I attended the annual 2017 AMN refresher in September (17th/18th) at the “Winding Trails Camp” in Farmington CT. This event is typically held in Northfield MA (Cross Country Ski Area) alternating with other regions within the Eastern Division. Due to a conflicting event, the course was relocated to “Winding Trails camp”, a private summer camp and cross-country ski area. The location was convenient for most participants from the NSP Eastern Division located just outside of Hartford CT.

The NSP Eastern Division AMN (Avalanche, MTR, and Nordic/Backcountry) annual refresher is open to TE’s, IT’s and anyone interested in becoming involved in the program. The refresher was well attended. The focus of this year’s event was “Navigation skills.” This is a perishable skill, and we all benefited from “getting the cobwebs out”. The consensus among participants by the end of the formal refresher day was that this skill should involve “year- round” practice. Additionally, the emphasis on “keeping up with rapid changing” technology is important particularly with electronic devices including GPS Units (Global Positioning Systems).

The second day of the 2017 AMN event was optional. This MTR-E (enhancement) included a “Ropes course” with an emphasis on Low Angle Rescue.   The IOR for this course was Dave Childs, IOR from Western Mass (Mount Greylock, PD). This elective course was well attended and took place within the grounds of the Winding Trails camp. The morning session focused primarily on basic mountaineering knots and building “bomb proof” anchors. While the latter half of the day focused on Low Angle Rescue including both lowering and raising systems, and a “keep it simple” learning approach to a 3:1 (Z-drag) system. We worked well as a team, and by the end of the day the consensus among participants was, once again,  that setting up LAR systems is a “perishable skill” which should include year-round practice! Additionally, we all discovered a new way of tying a mountaineering knot and looking at both anchor and LAR systems. The instructors allowed participants to “think outside the box” in approaching these rescue systems. We had ample time to practice, coach each other, and  ask questions.

Dana Gray Participant MTR TE and Dave Childs IOR reviewing anchor systems

Dana Gray Participant MTR TE demonstrating an anchor

Mark Renson Instructor setting up an anchor system

The MTR program/Avalanche and Nordic/Backcountry program in the NH region is active and always looking for both participants and potential instructors. We will be holding a LEVEL one MTR course # E264170034 November 18/19 at Abenaki Ski area, Wolfeboro NH. You can find this program description on the NH Region and Eastern Division Calendars. Please consider joining us either as a participant or instructor! We try to host a Level 2 MTR course every other year (2018 Tentative dates pending which can be found on the NH region Calendar).  Finally, for those looking for a challenging backcountry experience, consider participating in the 2018 MTR NSP Eastern Division MTR Challenge. This  “second annual” one-day event involves a TEAM competition drawing together MTR skills (knots, fire starting, low angle rescue systems, shelter building, navigation, search and rescue to name a few) in a BACK Country ski area setting.   The first annual MTR Challenge (2016) at Mount Greylock, MA was a success and well attended despite a “limited snow year.” Please look for this event on the Eastern Division Web page soon!

If you have additional questions about the MTR, Avalanche, or Nordic/Backcountry program, please contact Craig Garland, the MTR NH Region Advisor.

See you in the Back Country!