The hand shear test is an easy snowpack test that can be done to evaluate the bonding between layers in the top 40cm of the snowpack. It can be done very quickly while traveling uphill or downhill, making it a very efficient way to gain information about snow stability. At Peak Mountain Guides we are big fans of this test for assessing near-surface instabilities around storm snow or wind slabs.
In the last week Guides Matt Wade and Angela Hawse have put on several avalanche awareness clinics for local community organizations including the Ouray Mountain Rescue Team (OMRT) and the Montose Mountain User Group (MUG). Both events provided an introduction to avalanche awareness that was specific to the group’s needs.
We had a very successful Level 2 Avalanche Course last week with Cory, Cullen, JP, Craig, Roger, and Jon. We spent most of our time on advanced topics such as multiple burial companion rescue; techniques for recording snow, weather, and avalanche observations; proper execution of full and test profiles; and effective use of observations for appropriate terrain selection and decision making. The full days and constant flow of information made it a powerhouse course for everyone.