What I’m working on: Emergency Response Plan

I’ve been working on formalizing our Emergency Response Plan this week. One of the things we learned in our training is that we needed to have a better directive for emergencies and contingencies. So, I’ve been nerding out on trying to figure out a formalized plan and what that should be.

It’s dorky, but I just really love the framework on page 3 of the AIARE handbook. That’s where I started with this process.   If I ever got a tattoo, I think that would be it: Page 3. Check it out.  I also really like the Communication Checklist. Whoever came up with that AIARE stuff is brilliant! So that’s what I started with, and then ended up someplace completely different but I think it was a good process.

Paul will be our primary emergency contact for the trip.  He’s got a lot of experience managing rescues through Seattle Mountain Rescue.  He’s also not related to, or dating any of us which means he can keep a level head.  He’s been training with us every week so he has been privy to our thinking and group dynamics since the beginning.  I was really relieved when he agreed to do this for us.  Thanks, Paul! And thanks to his wife, Angie, for being a trooper and letting him do all this for us!

Here’s our framework (I took out all the last names and actual contact info but it’s in the real document):

Emergency Response Plan

Denali Girls 2015

Permit: May 11- June 6, 2015


Link to our google doc…

Primary Emergency Contact for the team:

Paul’s info…

In the event of an incident, accident or emergency, Paul will coordinate communications with Park officials, rescue and medical personnel.  Paul (or Pauls’ delegate) will remain the primary liaison for family, friends, the climbing community and emergency contacts until the girls are back in Seattle at which point individual emergency contacts will take over.


Paul’s primary responsibility is to the girls and insuring the best communication possible for rescuers and medical personnel.  Communication to family and friends will take a secondary role and may be delegated at Paul’s discretion.  Recognizing that Paul’s time may be needed to help coordinate rescue efforts, Paul is not responsible for keeping every single concerned person informed at every second.  Paul has full discretion for the needs of emergency communication while the girls are on the mountain.

Emergency Contact Document:

Link to our google doc…


If the Distress beacon is triggered:

In the event that a PLB or SPOT distress signal is transmitted:

Paul will call 911 (give location as Denali National Park)

Paul will contact the Park

Paul will contact each girl’s primary emergency contact.

Bree will also get the SPOT SOS signal and will act as back-up in case Paul is unable to respond.


(In the event of a LACK of ‘OK’ signal from SPOT beacon:  Assume that the device is not functioning and that the girls are OK until otherwise notified.)



Talkeetna Ranger Station

P.O. Box 588

Talkeetna, Alaska 99676

Phone: (907) 733-2231

Fax: (907) 733-1465

email: dena_talkeetna_office@nps.gov

907-683-9532 (park information, 7 days a week, 9a – 4p AK time)

907-683-2294 (switchboard, park business)

907-683-9649 (teletype for the Deaf/hearing impaired – TTY)

907-733-2231 (Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station – mountaineering questions)

In case of emergencies, the Park would like visitors to call 9-1-1 and give the location as Denali National Park.


Talkeetna Air Taxi

P.O. Box 73

Talkeetna, AK 99676

Phone: (907) 733-2218

Toll Free: (800) 533-2219

Fax: (907) 733-1434



Ride from Anchorage:

Meredith’s Friend Gil…


Ride back to Anchorage at the end of the trip:

Talkeetna Taxi

Talkeetna, AK




Team Communication:

  • Travel together, decide together and build consensus.
  • Communication checklist and daily review.


Radio Communication:

We will have two FRS (Family Radio Service) radios for on-mountain communication. FRS channel 1 is monitored by the Park for emergencies.


SPOT Communication:

We will have a SPOT GEN3 for “all OK” signals and for emergency signals.

We will signal “all OK” signals every few days.  “All OK” signals will be posted to the blog: TheDenaliGirls.com.  In the event that an “All OK” signal is not transmitted, assume the device is not functioning and that there is no need for emergency assistance.


SPOT serial number…

Registered to Jenn


SOS signal to:




All OK emails to:




Jenn’s Mom


Mer’s Dad



PLB Communication

We will have a PLB (Make and Model) for emergency signals only. In the event of an incident, accident or emergency, both PLB and SPOT devices will be triggered.

PLB serial number.

Registered to Leigh Ann

SOS signal to:


Mt McKinley/ Denali

Denali National Park

West Buttress via Kahiltna Base Camp



Group Goals:

Be safe and have fun. All be talking to each other at the end of the trip? We’re still working on our team “vision statement.”


Snowpack, Weather, Patterns and Trends:



Risks & Responsibility:


Mostly Likely First Aid Scenarios:

Mild Altitude Sickness/ Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

Frost nip


Urinary Tract Infections

Intestinal Discomfort/ Diarrhea

Minor cuts and scraps

Minor burns

Minor strains

Mild hypothermia

Immersion foot (Trench Foot)

Minor first aid scenarios will be treated in the field and an assessment will be made about safe conditions to continue.


Possible Emergency Scenarios Requiring Assistance:

Trauma due to fall (breaks/ fractures, dislocations/ sprains, significant wounds, head/spinal injuries)

Moderate to severe hypothermia


Altitude illness (HACE/ HAPE)

In Emergency situations requiring assistance, FSR radio, SPOT and PLB communication will be employed.


Experience, Abilities:

Team is fully equipped with emergency gear and training. Emergency gear includes:

Full first aid kit and wilderness first aid training.

Crevasse rescue gear and training.

Full repair kit.

Extra stove and pump.

Prescription medications.

Three shovels, steel spade and training in emergency shelter construction.

Two 40 m ropes.

6 pickets, 4 ice screws.

Extra ice axe with hammer.


Prescription Meds:

Antibiotics (reparatory, UTI, GI) –  Ciprofloxacin, Azithromycin

Anti-fungal (yeast infection) – Fluconazole

Cold sores- Valacyclovir

AMS prevention- AcetaZOLAMIDE

HACE treatment Dexamethasone

Pain – Percoset (oxycodone)


Team identifiers:

Two Mountain Hardware Trango 3 tents (Orange)

+ one Black Diamond MegaMid (Orange and Gray) cook tent (possibly not assembled in emergency)

4 women climbers.  Plan to travel together on two rope teams.

One orange rope, One purple rope.

Red parkas.  Red Leopard nose guards.

Individual identifiers are on our Emergency contact google doc.

1 thought on “What I’m working on: Emergency Response Plan

  1. Suggest you use GMRS radio rather than FRS. 10 times the power. Same 1-7 channels. Don’t bother with license. I presume the NP still maintains presence at 14k camp. The PLB activation and location will be communicated to Denali NP.


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