Last weekend, Yamnuska Guide Pat Delaney delivered his first Avalanche Canada AST Level 1 Course for Waterfall Ice Climbing. As an ace ice climber and experienced Alpine Guide, Pat has worked tirelessly throughout the past few weeks to develop a comprehensive and valuable ice climbing avalanche course. The core content is the same as our regular AST 1 course but Pat has customized this course to give ice climbers more skills to identify, avoid and manage avalanche terrain.
Given his reputation in the ice climbing community, Pat was approached by several climbers looking for avalanche training. Ice climbers do not always have the luxury of ‘feeling’ the snowpack and doing stability tests along the way like skiers do. Much of the hazard lies overhead often in basins and gullies that the climber doesn’t ever get to feel. Inversions, sun affect and ice falls are very real considerations for climbers. A small slough that wouldn’t knock over a skier could be deadly for an ice climber. The length of exposure in avalanche terrain is also a major factor in the decision making process and Pat does a fantastic job of educating climbers to use available information as well as their own observations to make smarter and more informed decisions.
In our blog post, The Importance of Avalanche Awareness When Ice Climbing, Yamnuska’s Dave Stark talks about the need for carrying companion rescue equipment when ice climbing in avalanche terrain. Thanks to Pat’s course, we feel this is one more important step to educating ice climbers about avalanche risk in their climbing venues. Some of this weekend’s course participants had already completed the skier AST 1 course but felt the information in this particular course would be very beneficial.
Given the success of this weekend’s program, ice climbers can expect to see more AST 1 courses for them. Thank you Pat for developing this very valuable and informative skills training course.