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Trip Details

Date Thursday  12/7/2017
End Date Sunday  12/10/2017
Group Fort Collins
Event Title Lecture + field workshop on avalanche awareness & route selection
Start Time 7:00 PM
Status Complete
Leader Ward Whicker
Member Price Free
Non-member Price Free
Available Participants 5
Type Trip
Trip Type Snowshoe
Pace Casual
Classification Moderate BI
Trail Mileage 6
Elevation Gain 1600
Driving Distance 120


Lecture at 7:00 pm, December 7,  at Leader's home, 2954 Skimmerhorn St., Fort Collins.

Field trip Dec 10:  Meet in parking lot of Pringles Liquors on the NW corner of Taft Hill and Drake Roads in SW Fort Collins to form car pool.  Can also meet at Teds Place US 287 & CO-14 if more convenient.

Field trip will be in Upper Poudre Canyon near Cameron Pass.


For more info Contact

To register, contact Ward Whicker by email at <>.


This workshop is designed to help those engaged in wintertime backcountry snowshoe and nordic ski trips, or winter/spring climbs, to recognize and avoid potential avalanche terrain.  The workshop will consist of an evening discussion, trip planning, and an all day field trip.

The evening session is scheduled from 7:00-9:30 pm, Thursday December 7, at the leader's home in southwest Fort Collins.  This will consist of a slide lecture/discussion, use of internet resources to evaluate snow & expected weather conditions, and trip & route planning specific to the field trip.  Specific topics will include: 

  • About avalanches, especially in Colorado

  • Nature of the risks

  • Recognizing potential avalanche terrain, route selection & avoiding dangerous terrain

  • Causes, types & characteristics of avalanches

  • Factors affecting avalanche risk (slope, wind, terrain, temperature, cornices, tree density, human factors)

  • Internet resources for planning (Caltopo, CAIC ratings & snowfall data, NWS forecasts).

The all-day field trip will take place in the Cameron Pass area on Sunday, December 10.  The specific route will depend on snow and weather conditions, as well as the experience & skill level of the participants.  

The field trip travel can involve either snowshoes or skis (nordic or AT).  Whichever equipment is used, participants must be reasonably fit and able to handle deep, ungroomed snow and moderately steep terrain (up to 20 deg).  The trip is designed to help CMC trip leaders and participants that engage in snowshoe and nordic ski outings, or winter/spring climbers, learn to distinguish between avalanche terrain and non-avalanche terrain. The dividing line between these classifications is not always that obvious to those lacking formal training, and that line can vary somewhat depending on time of year and current weather and snow conditions.  Classroom lectures help, but actual experience in or near true avalanche terrain is more instructive.  A field trip planning exercise will preceed the actual trip, and the use of guides to assess avalanche risk that use CAIC rating, slope angle, and snowfall will be practiced. 

On the field trip we will observe actual avalanche terrain and adjacent terrain where avalanche risk is at or near zero. Wintertime hazards in addition to avalanches will be observed.  Estimation and measurement of slope angles will be practiced, and numerous examples of potentially risky (e.g. slopes, gullies, road cuts, cornices, etc.) and avalanche-free areas will be pointed out and discussed.  Clues as to what constitutes avalanche terrain versus non-avalanche terrain will be pointed out and discussed. We will finish at some of the parking areas at and near Cameron Pass to observe and discuss various avalanche paths that portray historic occurrances and which should be avoided.  


Note:  We will not actually enter avalanche terrain, but will be near potentially hazardous areas so they can be easily viewed and studied.  Avalanche rescue gear will not be needed on this trip.

Participants will be tasked with field trip planning exercises to help increase the safety of the group during the outing.

Logistical details will be sent to participants a few days ahead of the trip.

CMC leaders who offer snowshoe & nordic ski trips, or winter/spring climbs, will be given preference on the roster.