Climbers on the Matanuska Glacier during the annual MCA ice climbing festival.

Photo by Wayne Todd.

Carrie Wang illustrates the proper technique for a Butterfly Knot.

Photo by Wayne Todd.

Looking east at the high Chugach from White Lice. Chugach State Park.

Photo by Wayne Todd.

Avalanche drills at the MCA's Basic Mountaineering School.

Photo by Travis Taylor.

Trip Rules

The MCA has some basic guidelines designed to help both trip leaders and all participants have a great trip. Participants are asked to remember that the trip leader is not a guide, if you are unsure about your abilities in regards to a trip, please consult the trip leader in advance.

Trip participants should familiarize themselves with the physical demands, anticipated terrain and potential hazards associated with the proposed trip. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical Demands: Estimated elevation gain, distance and duration.
  • Anticipated Terrain: Trail hiking; bushwhacking; off-trail hiking on tundra, snow, ice, scree, talus or boulders; exposed hiking on steep slopes covered with snow, ice, slick vegetation, scree, talus or boulders; scrambling on loose rock; exposed scrambling on loose rock; technical snow, ice, rock and/or mixed climbing; stream crossing; glacier travel on snow, ice and/or scree.
  • Potential Hazards: Avalanche; falling while skiing, hiking or climbing; falling into a crevasse; being struck by falling rock, snow or ice; attack by a bear, moose or insects (bees, wasps, mosquitoes, biting flies, etc); lightning; fire; carbon monoxide poisoning; suffocation; frostbite; hypothermia; drowning from falling through snow, crossing a stream, packrafting or kayaking; injury from use/ misuse of equipment. Note that it is impossible to predict all potential hazards that may be encountered while participating on MCA sanctioned trips.

Participants may be required to demonstrate the skills and experience necessary to participate on any given trip.

Participants should sign-up on the club sanctioned trip sign-up sheet, and will be asked to read, initial and sign the Release of Liability Agreement prior to departing on the trip.

A trip leader may refuse participation to any member for any reason. If someone feels that they have been discriminated against or treated unfairly, they may present their case to the Hiking and Climbing Committee and/or the Executive Committee.

Proper clothing and equipment is required to participate on club sanctioned trips. The trip leader may require special equipment and refuse participation to any person that is ill-prepared (e.g. inappropriate clothing, footwear or gear).

Participants will follow the leader's instructions. Participants willl not go off alone, return or rush ahead without permission from the leader. Participants will not ford a stream before the leader assesses the situation. Remember, this is a club trip and the leader must know where all participants are. Anyone intentionally separating from the group without the leader's approval shall no longer be considered a participant on the club sanctioned trip.

The trip leader has the authority to split the group (fast and slow), dependent upon current conditions and experience level of the participants. The leader must appoint a qualified co-leader to lead the second group using the guidelines specified under Trip Leader Responsibilities.

Glacier Travel: For trips requiring roped travel over glaciers, knowledge of crevasse rescue, and ice axe and crampon skills are required. A basic understanding of ice and snow anchors is also required.

Participants who in the leader's opinion, put themselves or other members of the group in danger, shall be subject to sanction by the club. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, reprimand at the general meeting, exclusion from future trips, termination of annual membership, or lifetime exclusion from the club. The Executive Committee, and only the Executive Committee have the authority to issue sanctions.

For safety reasons the MCA requires three people minimum for an official trip. Trips undertaken with fewer than the minimum required participants shall not be considered club sanctioned trips. Conversely for a single trip leader the maximum number of participants will generally be limited to 12 people. Depending on trip itinerary and number of leaders the maximum number may vary. The Leader and/or Hiking and Climbing Committee will determine the maximum number of participants.

In general dogs are not allowed. Among the reasons are bear problems. Well behaved, bear savvy dogs may be approved at the discretion of the trip leader and all trip participants. Approval must be unanimous and must occur prior to meeting for the trip.

Firearms are not allowed on club sanctioned trips, unless approved by the trip leader and all participants. Approval must be unanimous. Aerosol bear repellent is preferred in lieu of firearms.

If you find you cannot participate after signing up on the roster, please let the leader know as soon as possible, for transportation and gear-planning and so someone else can go. If you are the leader, help find a replacement.

© 2021 Mountaineering Club of Alaska     Box 243561,  Anchorage, AK 99524-3561     Contact Us

Many thanks to: Wayne Todd, Tim Silvers, Ross Noffsinger, Steve Gruhn, Carrie Wang, Billy Finley and many others who provided information, ideas and photos. And thanks to Willy Hersman who created, managed and hosted the first MCA website, without which this site's development would have been so much more difficult. Current website donated by Couloir Graphics.