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HSP Winter Problem Solver AAR – TD1

I attended the Haley Strategic Partners Winter Problem Solver course in Telluride, Colorado from March 31st through April 4th. This was my first time attending a mountaineering/survival course.

It was a bright, sunny, early morning when we all met up at the Haley Strategic Partners headquarters for Training Day 1. The day started with an opportunity for introductions, as we all stood in a circle and one-by-one we gave our name, occupation, goals for the class, and one thing we were good at. Students came mostly from all over the States, with one student hailing from Canada. It was great to hear all the various occupations people held (doctor, arborist, software programmer, writer…) and that a few of the students were taking a class like this for the first time, myself included. This also gave us an opportunity to meet our instructors, two Search and Rescue personnel/Sheriff’s Deputies in addition to our host, Travis Haley.

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We then stripped our rucks and went over every item to insure we were properly equipped for the class. We were also issued a logo’d Klean Kanteen and Moira fixed blade knife (more on these later) as well as additional class items and equipment as needed. After this, we repacked our rucks and stored them for the next day. The calass was also introduced to our beacons and completed a simple exercise to make sure they were functioning properly; this involved us sweeping for a signal at the far end of Travis’ yard that one of the SAR personnel had with them.

We stepped out for lunch, and upon our return convened to Travis’ office which was filled with, among other things, memorabilia from his military service. It’s here that we viewed a video presentation on avalanches. This was followed by a PowerPoint on weather identification and a PowerPoint on avalanches, headed by Travis and one of the SAR personnel respectively.

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As a final exercise for the day we drove out to the hill above the classroom which we climbed as a group. Once at the top, we did a lap around the perimeter of the summit; both exercises served as a test of our general endurance for the trip ahead. Despite being acclimated to the environment, I didn’t find myself ahead of the rest of the group when it came to ascending or running. When we descended, Travis, instead of marching down with the rest of us, decided to paraglide down; the below picture doesn’t do the act justice.

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With the exercise done, we returned to HSP for our final briefing of the day, followed by returning to our respective hotels in wait for TD2.

Stay tuned for a continuation of the HSP Winter Problem Solver AAR.

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