Month: December 2011

Weekly Friday Video: Santa and Rappelling… Oh no…

Maybe Santa should take a course at Colorado Mountain School before trying something like this.
If you would like to learn how to rappell… give us a call.  We’d love to teach you.


Colorado Mountain School
800-836-4008 x3

Posted by Aubrey Wingo in video, 0 comments

Weekly Friday Video Post: Proper Probing with BCA

This is the first weekend of the 2011/2012 season that CMS is offering the AIARE level 1 avalanche course.  It only seemed fitting that this week’s Friday video post be of something avalanche education related.  If you would like to learn more about avalanche education, we suggest you check out one of our AIARE Level 1 courses.
Stay safe out there.
Colorado Mountain School
800-836-4008 x3
Posted by Aubrey Wingo in video, 0 comments

Weekly Wednesday Blog Post: Tips to better enjoy your sub-zero outdoor pursuits

It’s been frigid on the Front Range this week. Highs in the mountains are in the single digits, with enough wind to freeze your skin before you know it.  I’m not complaining. Cold weather means light pow and more ice.

I was out Monday checking it out and thought a useful blog post would provide a few tips to better enjoy your sub-zero outdoor pursuits this winter.

1.     Hold What You’ve Got
It’s easier to stay warm than it is to get warm. On days like yesterday, my puffy jacket lives on top of my pack. When I stop for a rest or a snack, it’s the first thing to go on, along with a warm hat. You start to cool down as soon as you stop moving, so layer up and keep the heat in!
2.     Stoke the Furnace!
Cold calls for calories and hydration. Remember that proper hydration is essential to supplying fuel and energy to body parts to facilitate heat production. Once the cold weather rolls around, I replace one of my water bottles with a thermos of hot tea. Be careful with bladder systems, as they tend to freeze. I also eat higher calorie food in the winter. Time to ditch the lettuce and cucumber sandwich, it’s P.B. and Nutella season!
3.     Keep Your Digits Warm
Cold fingers are probably the most common problem while out on cold days. The screaming barfies are not a mandatory rite of passage. One mistake that I see occurs when people take their gloves off to complete a task. Dropping your gloves in the snow at your feet immediately makes them cold (see tip #1). Now you are stuck stuffing your hands in icy gloves. Whenever you take off your gloves, stuff them in your coat and keep the heat! Toes are more difficult as they are generally immobile in your boots. Proper fitting insulated boots and clean, dry socks are the ticket. Consider shake n’ warm heaters if you have trouble with circulation.
There you have it. Three tips for staying warm and enjoying your days out this season. Now as far as finding the best snow and ice, I can’t tell you, but I can show you. Give us a call when you’re ready to get the goods. Have fun out there and hope to work with you soon!
Take care,
Mike Soucy
CMS Guide
800-836-4008 x3
Posted by Aubrey Wingo in Blog Post, 0 comments

Weekly Monday Gear Review: Backcountry Access Alp 40

Guiding is a profession that requires a myriad of equipment for various applications while holding up against years of abuse.  I am no exception, and when it comes to packs I am not only abusive but picky as well.  Finding a pack that will do the job it’s designed for is not an easy task, but I think I have nailed it with the Backcountry Access Alp 40 liter.

I used this pack almost exclusively ski touring for the 2010/2011 winter.  The Alp 40 has a number of features I think are great.  Most importantly, it carries well.  The pack comes with ample shoulder and hip padding so your torso stays comfortable on that 7000ft Alaskan tour.  The pockets on the hip belt are perfect for storing a compass, a snack, and chapstick for quick easy access.  The pack also features back panel zippered access so you can grab your puffy coat that you accidently buried at the bottom of your pack when the mercury starts dropping.
Let’s talk professional features.  The Alp 40 comes with a Velcro side pocket to conveniently store your avalanche probe and shovel handle as well as an external zippered pocket to store your shovel blade.  The pack lid is removable to make it lower profile and comes with a helmet fly.  BCA made the pack capable of carrying skis diagonally as well as A-frame style so you have options when booting couloirs in the spring.  The side compression straps can be linked together to carry a snowboard or snowshoes if you aren’t on skis.  The Alp 40 also comes with BCA’s patented freeze-proof hydration system that accommodates a bladder or wide-mouth water bottle.
All in all, this is a great pack for recreational and professional use.  I look forward to another winter in my BCA Alp 40 and will be my go to for my upcoming American Mountain Guides Association Ski Mountaineering Guides Exam.
Eric Whewell
CMS Senior Guide
AMGA Certified Rock & Alpine Guide
Posted by Aubrey Wingo in Gear Review, 0 comments