Global Mountain Solutions Inc.Solutions for the InAccessible
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Terms Beginning with S


Safety is at the cornerstone of Global Mountain Solutions Inc.  It can be described simply as the condition of being exposed to low levels of risk. Safety relates to the physical, psychological, and emotional status of the worker. GMS believes that all workers should be and feel safe at all times while at work.

See also risk.

Safety Factor

With respect to rigging and rope access safety factor is the minimum strength of a system divided by the maximum anticipated load expressed as a ratio. All systems are designed to accommodate sufficient safety factors as dictated by the safe work plan, rescue plan, or emergency response plan.  

Safety Plan (Avalanche)

If the risk assessment identifies an avalanche risk zone, an avalanche safety plan must be developed and implemented before work is conducted in that zone when snow conditions have the potential to create an avalanche. The avalanche safety plan must follow CAA’s Land Manager's Guide to Snow Avalanche Hazards in Canada and Guidelines for Snow Avalanche Risk Determination and Mapping in Canada. It must also specify:

(a)Passive measures to mitigate or reduce the avalanche risk (e.g., supporting structures, snow sheds, snow collector fences)

(b)An active avalanche safety program (e.g., temporary or permanent closure, use of explosives) if it is necessary to monitor and manage any avalanche risk that has not been mitigated through use of passive measures.

In all cases the avalanche safety plan must either be completed qualified person. This means the person must be either a Qualified Avalanche Planner (QRP) or a Qualified registered professional (QRP) depending on whether the plan requires passive measures (QRP) or an active avalanche safety program (QAP).

See also: Risk Assessment (Avalanche), Qualified Registered Professional, Qualified Avalanche Professional.

Safe Work Plan

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

See also: Access plan, safe work plan, rope access plan.

SARP: Simon Fraser University Avalanche Research Program

SARP is Simon Fraser University’s avalanche research program whose goal is to provide evidence-based information and tools that allow backcountry recreationalists and professionals to make better informed decisions when they travel in avalanche terrain.

Scaling (Rockworks)

Scaling or high scaling is the process of descending down a rock face and clearing the face of unstable or loose rock accumulations. Scaling is performed using specialized equipment to test the rock slope’s surface for unstable rock and then remove any suspect sections. Global Rock Works Scaling is completed using rope access techniques by professionals certified in rope access and mountain hazard recognition and mitigation.  Scaling is a very effective mitigation for rockfall hazard and is commonly performed on road sides, in mines, quarries, dams and for any project that requires the mitigation of rockfall hazard to protect people or infastructure.

Seismic Exploration

Seismic exploration is the process of mapping internal structures of the Earth. Seismic exploration requires the precise placement of sensors on the Earth's surface which are used to measure tiny vibrations (sound waves) which are send into the Earth from precisely placed sources. In the process of seismic exploration workers must travel over the terrain to place and remove the required equipment. For seismic operations in mountainous terrain this movement of workers must often be accomplished on foot by workers specially trained for mountain travel.

Seismic Mountaineers

Global mountain solutions seismic mountaineers are highly trained and certified mountain travel, risk mitigation, rope access and mountain rescue and wilderness first aid specialists who work to provide access and rescue solutions on seismic exploration projects worldwide. Seismic mountaineers can assist in all aspects of seismic operations from the planning phase to recording and clean up. GMS mountaineers can , complete detailed terrain assessments, risk assessments, and emergency response plans, can provide training and supervision for workers and facilitate access for people and equipment as well as implement ground based rescue and helicopter long line rescue services as required. Seismic Mountaineers are integrated into the overall scope of a seismic project to ensure the safety of workers and efficient rescue in mountainous terrain.

Short Haul Rescue

Short haul rescue is another name for Helicopter long line rescue. See CDFL.

Shovel (Avalanche)

The avalanche shovel is a specialized piece of rescue equipment designed to be carried by workers who are exposed to an avalanche hazard. The avalanche shovel is used in conjunction with the avalanche transceiver and avalanche probe to quickly and efficiently perform a rescue of a buried worker. Avalanche shovels are designed to be very efficient at the task of moving snow and yet are lightweight and collapsible so that they are not overly burdensome to carry.

see also: Avalanche Transceiver, Avalanche probe

Site Safety Plan

A written document that details the safety plan for a specific job site. On large projects where many facilities or sites exist a separate site safety plan will be written for each. Details include: Assembly/ muster point, Evacuation plan and alarms, site safety officer contact, site EMS protocol/dispatch contact, site specific rules or restrictions. 

Situational Awareness

Situational awareness can be thought of simply as awareness of what is going on around you and how that will affect you and your team both now and in the future.  Maintaining situational awareness enables the worker to quickly detect, integrate and interpret data gathered from the environment relevant to the mission or task. Maintaining situational awareness is especially important in work where information flow can be high and poor decisions could lead to serious consequences. (e.g. Avalanche forecasting, piloting a helicopter, professional team sports, route finding in mountainous terrain, and rescue operations.) Situational awareness is developed through training, experience and diligence. 


A snowpack is a an area of naturally formed snow on the ground. A snowpack will develop layering as it ages as a result of the changing weather conditions both during and after new snow deposition. Avalanche forecasters study the evolution of the snowpack (Known as snow metamorphism) to help predict avalanches over the course of a winter season.


The Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT) is a professional society that advances the safe use of rope access through standards development and administering certifications for rope access Technicians. All rope access Technicians must complete a training course and evaluation conducted by an certified SPRAT examiner who is independent of the training companie.

Stability Test

Snow stability tests are used by avalanche professionals to obtain direct information on the state of the snowpack. Stability tests can be used to gather information about both the strength and the propagation propensity of a given weak layer within the snowpack. A variety of tests may be used depending on the information required by the avalanche forecaster.

Supplemental Type Certificate (STC)

The supplemental type certificate (STC) is a document issued by the Minister of Transportation (Government of Canada) to record the approval of a change to the type design of an aeronautical product. It references the documents and data defining the change, the limitations and and conditions applicable as a result of the change. As all load bearing components attached to and airframe must be Transport Canada airworthiness approved all components of the CDFL system from the rescuers harness to the helicopter must have an accompanying STC.

See also: CDFL