Thursday, December 1, 2011

AIARE Level 1 course registration opens

Registration is now open for the AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Training Course, hosted by the EOU Outdoor Program.

AIARE Level 1: Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain

Course Dates: January 20-22, 2012 (based at EOU) 

The course is open to EOU students/faculty/staff and community members. Space is limited to 12 participants.

Cost: EOU Students – $200, Community Members: $250

Call 541-962-3621 or email to register. Full payment must be received to guarantee a spot on the course.

The classes will meet at 8am (Friday) or (9am) Sat/Sun. and continue, with a lunch break, to approximately 5pm.

The level one is a 3 day/24 hour introduction to avalanche hazard management. The course is expected to:

  • Provide a basic understanding of avalanches
  • Describe a framework for decision making and risk management in avalanche terrain
  • Focus on identifying the right questions, rather than on providing “answers.”
  • Give lessons and exercises that are practically oriented, useful, and applicable in the field.
Students can expect to develop a good grounding in how to prepare for and carry out a trip, to understand basic decision making while in the field, and to learn rescue techniques required to find and dig up a buried person (if an avalanche occurs and someone in the party is caught).
A final debrief includes a knowledge quiz to test student comprehension and to give feedback to instructors on instructional tools. Students are encouraged and counseled on how to apply the skills learned and told that no course can fully guarantee safety, either during or after course completion. A link is made to a future AIARE Level 2 course.

Student learning outcomes.

At the end of the Level One course the student should be able to:
  • Plan and prepare for travel in avalanche terrain.
  • Recognize avalanche terrain.
  • Describe a basic framework for making decisions in avalanche terrain.
  • Learn and apply effective companion rescue.
Instructional sessions ( 24 hours including both class and field instruction) :
1. Introduction to the Avalanche Phenomena
  • Types and characteristics of avalanches
  • Avalanche motion
  • Size classification
  • The mountain snowpack: an introduction to metamorphism and layering
2. Observations and Information Gathering
  • Field observation techniques
  • Snowpack tests: rutschblock, compression test
  • Avalanche danger factors or “Red Flags”
  • Observation checklist
  • Avalanche danger scale
3. Trip Planning and Preparation
  • Avalanche terrain recognition, assessment, and selection
  • Route finding and travel techniques
  • Decision making and Human Factors
4. Companion Rescue and Equipment
Student Prerequisites :
Students must be able to travel in avalanche terrain. There are no other prerequisites.

For more avalanche information go to the Wallowa Avalanche Center webpage at

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