January 29, 2018


Sawback Alpine Adventures

Mountaineering and Adventuring since 1995

Waiver, Release of Liability

Release of Liability Waiver – you need to sign one of these before starting any trip with an ACMG guide. The waiver is a mechanism by which the risk associated with mountaineering and wilderness ski trips is transferred to those in a better position to bear (or insure against) that risk. It is recommended that all guests purchase travel and/or accident insurance. Your insurance broker can advise you as to what other types of insurance you may require, such as disability, evacuation, and life insurance.

Food Planning

Having Sawback provide your food is highly recommended. For just $40/person/day you don’t have to plan, purchase, prepare or pack your food and you’re guaranteed to have good tasting, easy to prepare food in just the right quantities. Here’s a link to our backcountry ski traverse food planning worksheets to give you an idea of what we offer. Feel free to use it and adapt it to your own backcountry trip planning.

Gear Lists

Use these handy gear checklists to make sure you have everything you need for your trip — and nothing more!

Alpine Climbing

Rock Climbing

Ice Climbing

Ski Touring

Ski Traverses

Multi Day Trips

Miscellaneous Resources

Using Google Earth as a trip planning resource with your Garmin GPS – article by Tom Wolfe (ACMG/IFMGA), summarising the CPD he led at the ACMG’s annual meeting, October 19, 2013.

Association of Canadian Mountain Guides – information about Canadian Mountain guides, check to make sure your guide has the correct certification and permits.

International Federation of Mountain Guides – information about the International Federation of Mountain Guides’ Associations

Important Phone Numbers – Emergency contacts for western Canada mountaineering.

Avalanche Rescue Card – Steps to take in the event of an avalanche to effect a Companion Rescue.

International Hand Signals for Helicopter Rescues – make sure you know how to communicate with search and rescue personnel.

V-Shaped Conveyor Belt Shovelling Technique – One of the most important parts of Companion Rescue is knowing how to shovel. Manuel Genswein has done the research, now you need to learn how to do it right.

Human Snow Conveyor – Another description of the conveyor shovel method.

Mountain Conditions Resources

Mountain Conditions Report

Canadian Avalanche Association Bulletins

Avalanche Canada’s Weather Report

Text Weather Forecasts

Parks Canada’s Weather Dataloggers

Rental Shops

Calgary Outdoor Centre – located at the University of Calgary at the west end of the city

Mountain Equipment Co-op – Downtown Calgary, and soon another store at the west end of the city.

Gear Up – located in Canmore, AB

What is an IFMGA Mountain Guide?

Here’s a quote from the IFMGA’s website (see the IFMGA’s website for more information):

“Highly competent guides with a high level of training, the highest in existence, is required in four different disciplines in order to become a certified IFMGA mountain guide: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering and ski mountaineering. IFMGA training gives a guide the ability to work on any mountain range whether they already know the mountain or not. It takes five to 10 years to become a mountain guide, from the moment they start serious mountaineering to the moment when they receive their guide diploma.

“Experience shows that the harmonious development in mountain guide activity, necessary for the safety of the public, is favoured by a legal status or strict regulations. Indeed, to obtain a valid IFMGA diploma requires a very long and very intensive investment on the part of the guide. Inversely, in the absence of rigorous guidelines, few guides put themselves through sufficiently high enough levels of training, giving the entire profession a confused image which does not bode well for the development of the profession or for the question of security. It is therefore sometimes difficult for the public to distinguish between the highly competent IFMGA guides and the lesser competent guides who have little or no qualifications.”