Winter Guides training
12/05/2006, Colorado high country
Just finished a fantastic weekend of skiing with the new and old guides of PPAS. We encountered good snow, and overall found the snowpack to be well set-up, this was great news.
Were ramping up for our first AIARE L-1 this weekend, and ski guiding the rest of December.
This photo was taken by Eric Supancic of Colorado Springs.
Winter has returned to the mountains again., and with fury. Avalanche courses begin Dec 8th, and go through March.
Sign up today and advance your knowledge of snow safety in the backcountry.
An end of a trip.
This will be the last posting for our trip to Ecuador. It's been a very,
very, very long day and I'm just a little tired. So, I'll just give the
highlights of the last few days.
Our change of plans for the rest day worked out greatly. Found an
excellent hotel with very hot showers. I think the pressure from the shower
could give my power washer a run for its money.
The next morning we checked on the situation Banos and "heard" that it was
all safe. So began our adventure to find a way into the city. To make a
long story short, we skipped Banos all together and headed to the hut on
Chimborazo. But, the views of the cliffs and vallies were amazing.
When we arrived to the hut, we found some of the other guides very excited
by the days' avalanche activity off the mountain. One guide had captured a
dramatic avalanche coming off the mountain on his digital camera. Very
impressive, but not promising for planning a climb the following day. By
the way, no one summited the day we arrived because of avalanche activity.
So, we made a plan to wake up at ten pm, and begin climbing at eleven pm.
We decided that the best plan would be that if we weren't on the summit by
0630, we would turn around and head back down. Mountains are known
to be very unfriendly to humans when the snow, ice and rock warm up in the
We woke up at our planned time only to find it snowing wet and heavy snow.
Change of plans, wait an hour and see what happens. So, an hour passes
and it's still snowing. But this time, it's only snowing lightly and it
felt as if the temperature had dropped a little since our first observation.
With an optimistic attitude, but an eye towards safety and the condition
of the snow pack, we headed off. Every few hundered feet, we stopped to dig
into the snowpack to see what the mountain would tell us.
Finally, at 5,435 meters, we decided to turn around. I'm not going to get
into a scientific analysis of snowpack conditions at the time. But, what we
decided was when the sun would come up and start to rewarm the snow,
conditions would be too dangerous for safe travel. Part of a long and
successful mountaineering career is being able to walk away from an
objective and hope you get another chance at again in the future. The
mountain will always be there. But, you only have one life...
Now, Jeff and I are safe and sound back in Quito preparing to fly back to
the States in the morning. It's been a great and wonderful trip. The balance
between climbing and having enough time to enjoy Ecuadorian culture and
hospitality has been amazing. Needless to say, this has been a trip of life
time not to be missed. Hope that everyone who has been following our trip
will have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.