AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course

One Day Avalanche Rescue Program

Avalanche rescue skills are an absolute must for all individuals recreating on snow in the mountains.  This one-day Avalanche Rescue Course is specifically designed to help educate backcountry users on how to respond if you or your partners are caught in an avalanche.   Whether you are new to backcountry travel or are a seasoned veteran, this course is for you.

Avalanche rescue, like all skills, must be refreshed and diligently practiced. AIARE recommends that all backcountry travelers keep their skills fresh by taking an Avalanche Rescue course and at least every other year.  If this is your first avalanche education course, you will learn the basics of companion rescue and a broad overview of the avalanche phenomenon.   If it’s been a few years since you last took a course, you can expect to improve your avalanche rescue skills and expand your tool kit with more advanced topics.  Grab your favorite backcountry buddy and make sure you are both dialed and ready for the flakes to fly this winter.

Avalanche Rescue Course objectives

This course has been successfully used for educating skiers, snowboarders, split-boarders, snowshoe travelers, climbers, and mountaineers around the world on how to travel safely in the backcountry.

The course will cover:

  • Basic overview of avalanches
  • Avalanche rescue principles
  • Avalanche safety equipment
  • Techniques for executing a backcountry avalanche rescue
  • Companion rescue process

Students will come away with the tools to:

  • Describe what to do if they or a member of their party is caught in an avalanche
  • Identify and be able to use gear necessary for avalanche rescue.
  • Set up a realistic scenario in order to practice an avalanche rescue response.
  • Improve their response skills and times during and after the course with feedback from instructors and peers.
  • Develop a plan for continued practice

Prerequisites –  There are no prerequisites for this course. If you are traveling on a ski touring or split board setup, it is helpful if you are familiar with how to use the equipment and have practiced prior to the course.

Alpine Ascents and AIARE – American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education

Alpine Ascents is proud to partner with The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) to provide avalanche education courses. AIARE is a nonprofit established in 1998 specializing in the development of an avalanche education curriculum. AIARE’s mission is to save lives through education for recreationalists and professionals. Our instructors are certified by AIARE to teach avalanche rescue courses.

1 Day Avalanche Rescue Program FAQS

Please note you will be mailed specific information for your climb upon registration. The following is to serve as a helpful guideline.

How do I reserve a space for a Avalanche Rescue Course?

The best way to reserve space on a program is to call our offices and place the deposit on a VISA/MC/AMEX. Our climbs and courses fill quickly on a first-come, first-served basis, and registering over the phone is the best way to ensure reserving the climb dates you want. You may also submit an application by mail with a check, money order or credit card number.

What do I need to bring?

When you sign up for a course we will send you a confirmation package that includes an equipment list detailing each piece of equipment you will need. Please read your equipment list very carefully. You are required to bring every item on the list so be as precise as possible when packing. Alpine Ascents rents quality technical equipment at reasonable rates. If you have any equipment-related questions please call us (206-378-1927). You can also email us at: [email protected] We have a full-time gear expert on staff.

Do I need chains for my vehicle?

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.  Weather in the park is notoriously quick to change, and sudden storms can appear with little or no warning.

Tire chains are available for rent at:

Whittaker Mountaineering
30027 State Route 706 E
Ashford, WA 98304
(360) 569-2142

You can read more about the Mount Rainier National Park Tire Chain Requirement here.

For courses at Mount Baker, Snoqualmie Pass, and Steven’s Pass, chains / all weather tires are encouraged but not required.

Where do I pick up my rental gear for the climb?

You can either pick up your rental equipment from our Seattle office during business hours or your instructors can bring your rental equipment directly to the course venue.

Where is a good, trustworthy store to purchase gear?

We run our own retail climbing shop and online gear store, where all Alpine Ascents climbers receive a discount and can receive personalized advice from our gear experts.

What kind of physical condition should I be in?

You should be in good physical condition for this course.

We highly recommend checking with your physician before embarking on strenuous physical activity. We reserve the right to turn away those climbers who we determine to be in inadequate physical condition.

What kind of experience do I need to participate in Avalanche Rescue Course?

No previous backcountry ski touring / splitboarding experience is required. This course is designed for aspiring backcountry travelers in good physical condition or as a refresher course for those with prior experience.  If you are new to backcountry touring, it is helpful if you have practiced with your set-up prior to the course.

Is food provided on my course?

You are responsible for your own food during the course. Students typically bring a bag/box lunch, two liters of water, and several high energy snacks.

How many students/guides are there per class?

This course has a maximum 6:1 student to instructor ratio.

Reading List

This is a highly recommended shortlist and we would be happy to pass on a longer reading list for those interested. These links will bounce to with reviews.

Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain
Bruce Tremper, Mountaineers Books
The Avalanche Handbook
Peter Schaerer and David McClung, Mountaineers Books
Snow Sense
Jill Fredston and Doug Fesler

Course was phenomenally organized and executed. I felt that the lectures, experience, and hands on coaching made me a better, smarter, and safer climber. The 8 day course builds a phenomenal foundation for those beginning their alpine careers.

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

AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course BLOG

  • The Importance of Avalanche Education

    Submission by Trevor Husted  The memory is vivid, it started with a hollow thump that turned into a heavy roar. The sound dissipated as quickly as it started and when our group of backcountry splitboarders arrived at the ridge we looked over to the next slope and saw that the whole slope of snow had […]

  • Backcountry Tour Planning Webinar & Trip Planning Tools

    When conditions are prime for winter backcountry adventure, it’s easy to get caught up in the stoke and overlook essential pre-trip preparation in a rush to get on the skin track. In this webinar, guide and backcountry powder chaser, Elias Zane Holt, lays out how to plan a successful and safe trip into the mountains, […]

  • Learning to Lead: Taking the Next Step with SheJumps AIARE 2

    by Alicia Mau As we made our way up the steep, northeast facing slope it became increasingly more difficult to sidehill. The wind scoured snow morphed into ice and my gloved fingers gripped my poles a bit tighter with every slip of my ski edge. We hoped switching to bootpacking would get us the rest […]

Partners & Accreditations

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