Class Syllabus and Agenda

Please check back in October for updated information about the 2019 class.

Evening Presentations:
Evening presentations will be held upstairs at Prospect Congregational United Church, 1919 E Prospect Street, Seattle, WA 98112, in Capitol Hill.

Weekends 1 and 4 are two-day events.  Weekends 2 and 3 are day trips, however students must keep both Saturday and Sunday free because the choice of day will depend on weather and snow conditions.  The decision on which day we go will be made late in the preceding week.   

Textbooks (provided as part of class fee):
  • Backcountry Skiing: Skills for Ski Touring and Ski Mountaineering, Martin Volken, Scott Schell, and Margaret Wheeler
  • Avalanche Essentials: A step-by-step system for safety and survival, Bruce Tremper
For the dates for this year's class, please see the official calendar. Or see the agenda listed at the bottom of this page.

Name of Event  Time  Description Location Reading / Packing list
 Meet and Greet  Students:
 7:30 - 9:00 PM
 Instructors:  arrive by 6:30 PM
 Textbook pickup, course overview, meet instructors and   fellow students

Capitol HillNone 
 Presentation 1  7:00-9:00 PM Avalanches 101
 (Pro Presenter)
ChurchReq'd: Volken, "Avalanche 101" pp 87-105 
Recommended: Tremper, Chapters 2 & 3
 Presentation 2  7:00-9:00 PM Forecasts and Observations
 (Pro Presenter)
ChurchReq'd: Volken, "Observations and Awareness" pp 120-129
Recommended: Tremper, Chapter 4
 Weekend 1 
8:00 AM -
5:00 PM 
each day
 Lectures and field exercises covering avalanche companion rescue, snow shelters, and map and compass skills.  Stay overnight at the cabin.WAC Cabin 
Snoqualmie Pass
Recommended: Tremper, Chapters 6 & 7
Packing List (subject to change)
 Presentation 3  7:00-9:00 PM Trip Planning and Decision-Making
 (Pro Presenter)
ChurchReq'd: Volken, "Tour planning" and "Human Factors and Group Dynamics", pp 83-87, 106-120
Recommended: Tremper, Chapters 1 & 9
 Weekend 2 
"Day Tour"
8:00 AM - 
5:00 PM 
one day
 Day trips:  Teamwork, terrain choice, trip planning,  navigation, observations.Mountains, TBDReq'd: Volken, "Uphill Movement", "Transitions", "Downhill Skiing Techniques" pp 140-185, 236-241.  Recommended: Tremper, Chapter 5
Packing List (subject to change)
 Presentation 4  7:00-9:00 PM Winter Camping, Human Factors
 (WAC Presenters)
ChurchReq'd: Volken,  "Taking Care of Yourself and the Mountains" pp 248-258
Case Study TBD
 Weekend 3 
"Day Tour"
8:00 AM - 
5:00 PM 
one day
 More day trips:  Teamwork, terrain choice, trip planning, navigation, observations.Mountains, TBDRe-read previous weekend's assignment as needed
Packing List (subject to change)
 Break Week   Break around President's Day, see calendar  
 Presentation 5  7:00-9:00 PM Trip Planning and Navigation, Post-graduation Ideas
(WAC Presenters)
 Weekend 4A 
8:00 AM Sat -
9:00 PM Sun
 Overnight snow camping and day tours.Mountains, TBDPacking List (subject to change)
 Weekend 4B 
 ^ Backup weekend (in case of severe weather or high avalanche danger for previous weekends). ^ ^

Agenda / This Year's Dates:

WAC Backcountry Class