Avalanche Level I and Rescue
Standard letter grades
Total contact hours
Introduces the various factors that contribute to avalanche hazard including terrain, weather, snowpack, and the human component (good vs. bad decision making). Avalanche safety equipment such as transceivers, probes and shovels are also presented, with instruction on how to use each of these critical pieces of safety gear. Field time is spent on: 1) developing rescue skills, including transceiver search techniques (single and multiple burial), probing and shoveling; 2) snowpack assessment; and 3) safe travel practices / group travel skills.
Course learning outcomes
1. Recognize the hazards and risks of avalanche terrain.
2. Apply tools, resources, and strategies for planning and decision making in avalanche terrain.
3. Classify factors that contribute to avalanche formation, triggering, and release.
4. Execute travel practices and techniques to reduce and mitigate risks in avalanche terrain.
5. Demonstrate procedures of a companion rescue.
- Intro to rescue
- The basics of an avalanche
- Demonstrate and practice the components of rescue
- Wx and Avy histories and forecasts
- Transceiver searches - single, primary, secondary, pinpoints, multiple
- Shoveling and probing
- Test pits and stability analysis
- Morphology - snow evolution
- Decision making overview
- Tour practices
Textbook and Materials: Course Website: There is a Google site for this course, titled COCC OL - Avalanche Level 1, which will serve as a collective resource of information and materials for the class. Please visit the site and become familiar with the layout and features. (Optional) Text: Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, 2nd ed. (2008). B.Tremper. The Mountaineers. Should students wish to own a text that correlates with course materials, we suggest this book. It is quite comprehensive. We offer optional readings in the outline below for this text. Materials: It is recommended that you have your own transceiver, probe and shovel, as well as snow travel gear (snowshoes, tele- or AT skis, or split board). If you do not have your own avalanche gear the college has a limited amount of avalanche safety gear and snowshoes available for use during the class. (We can not offer skis or snowboards). Students should also have a means of capturing notes in the field. Often, students use notecards or scrap paper and then transfer any field notes to a more permanent notebook. Students should carry their field note taking tools in a gallon-sized Zip Loc bag with an extra pen and pencil.