Advanced Mountain Rescue


Complex team and self-rescue operations are made even more complex by a remote environment; but in mountain rescue, a remote environment is just the beginning. The complexities of rescue activity are compounded by the additional difficulty of dealing with glaciers, snow and ice. And while all steep and high-angle rescue problems have environmental factors, mountain rescue tends to amplify the issues. In other words, everything is harder to do.

The Advanced Mountain Rescue course was designed for individuals who already have a high level of rescue training, who wish to apply their rope rescue, team rescue, and self-rescue skills in a snow and ice environment. The central focus of the course is "lightening-up" front-country rescue tactics, while also developing improvisational rescue skills.


Crevasse Rescue

Advanced Mt. Rescue - Reviewing important crevasse rescue techniques is crucial in mountain rescue scenarios.

Reviewing important crevasse rescue techniques is crucial in mountain rescue scenarios.
AAI Collection

Nearly all mountaineers practice crevasse rescue at some level. The American Alpine Institute teaches this skill in a variety of different courses.  However, in most of these, the skills are built to be user friendly for recreational climbers.  In the Advanced Mountain Rescue course, we will look at some specific problems with high-end crevasse rescue.  These will include topics such as the performance of first aid prior to hauling the victim out of the crevasse and passing knots in the rescue system.


Technical Rope Rescue Comprehensive Certificate

Those who complete the Advanced Mountain Rescue course will receive a Technical Rope Rescue Comprehensive certificate of completion.


Technical Rope Rescue Comprehensive

Many of those who participate in the Advanced Mountain Rescue Course have a high level of training from their organization, from another organization or from AAI. However, those who participate in this course should be aware that Advanced Mountain Rescue course is also the fourth part of a 14-day four-part rescue comprehensive series. The Level I Operations Course lays the groundwork. The Level II Technician Course builds on that groundwork. The Self-Rescue for Climbers program adds personal and companion rescue to a rescuer's skillset. And then finally, the Advanced Mountain Rescue program takes the skills learned in the Operations, Technician, and Self-Rescue courses and builds on them with high-end mountain rescue skills.

A rescuer may choose to take one, two, three or all four parts together. Or the rescuer may choose to break up the courses into bite-sized chunks.

To learn more about the Technical Rope Rescue Comprehensive program, click here.


Advanced Mountain Rescue


Students will demonstrate proficiency in both self and team-rescue in a glaciated mountain environment.


Curriculum Highlights

Advanced Mt. Rescue - Rock Rescue systems can look very complex to the untrained eye.

Rock Rescue systems can look very complex to the untrained eye.  Jason Martin

  • Team Rescue Hauling Systems - 2:1, 3:1, 6:1 and 9:1
  • Self-Rescue Hauling Systems on Rock and on Snow and Ice - 2:1, 3:1. 5:1, 6:1
  • Pulley Systems - simple, compound and complex
  • Lowering Systems - with a scarab, munter-hitch, super-munter, tube-style device, and autoblocking device
  • Anchor Systems - for snow and ice
  • Lowering Systems with a Litter
  • Use of a Guiding Line
  • Patient Packaging - in a winter or cold weather environment
  • Specialized Rescue Equipment - continued use of a litter
  • Rope Climbing Techniques - with a friction-hitch system
  • Belay Escapes - escaping a loaded crevasse rescue fall
  • Belays - tandem prusik belays, and body belays
  • Special Considerations for Mountain Rescue
  • Crevasse Rescue - critical procedures for team and self-rescue
  • Helicopter Operations - continued discussion of the specialized issues that surround helicopter operations in the mountains.
  • Physics of Rescue Systems on Anchors and on Equipment
  • Rappelling - continuing discussions of rappelling in a highly volatile environment
  • Knots - figure-eight family, overhand, double-overhand-on-a-bite, bowline, double bowline, long-tail bowline, butterfly, high tension tie-off
  • Bends - double-fisherman's, overhand flat bend, and water bend,
  • Hitches - prusik, kliemheist, autoblock, clove, munter, and garda
  • Load Releasable Hitches - munter-mule and radium-release
  • Bolts and Bolting Technique


Required Text

Technical Rescue Riggers Guide by Rick Lipke

This text may be purchased at the American Alpine Institute Shop or online.



Climbers who are interested in taking the Advanced Mountain Rescue seminar should have completed a Rope Rescue Technician course, a Self-Rescue/Rock Rescue course, and should have previous mountaineering and crevasse rescue experience.

Advanced Mountain Rescue

Dates & Details

Bellingham, WA

  • April 23 - April 27, 2024
  • Oct 05 - Oct 06, 2024
  • Nov 19 - Nov 23, 2024


Inclusions and Exclusions

Included with the tuition are instructors, group equipment (both rescue and climbing), permit fees, and transportation to and from field program locations.

Excluded are front-country lodging, personal climbing equipment, transportation to AAI, food, trip insurance, camping equipment, and guide gratuities.


Private Programming

Any portion of this program, either the complete program or individual pieces of the program may be provided privately at any appropriate location. Please call the American Alpine Institute office for a quote. 

Advanced Mountain Rescue

Organizations & Credentials

There are several organizations that oversee rescue standards in the United States. They all have different missions, but many of the core rope rescue components are the same.

Following is a list of the organizations that develop rope rescue standards. AAI's rescue programs align with these organizations and the standards they set fourth.

Mountain Rescue Association (MRA)


The MRA oversees a patchwork of volunteer and professional rescue teams in the United States and Canada. They develop standards and accredit local mountain rescue units in three disciplines: high-angle rescue, search, and snow. 

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)


The NFPA is an organization devoted to "eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards." To do this, the organization develops codes and standards for individuals operating within the fire service. These standards include operating practices for technical rescue teams. 

American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA)

AMGA Accredited Company

The AMGA oversees technical mountain guides in the United States. The organization credentials instructors and guides, while also accrediting guide services. The AMGA recognizes three disciplines with several levels of certification. The disciplines are Rock, Alpine and Ski. Each discipline has rescue components on which instructors and guides are tested.

International Technical Rescue Association (ITRA)


The ITRA is an organization that provides global recognition of technical rescue practitioners and instructors, across a wide range of rescue disciplines, including swiftwater, rope, boat, confined space and animal rescue. 


Why should I complete my rescue training with the American Alpine Institute?

There are three primary reasons why you should consider AAI:

1) Experience: All AAI Instructors are also mountain guides with extensive and diverse experience in high-angle terrain. They work with ropes every day and constantly solve new technical problems. Additionally, all AAI rope rescue instructors have technical training from the American Mountain Guides Association.

2) Continuing Education: Members of the AAI Technical Rope Rescue Instructor Team get regular updates and continuing education in technical rescue. These updates come from a wide array of conferences and meetings. One or two Instructor Team members attend a given meeting and then bring what they learn back to the rest of the instructors, as well as to AAI students. The meetings and conferences attended on a regular basis include, but are not limited to, the International Technical Rescue Symposium, the International Commission on Alpine Rescue, the Mountain Rescue Association Annual Meeting, the Wilderness Risk Management Conference, and the American Mountain Guides Association.

3) Commitment to International Standards: The American Alpine Institute is a founding member of the International Technical Rescue Association (ITRA). AAI's programs are overseen by ITRA Level III Instructors, the highest level instructor recognized.


Advanced Mountain Rescue

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