Talking Risk: How to Better Understand and Communicate About Uncertainty

Traveling in the backcountry means moving through a constantly changing environment. Because of this, it’s important to communicate about uncertainty throughout the day. Sometimes decisions are easy and obvious. Sometimes they’re tricky. The one constant is that uncertainty will exist, so guide and educator Sarah Carpenter shares how we can effectively talk about risk.

Mountain Skills: Knowing When To Turn Around

As spring approaches, the days get warmer and the snow on the ground changes; the daily cycle of snow warming and freezing heals many of the deep instabilities that persisted throughout the winter; typical instabilities become easier to predict. And while wet avalanches—either slab or loose—are easier to predict and run more slowly, they can still pack a punch. Therefore, getting off a slope before it becomes dangerous is important.

Mountain Skills: Hydrate or Die

We lose fluids through perspiration (sweating) and respiration (breathing). While ski touring, high elevation and drier air make this even more dramatic. And during the spring, warm weather further exaggerates the amount of fluid lost. Dehydration leads to a drop of performance—in stages from slowing down to bonking to needing medical attention.

Mountain Skills: Anticipating Point Release Avalanches

As the spring approaches, many of us turn our attention to steeper, more technical lines higher in the mountains. The layers of snow that formed throughout the winter begin to gain strength and the avalanche problem is less complicated—it’s ski mountaineering season! But as the temperatures climb, wet avalanches become a more regular, primary concern.

Checklists, Beacon Checks and Route Planning: Building Systems as a Backcountry Traveler

Avalanche educator Sarah Carpenter knows consistency is the key to backcountry safety. With that in mind, she’s created a system to make sure her beacon is turned on, her plan is in line with the forecast and her entire group is on the same page.

Mountain Skills: Professional vs. Recreational Avalanche Training…what’s in it for me?

This winter, avalanche education in the U.S. will be evolving. The old system of Level 1, 2, 3 will be replaced with two options: a recreational track and one geared toward professionals. The goal of the split is to deliver better, more focused courses to each user group. So how do you know which one’s for you? Here’s the breakdown.

Mountain Skills: The “Hell yes, or no way” approach to terrain management

Heading into the winter is a good time for professionals and recreators to re-evaluate their decision-making tactics. At the Wyoming Snow and Avalanche Workshop last month, speakers considered whether the larger backcountry community assimilates too much danger in its daily practices.

Higher Learning: The nuances of how, when, where and why to take a course

Choosing an avalanche course—whether a higher-level one or something to refresh your rescue skills—doesn’t have to be a hard decision. You just have to know what you want.

Mountain Skills: How To Become A Better Ski Partner

Trusted partners add life-saving value to a tour, from additional eyes looking for instability to providing wisecracks and nips of whiskey. And while it’s essential to make sure your partner is attuned to you and the mountains, relationships go both ways. Here’s a list of tips and suggestions to help you uphold safety and stoke within your group on your next tour.

Mountain Skills: Planning a trip to an offbeat location requires more than Google

Chamonix. Hokkaido. Portillo. Certain locations are synonymous with international ski travel, meaning resources for trip planning are as plentiful as some places can be crowded. But what about planning a trip to Kosciusko, Aoraki, Vielha or some other little-spoken-of locale with limited beta, few available maps or no guidebooks? Where do you start?

css.php