Informalex/MCR Information for Members


The Informalex is a subscription mailing list for the exchange of conditions and route information among ACMG and UIAGM members. It may contain inaccuracies and out-of-date information on conditions or route information. Use at your own risk.

The Mountain Conditions Report is also a subscription mailing list that is open to public access. Only ACMG members, however, may post to this report.

Note: if you are a non-member looking for the Public Mountain Conditions Report (MCR) please visit the ACMG's MCR page.

Mountain Conditions Report (MCR) Guidelines - what you need to know before you post.
About Informalex —What you need to know before signing up.
How to Post to the Informalex and MCR lists.
Informalex List PagesSubscribing, Checking Archives, Setting Personal Options, etc.
Contact Us—email someone who can help you with questions or comments about the Informalex/MCR
FAQ section - Technical information on list participation, e.g. how to post, photo specs, how to get a digested (once per day) version, etc.
Email commands—For those of you who find using a web browser tedious and/or time-consuming.
Web Sources of Weather Information —an extensive list of weather information sites on the web. Contact us—Email a moderator if you have a question or suggestion.

Mountain Conditions Report (MCR) Guidelines

The purpose of the MCR is to provide information to the public regarding mountain conditions from TRAINED, EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONALS with the intention of helping them make well-informed decisions about where and where not to ski, climb or hike.

Following are the current guidelines established by the MCR/Informalex Committee. Suggestions for additions or changes are welcome at

  • Any ACMG member may submit a report to the MCR BUT remember that reports consist of observations only, not interpretations or forecasts. This is crucial as we are providing information to members of the public who need to make their own decisions on where to go.
  • Include the mountain range, region and peak/route or drainage along with the date in your title. As examples: Selkirk Mts, Rogers Pass, Ursus Minor Bowl, January 20, 2007 or Rockies, Mt Rundle, Reprobate, July 12, 2007. This will permit people who are not as familiar with geography as we are to discern whether a posting is of interest. International posts are welcome—people read the MCR everywhere!
  • Include only your name and certification at the end. The MCR is not for promotion of your guiding business.
  • Speak in terms the public can understand. We have our own language and culture, especially around snow science, so we need to produce reports that anyone who has not had our training or exposure can understand. The CAC and Parks Canada winter avalanche bulletins have great examples of practical language . learn from them. As well, use Spell-Check and avoid slang phrases that may be common for us but confusing for others.
  • When in doubt, post to the Informalex or consult someone else. If you ask via the Informalex whether a posting is appropriate for the MCR, you gain the benefit of having experienced ACMG members comment whether they have concerns about that posting. If the information is significant it will find its way into MCR summaries in the summer and CAC bulletins in the winter.
  • Remember that you are representing the ACMG and both you and the association are accountable for the content of the MCR. This is a public service and a fabulous learning tool for all of us. However, it cannot happen at the expense of public safety or as a liability to the ACMG.
  • Note: You will receive a private call from the MCR editor if your post has inappropriate content, jargon, self-promotion or story telling. The purpose of the call is to educate you about how to write better posts for the public.

    About the Informalex: the World's Biggest Guides' Meeting

    Who may join: You must be an ACMG or UIAGM/IFMGA guide practising in Western Canada to join (special cases may be made—contact the appropriate moderator if you have questions).

    Participation: We encourage all subscribers to the Informalex to make regular contributions to the exchange. Whatever your certification, you likely have something useful to bring forward for information or discussion.

    Guidelines: If you have suggestions for changes to the guidelines below, please contact the ACMG Executive director at

    Grant Statham suggests the following guidelines:

    • Contribute! This is not supposed to be a list where 10-15 people contribute for the benefit of 80+ people. The idea is that we exchange information regularly, so when we head out we don't have to waste time phoning around to sort out the conditions, as we are regularly updated. If you just went to Robson and haven't read about it yet on the informalex—then the rest of us want to hear about it.
    • Don't input redundant information. Check your email first to see what has been reported recently. We don't need 7 reports on Athabasca after the July long weekend—one is good. If you're in a big group of guides then decide amongst yourself who will submit. Think about what you are sending and if it seems relevent then send it out. If the conditions seems unchanged but nobody has reported them for a while then submit something.
    • The informalex is for exchanging mountain conditions or other relevant issues (anchors, gear stuff, etc). It's not a big list of guides to start your business with and regularly hunt for subcontractors. If you want to do this sort of stuff then make up another list.
    • The information is supposed to be confidential. Don't post it on any other web sites or send it out to others who are not on the list. This is important, as the strength of a professional exchange relies on it's integrety. We can all learn alot from each others mistakes, but the public should never be reading this stuff. Plus we operate at a different level than most of the public, they might get sandbagged trying to follow our beta.

    Recognizing that many guides who don't work in the winter aren't as fluent in exchanging beta, Larry Stanier offers some good advice:

    Those of us who work in the ski/avalanche business get quite used to exchanging information. I just thought it would be worth throwing out some guidelines for what we are looking for to make things clear at this time, especially for those of you new to this type of exchange.

    • Basically we are looking for any information that will assist a guide's decision making process. This information needs to be current and online ASAP to be relevant. Obviously most observations will be about Alpine conditions. However, any information about retrofitting of routes, new routes, what's "in" and what's not, hidden gems, equipment problems, access issues etc. could be relevant.
    • When reporting alpine conditions we don't have to be dogmatic. However, where possible use the CAA's Observation Guidelines and Recording Standards to ensure clear, consistent, information exchange and to keep misinterpretation to a minimum. Winter or summer, we are interested in HS, HN, wind, temperatures, avalanche activity, the snowline, and glacier travel, climbing and skiing conditions.
    • Transitional seasons such as spring/early summer and fall/ early winter are especially important times to contribute so that we can be kept aware of conditions as much as possible even though there is traditionally less activity in the mountains. in these seasons.
    • Keep it relevant and keep it coming. There has yet to be a problem with too much information on the informalex.
    • We will never know if the informalex has ever saved anyone from an accident but it has certainly saved lots of stress, aggravation and wasted time already. Let's keep it up

    Please read through our FAQ section for information on what the Informalex is, terminology questions, and any other questions you might have about the use of the Informalex mailing list.

    How to Post

    Once you've subscribed, simply send an email to the list address. The Informalex list address is; the MCR list address is

    A copy of your email will be sent to all list members immediately as a personal message from you (Informalex) or as a message from the MCR list with your email address removed for the purposes of privacy (MCR).

    Intelligent Subject headings: In order to make organisation easier, consider using Subject: headings that include the area you climbed along with the region especially if it'a a little-know route, e.g. Holy Cross Mountain—Highwood Jucntion

    Please read through our FAQ section for more information and suggestions on how to make good use of the Informalex.

    Informalex List Home Pages: Subscribing, Checking Archives, Setting Personal Options, etc.

    Before participating in any of these mailing lists please familiarize yourself with the posting guidelines. You can subscribe to both the MCR and Informalex at the same time. A subscription allows you to receive and post to both mailing lists. Note: You can sign up for both Informalex regions if you wish. Once subscribed to a list, you will automatically receive messages via email.

    Subscribe to either list at via the following link:

  • To check the Archives or for details on how to Change your Subscription, visit:

  • Informalex List Page
  • Please read through our FAQ section for information on signing up and answers to your questions about the Informalex and using the mailing list features.

    Contact Us

    If you have any questions or comments about the use of the Informalex/MCR after reading through this page and the FAQ page, you can contact one of the following people who can either respond to your concerns or direct it to the ACMG's MCR/Informalex committee.

    Informalex Moderator: Tom Wolfe

    Questions? Contact the Moderator