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UPDATED: Avi Refresher and Companion Rescue Exercise

Sat, 2019-12-07
Michael Altherr
505 231-3561
Leader Email: 
Are dogs allowed?: 

Saturday Dec. 7

Los Alamos participants leaving from the LANB Parking Lot at 07:30. White Rock Participants departing the Y parking area at 07:45. Santa Fe participants meeting at the Northern New Mexico Campus parking area in Espanola at 08:00. 

Location: We will conduct this exercise up by Tierra Amarillo off Hwy 64 near the trailhead to the Brazos Overlook. The trailhead is a short distance from a small group of hills with elevation gains of 200-400' and slope angles of 25-40 deg. They have always looked like a fun bc skiing opportunity to me. So, we'll get a great opportunity to check them out.

Planned Activities:

  1. First and foremost, I would like to set up a couple of companion rescue exercises, where we bury 1-2 transceiver units and give everyone the opportunity to do single and multiple recoveries. If you'd like I can send you a copy of AIARE companion rescue checklist as a pre-read for you to review. I find it's useful for organizing one's thoughts in practicing the scenarios.
  2. Second, I'm interested in doing some snow profiling on a variety of different aspects and slope angles. Interestingly, these mounds provide the opportunity to look at snow structure from a variety of aspects and slope angles. I don't anticipate that everyone shares a similar interest, and if teams want to peel off and turn laps on the hills that's fine. 
  3. Third, I want to ski the mounds. In particular, there's a fairly sustained descent off the Eastern mound with a modest return that I would like to do to finish the day. Here's a set of coords (36°44'23.5"N 106°21'16.0"W) from that summit if you would like to look at the area.

Equipment: I will be checking out some of the club's equipment, so please let me know if you need anything from a standard avalanche kit - transceiver, probe and shovel, and I will get it for you.

If you are interested in participating, let me know by emailing me (, and let me if you have your own gear (transceiver, probe and shovel). Review your copy of 'Snow Sense', 'ABCs of Avalanche Safety', or other. Bring your near miss stories and a willingness to participate in setting and acting out transceiver searches. The number of participants will be limited to 12.


In the event of an injury, I plan to: 

Evaluate and provide immediate care for the victim. If necessary the team will work together to evacuate the patient. If the situation is beyond the ability of the group to manage, we will call 911 and the Conejos County Sheriff's Office at (719) 376-2196 to initiate a search and rescue mission.

The nearest hospital is: 

Pagosa Springs Medical Center is 50 Miles away. (970) 731-3700

Espanola Valley Hospital is 80 Miles away. (505) 753-7111

If conditions turn poor right before the event will start, we plan to:

we will cancel by phone and email.

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