Sunday, February 19, 2012

Because Snow Slides Downhill....

Level I Avalanche Course - February 2012

SVT Lead Guide Joe St. Onge putting Benny K. "on the clock" 

Beginning the fine search with Joe offering encouragement.

This past weekend several of our own OLA students and faculty went through the 24 hour - Level I Avalanche Course offered by the American Avalanche Association, the nice folks Sun Valley Trekking, and hosted by Community School.

The course focus was not on the minutia of snow crystal formation and the semantics of snow pack metamorphosis (things that didn't pass the "so what" test), rather it was a distillation of the broader concepts  that directly inform individual and group decision-making and lead to best practices when traveling in avalanche terrain.

Course participants refined their rescue skills during single and multiple burial scenarios, scrutinized slope angles, analyzed sample and real-life tour plans, digested daily weather conditions and avalanche forecasts, and practiced open and candid communication in the field to manage each other and the entire group effectively.

For those in the Mountain and Rock endorsement, this is a outstanding introduction to the skills needed to minimize your risk in the backcountry or alpine environment during the winter months.

Establishing the 1X1 box. 
Assessing the "Tupperware Box" Victim

Patiently waiting skis....Galena. 
Maranda prepping the Rustchblock. (Day 2)
Bonzai! Final attempt to get the rustchblock to move. 
Gunnar: In Flux
Joe helps identify the "islands of safety".  Avalanche Peak. 
Peeling skins after a brief facet mining session on Proctor. (Day 3)

Regrouping before dropping into Trail Creek. 

Maranda on the Proctor descent. (Day 3) 

Why would you ever stand in a lift line? 

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