This past Sunday, Aspen Expeditions AIARE instructors led a tour up the Express Creek valley out of Ashcroft with a group of 4 AIARE Level 1 students for a day of touring and exploring the snowpack. The tour planning started the night before with students planning out the tour with the help of maps and the instructors guidance. Planning is a big aspect of organizing a successful and safe tour. It allows the group to plan accordingly for group dynamics, goals, turnaround times, group gear planning, and logistics.
With the tour plan dialed, the group met up at the Express Creek trailhead parking, loaded up, did a beacon check, and headed into the wilderness for the day. Touring up past Green Mountain and into the basin east of Brown Mountain the group was able to stick to their plan and find low angle terrain to gain elevation and eventually lead to their destination point. From here the group conducted a series of full snowpit tests using both the extend column test and compression test. Results were as expected with shears in the moderate range but fully propagating on low angle slopes which signifies instability. Overall it was a beautiful day for a tour.
If you are interested in a Level 1 or Level 2 AIARE course we have courses starting almost weekly. Give us a ring at 970-925-7625 to inquire and get out in the backcountry and see how it all works.