Training With The Mountaineers

in an effort to lead backcountry ski trips for the mountaineers i’ve been attending the required classes. ski leader training, avy refresher and a leader ski tour.

talking avy

some things i made a mental note of during avy refresher:
  • most complete burials are four feet down
  • most complete burials are found in the prone position (lying face down)
  • there are no recorded instances of multiple complete burials where someone did not die. basically that means if two or more of your friends are fully buried, statistically someone isn’t coming home (note that if you bought me an americano on the way to the mtns that morning i’m more likely to dig you up first).
  • strategic digging: from the exact spot the beacon indicates start digging downslope 1.5x the probe depth. dig uphill about your arm wing span wide. you are going to be moving a lot of snow and they have about 15 minutes of life…. better get diggin partna.

(photo by mike warren)
playing with the bca tracker

during this avy refresher i had the chance to use the pieps dsp(first all-digital triple-antenna beacon) and the bca tracker. the tracker is known for it’s ease of use and it did not disappoint. super simple and easy.. intuitive even. the piepshowever was hands down the best beacon i’ve used. it’s multi-burial features seem to put it in a class by itself. but as we learned above the reality is you will focus on getting just one friend out, leaving the other to die – so your beacon might not need all that functionality (kidding.. sort of).

(photo by mike warren)
k2 skis are very popular in the backcountry (thanks mike hatrup)

(photo by mike warren)
the view from a snow trench

the view from the nicest snow trench on the block

pieps dsp beacon

bca tracker beacon