CMC + NSP Avalanche Course Recap

January 12, 2017 by

This past weekend, the National Ski Patrol and CMC geared up and headed outside for two full field days to conclude the Level 1 avalanche course.

Day 1: Saturday, January 7. Instructors and students headed to St. Mary’s Glacier for a day of analyzing snowpits, using beacons to locate buried beacons and learning about decision-making in avalanche terrain.

Day 2: Sunday, January 8. A much longer hike into the backcountry along the Second Creek Trail on the north side of Berthoud Pass led instructors and students into a winter wonderland (pictured below).

Students rotated between stations that focused on analyzing snowpits, making good decisions, finding beacons, immediate search training and complex immediate searches. The final exercise (complex immediate searches) acted as real-life scenarios with multiple burials–beacons and wetsuits were buried in the snow and students were instructed to locate them as quickly and efficiently as possible in the midst of chaos.

At the end of the long, snowy day, students were given certificates of completion at the trailhead, while instructors were applauded for their hard work and dedication.

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Along the Second Creek Trail on the north side of Berthoud Pass

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Instructor Jordan Lipp (left) teaches students how to dig and analyze snowpits to study the many layers

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Students got down on their hands and knees when they approached buried beacons, before they started digging to find them

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Instructor Cindy Gagnon (right) teaches students how to read the information displayed on their beacons before beginning another beacon-finding exercise

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Instructor Lin Ballard points to avalanche terrain, explaining to students how to identify dangerous slopes and estimate safe distances from them

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The view from Broome Hut along Second Creek Trail on the north side of Berthoud Pass. Students traveled up to the hut during one of their rotations to study the terrain and (thankfully) warm up for a few minutes.

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The weekend concluded with the presentation of certificates to students and applause for the volunteer instructors.

Denver Group is Bringing Climbing Self-Rescue 2 Class to Boulder

January 12, 2017 by

Jerry Allen and Bill Haneghan of the Denver Group will be teaching this advanced rock climbing self-rescue class in the Boulder clubroom on 3/21 and 3/23 with a field trip on 3/25. They’ll teach skills to help you get out of difficult situations, using only the people in your group and the gear you have with you. The class size is very limited, and we’re especially interested in enrolling Boulder group members who have an interest in teaching this class as one of our offerings in the future. If you fit that description, please contact brs@cmcboulder.org.

Wilderness First Aid Class in the Boulder Clubroom Feb 4-5

January 12, 2017 by

WFA is a great way to prepare yourself for outings in the backcountry and nearby parks and instill confidence in your first aid skills. This two-day class is being offered at a deeply discounted rate of only $75. WFA is now a requirement for trip leaders including senior class instructors, and they will be given priority to register for the class until Jan 15th with a passcode available from chair@cmcboulder.org. After that it’s open to everyone, space permitting. For more info, visit the state website here.

Spring/Summer 2017 Boulder Mountaineering School Open for Registration

January 12, 2017 by

This spring, we have a full slate of classes to teach hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, and snow travel skills! Our goal is to help you enjoy the mountains with a better focus on safety, preparation and stewardship. For more information and a complete list of classes please see our website here. Registration limited so sign up early. Also, if you’ve taken any of these classes before and would like to volunteer to help teach, please email brs@cmcboulder.org. Hope to see you in school!

Trail maintenance at Jenny Creek

January 10, 2017 by

As anyone living in Colorado recently knows,  pine beetle killed trees has resulted in a great many more dead trees in our Rocky Mountain forests. Combine that with the high wind storms we’ve been getting lately, and you are likely to encounter some deadfall across hiking trails.

The Jenny Creek trail is one of the most popular trails in the Eldora area, all year round. But particularly in winter, deadfall across the trail is a real inconvenience for skiers and snowshoers. Additionally, Jenny Creek is used to access the Guinn Mountain trail that goes up to the Årestua hut.

There are some mighty dedicated volunteers who help maintain this hut, and that dedication goes beyond the hut and even into helping keep the trails clear up to it, clearing deadfall every year. This was the case on this past Sunday, January 8, when Doug Young and Steve Priem took it upon themselves to cut three trees and several protruding branches on the Jenny Creek portion.

This required carrying in a chain saw, as the larger trees would have been difficult with just a hand saw. This is not a task recommended except for those with adequate experience and  equipment, and I was asked to include this safety warning:

Chainsaw work in cold snowy conditions is among the most dangerous and is to be avoided when possible. Footing can be slippery, and snow can hide buried obstacles. Be prepared to be crotch deep in snow for extended periods of time and to get very cold. Bring thin ski gloves, plus warm winter gloves, as well as leather work gloves. “While working with a chainsaw during the winter, as always, wear protective apparel, such as chaps, hearing protection and gloves. In the winter, wood is even more likely to splinter, so use of a helmet and eye protection remains critical.”

More safety information can be found at www.stihlusa.com/information/articles/working-winter-wonderland

The following photographs illustrate the work that was done; photo credits to Doug Young, taking pictures of Steve Priem:

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The tree creating a problem by leaning over the trail

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Clearing the top of the tree from the trail

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The tree has been dropped, cut into three pieces by undercutting it three times to fall from a tree it was snagged on

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Clearing the loose ends on the edge of the trail