The online module consists of 6 hours of course work which covers all of the classroom components to prepare students for the field. Upon completion of the online module, students are prepared to take the 2 day field module
Avalanche Basics & Characteristics
- Avalanche types; Unstable snowpack conditions. • Size classification of avalanches. Incident statistics. • Terms common to: avalanches, terrain & snow. • Avalanche motion: glide, turbulence, speed- dry vs. wet • Identify Avalanche Problems (conditions, formation, characteristics).
- Critical slope angles. Terrain features, shape, size. • Role of slope aspect and elevation to sun and wind. • Identify avalanche start zones, tracks, and run-outs • Critical terrain: traps, convexities, triggering. Snowpack and Weather • Mountain snowpack development: storms, intervals. Weather events leading to formation of strong and weak layers. Basic snowpack development/change. • Snow Climates; by region and within range-mountain location. Information Gathering • Access and understand information from the Avalanche Advisory. North American Avalanche Danger Scale. • Use of terrain/danger rose.
Planning, Communication & Decision-making
- Terrain, Snowpack, Weather discussion for trip planning • Use information to plan & prepare for field. Use of Maps/technology. • Human Factors. Managing Risk. • Use of decision tools, check lists, contingencies, emergency plans. Communication. • Application of Plan to Field. Tour group decision making prior to travel; safe travel for conditions. Relevant observations & objectives. • End of day review. Observations and reflections with group. Making Relevant Observations • Field observations: Critical Red Flag Obs.; Recognizing & prioritizing • Pairing appropriate observations with current avalanche problems and conditions • Use of avalanche & snow pit tools: inclinometer, compass, probe, saw, shovel, and thermometer. • Snowpack tests: snow pits: ID layers (hand hardness), basic grain types (strong & weak layers). Field identifying the Avalanche Problem. • Informal snowpack tests while traveling
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