Renee and I took a fantastic snow skills course in the southern San Juans of Colorado which covered how to travel over snow in the mountains, how to use an ice ax, and much more. It was taught by Stacy Boone of Step Outdoors- who is a mentor for us, and also taught us a Leave No Trace Trainer Course a few years ago.
|Heading up to 11,000 feet, ice ax on my pack. Photo by Stacy.|
We started with techniques to navigate and travel over snow. I liked learning the cross step, duck walk, and kick step because they focused me to think about my form- making my kick steps level, keeping my balance, using my core muscles, and softly shifting my weight- so I didn’t have time to be scared of falling down the slope.
|Postholing is when you sink down into the snow. Photo by Stacy.|
|Resting near the summit. (I was too excited so I ran around taking photos.)|
|Estimate the slope to see if there is a greater risk for avalanche.|
|Renee practicing self arrest. Photo by Stacy.|
|Mitigating our risk while crossing through tree wells by spreading out. Photo by Stacy.|
|Happy in the snow.|
There are snow courses available many places, but I was really happy to take this course with Stacy- she is an excellent teacher and mentor. She also showed great flexibility in adding additional lessons on other topics that we wanted to cover including foot care and blister kits, planning for water in So. Cal, and Leave No Trace practices for the desert and for mountaineering. She spent hours discussing nutrition and going over my menus and resupply plans for the PCT. She was supportive of my particular backpacking style and goals (i.e. no-cook meals, hammocking, and lighterweight philosophy), while also providing guidance and balanced perspectives. Things like “you always want better food than everyone else.” Her husband, Greg Boone (also a Triple Crowner) added to the discussions- having the two of them talk about their experiences, answering my endless questions, and offering advice was just priceless!
|Near the top.|