Avalanche Safety

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Outside Insight | A Life of Adventure Education: An interview with Ken Wylie

A massive avalanche buried thirteen climbers below La Traviata peak near Revelstoke, British Columbia in 2003, killing seven in its wake. It made international headlines. Ken Wylie was among those buried; he escaped with guilt weighing heavily on his conscience, as he was one of the mountain guides responsible for decision-making on that trip. Ken wrote a popular book titled, Buried, about his experience surviving that avalanche, and the soul-searching life lessons which ensued. I have been learning from Ken for almost twenty years - starting at Outward Bound, then at the Wilderness Risk Management Conference, and most recently as a speaker at our Mountaineers Leadership Conference in 2017, where he gave a profoundly moving presentation about leadership, loss, and the healing that comes from courageous vulnerability. I sat down with him to learn more from his experience. Read more…

Ten Commandments for Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain

The trick to staying alive in avalanche terrain is to stay away from dangerous conditions. Here are Bruce Tremper's "10 Commandments of Low-Risk Travel". The following is excerpted from the new  Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, 3rd Edition and has been edited for space. Read more…

Lessons Learned – Spring Avalanche on Colchuck NBC

With the recent stint of sun and warm spring conditions has come the annual cycle of wet avalanches in the Cascades. Mountaineers Sherrie Trecker and Nicole Cederblom were on a private climb and shared this close call with us. The two were roping up to begin an attempt on the North Buttress Couloir route on Colchuck Peak on May 24, 2018, when the lower half of their descent route was consumed in a massive wet avalanche. Read more…

Know Before You Go: Avalanche Danger

I feel this is an important topic, especially in light of all the recent avalanche tragedies. Right now, we're transitioning from winter to spring, and the changing weather can increase avalanche risks.  Read more…

Risk Assessment with Josh Cole, North Cascades Mountain Guide

Josh and I first met when we worked together at the Northwest Outward Bound School, and I’ve always been struck by his creativity, analytical skills, approach to teaching, and sense of humor. Josh has a rare ability to champion and role-model the highest values and expectations as an outdoor educator/guide — one of many attributes that make him such an inspiring professional colleague. Read more…

A step Ahead of Avalanches

On December 29, 2002, a party of seven mountaineers were involved in an avalanche accident in Cement Basin near Crystal Mountain. While skiing, they triggered a slide that buried one and partially buried three. One person was killed and another sustained a broken leg.  Read more…

Emergency Contacts: The Most Important People

Three years ago, my friend Loren died in a skiing accident. A huge February storm rolled through the Pacific Northwest, and a bunch of us took extra days off to go skiing. He and a friend were skiing Crystal in-bounds on a Wednesday when Loren fell into a tree well. He suffocated before he could be rescued. Read more…

Gear Review: Small Avalanche Beacons

My first avalanche transceiver was the original Ortovox S1, which sported 3 antennas, a slick grid search, and looked like a transponder from Star Trek. Considering flip phones were just on the way out and Myspace was still relevant it didn’t seem out of place. Read more…

How To: When To Put On Crampons

Crampons are an indispensable tool for any alpine mountaineer. But sometimes it's not so "cut-and-dry" as to when you should use them. Read more…

How to: Purchasing a stove

Purchasing a new stove can be a confusing process. There is a wide range of information on the web, and most manufacturers include a lot of different test numbers. It isn’t always clear what these numbers mean or how they’ll impact real-world performance. In this article I explain which numbers you need to know and which you don’t. Read more…