AIARE 1 Avalanche Course and Mount Washington Climb

While Spring is in the air today (48 degrees in North Conway) we have snow on the way this weekend and I’m not quite ready to hang up the skis or ice axes! Last weekend I was stoked to be back to work with a full 12 person AIARE 1 Avalanche Course, followed by a Mount Washington attempt yesterday. Conditions during the avalanche course were quite ideal both for the field sessions and hands-on learning.

Heading out through Crawford Notch for our Observational Outing on Day 2

Heading out through Crawford Notch for our Observational Outing on Day 2

Practicing the quick & easy  "Hand Shear" stability test

Practicing the quick & easy “Hand Shear” stability test

Looking at some route options from Hermit Lake

Looking at some route options from Hermit Lake

Another round of Hand Shear tests next to the Little Headwall

Another round of Hand Shear tests next to the Little Headwall

One of our groups spreads out while crossing the run out of The Sluice & Lip on their way to The Chute

One of our groups spreads out while crossing the run out of The Sluice & Lip on their way to The Chute

A nearby group practices self-arrest in Lobster Claw Gully

A nearby group practices self-arrest in Lobster Claw Gully

Climbing up to Left Gully

Climbing up to Left Gully

We poked around in the snow between Left and the Chute before heading half-way up Left for a nice run back to the floor of the ravine. The Little Headwall was enjoyable but the best turns were made in the Cutler River just below Hermit Lake. I had never skied in there before and there was some really nice un-tracked powder all the way down to the bridge. The rest of the Sherbi was a bit scraped and fast but pockets of powder could be ferreted out in the woods.

The next day I had the pleasure of taking the Brooks School faculty Tim & Leo, and Leo’s daughter Stacey, up on Mount Washington. Over the last couple years I’ve been able to work with Tim & Leo when they bring a group of their kids up to experience some ice climbing with EMS Schools. It is always a fun day at the cliff, and now Tim & Leo wanted to get an idea of a Mount Washington winter climb experience for a potential future student trip. Mount Washington definitely served us up some classic rock-pile conditions!

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

Tackling the steeps of the Winter Lion's Head Trail

Tackling the steeps of the Winter Lion’s Head Trail

Re-fueling at tree-line

Re-fueling at tree-line

Winds picking up, visibility dropping...

Winds picking up, visibility dropping…

It was quite clear with the weather that reaching Lion’s Head would be a challenge. Bouts of white-outs would reduce visibility down to a dozen feet at best, and winds gusting over 70mph would start to challenge our balance as we got closer to Lion’s Head. Our tracks were filled in with blowing snow within minutes of us passing through an area… it was… typical awesome Mount Washington weather!

We reached Lion's Head!

We reached Lion’s Head!

Group shot before descending

Group shot before descending

We made our way down in good spirits reflecting on what a unique place we have here to experience, and I’m much looking forward to seeing these three again, along with a dozen or so eager High School students ready to experience the same type of challenge!

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.
This entry was posted in Avalanche Courses, Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to AIARE 1 Avalanche Course and Mount Washington Climb

  1. 85 degrees in Port Charlotte right now

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s