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Level 1 Avalanche Course in Durango and the San Juan Mountains

More Ice Climbing in Silverton and Ouray
January 16, 2010
Intro to winter mountaineering course
February 5, 2010

This last weekend’s Level 1 AIARE avalanche course was a huge success.  The recent storm that rocked Southwest Colorado and the San Juan Mountains left us a great snowpack to play with during this course.

After our classroom day of great learning, we ventured up toward Cascade Canyon north of Durango Mountain Resort to practice our companion rescue skills in the beautiful sun of Southwest Colorado.  We finished the day by heading to Colbank Pass to dig in the new snow and see how it was bonding with the old snow surface.  The snow was deep with almost 300 centimeters in some spots!  We all learned a ton about looking for strong over weak layers and performing some useful bonding tests to see how different layers could potentially be problems for backcountry travel.

Our last day was a huge success with some beautiful weather gracing us again.  We ventured up in the Red Mountain Pass area where we were able to get some great glimpses of the alpine and the avalanche activity that had been occurring as recently as the day before.  Great views of wind loading were obvious clues to the recent weather phenomenon that brought the new snow last week.  The skiing was incredible with preserved powder on most aspects.  This was the capstone to the day with smiles all around and lots of great knowledge gleaned from the full three days of avalanche education!  Until next time…

Aaron

Analyzing the Snow in our Test Pits

Analyzing the Snow in our Test Pits

James getting ready for the Descent!

James getting ready for the Descent!

The crew on the skin track

The crew on the skin track

Our turns in some great low angle pow!

Our turns in some great low angle pow!

Sarah and Evan feeling stoked!

Sarah and Evan feeling stoked!