn a variety of raise/hauling systems (3:1 Direct Haul as a baseline)
  • Learn a variety of lowering methods with backups/failsafes
  • Learn the counterbalance rappel - a method for descending short distances while "carrying" a victim
  • Learn tandem rappel and carry techniques to manage and descend with either conscious or unconscious victims
  • Learn to seamlessly move from the raise/haul into lowers and/or tandem rappels, and to interchange seamlessly between each system as changes in circumstances require


DAY 2 

Bottom Up Rock Climbing Rescue Techniques

Our second day focus is to build on, and apply in tandem, the new skills taught on Day 2, which allow a rescuer located below a victim to ascend to the position of the victim, create secondary anchorage, secure the victim, and consider the next steps; whether further movement will be required and how (raise/hauling, lowers, tandem rescue rappels). Specific skills learned include:

  • Hazard assessment process prior to beginning an ascent to a victim overhead (we teach this on high integrity protection only - i.e., bolts)
  • Transferring the load of a victim above to the anchor
  • Techniques for ascending a loaded rope above your anchor
  • Arriving at your victim: defining your priorities (first aid? build an anchor?)
  • Secondary anchors
  • Transferring an unconscious victim to secondary anchors using "short haul" systems
  • Transferring an unconscious victim off a secondary anchor and into raise/haul, lowering, or tandem rescue rappel systems

Once the skills above have been practiced and delivered, your Guides will begin moving onto providing scenarios to practice and challenge our ability; to use all learned tools and skill sets to solve a given problem or scenario. 

There are different views on the idea of "training to failure". This is something we believe in and will challenge you on during the course if you allow us to. Failure in this course context is simply running into what we believe to be an "unsolvable problem" in the moment. These scenarios provide two useful perspectives: they show each of us where our competencies in applying the systems lie and, in addition, provide areas for training focus in future practice.



Logistics to consider ahead of your Rock Rescue Systems Course:


    Most students find it best to drive out to join us the morning of the course days. However, if you're looking to get a little closer to our field day location beforehand, we would suggest the following accommodation options in Canmore, Banff & Lake Louise.

    • Students are responsible for their own meals during the Rock Rescue Systems Course.
    • Students are responsible for their own transportation on the course.
    • Students are responsible for obtaining a National Park entry pass for their field days if required (Banff National Park) or to have their vehicle registered for a Kananaskis Conservation Pass.



The following is a Gear, Clothing and Equipment list. You will be required to arrive with these items on the course. Feel free to bring as much of your own gear and equipment as you would like to review and use on the course.

  • Water Bottle or Collapsible Water Bladder (1L min.)
  • Rock Shoes
  • Chalk bag*
  • Harness*
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen (min. SPF 50+)
  • Camera, batteries, memory cards & accessories
  • Daypack (at minimum, 1 x 35-40L backpack. In addition, a 30L option may be appropriate for some days)

NOTE: All technical equipment not listed above such as belay devices, quickdraws, ropes, slings etc will be packed out and provided by us for you on your program. Feel free to bring as much of your own gear to use as you'd like, and your Guide will review it with you when you arrive on course.

ITEMS ON REQUEST: Items above noted with an (*) are available on request for your course.


  • Soft Shell Jacket
  • Gore-Tex Jacket (for wet weather days only)
  • Gore-Tex Pant (for wet weather days only)
  • Buff Style Neck Tube / Headband
  • Sunhat (ball cap or full brim bucket style)
  • Thin Insulated Gloves (multiple pairs [3 min] for rope work)
  • Approach Shoes or Trail Runners (no need for heavy hiking boots, unless specifically requested by your Guide based on route or seasonal conditions)
  • Lunch 
  • Water



All participants, or their legal guardians wishing to participate on any Cloud Nine Programs, must acknowledge that they have been presented this document in advance of programming, have read it in its entirety, and understand the agreement being entered into by signing. While there is no obligation to enter into this agreement with either Cloud Nine Guides or The Calgary Climbing Centre, it is a condition of our service provision. 

NOTE:  Both of the following Waiver of Liability documents will be required to be reviewed before booking, and completed in advance of your attendance on the Rock Rescue Systems program.



Booking terms & conditions


When you book this program, you are booking directly with The Calgary Climbing Centre. Any booking on the Outdoor Rock Climbing Series Programs will be governed only by the Booking Terms & Conditions in place at The Calgary Climbing Centre. The Cloud Nine Guides standard Booking Terms & Conditions will not apply. Any rebooking of programs, cancellations, refunds or request for credit must be made with The Calgary Climbing Centre directly. 


The Calgary Climbing Centre Outdoors - Terms & Conditions:

This is an ADULT Lesson.

You must be 18 years or older to attend. If you are not 18 years or older, please contact the Calgary Climbing Centre Hanger at 587-230-0189 for alternatives.

The Calgary Climbing Centre Outdoors (CCCO) is committed to offering you a great outdoor experience in the Rocky Mountains. We understand that weather and mountain conditions can be (at best) unpredictable, but we always strive to offer a great experience and opportunity for learning, regardless of the conditions.

Regardless of conditions, on the day of your course, participants must be at the climbing venue on time to discuss the options available. Often there are several weather systems between the city and the venue, and although (for example) it may be snowing in Calgary, it might also be warm and dry at the venue. In the event of extreme weather conditions that may affect the instructors’ ability to offer a safe course, we reserve the right to cancel a course at any time.

Advance Cancellations: We will contact you by phone and process a full refund immediately to cancel a course prior to the date of the course (no later than 9pm the day before). 

Day of Cancellations: If the course was to be cancelled at the venue due to weather, the participants present would receive a full refund. On your course day, If you choose not to be present at the venue, we will not issue a credit or refund.

Participant Rescheduling: We will accept rescheduling requests and cancellations of course registration up to 7 days before the course start time. You will be charged a $50 administration fee if you cancel or reschedule a course.


Book a Private Outdoor Rock Rescue Systems Course

For those who prefer our smallest and most focused learning environments. Private Groups can book on course dates that suit you and your crew best with one of our ACMG IFMGA Mountain or Rock Guides.

How Do We Book It?

Please contact The Calgary Climbing Centre - Hangar Location directly. Please reference that you have been directed to them by our team at Cloud Nine Guides, and request details for private programming. 

The Calgary Climbing Centre - Hangar Location:
Phone: +1-587-230-0189

The Outdoor Rock Climbing Series Courses: 

Learn to Lead Rock Climbing Course

L1 - Outdoor Lead Lesson

Level 1 - Take your climbing from the Gym to the Crags. This Learn to Rock Climb Series Course is provided with our partners at the Calgary Climbing Center for $225.00 / student.

Cloud Nine Guides - Aftonroe Intro to Multipitch Course

L2 - Multi-Pitch Systems Course

Level 2 - The Sport Multi Pitch Systems Course. Get the systems and skills to safely climb the long routes for $475/student. 

Cloud Nine Guides - Trad Rock Systems - Learn to Trad Climb

L4 - Trad Rock Systems Course

Level 4 - Learn to place high integrity traditional and natural protection. Lead your first traditional protected pitch with our Guides beside you all the way up for $475/student.

ORTOVOX - Proud Supporting Partner of the Outdoor Rock Climbing Series Courses
Cloud Nine Mountain Guides are Internationally IFMGA Certified
Rock Courses Supported by Black Diamond Equipment