Everest 3.0: Raccoon Circles

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Quote of the Day:

“One climbs a mountain not to conquer it, but to be lifted away from the earth up into the sky” – Russell Banks

Did You Know?

The world’s tallest building and the tallest man-made structure at 829m high is located in Dubai. Everest is more than TEN times its height.

Activity Suggestion:

Raccoon Circles

Objective: Promote and practice the importance of teamwork.

Teamwork is very important to mountaineers. They must be able to work well with others and practice problem solving to climb and summit mountains safely and efficiently. Today your class will be working on team work activities. The learning goal is to practice cooperation and team problem solving.


  • Nylon rope: 4.6 meters of rope per group, we recommend groups of 6-8.
  • Activity: This activity is divided into three parts; each part is explained below.
  • Tying the raccoon circles:


  1. Start by tying a simple (but loose) overhand knot in one end of the Raccoon Circle webbing, with a short tail (less than 2 inches is fine). Because of the flat webbing, this overhand knot will remain very flat. This first knot is the “teacher” or “mentor” knot.
  2. Next travel the length of the webbing, unwinding and untwisting the webbing as you go, and hold the opposite end of the webbing. This end is the “student” end of the webbing. The student does everything the teacher does, they just happen to do it backwards. This means that (first), the student looks directly at the teacher (each tail end of the webbing nearly touches). Next, the student “doubles” the teacher by following the same path as the teacher backwards. This involves following the webbing, and finally tucking the student end of the webbing into the teacher knot, leaving about a 1 or 2-inch-long tail. Now pull the opposite sides of the knot to secure it (Cain, n.d., retrieved from: http://www.teamworkandteamplay.com/resources/raccooncircles.pdf)

Optional Activities:

Over and Under: For this activity there will groups of six participants per raccoon circle. The first person will put the raccoon circle over their shoulder like a purse. The group will then link hands. The goal of this activity is get the rope all the way around the circle without the participants letting go of each other’s hands. It must travel down the arm of the first person and the next person must step through the circle and pass it down their arm to the next person and so on.

Synchronizing: For this activity there will be six participants per raccoon circle. For each group, number participants as follows: 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2.

On the group leaders command all of the “1”s will lean in towards the centre of the circle and come back to starting position. From the starting position, on the group leaders command, the “2”s will lean in towards the centre of the circle and return back to starting position. This will practice coordination and balance.

Pizza Toss: For this activity the goal is to make the knot in the rope make it all the way around the circle by tossing the it in the air, like the tossing of a pizza. Each group will have to coordinate to toss and turn simultaneously. Once the group is familiar with the motion the instructor can have the groups race. The first group to get their knot all the around the circle and back to the starting person wins. Try tossing the pizza in both directions.

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