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advice for a backcountry newbie?

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advice for a backcountry newbie?

Postby SolarAlex » Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:22 am

so this is my 2nd season in co, and im thinking id like to start exploring the backcountry...i was going to start with loveland pass and berthoud pass, since those are relatively high traffic areas in case something goes wrong. I know the gear that i should have (probe, beacon, shovel), i guess what im looking for is advice about conditions. I plan on taking an avalanche 1 class to get some knowledge before i go out, just hoping to get some information from all the experienced people here. snowboarders especially

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Re: advice for a backcountry newbie?

Postby ajkagy » Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:19 am

SolarAlex wrote:so this is my 2nd season in co, and im thinking id like to start exploring the backcountry...i was going to start with loveland pass and berthoud pass, since those are relatively high traffic areas in case something goes wrong. I know the gear that i should have (probe, beacon, shovel), i guess what im looking for is advice about conditions. I plan on taking an avalanche 1 class to get some knowledge before i go out, just hoping to get some information from all the experienced people here. snowboarders especially


high traffic areas does not mean you're any safer...i've seen several people set off avys in high traffic areas at berthoud.

1. know how to use your shovel/beacon/probe...lots of practice, the beacon park at abasin or any of the ski areas will help with practice.
2. Find a good partner you knows a lot more than you and who will teach you along the way
3. Get some days out on the snow to get used to your AT/split board setup and all your gear before you take avy level 1. This will make the class more enjoyable and you'll understand a lot more.

avalanche conditions change day to day and hour to hour and vary by season as well...everything you'll learn about in level 1.
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Re: advice for a backcountry newbie?

Postby Cruiser » Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:41 am

Read Snow Sense to get yourself started. Head up to Berthoud on a weekend and ask around in the lot if anyone wants to do some early season beacon practice. It'll help you to get more comfortable with your gear and may also yield some safety minded touring partners. Start small and don't be afraid to ask questions.

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Re: advice for a backcountry newbie?

Postby Cruiser » Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:49 am

Here's the same shot but pulled back a bit to show the rest of the terrain below that slide. To ajkagy's point this area receives a ton of skier traffic since it's so easy to access.

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Re: advice for a backcountry newbie?

Postby metalmountain » Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:55 am

North Face has aseries of videos that have a good amount of information in them. It is pretty base level stuff, but its a good watch. Plus there are some pretty cool shots in the videos. Here is the first one:

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Re: advice for a backcountry newbie?

Postby skiwall » Fri Oct 28, 2011 8:04 am

Cruiser wrote:Read Snow Sense to get yourself started.


I bought this book at the REI in SLC last night for $1.83. That's right. Less than $2. AWESOME. I bought it for a friend who wants to get into the backcountry as well. :D
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Re: advice for a backcountry newbie?

Postby SolarAlex » Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:28 pm

snow sense, gonna grab it the next time i go to rei.

does anyone have any info on loveland pass?

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Re: advice for a backcountry newbie?

Postby Cruiser » Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:17 pm

Loveland Pass = $h!t show

Several years ago I sent (what I later learned was called) Idiot's Cornice on a deep day after a big storm. I was solo that day. Mine were the only tracks for hundreds of yards in either direction. It was a shockingly good run. I think about that run a lot during the winter. About looking at my lonely tracks from the road. About the face shots. About why no one else had hit it that day...
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Re: advice for a backcountry newbie?

Postby ajkagy » Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:38 pm

Cruiser wrote:Loveland Pass = $h!t show


berthoud is pretty much the same way now. I remember some of the best runs i've ever had there were night laps after storms when i lived near Boulder. Easy to get away from the crowds too
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