January 11, 2013

The Echo Test

The Echo Test

By now you’ve likely seen this video of an avalanche that trapped one skier on Echo Peak in the Tahoe Sierra on December 30, 2012. This is exactly the kind of video that tends to polarize opinions—the party members display a startling lack of familiarity with their avalanche gear (gear in general seems to prove endlessly problematic), and almost no knowledge of avalanche rescue protocols (more…)

Posted in Avy News | 5 Comments

February 14, 2012

Avalanche Fatality – Airbag Deployed

Great sadness fills me as I learn that 38-year-old Telluride resident Nate Soules was killed by an avalanche yesterday in the Bear Creek backcountry. The Telluride Watch says Soules was wearing an airbag pack, which he successfully deployed. However, the airbag was reportedly found by rescuers in a ‘shredded’ condition (more…)

Posted in Avy News | 2 Comments

January 18, 2011

Baldy Bowl Avalanche & Level I SoCal Class

Baldy Bowl Avalanche & Level I SoCal Class

One of the interesting things about Baldy Bowl (via the Ski Hut Trail) is that it’s a high use area that isn’t particularly safe. On any given weekend you’ll find a steady stream of hikers and/or climbers going up the bowl, regardless of current conditions. Perhaps that’s an indicator that climbing in general isn’t nearly as dangerous as some of us think it is (more…)

Posted in Avy News | 6 Comments

February 9, 2010

Avy Education: Motivation

Following up on my post about my reluctance to take an avalanche course, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about what finally motivated me to bite the bullet and go take one. For starters, the opportunity presented itself. I had the money saved up, and I had some free time which coincided with dates that SMG was offering a Level I class. Also important given the past few winters, there was ‘interesting’ snow in the Sierra, with a big storm on the way. Conditions were good—who wants to take an avalanche class when the mountains are bare or boring? (more…)

Posted in Avy News | 5 Comments

February 2, 2010

SoCal Avalanche Classes

Jeff Pierce will be teaching two Level I avalanche classes and a Level II this February and March in Southern California. The schedules are (more…)

Posted in Avy News | 0 Comments

January 21, 2010

Avalanche Education: Reluctance

Avalanche Education: Reluctance

One of the questions that occurred to me while taking an AIARE Level I avalanche class this past weekend was, “What took so long?” I actually think that’s an intriguing enough question to warrant some attention. Why was I so reluctant to take an avalanche class? I’ve certainly been interested in avalanches for some time—and I’ve especially been interested in avoiding them (more…)

Posted in Avy News | 9 Comments

January 11, 2010

Back to School

This coming weekend I’ll be up north taking my first-ever avalanche course, an AIARE Level I offered by Sierra Mountain Guides. While I’ve probably picked up a good deal level I and higher info over the years, there are a lot of holes in my knowledge. I also thought it would be valuable to write about the experience of taking the course, which might inspire others to improve their own avalanche education. I must admit I’ve had a lot of reluctance to do this—more on that later. For now, I’ll say that many of you probably have exactly the same concerns about taking an avy course as I do (more…)

Posted in Avy News | 5 Comments

July 15, 2009

Beacon Interference

Lou at wildsnow.com has an essential post on how various electronic devices interfere with avalanche beacons. The quick hit on this is that several commonly carried PED’s, such as cell phones and Ipods, can render your beacon useless in search mode. Since this information is both critically important and horribly out of season, I’ll try to link back again once winter arrives. In case I forget, make sure you read—and remember—Lou & Jonathan’s article.

Posted in Avy News | 0 Comments

March 24, 2009

Hasty Search

Hasty Search

“Hasty Search” was originally the title given to the first location effort in a search and rescue operation. This phase, obviously, takes place after a qualified individual has assessed conditions for existing hazard and the decision has been made to put people into the search area. Hasty search has now been renamed “Immediate Search,” (more…)

Posted in Avy News | 0 Comments

March 19, 2009

The Importance of Self Rescue

The Importance of Self Rescue

One of the most jolting things I learned this past weekend at the Southern California National Ski Patrol’s one-day avalanche rescue course was, paradoxically, the importance of self rescue. By “self rescue” I do not mean cultivating the magical ability to dig oneself out of an avalanche, but rather rescue initiated and completed by members of the actual party involved in the avalanche (more…)

Posted in Avy News | 0 Comments

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