Safe Descents with Will Gadd

The climb isn’t over until everyone is down – safely! The majority of accidents in the mountains happen on descent, yet we spend most of our time and energy developing skills to get up, not down. Join ACMG Alpine Guide and Arc’teryx Athlete Will Gadd while he provides a balanced perspective on skills, strategies, and gear needed to get down safely, but quickly and efficiently.

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  • Intermediate/advanced clinic. Previous climbing experience is required, climbers in this clinic must know how to belay, rappel and should have:

    • Experience with outdoor climbing (top-rope, lead or seconding)
    • Ability to comfortably climb 5.8
    • Experience building TR anchors
    • Experience belaying and rappelling

  • The majority of accidents in the mountains happen on descent, yet we spend most of our time and energy developing skills to get up, not down. Join ACMG Alpine Guide and Arc'teryx Climbing Athlete Will Gadd while he provides a balanced perspective on skills, strategies, and gear needed to get down safely, but quickly and efficiently.

  • The meeting location for this Clinic will be at the Squamish Adventure Centre near downtown Squamish. Please meet your Guide and Clinic Athletes at the Canada West Mountain School and Arc'teryx Climbing Academy tents, in the main parking lot across from the Adventure Centre.

    Here is the Google Maps location

    All Clinics will be held in climbing areas in and around Squamish, BC.

    If you are ridesharing to/from the Arc'teryx Climbing Academy Clinics, please note that you may need to drive to a separate Clinic location after you have checked in at the Adventure Centre, as your Clinic may not be within walking distance and there is limited parking available at the Adventure Centre. If your Rideshare partner is on a different clinic, be aware that you may not be going to the same location during the day.

  • The Safe Descents Clinic is conducted by Arc'teryx Athlete and ACMG Alpine Guide Will Gadd

  • All Arc'teryx Climbing Academy Clinics start at 8:00 am on the posted date of the Clinic/event:

    • Thursday, August 26
    • Friday, August 27
    • Saturday, August 28
    • Sunday, August 29

    The flow and delivery of each clinic will vary based on a variety of factors and will be decided by the Instructor and Athlete Team on the day of the clinic. Each clinic will be held in one of the climbing areas near Squamish (Smoke Bluffs, Murrin, Cheakamus Canyon, Stawamus Chief Park, etc.). Participants will be required to get to/from each Clinic area after they have met at the Adventure Centre for the 8:00 am morning check-in.

    Clinics will run until approximately 4 pm, please confirm with your Athlete/Instructor at the 8:00 am morning check-in if you need to exit early.

  • Clinics will proceed regardless of weather, every participant should be prepared for a full day outdoors in any/all conditions.

    The recommended gear list for your Clinic is included below, you can also view and download a PDF copy of the standard Rock Climbing Clinic Gear List here - Rock Climbing Clinic Gear List. Some Clinics may require additional gear, please check your clinic description, and if in doubt, bring any extra gear you think may be relevant. Please contact the Canada West Mountain School office if you have any questions about specific gear requirements for your clinic.

    Arc'teryx also provides a great online Virtual Advisor service to assist in preparing for your clinic and any other adventures - Arc’teryx Virtual Advisors. Book your 15 or 30 minutes chat with an Arc’teryx product guide to ensure you have all the right gear to keep you comfortable and protected – whatever the weather.

      Personal Equipment (required for all Clinics)
    • Footwear: lightweight hiking shoes/runners for approaches to the climbing sites
    • Daypack: big enough to hold all your gear and food, plus climbing ropes and equipment
    • Outer layer rain jacket: lightweight rain jacket, the weather can change quickly!
    • Comfortable active-wear: clothing layers suitable for climbing in a variety of weather conditions
    • Small puffy jacket or sweater: it can be cool and damp in shady areas or in the wind
    • Sunscreen: minimum recommended is 30 SPF
    • Insect repellent: keep separately in a Ziploc bag as it will damage ropes and synthetic materials
    • Personal kit: small kit with basics as needed. Instructors will have group 1st Aid Kits
    • Drink bottles: minimum 1 litre or more, no water is available in the climbing areas
    • Lunch & snacks: you will not be able to return to your vehicle or a restaurant for lunch.
    • Covid-19 kit: mask, or reuseable face covering; and, hand sanitizer.
    • Misc. personal items: camera, journal, sit pad/collapsible chair, etc.
    • Sunglasses: optional, good to have at many of the climbing crags though

      Minimum Technical Equipment (required for all Clinics except Running and Bouldering)
    • Climbing harness: rentals available with minimum 24 hrs notice*
    • Helmet: rentals available with minimum 24 hrs notice*
    • Rock climbing shoes: rentals available with minimum 24 hrs notice*
    • 2 locking carabiners: rentals available with minimum 24 hrs notice*
    • 1 belay device: rentals available with minimum 24 hrs notice*
    • 1x 120+ cm sewn sling or other safety tether/leash/PAS: rentals available with minimum 24 hrs notice*

      Additional Equipment for Advanced clinics (optional, bring it along if you have it)
    • Trad lead rack: for all Trad Lead, Alpine and Multi-pitch clinics
    • Quick Draws: for all Sport Lead clinics
    • 7 mm Cordalettes (2 x 5 meters): for Rescue clinics, also good for Alpine and Multi-pitch clinics
    • 6 or 7mm Cordalettes (1 x 1.5 meters): rappel prussik for Rescue, Alpine and Multi-pitch clinics
    • 1-2 extra locking carabiners: for all Rescue, Trad lead, Alpine and Multi-pitch clinics
    • Rescue pulleys, ascenders, ratchet-pulley’s, etc.: for all Rescue, Alpine and Multi-pitch clinics

    (*) Starred items may be rented from Canada West Mountain School with a minimum of 24 hours advance notice. Please complete this Equipment Gear Rental Request and follow up with our office support staff directly by e-mail at -, with "Academy Clinic Gear Rentals" in the Subject line. Each item is $5/day, or $15/day for a complete kit (includes all starred items).

  • What you will learn
    During the Safe Descents Climbing Academy Clinic you will cover a variety of skills and techniques through a combination of demonstrations led by clinic Athletes and Guides; hands-on practical application; and, engaging and informative Q&A sessions throughout the day.

    Participants will have ample opportunity to practice new skills and techniques as well as engage directly with the clinic Athletes and Guides. Specific skills and techniques covered include:

    • Strategies and considerations for descending off different routes
    • Creative rappelling techniques
    • Minimal gear bail anchors
    • Route finding on descent