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Terms Beginning with A

Access work plan

A written statement prepared by GMS describing how a particular job should be undertaken to ensure risks to the health and safety of the workers, or others who may be affected, are minimized or eliminated.

see also: Rope access plan, Hazard assessment, rescue plan, Safe work plan.

Access zone

The area on a job site where workers are at risk of falling such as on-rope or near a working edge. This area requires protective measures such as verbal warnings, signs, barriers, safety lines, or other devices designed to prevent or arrest a fall.

see also: Hazard zone, exclusion zone. 


The Association of Canadian Mountain Guides is a professional association of trained and certified Mountain Guides, Hiking Guides, and Climbing Instructors. The ACMG sets and maintains standards for admission to, and the practice of, the professions of mountain guiding and climbing instruction in Canada. The ACMG is the only internationally recognized professional association of trained and certified mountain guides and instructors in Canada. See also IFMGA, AMGA 

Aerial Rescue Platform

The Aerial Rescue Platform (ARP) is a patient packaging and transport device used in CDFL or helicopter long line rescue operations for transporting injured patients in the supine (On their back) position. This allows for the rapid and safe evacuation out of very rugged terrain while monitoring the patient on a backboard or other spinal immobilization device.

Aid Climbing

A method of vertical or lateral movement in which the climber moves from one anchor to another closely placed anchor.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

The American National Standards Institute is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States.

American Society of the International Association for Testing and Materials (ASTM)

ASTM International is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services


The American Mountain Guides Association or AMGA is a professional association of trained and certified Mountain Guides, Hiking Guides, and Climbing Instructors. The AMGA provides training and certification programs for mountain professionals in the USA. The AMGA is the only internationally recognized professional association of trained and certified mountain guides and instructors in America. See also IFMGA, ACMG


A place, fixing or fixture that supports and to which the various ropes, rope systems or rigging systems are attached. Anchors may be removable and temporary or permanent and engineered. All anchors are designed with a sufficient safety factor for the loads they are expected to support.

Approved Equipment

Equipment deemed appropriate for use with the specific techniques outlined in the access plan, rescue plan or avalanche safety plan. Approved equipment shall meet the specifications set forth by the appropriate regulatory body (For example: SPRAT, IRATA, WCB, OSHA, HAC, IRATA etc…) or other specifications set forth in the access, rescue, or emergency response plan if more stringent.

ASARC: Applied Snow Avalanche Research at the University of Calgary

ASARC is the Applied snow avalanche research team at the University of Calgary. Their goal is Improved methods for forecasting, assessing, mitigating and mapping snow avalanches risks.


A mass of snow, Ice or rock that becomes detached from the mountainside and falls rapidly down slope. With respect to snow avalanches they come in two major types: Slab avalanches where a cohesive slab or region of the snowpack breaks free from the mountain and begins to slide as a unit and loose avalanches which start from a point as a loose aggregate of snow grains. 

Avalanche Control

Avalanche control activities reduce the hazard avalanches pose to human life, activity, and property.Avalanche control programs address the avalanche hazard by developing prevention and mitigation plans, which are then executed during the winter season. The prevention and mitigation plans combine extensive snow pack observation with three major groups of interventions: active, passive, and social (awareness & training). Avalanche control techniques either directly intervene in the evolution of the snow pack, or lessen the effect of an avalanche once it has occurred.

Avalanche Forecasting

Avalanche forecasting is the act of synthesizing a vast amount of information relating to past weather, snowpack structure, snowpack stability and weather forecasts to create a prediction of the upcoming avalanche hazard for a specified time frame in a specific area. Avalanche forecasters draw on an extensive background in snow science and a large amount of personal experience to create a easily digestible description of the upcoming avalanche hazard and ways to mitigate the risk associated that hazard. 

Avalanche Mapping

Avalanche mapping is the act of creating a detailed map which outlines the Avalanche potential within the map area. Avalanche maps outline not only avalanche prone areas, but also the zone of effect and the return frequency of the various avalanche paths in question. Avalanche maps are used in conjunction with avalanche risk assessments to help stakeholders understand if and how an avalanche problem will affect their operations.

Avalanche Installations

Avalanche installations are permanent techniques designed to reduce the avalanche hazard for a given avalanche path. There are two major types of installations: Passive and active.  Passive installations are designed to slow, stop, divert, prevent, or protect a structure or other asset from an avalanche. Examples of passive installations include snow netting or fencing (prevent avalanche from occurring), terrain modification and barriers or sheds (protect fixed assets).  Active installations are designed to trigger snow avalanches in a controlled way from a safe distance in any weather.

Avalanche Canada

Avalanche Canada is a non-government, non-profit organization whose vision is to eliminate avalanche fatalities and injuries in Canada.Avalanche Canada is Canada's national public avalanche safety organization. Based in Revelstoke, British Columbia, the organization's aim is to minimize public avalanche risk in avalanche terrain. Avalanche Canada develops and delivers public avalanche forecasts and special public avalanche warnings for many of the mountainous regions of western Canada, free of charge. Avalanche Canada also provides curriculum and support to instructors of recreational Avalanche Skills Training courses, delivers public avalanche education awareness and education programs, encourages public avalanche research, provides curriculum to teachers and organizations, and acts as a central hub for public avalanche information.

See also: Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA)