Avalanche Course

Yesterday concluded the last avalanche course of the season. Every course had interesting snow conditions to look at, engaged students, reasonable weather, and some pretty good skiing at the end of the day!

With 5 human triggered avalanches on Mount Washington in March alone, one which resulted if serious life threatening injuries, people are starting to realize there is a need for education before heading into the mountains. While I admire John Muir’s “Throw some doughnuts in a knapsack and hop over the backyard fence” sense of freedom, we owe it to our families and loved ones to put some thought into how much risk we are willing to take (and how to recognize when we are at risk) when traveling in the mountains.

The last class of 2011
Some morning classroom
Out on our "Observational Outing"
Identifying layers in the snowpack
Ridgetop winds indicating ongoing loading in the start zone...
A large crown from a recent natural avalanche spanned the bowl...
Discussing our route options...
Careful terrain selection up near Hillman's Highway
Crossing the runout one at a time (notice fresh debris)
Traversing the lower snowfields...
Making a quick weather observation...
Practice with Compression Tests and "Hand Hardness" scale

I want to thank everyone who attended an avalanche course with Eastern Mountain Sports Schools this season. I hope to see you out in the mountains applying your newly acquired skills soon!

While we have no more official AIARE courses scheduled for this season we are still running our Backcountry Ski courses which include some good basic “Avalanche Awareness” instruction. Check out http://www.emsski.com for details.

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