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What Avalanche Class Is Right For You?

Utah Mountain Adventures offers the full spectrum of recreational avalanche classes. Avalanche courses are for ANYONE, regardless of method of travel, who want to recreate or work in or near avalanche terrain (snowshoers, ice climbers, mountaineers, backcountry skiers & boarders, forest service employees etc.)

US Avalanche Education officially starts with an 8-12 hour Avalanche Awareness or Skills Class, generally including an evening lecture and 1 day in the field. No previous experience or snow travel skills are required. Learn the essential of snow pits, rescue and safe travel before your first tour. Use brand-new touring gear or a pair of snowshoes to get around in the snow.

Avalanche Rescue can be taken before, or as a refresher after a Level 1. Snow travelers should refresh rescue skills regularly. Focus is on making a save: finding and digging out a buried companion, who’s wearing a beacon, in a timely manner. Rescue Class is required in conjunction with Rec Level 2 in order …
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Recreational vs. Professional Avalanche Education Track

US Avalanche Education is now divided into two tracks at the upper levels: Professional and Recreational. Everyone is encouraged to start with an 8-12 hour Avalanche Awareness or Skills class. A one-day Companion Avalanche Rescue training session is the next step, and/or a 24-hour Level 1. After the general Level 1 for all, the Pro and Rec tracks diverge. UMA has chosen to focus primarily on Recreational snow travelers, including backcountry skiers and snowboarders, snowshoers, mountaineers and ice climbers.
The Pro-Rec Split began in 2017-18, and aims to deliver better, more focused courses to each user group. The previous structure wasn’t serving everyone as well as it could. Recreational backcountry users have different needs from professionals, and having courses for both audiences meant everyone had to compromise in what they were learning. 
Pros include ski patrollers, avalanche forecasters and mountain guides. Their next class after Level 1 is the 5-day Pro Level 1. Recreationist…

A Mid-Summer Dream

The Lisa Cottonwood Traverse By Lead Guide Tyson Bradley 
Ten minutes after leaving the trailhead we start climbing. Water-polished granite in a steep-sided gorge requires our full attention. Scanning for hand and footholds with headlamps, our bodies and minds must wake up, although it’s only 4 am! Most big mountain scrambles require a long, boring slog up a trail before the fun begins, but not Lisa Falls. It’s one of the many great attributes that sets this class 4 scramble route at the top of my Wasatch summer fun list.  It’s also cool and shady here, and we’re wearing extra layers, in spite of a forecast high of 100 in SLC. An hour into the odyssey the friction moves on smooth, white granite gets even more committing. To avoid the beautiful pour-offs along the watercourse, we must climb up and right, away from the creek and stem up a flaring chimney feature. Pulling out of it onto easier ground I traverse back left then up again, catching a glimpse of the stream, now 100’ below.

I’d r…

Beat the Heat: A Guide's Secrets to Climbing in the Wasatch at the Height of Summer

Beat the Heat Where to climb this summer in order to stay cool by UMA guide Alex LemieuxRock climbing in the Wasatch on a hot summer day can be a treacherous endeavor if you don’t choose your venue wisely. Between rattlesnake encounters, greasing-off a polished handhold while sweat is running into your eyes or simply trying to stay hydrated, climbing in the heat is just no fun. When the temperatures rise, otherwise do-able routes can suddenly feel like an impossible task. Put the odds in your favor, and consider these tips in order to stay cool throughout the summer. While you may already be familiar with some of these suggested Wasatch summer climbing areas, hopefully this will help you expand your hot weather climbing “repertoire”…Happy climbing! Photo: Alex taking advantage of some cloudiness on S-Curve Overhang, 5.11c, Big Cottonwood Canyon. Credit Lane Peters Stick to The Shade I always try to consider the aspect of a wall depending on the season. When I have an entire day to cli…

Superior Chute Skiing

Despite the meager snowpack this past season, there was still some exciting skiing and climbing to be done on Mt. Superior, one of America's 50 Classic Ski Lines. On Jan. 5, we climbed and skied Suicide Chute, then continued up the knife-eged South Ridge with skis on the back. We finished by dropping the "W" or "Pinball" Chute, another East-Facing couloir. It required 2 small "mandatory airs" and a bit of creative route-finding. But, all in all, a fine day on the mountainside. Crampons recommended for the lowest portion of Suicide Chute, aka, Country Lane.
Paul gets it done in the well-travelled, but smooth-skiing Suicide Chute. The Knife-edge section of the South Ridge. Note the quality snow in Couloirs below.
This old goat had no harem, but seemed to be living out his years alone and happy.

The final slab crux before topping out on the "Sharks Fin" where the Quartzite ends, and Slate/Shale friable rock leads to the summit. The first few tur…

Early Season Powder Turns

Thanksgiving Weekend in the Wasatch is usually a good time to tour, despite the 30" snowpack and warm, dry weather. We headed into Silver Fork and were pleasantly surprised by some high quality turns.
Beacon Check...All Good
Snowpit...No Slab = safe...for now
Rip the skins and...
Rip the Pow
See you at the next Island of Safety!
One good run deserves another...Back up through the Aspen Forest we go.
This shot looks fresh, and the snow is soft...hmmm

What better way to enjoy the Autumn sun?

Than by working off some Turkey and shredding the meadows!


The South Ridge of Mt. Superior, 11,050', is a classic, mixed alpine route. It starts with a low-angle "apron" leading to a 45-degree Couloir. This connects to the knife-edged rock and snow "arete." After a spectacular summit the route descends the easier East Ridge.
Crunch, crunch, crunch...up the solid spring snow of Suicide Chute. Zigging back and forth with cross-over steps we move efficiently keeping the feet flat and crampon points in the snow. This "French Technique" propels us far up the Couloir in the early morning hours. Sherman keeps his Ice Axe pick facing forward as he belays himself for security on the firm, steep slope.
Ahhh...Sunrise...and we're nearing the col. The snow climbing is just about over.
Keeping the crampons on for the occasional snow step, we find the points work fine even on dry Quartzite. Using the rope for added security we employ "running and fixed belays" on the more difficult and exposed sections.