"If your wife drives you to drink, have her drive you to Abe's."

-Bumpersticker seen in Arroyo Seco. Great place.


On Feb 7, 2012, at 9:47 PM, "Mark P. Renson" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

I barely made it on time after I screwed up my alarm clock and got onto the highway without shaving and grooming - I ultimately did that in the parking lot at Smuggs.  I had to meet the other instructors - Les the Cochran's PD and Chuck the Himalayan climber - for our annual Level 1 Avalanche at Smuggs.  We had to resort to using a cramped conference room where the tables were packed in a U formation but with no space in between the opposite sides.  This actually made for some very good bonding and a great classroom session.  The students actually had fun taking turns making the coffee which was all but in arm’s length of everyone. We agreed that we want to do this physical layout again.
Our class was very strong - b/c skiers, 2 Certified Patrol candidates, an FDNY paramedic/high angle rescue specialist and some professional guides as well as a group of 4 from New York who are planning on ascending Denali this May (they just got bag form bagging Whitney via the Mountaineers Route).  Additionally, a couple from New Jersey who did very well in the MTR-1 Jonathan and I instructed last October http://mtr1.blogspot.com/2011/06/welcome.html were present.
So, Friday's class lasted well past 6PM which makes for a long day.  Snow outside the class was very sparse.  The next day we had a short classroom session where I pretty much dissed the ppt presentation for “Trip Planning” and conducted a Guides Meeting, instead, based on the AIARE manual and such sessions I have experienced in Canada, Wyoming and New England.  I think this went over very well in many ways and I want to push this format more.  Our couple from New Jersey winter camped at the top of the notch in preparation for the MTR-2 on Mousilauke (sp?) and provided valuable info on the weather there.  After that, we headed for the Notch trailhead on Route 108 and on the way up, whaddya' know, some Smuggs magic happened with 10cm new and much depper snow.  Our strong group stormed up to the top of the Notch where an HS of 100cm was had with multiple crust layers.  It was too agonizingly strenuous to do a rutschblock, hence I postponed it and let someone else demo it on Sunday.  I dug lotsa' pits though and I was able to find facets around the crusts and lecture on that as well as the storm layer (15cm of new over a few days). The class smoked the rescue scenario and then assisted us in breaking down the classroom later on.  After dinner in inner city Jeffersonville, getting to sleep was very easy as these days are very demanding to instruct!
Sunday morning, I found 1-2mm surface hoar on some snow on my truck parked at the Deer Run ............. right next to Robbies Wildlife Refuge which I have yet to go into but appears to be to Smuggs/Jeffersonville as Abe's is to Taos/Arroyo Seco NM.  Linda, a certified Smuggs patroller back from Utah joined us and was able to provide valuable instructing inputs including finding a graupel layer per her observations at home the prior week which formed a waek interface between the storm snow and crust.  After taking our free ski run (first hour at Smuggs is free) on Sterling, we headed to Sterling Pond for more training.  We found 4-6mm surface hoar which everyone was able to drool over by viewing through my macroscope.  This was all a good snow education - the students know what melt-freeze looks like, graupel layers, storm interfaces, faceting around crusts and surface hoar!  We gave them a tough rescue scenario which they completed and we ascended via Black Snake, providing encouragement to a novice skier (one of the ones going to Denali) and having great fun.  We advised that the Smuggs Parking Lot #1 was rated as the second best tailgating scene in the country and many students maintained that reputation!
I grabbed something to eat at the Cupboard in downtown Jeffersonville (highly recommended with it's many different homemade wraps and cookies) and plunked some deposits in the collection bin out front set up by Boy Scout Troop #39 before heading back to Massachusetts via Route 15 - Google Maps sez' Route 15 to I-93 is actually the quickest way and I knew it would be a nice change of pace from the usual I-89 Shuffle.
Mark P. Renson
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