Monday, August 24, 2015

How BAMRU Weekend Warriors Build Their Mountain Sense

by Chris Kantarjiev

Most of BAMRU's trainings are big - 15-20 students and associated
instructors converge on an area and concentrate on sharpening skills in
a very focused and structured way. But another key part of our training
is the "Small Alpine Training Series", in which teams of 4-8 people
spend a weekend in high alpine terrain, practicing a wide range of
skills in the backcountry in a more unstructured way - but one that is
more like what we expect to experience on a backcountry search.


These are typically organized by a Trainee in concert with one of our
full Members; the Trainee is responsible for proposing the agenda,
recruiting attendees, acquiring the permit, planning the route and
activities, and managing logistics. Everyone on the team takes part in
the planning and execution - figuring out what skills to practice (or
get signoffs in), sharing gear, planning for food and water, and
managing comms, medical, navigation, and any required technical gear.


Unlike our regular training schedule, the Small Alpine schedule ebbs and
flows through the year as people's availability does. On a recent
weekend, we had two! One team visited the Yosemite backcountry,
executing a technical ascent of Starr King and an overnight bushwack.
The other team visited the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness, practicing map and
compass navigation off trail through dense woods while covering a good
bit of ground and the non-technical Three Sisters peak.


These small trainings give us a chance to better know our teammates and
how they operate in a small team and in the backcountry, as well as
swapping gear ideas and BAMRU lore.