To conclude our mechanized backcountry down guiding days we stayed inbounds and built snow anchors and managed lowers with Mike Poborsky. This was a great day since we tried a variety of lowering techniques using us snowboarders as guinea pigs. Since we are turned sideways the pull of the rope on the harness can be awkward, it torsionally rotates the riders at the tie in. So we rigged an equalized tether to the uphill side of the rider, then we practiced being lowered regular or switch in other words tip up hill or tip downhill. Even though we were lowering on a rutted and difficult slope the 3 splitters (Tom , Frank, and Jere) had the opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of each technique. While it's still debatable I believe an equalized tether with the splitboard tip uphill, switch lower, worked the best.
After recuperating with a day working on technical skills, including sled construction, lowers and load transfers we finished early to take care of any last minute details before the long awaited multi-day yurt based tour. The course itinerary and progression worked great as we transitioned from mechanized guiding, then touring, and eventually multi-day hut based access. The next day we met in Victor Idaho, drove up to the trailhead, and headed up to the Baldy Mountain Yurt.
The next morning Gordo and Ullr kept spirits high with powder stoke and delivered a fresh foot of snow. The two groups set off up the wandering ridge line, peering for positive visibility and condition assessments. After traveling through snow blowing meadows near tree line we descended back to the yurt, snacked, then headed off to some low angle hot lap glory. The remainder of the day consisted of storm snow analysis, collecting data, gaining feedback, and the occasional hoot and holler that echoed off trees as ear to ear grins blasted through repeated face shots.
As stewards it is our responsibility to demonstrate what sustainability, conservation, and land use is. It is up to us to exemplify this message to our clients, to other groups, and to land managers so that we express the absolute value of hiring an AMGA trained and certified mountain guide. Of course as AMGA trained guides and instructors we have technical skills and interpersonal skills, some better than others. But we also have a responsibility to positively influence the public about the impact and value of our actions while connecting with the landscape we travel through.