Banff National Park

Restricted Activity: Backcountry Travel by Custodial Groups

Issued: November 07, 2018

Pursuant to subsection 7(1) of the National Parks General Regulation, the following activity is restricted or prohibited in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks:

Backcountry travel by any custodial group* in avalanche terrain described by the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) as class 2 and 3, between the dates of November 15 and April 30.

*A "custodial group" means a group affiliated with an institution, where at least one person is below the age of majority and that minor is not in the company of his/her parent or legal guardian.  Institutions include but are not limited to schools, Scouts/Guides, churches, clubs, cadets and community youth programs.

1. Subject to the following restrictions, authorization for a custodial group to travel in ATES  class 2 terrain may be granted by the Superintendent:

 i. The custodial group must be led by a mountain, alpine or ski guide certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides or international Federation of Mountain Guide Associations.

 ii. Maximum group size is nine (9) persons plus certified guide(s)
 iii. Authorization for travel by a custodial group in class 2 terrain will only apply when the certified guide has rated the slope specific "Danger Rating" in that area to be   "Low" or "Moderate"

2.  Backcountry travel by a custodial group in areas of the Park designated as ATES class 3 avalanche terrain is prohibited.
3.  Travel in ATES class 1 avalanche terrain is not restricted.


Description:  Simple
Class:  1
Terrain Criteria:  Exposure to low angle or primarily forested terrain. Some forest openings may involve the run out zones of infrequent avalanches. Many options to reduce or eliminate exposure. No glacier travel. 

Description:  Challenging
Class:  2
Terrain Criteria:  Exposure to well-defined avalanche paths, starting zones or terrain traps; options exist to reduce or eliminate exposure with careful route finding. Glacier travel is straightforward but crevasse hazards may exist. 
Description:  Complex
Class:  3
Terrain Criteria:  Exposure to multiple overlapping avalanche paths or large expanses of steep, open terrain; multiple avalanche starting zones and terrain traps below; minimal options to reduce exposure. Complicated glacier travel with extensive crevasse bands or icefalls. 

Further information on hiring guides, obtaining permits, and a complete listing of rated trips can be found at Parks Canada Information Centres or at:  www.parksmountainsafety.ca
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