Pikes Peak Alpine School COVID-19 Management Plan
We are now living in the age of COVID-19. PPAS does not have all of the answers and we cannot remove the threat of COVID-19. We can however take steps to reduce our exposure to, and the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease). As with many hazards in the mountains (such as rock fall, avalanches, and lightning), we will take steps to reduce our risk of exposure but we can not remove it all together. The only way we can remove those risks completely is by staying home and not going to the mountains at all.
We ask our clients and guides to help in managing this new and changing situation so that we can all get back to what we love, the mountains. Your diligence and candor are required of you at each step of the process of climbing with PPAS.
Staff training to address and promote reduction practices will now be included in our guiding and business standards.
Screening of clients and guides:
We ask that if you are not feeling well prior or during your trip that you make it know. For the health and safety of other please don’t commit to the trip if feeling ill. We will not send guides into the field that are feeling ill.
Carpooling may be one of the less desirable activities of a PPAS trip when it comes to COVID-19 management. Meeting clients/guides at the trailhead is recommended when feasible. If sharing a ride is required, cloth face coverings should be used and window ventilation is recommended.
6 feet or greater between people is what we strive for when reasonable. This will be easier when skiing and hiking in non-technical terrain and will be more challenging in rock and more technical terrain. When physical distancing is not possible (when working at close proximity on sections of a route or trail), a face mask is our management tool.
Cloth Face Masks:
Cloth face masks (Buffs or neck gaiters are acceptable) are required for clients and guides when working in close proximity or when physical distancing can not be adhered to. Some situations that will necessitate masks include passing other parties on the trail, course lessons, and belay station transitions.
On overnight trips, clients and guides should carry multiple masks or Buffs as washing masks in the field may not be feasible. The use of plastic bags to seal and carry these items out of the field is recommended.
Hand sanitizer is required equipment for every trip. Each client and guide will carry hand sanitizer in their kits. It is important to use this throughout the day. Use of hand sanitizer is appropriate after sharing equipment.
Limiting the size of our groups in the field may be appropriate this season.
4:1 top rope (single pitch)
1:1 rock multi pitch
2:1 alpine climbing
3:1 non technical mountaineering and glacier travel
6:1 day hiking
4:1 ski touring
6:1 avalanche courses
Meals – No meal preparation by guides. Hot water will be supplied by the guide and the client will be responsible for preparing freeze-dried meals or otherwise.
Sleeping Arrangements – Client and guide separation will be required. This means no sharing of tents. Clients that are coming in as a group and have already been cohabiting together can share a tent or bunk.
Group gear or PPAS rental gear that is shared on a trip (such as ropes, harnesses and helmets) will be on rotation. Gear will be quarantined for three days between uses. If use is required in less than three days, washing or disinfecting will be required.
Since this pandemic is evolving, we will change this document as new information becomes relevant. We will continue to check in with the CDC and land managers, as well as adhere to closures due to COVID-19.
First Aid and Emergencies:
While we never invite an emergency we must plan for them. We have been advised that CPR masks are ineffective with respect to COVID-19. For someone requiring CPR, the standard care will be to cover the care provider’s mouth/nose with a cloth mask, do the same for the patient, and perform compressions-only CPR.
To facilitate this, guides will carry additional masks and gloves in the first aid kit. Masks and gloves will be placed in a plastic haz-mat bag after use.
If rescue is required, the patient will be masked.
Breaks on trail/route:
Make sure food and beverages or cameras/phones are not being passed or shared person to person (except people from the same household). Spacing out and keeping physical distancing is recommended.
Other parties on trail or route:
On narrow trails it may be necessary to communicate with the other party on who will pass through and who should stop. Donning masks may be necessary to manage the situation. On a climbing route communication with another team is critical. Requesting that their party maintains their distance may be required. Try to pass or be passed in open areas. If this is not possible, wearing masks is the appropriate way to manage this situation.