Signalling a Helicopter Crew

You are scrambling up a ridge, along with several other parties, when a helicopter approaches and hovers near you. What is happening? Odds are that someone has called for assistance and the rescuers are trying to locate them, while eliminating people who don’t need help. With more people in the mountains this has become a common problem for rescuers.
As a result, rescue groups in the Canadian Rockies, including Kananaskis Country, are promoting the use of simple hand signals to indicate to a searching helicopter crew that you are the party that need assistance, or that you are OK.


  • If you need help, raise both arms (forming the letter Y) to indicate “Yes” or “I need help.”

  • If you are Ok, stretch one arm up and one down (imitating the letter N) for “No” or “I do not need help.”

Read the full article in the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

Rescue icons from the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides

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