Avalanche Rescue Course Interlaken: Expand your mountaineering skills

23 June, 2020 | Reccy Guide

The Swiss Alps are a haven for mountaineering enthusiasts. These snow-capped peaks draw individuals from across the world with boundless opportunities for hiking, ice climbing, trekking, or traversing via ferratas. Although there are many options for excitement and adventure, it’s crucial to be aware of the risks you may be undertaking while enjoying such activities. If you’re considering setting foot on the Alps, you would do well to make time for an avalanche rescue course.

Interlaken is considered the springboard for mountaineering activities in Central Switzerland; as such, there are several companies here that offer avalanche rescue training. Interlaken is part of the larger Jungfrau Region and lies a short train ride south of the three tallest peaks of the Bernese Alps: Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger. These three peaks, as well as some of the surrounding mountains and large glaciers, offer perfect retreats for skiing and climbing. When you book an avalanche safety course, you’ll be treated to a hands-on tour and class conducted within the region. Don your gloves and prepare for an interesting day out in the snow.

Avalanche Rescue Course Interlaken: lining up for the day’s activities

Most classes span two days to allow for easy absorption of the material. Though each company offers slightly different set-ups to their courses, there are several skillsets you will come away with, no matter who provides the information. First, you’ll learn about the science of snow and the dynamics of avalanches. Due to the shifting temperatures and heavy snowfall in the area during the winter months, the structure of snow itself can change rapidly. You’ll head outside and take a look at snow in various stages of compaction and melting in order to better understand how it behaves. 

Furthermore, you’ll be oriented to the Jungfrau region. If you book a ski tour from Interlaken as part of your course, you’ll travel around the region to see notable peaks and valleys that can help orient you. Your guide will also teach you how to correctly use a transceiver; these are used by individuals who have been buried under the snow to alert group members of their position with a radio signal. You will be instructed on how to minimize risk as an individual and as part of a travelling group to avoid precarious situations. Lastly, you’ll learn how to react quickly and smartly if you are caught in an avalanche. This part of the course includes safety and rescue training, as well as emergency measures to rely on if you become trapped under the snow.

Avalanche Rescue Course Interlaken

Those who intend to take full advantage of the winter activities that are abound in Interlaken will find enjoyment and education in equal measure with an avalanche rescue course. The course dates vary by company and the season, but such classes are usually available in the winter months, from November through March. Because these classes are conducted in groups, this in an excellent option for a group of friends, coworkers on a business trip, or for families with older children. Although there is no stated minimum age for an avalanche rescue course, it should be noted that most winter activities in the area are limited to individuals older than 12.

Once you and your travelling companions have brushed up your mountaineering know-how, there are endless opportunities for you to put those skills to use. Of course, there is the eternally popular option of skiing through the Alps themselves. You can book a guided ski tour or explore the region on your own. There are a multitude of cabins dotted throughout the Bernese Alps, which can only be reached on foot or by helicopter. It’s common for folks to spend a day or two on the mountain and retire to such a cabin in the evening. There you have the freedom to enjoy the snow-dampened silence that can only be found while nestled in a mountain hut, kilometers away from the nearest village.

Avalanche Rescue Course Interlaken: rescuers in action

If skiing isn’t your preferred sport, Interlaken also offers several other winter adventures. Consider completing a trek or hike across one of the many glaciers in the area. Just northeast of Interlaken lies the Aletsch Glacier, the largest in the Alps. There are also a multitude of options for snowshoeing along different paths that wind around the snowy mountains and charming Swiss villages. If you prefer sledding, you can join groups that descend on the less precarious mountainsides throughout the day and night.

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