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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-19-2013, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
koi
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San Juan Mountain Guide - anybody ever use them??

So I want to get into backcountry this year, but realize I don't have backcountry experience or avy experience so I am looking at a course. Theclymb.com has a 3-Day Level 1 Avalanche Course for $400 and I was curious if anyone has used the San Juan Mountain Guides before or heard some info on them?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-20-2013, 06:53 AM
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Koi, I'll look into them for you. $400 for a level I though? That sounds like the standard rate to me. Maybe even a tad bit more. Are they using snowcats or some sort of transportation.

FOBP has two guide companies that we consult with, partly because they are recognized nationally as some of the best in the field. In the San Juans Silverton Avalanche School is top notch. For more front range operations Alpine World Ascents is world class. AWA has a permit to teach on Berthoud Pass. So in addition to learning your level I, you would learn some of the layout of Bert which would be a local area for you.

There are of course several guide services who are top notch in the state. San Juan Mountain Guides may be one of them. Usually the San Juan outfitters are.

Monarch Pass is really fun too. Been a couple of seasons since I've gone down there. That spot is a easy drive from the springs in comparison to going to the more popular front range areas. After you do your L1, we'll have to do a tour around there and I can show you the ins and outs of that pass. Bert is always on for me too. There are other spots of course.

Last edited by killclimbz; 09-21-2013 at 09:26 AM.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-20-2013, 07:04 AM
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Okay so I have heard of SJMG's, and the have a solid rep. I didn't look at instructors but they are AAIRE which is step one. Also they do a 3 day L1 out of the Opus hut. Ummm fuck yeah. Is that what course this is? That would make sense to me. Regardless, pretty solid choice from what I see. I'll do a little more digging but they look good so far.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-20-2013, 07:52 AM
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Well, it's not the Opus hut. Not sure where I got that. Looks like they use Artist Cabin or Mountain Belle on Red Mountain or Aladdin's Lamp on Molas. Was able to find the offer on the Clymb and it is the Hut based L1. This is a great way to do your L1. Talk about total immersion.

My only advice is that I would try to get on one of the trips that are on Red Mountain. The January dates are fairly ideal. Should be enough snow to make it interesting and it will give you plenty of season in front of you to apply what you have learned in the field. You could gamble with the December dates, but it could be really thin and not that great.

Molass Pass for bc riding is limited from what I have seen and not that great. From talking with the guides at SAS it didn't sound like Molass was their main spot. It was Red. Molass seems to be more like a snowmobile zone from what I saw. Not to say it wouldn't have the goods but I'd research that hut more.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-20-2013, 08:40 AM
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Might want to find out how much touring is involved before comitting to something like this. Only saying since you said you have no bc experience. We had a couple bail from a class after only a couple hundred yards because the had never used a split before. The group was willing to help but they just left.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-20-2013, 08:52 AM
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Good point.

Most L1's around here don't involve a whole lot of hiking. 400 vertical climbed would be a lot actually. I know the stuff around the Artist Cabin and Mountain Belle are literally a few hundred feet from the highway and you just walk out the back door to get into your field terrain. That said, you should have a splitboard and be willing to put in decent tours. It'll help you get some turns in.

L2's bump up the touring factor quite a bit. We did about 1k vertical each day we went out in that class. Allowed for some fun turns and great field observations.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-20-2013, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot for the info...

I haven't used a split before, this is my cherry-popping year for it, and I want the avy stuff complete before I start heading up anywhere. Having said that, I hope I could get a little farther than a couple hundred yards, that seams like weak sauce to me.

Def going to look into the AWA, something closer to my geography is a plus.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-20-2013, 10:45 PM
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Some ski areas allow skinning in bounds, crested butter does maybe others in you area. If its steep enough to ride its steep enough to slide, but there are lots of flat places just to wonder around with the skis on your feet. Wouldn't be a bad idea.

SHRED HAPPENS
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-21-2013, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walove View Post
If its steep enough to ride its steep enough to slide, but there are lots of flat places just to wonder around with the skis on your feet. Wouldn't be a bad idea.
I got an internet lashing from someone who just wanted to nit pick for that adage. Kind of funny actually. All the old goats say it. And it is accurate.

Get your gear koi. I can take you out around Bert. It is a good place to cut your teeth and get turns. Well if it snows in time. I have a feeling it will. We can do some beacon training, basic protocols and safe tours. No L1, but some hands on for you in terrain that is pretty safe.

Plus there are some quirks with splitting you want to learn. First off switch your skis when in split mode right board half left foot. That one gets a lot of people. Everything is little but it makes a difference.

Last edited by killclimbz; 09-21-2013 at 09:28 AM.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-22-2013, 01:52 AM Thread Starter
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any particular binding for your splits you guys like? I have a bigger foot (size 13) and was curious if you guys use your normal bindings or split specific?
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