Cardiac Ridge, from Cardiff Pass
I spent the last 3 days in an avalanche certification class. Mark and Aaron were with me. We spent a lot of time indoors looking at statistics, photos and going over avalanche facts. It was very useful. But the real value came when we set out into the “classroom”. That is, the backcountry. It was there that we were able to apply those facts into real life situations. We practiced with our beacons, dug snow pits, performed stability tests, learned better route finding techniques, and worked on our decision making capabilities – our ability to avoid accidents.
Oh, and there was some skiing.
It was a most worthwhile weekend. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you head into the backcountry on a regular basis for any activity (snowshoe, ski, snowmobile) I highly recommend taking a course. It won’t make you an expert. It won’t prevent bad things from happening. It won’t save your life. But it just might help you to make the choices that lead to all those things being prevented.
Avalanches are scary. But learning about them is, I think, important for any backcountry recreationalist. And anyway, it elevates you up one more notch on the outdoor nerd scale.
And that is a good thing.
Mark pushes through the crud on the south facing Flagstaff