AIARE 1 Avalanche Course, 3/30/13 – 4/1/13

Well that’s it! Today concluded the last avalanche course of the season. Without a doubt this has been the best year we’ve had for avalanche courses as Mother Nature has provided right up to the end! Later this week I’ll post a summary of the season, but for now I want to share the details from this past weekend’s course. We started the course as usual at the Highland Center and had a typical morning classroom session followed by afternoon outdoor Companion Rescue.

Early the first day looking at a local Case Study

Early the first day looking at a local Case Study

EMS Guide Keith Moon talks about beacon care before we head out to our rescue site

EMS Guide Keith Moon talks about beacon care before we head out to our rescue site

After some morning classroom on Day 2 we headed to the western side of Mount Washington to skin up the Cog. The snowpack down low had converted to full on Spring concrete, but we knew there were still some layers to look at up high.

Base Rd

Base Rd

Half-way House

Half-way House

Looking back towards Bretton Woods

Looking back towards Bretton Woods

Ammonusuc Ravine

Ammonusuc Ravine

We found a small test slope on the Burt Ravine side of the tracks and dig a little digging while learning about layer identification, hand hardness, and tilt & compression tests.

Burt Ravine in the background

Burt Ravine in the background

Today we met at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and after obtaining the day’s bulletin we headed up Tuckerman Ravine. While raining we we arrived at PNVC it turned into a great day up higher.

Moments of blue-bird

Moments of blue-bird

We ran into Jeff Lane, one of the USFS Snow Rangers who gave us some additional info which later turned up helpful to our Tour Plan

Quick chat with USFS Snow Ranger

Quick chat with USFS Snow Ranger

One of the students points out roller balls that came down Hillman’s Highway and small wet loose snow avalanches that had recently occurred in the Lower Snowfields.

Arriving at Hermit Lake

Arriving at Hermit Lake

After some discussion we continued up to the floor of the Ravine, and decided to head towards Left Gully. We spaced out across the main runout, as the rating for the day was “Considerable”.

Where did the blue sky go?

Where did the blue sky go?

Heading up towards the left side of Left Gully

Heading up towards the left side of Left Gully

Poking around in the snow there revealed some buried grauple, pencil slab over 1F, CTM & CTH results 30cm and 60cm down with mostly Q2 and Q3 results. We scored a RB7 as well. I’ll post a field book page later when I get a chance to take a better shot of it.

033

 

After finishing our observations we skinned up to the mouth of Left Gully and got a quick short run in before dropping the Little Headwall and returning to PNVC to review the day and close the course.

I can’t thank the 11 participants enough for being so engaged through-out the 24-hour course. As silly as it sounds, I have to thank MN for providing such great conditions for every single field session we had this year. Exact numbers will come in my recap later this week, but I’m fairly certain we had over 120 people come through our 3 Day AIARE 1 program this year! Every single feedback form is being considered and I’m excited about making some changes to next year’s courses based on my experience this winter and all of your feedback. More to come in my re-cap, but for now I’m going to dry out and organize my back-country ski gear. What a great winter that was!

See you on the mountain!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 and son Alex.
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