AIARE Level 2: Analyzing Snow Stability And Avalanche Hazard

An EMS Climbing Guide, an Alaskan Heli-Ski Guide, an outdoor educator from PA, two other backcountry travelers joined us for the first and only Level 2 Avalanche Course of the season.

The level 2 course is a 4-day program that provides backcountry leaders the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge and decision making skills. This course also includes the introductory and prerequisite components for the professional progression: the level 3 certificate.

We started the course at the AMC Highland Center in Crawford Notch. After reviewing the knowledge from the Level 1 Course we spent the afternoon upgrading our companion rescue skills to handle multiple and deep burials with a close look at rescue leadership.

The next day after some morning classroom which looked closely at the process of snow formation and metamorphism we jumped on the summit Quad lift at Wildcat and explored the snow pack right off the 4,400 feet summit with a detailed snow profile.

Measuring temperature gradient

Getting a run at the end of Day 2

Day 3- Ski tour to Gulf of Slides

Skinning up into Main Gully

Main Gully

EMS Climbing Guide Mike Lackman kicking steps up Main Gully

Higher up in the gully

Some snowpack observations near the drop in point

Mike recording findings

At the end of the day we practiced proper probing since a nearby party was locked out of their car

Day 4 brought us up to familiar Tuckerman Ravine

The group discusses the changing conditions

Skinning up to Right Gully

Craig Taylor, another AIARE Instructor, holds a level 1 course nearby

Digging in

Some consistent CTH, Q2 results 40cm down on a thin layer of faceting d/f's

Last run of the course

Our classroom

6 more avalanche courses scheduled as long as the snow holds!

About David Lottmann

David grew up skiing in the Whites and started climbing at a summer camp just north of Mt. Washington when he was 16. Those first couple of years solidified climbing as a lifetime passion. From 1996-2000 he served in the USMC, and spent the better part of those years traveling the globe (18 countries). After returning to civilian life he moved to North Conway to focus on climbing and was hired in 2004 as a Rock and Ice Instructor. Since then Dave has taken numerous AMGA courses, most recently attaining a Single Pitch Instructor. He has completed a Level 3 AIARE avalanche course, is a Level 2 Course Leader, holds a valid Wilderness First Responder and is a member of Mountain Rescue Service. When David isn't out guiding he enjoys mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, backcountry skiing, trying to cook something new once a week and sampling new micro-brews. He lives in Conway, NH with his wife Michelle, son Alex, and daughter Madalena.
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