FAQ MTR 1 March 2018

 MTR 1 2018 NSP Course Number P048180001

What is the course?

This is the Mountain Travel and Rescue 1 course curriculum directed by the National Ski Patrol. We teach it as a combined course because it only requires a small amount of additional content that is easily integrated with the MTR 1 curriculum. For the NSP course description go here: http://www.nsp.org/about/nsp_programs/mtr.aspx

  • Reading the materials and completing the online tests is required by March 1.
  • Classroom Dates: March 3 & 4, 2018. March 3 will be primarily in a classroom in the Seattle area. March 4 will be primarily outdoors.
  • Field Trip Dates: March 17 & 18, 2017. This is an overnight snow camping trip in the central Cascades.
  • Reading material:

    Mountain Travel and Rescue Manual, 2nd Edition. Available from Mountaineers Books. IMPORTANT! The MTR manual available as a pdf on the NSP Education Resources page is the old edition and is not for the current class.
    Download and read:
    MTR Manal 2nd Ed – Addendum Jan. 7, 2013 (pdf) – this document contains corrections and clarifications following the premature publication of the MTR Manual 2nd edition.
    Navigation (pdf) – this is a complete rewrite of Chapter 9. You can ignore chapter 9 in the book.

How much does it cost?

  • $10 for the course
  • You are responsible for your own books, camping gear (it is OK to borrow – see below), etc.
  • If we end up at a Sno-Park for the field practice day on March 4 you will be responsible for the cost of the permit. Carpooling is encouraged!

Who can take the course?

Ski Patrollers and SAR members can take the course. Priority will be given in order to Cascade Backcountry Ski Patrol Candidates and SPART personnel. Remaining slots will be made available to other patrols and SAR personnel. If you are coming from outside the NSP system, evidence of current active SAR status is required. Enrollment is limited to 20 students.

Are there prerequisites?

Where is the class?

  • The classroom and in-town field practice locations are TBD. March 3 Classroom will be in West Seattle; March 4 outdoor location will be on snow within about an hour of Seattle.
  • The camping trip March 17 & 18 has historically been at Smith Brook a few miles E of Stevens Pass on the North side of Highway 2. Location is subject to change and will be confirmed.

How is the class run?

We teach MTR in a hybrid fashion with a combination of online, classroom, and outdoor practice session, as well as a required overnight camping trip on snow. Topics include appropriate clothing, shelter, nutrition, navigation, backcountry hazards, medical considerations, weather, travel techniques, equipment, search and rescue, knots and low-angle rigging, leadership, group dynamics, etc. There is a required text and required online supplmental materials. You will be expected to do most of the reading, and some on-line activities in advance of the first class. Access to a computer and a color printer will be important. If you don’t have them at home they are available at libraries and other locations.

What is the winter camping trip like?

The focus is on the skills, not achieving a destination. Distance and elevation are minimal (less than 1.5 miles). Training exercises will begin at the trailhead Saturday morning prior to traveling to the camp. It is a 2-3 hour drive from Seattle (depending on final location and conditions). Students are responsible – usually in pairs or trios – for providing their own camping and cooking equipment, food, etc. During the day Saturday and Sunday there will be training activities utilizing the skills covered in class. There is a nighttime search and rescue activity. Students will remain in camp through the weekend, returning to the trailhead on Sunday afternoon.

Is previous camping experience necessary?

The range of experience in a typical class is pretty broad, though most have some previous experience with hiking and backpacking. Backcountry (not car-camping) camping experience is helpful, but not required.  For many (most?) of our students this is their first winter camping experience.T he goal of the classroom sessions is to make sure you are prepared to spend the weekend outside in the snow.

Do I have to know how to ski?

You are not required to ski on this trip, but you must plan to travel on skis or snowshoes. You are required to carry an overnight winter pack in backcountry (i.e., ungroomed) snow conditions and variable mountain weather. While the distance and elevation from trailhead to camp is very modest (typically less than 1.5 miles), during the training you will spend a significant amount of time traveling on snow up and down hills through heavily forested terrain. Basic skills in snowshoe or backcountry touring is highly recommended. If you have never done either try to get out for at least a couple day trips prior to the overnight. If you are confident with beginning skills on snow shoes and intermediate skills on backcountry skis you should be fine.

What about equipment?

Students are responsible for providing their own winter clothing and camping equipment. This equipment can be expensive, especially if you are not sure you will be using it in the future. Gear may be rented or borrowed. Some patrollers have equipment they are willing to loan. You are not expected to have the latest and greatest whizz-bang gear. Specialized equipment (ropes, pulleys, GPS, etc.) will be supplied by the patrol. During the course you will learn about the gear to help decide if you should buy your own and what you should look for.

What if I can’t make all the classes or the field trip?

Participation is really important for course content and team-building. You are required to attend all sessions. Failure to do so will result in an incomplete. Sometimes a course may be completed with another patrol.

Who do I contact for more information?

The lead instructor may be contacted at [email protected]

How do I register?

If you are not a current registered NSP member or candidate (dues/membership are paid with a patroller number) you need approval and special instructions from the instructor [email protected]

If you are a registered NSP member or candidate (dues/membership are paid), please do the following:

  1. Go to NSP.ORG and log into your patroller account.
  2. Under Member Resources click “Course Schedule”
  3. In the “Course Number Equals” field enter P048180001
  4. Click the course title then “Register Myself”

Payment information


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