SheJumps Edition: Mountain Madness AIARE Level 1 Course – Recap

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We searched, we probed, we dug, and we celebrated! SheJumps partnered up with the fine folks of Mountain Madness to instruct an AIARE 1 Avalanche certification class. The course took us from 2 days of classroom instruction at Evo to spending the weekend in the mountains at Steven’s pass and Mt. Rainer. Our fearless instructors and all around mountain goddesses included Laura LeBlanc, Lyra Pierotti, and Solveig Waterfall. With their uber extensive knowledge, they lead our group of ladies from the classroom out to the snowy mountains.

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The first two days of classroom instruction covered such topics as weather, snowpack, avalanche phenomenon, terrain selections, trip planning and preparation. Laura gave our class a demonstration of how various weather patterns and slope angle can create a loose or slab avalanche by way of flour, sugar and potato flakes. Sadly this did not result in a delicious avi cookie but it was a helpful visual as to how different layers of snow can create an avalanche.

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When our classroom time was complete, it was on the meat of the course…mountain time! Ten ladies went with Solveig and Wyatt to Steven’s Pass and the other ten went with Laura and Lyra to Mt. Rainer for 2 days of fun in the backcountry where we could put all of our new knowledge to work.

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Mother Nature being the ever giver she is, gave us a little bit of everything for 2 days. And by everything, we mean zero sun and lots of fog (at least at Rainier). Thanks Mother Nature, we didn’t want to see the beautiful mountains around us anyways. The lack of “perfect” weather did not stop us from digging snow pits, conducting beacon searches and making a few turns on fluffy snow.

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By the second day we were becoming more comfortable understanding the avalanche forecast and trip planning process. For the last portion of the trip, we took turns conducting search and rescues. We are happy to report that both Charles Barkley and Timberland were found and are now safe with their loved ones.

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A big thank you to our guides from Mountain Madness for making such a fun and educational event possible!

Kara Boldt

02/16/2016

Big thanks to our sponsors!

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