AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Course Itinerary


For most of our course offerings, classroom sessions are held on two consecutive evenings from 6pm-9pm at Alpine Ascents International in Seattle. This schedule is reflected below.

For our two holiday weekend course offerings, the classroom session is combined into one full Saturday at Alpine Ascents International in Seattle. 

Thursday Night

Class will start with a course introduction and overview of avalanche education. The instructor team will review key concepts from the online learning materials and discuss avalanche types, characteristics, and problems.  After a short break, instructors will demonstrate the equipment they commonly carry in the backcountry. We will end the evening learning about mountain weather and the formation of mountain snowpack.

Friday Night

Instructors will review the previous night’s lessons and answer any questions. Topics covered this evening include avalanche terrain and human factors, recognizing avalanche terrain, and traveling wisely in the backcountry. We will orient ourselves to the local avalanche forecast center website. Instructors will outline the meeting time, location, and preparation for the following field days.


Field sessions will run from 8am-5pm in the backcountry. You should arrive with everything on the gear list, prepared to spend full days in the field. Bring lunch, high energy snacks, and two full water bottles. During the Friday evening classroom session, your instructor will clearly outline the meeting time and location.  Carpooling is encouraged.

For courses at Mount Rainier: Between November 1 and May 1, all vehicles in Mount Rainier National Park are required to carry tire chains. This requirement applies to all vehicle types in all weather and road conditions. You can read more about the chain requirement here.

Saturday – 8am-5pm

The instructor team will lead a discussion analyzing the avalanche forecast and how to apply it to the tour plan for the day. In the field, participants will become familiar with observing avalanche factors, techniques of avalanche rescue, snowpack profile practice (digging pits), and traveling safely in the backcountry.

Sunday – 8am-5pm

We will review the avalanche forecast and create detailed tour plans for backcountry travel. During the day participants will travel in small groups refining lessons learned from the previous days while traveling in the backcountry.

The Vinson expedition was top notch on all dimensions and met or exceeded my high expectations. My son Will and I enjoyed every minute. It was a memorable and moving experience on multiple fronts; one for a lifetime.

Photo courtesy of Ruby Mountain Heli-Ski
Photo courtesy of Ruby Mountain Heli-Ski


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Alpine Ascents International is an authorized mountain guide service of Denali National Park and Preserve and Mount Rainier National Park.
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