5.1 Field-Safety Training Requirements
Field-safety training and equipment shakedowns must be scheduled during
your stay in McMurdo prior to your field deployment.
All new personnel-regardless of their skill level and experience-must
complete an overnight two-day field safety course that includes cold weather
camping skills, cold weather first aid, and emergency shelter building.
For deep-field groups, this requirement is in addition to the equipment
We strongly advise that deep-field groups include a safety guide/mountaineer
who has previous Antarctic "deep- field" experience. This person should
have considerable crevasse rescue experience, back country medical training,
and Union Internationale Des Association De Guides De Montagne (UAIGM)
or equivalent guide experience. Training and shakedown time in McMurdo
is intended to add some knowledge to your group's skill level. Training
includes how to use some equipment and systems that are unique to working
in polar environments, such as roped travel with Nansen sleds through
crevassed areas, and setting up and securing polar tents in high wind.
This training is not intended to teach novices "how to be mountaineers"
in two days.
Remote groups working in the field without a mountaineer/safety guide
must demonstrate an acceptable level of proficiency as follows:
In glacial terrain, each member must be able to hold a fall, put in
equalized anchors, escape from the system, rappel to the victim, improvise
a chest harness, prussik out of a crevasse, prepare the crevasse edge,
rescue a victim with a 2:1, 3:1 or 6:1 rope hoist, and be able to perform
"advanced first aid."
Each field group must do an overnight equipment shakedown trip. This
is mandatory and will be tailored to your group's specific needs. The
equipment shakedown and field-safety training course are combined in one
overnight course for Dry Valley groups. Remote groups must plan for three
to four days of field-safety training/equipment shakedown in McMurdo prior
to field deployment.
5.2 Field-Safety Course Descriptions
Snowcraft I is an overnight course designed to familiarize personnel with
cold weather camping procedures. Topics are addressed at the fundamental
level and assume no previous knowledge of outdoor skills. The topics covered
include cold injury prevention and treatment, terrain awareness and hazard
analysis (crevasses, weather, emergency scenarios), layering and thermal
regulation, snow shelters and use of field stoves, ski travel, ice axe introduction,
environmental awareness (clean camping techniques), and movement on snow.
The Snowcraft II course is a review of cold weather camping procedures,
as well as an introduction to basic mountaineering techniques. The course
is designed for science parties and support personnel who will be working
in glacial terrain and may be exposed to crevasse danger. This course
builds on a pre-existing base of outdoor skills gained by personnel who
have attended Snowcraft I training, or other outdoor training programs.
Topics include basic crampon technique, self-arrest and use of the ice
axe, roping up and roped travel techniques, crevasse rescue self-rescue
and pulley systems), terrain awareness (walking tour through crevassed
terrain), and overnight shelters.
Crevasse rescue is a multi-day course that builds on the basic glacier
skills learned in Snowcraft II. The course is designed to teach and demonstrate
the acceptable level of proficiency of a glacier traveler. Each member
must be able to hold a fall, put in equalized anchors, escape from the
system, rappel to the victim, improvise a chest harness, prussik out of
the crevasse, prepare the crevasse edge, and rescue the victim with a
2:1, 3:1, or 6:1 rope hoist. The course can also be tailored to address
roped skidoo travel and skidoo extraction.
The Dry Valleys simulation course is designed to familiarize personnel
with the unique field conditions and survival scenarios posed by the Dry
Valleys environment. The course is taught at a basic level and focuses
on camping, movement, and emergency procedures in a rocky, windy, dry-cold
environment. Topics covered include campsite evaluation, knots and anchors,
use of stoves and radios, cold injuries and a review of field first aid,
walking on scree and steep snow, environmental impacts, and helicopter
Field Party Shakedown
This is a mobile course designed to test the equipment issued to your
group, and to offer a review of the travel and camp procedures that you
intend to use. This two to three-day course can be taught by either FSTP
staff or your group's field mountaineer (when the mountaineer's qualifications
meet or exceed those required of FSTP staff); generally, the field mountaineer
and FSTP staff work together on group instruction. This course assumes
previous field experience in Antarctica or comparable regions and does
not address the fundamental subjects covered in Snowcraft I (the course
may be combined with the icefall phase of Snowcraft II). The topics covered
vary from group to group and may include sledging and the use of snowmobiles,
rope systems for glacial terrain, crevasse rescue, campsite evaluation,
environmental impacts, and radio procedures.
This is a one-day course designed for all personnel working on or crossing
over the sea ice. Topics are taught at a fundamental level and assume
no previous knowledge of sea ice conditions or cold weather survival skills.
The topics covered include ice dynamics (the type and nature of ice cracks),
crack profile and the use of Kovacs augers for profiling, safe crossing
standards for vehicles, alternative shelters, the use of camp stoves,
radio communications, and check-out/check-in procedures.
High Altitude Lecture/Demonstration
This lecture/demonstration is designed to familiarize personnel going
to high elevations on the continent with altitude sickness--a potentially
lethal disorder that is often preventable. This presentation is available
to all personnel going above eight thousand (8,000) feet for more than
one day. Taught at a basic level, the lecture's goal is to give personnel
a working knowledge of the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of acute
mountain sickness and high altitude pulmonary and cerebral edema. The
instructor will focus on actions that contribute to successful acclimatization
and will also discuss possible responses to altitude-related emergencies,
including evacuation. This lecture will be tailored to address any special
circumstances presented by the mountain or region that personnel are bound
for. In addition, any field parties checking out a Gamov Bag, which is
a portable pressure vessel used for the treatment of acute mountain sickness,
will be given a demonstration of its operation and uses.
Winter-Over Training is a one-day course designed to familiarize personnel
with cold weather hazards, area familiarization, flagged routes, and emergency
shelters. Topics are addressed at the fundamental level and assume no
previous knowledge of outdoor skills. The topics covered include cold
weather injury prevention and treatment, terrain awareness and hazard
analysis (crevasses, cold weather, emergency scenarios), layering and
thermal regulation, emergency shelter locations, lighting stoves and preways,
flagged route familiarization, and movement on snow.
Air Crew Field Training
This is a three-day course for helicopter crews and a two-day course for
LC-130 crews. Both courses will involve an overnight in the field using
survival equipbment similar to that provided on the aircraft. The helicopter
crews receive additional sea ice and Dry Valley exercises. Courses are
designed to familiarize aircrews with the specific equipment, tools, and
techniques for emergency overnighting. Topics covered include terrain
awareness and hazard analysis (crevasses, cold weather, emergency scenarios),
layering and thermal regulation, cold injury first aid, emergency shelters,
and lighting stoves.
Section 6: Helicopter Transport.