Spring Mountaineering and Climbing Avalanche Course
Check our current discounts for a chance to save 50% or so on this course! We are posting discount codes, if you know the current one you can enter it here for a large discount.
You can keep up with news about the Avalanche Center and Avalanche Institute, including this course, by joining our email list. (We also post on Facebook but you will only see that if Facebook decides to show it to you. As an unfunded non-profit we rarely pay them to do that so our distribution there is limited.)
About the Spring Avalanche Course
This course is shorter than our full Level 1 course and is tailored specifically for spring mountaineering. Much of it is also applicable to spring ski tours and ski mountaineering. For a full comparison see this page.
Every year there are serious mountaineering avalanche accidents in spring, mostly from mid-May through June. In the Pacific Northwest there is actually a secondary maximum in fatalities at this time due to the popularity of climbing during this season.
In this course we focus on spring conditions and planning. We do not explicitly discuss avalanche terrain since the assumption is that climbers will be planning a trip which is clearly in such terrain. Spring incidents mostly or entirely occur on obvious avalanche slopes. [The introduction module does comment on terrain, but there is no dedicated module.]
We also do not feel that field work is necessary for this course. The terrain (route) choice generally needs to be made at home, alpine starts in the dark are common, and snowpits and stability tests are rarely useful. In fact they take up time which is precious on many routes.
Since climbers choose their route in advance, spend extended time periods ascending steep slopes, and typically have few of any escape routes or alternatives good planning is of the essence. Seasonal weather and snow conditions need to be understood and anticipated, the team and the route need to be compatible, and timing needs to be considered. This course focuses on these things.
The description page (with its module sub-pages) describes the course in unprecedented detail. There are 7 online modules. (This includes 2 which also constitute the Safe Travel and Self Rescue short course.)
Each module has its own description page in full detail, and the objectives for each module are easily viewed in pop-up boxes. The module pages cover the content of each individual module completely - how many other courses can do that and promise it will all be covered without compromise or trade-offs due to time constraints or inappropriate weather during their field time? You can also find the objectives for each module by clicking on the box in the flow chart.
If you still have questions you can use our contact form.
This page has a bit of feedback about our courses from our students. The description page for each module has feedback specific to that module as well.
Frequently Asked Questions about this specific course. Everything you might want to ask should be here. If it isn't then contact us so we can add it.
On this page you can register for the course. You can always register and begin as soon as you wish, but we also have "classes" (groups) which will begin at a certain time and follow a schedule. Be sure to log in as an avalanche center member for a significant discount. We also offer special rates to groups. Use our contact form to be put contacted when another scheduled class is available or to inquire about a group. And follow us on Facebook.