Southwest Rescue: Aaron Ball
Southwest Rescue

Aaron Ball

Aaron Ball is Southwest Rescue's owner and lead instructor. Aaron is a Rescue 3 International swiftwater rescue instructor, a Wilderness Medicine Training Center senior instructor, and an American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education Level One course leader.

With over ten years of experience in the outdoor industry, Aaron has worked as a whitewater river guide on rivers in California, Oregon, Utah, and Colorado; has served as a rock, river, and mountaineering instructor, course director and staff trainer for Outward Bound; has ski patrolled at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area; has guided rock climbing and back country skiing for Southwest Adventure Guides; and has taught as an adjunct faculty member for the adventure education programs at San Juan College and Fort Lewis College. Aaron has rafted rivers, backcountry skied, rock climbed, and ventured into many other wild places all over the western United States. He currently lives in the mountains outside of Durango, Colorado, with his family and is always out exploring the wonders of the area.






The Wilderness Medicine Training Center (WMTC)


The Wilderness Medicine Training Center provides unrivaled training for serious students of pre-hospital wilderness care and risk management. WMTC courses expertly meld decades of field experience and training with the latest research and technology. WMTC teaches according to the practice guidelines established by the Wilderness Medical Society and the National Association of EMS Physicians. WMTC certifications are accepted by Outward Bound, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), the American Camping Association, the Boy Scouts of America, and all state and federal guide licensing agencies.

WMTC Courses

WMTC courses are hands-on, intense, practical, and fun. Lectures teach how the body works, so students will understand why it doesn't. Students learn how to think in a medical emergency, and to utilize the most valuable tool a medical care provider has: their brain. The hands-on labs teach the treatment skills required to perform under challenging field situations.

WMTC Instructors

WMTC instructors are some of the finest in the world. They have been carefully selected from a field of high-quality applicants. They then undergo the toughest instructor training program in the business. Their lessons are backed by their extensive experience in the field as guides, trip leaders, and medical care providers. WMTC instructors are also highly skilled educators, adept at translating their knowledge into information students can understand and use. They ensure students learn the skills they need to make effective medical decisions in a wilderness environment.






Rescue 3 International


Rescue 3 International provides excellent courses in swiftwater rescue and technical rope rescue. Rescue 3 is known for providing dynamic curriculum, for constantly developing new and innovative rescue techniques, for improving on old techniques, and for working with manufacturers to develop equipment to meet rescuers needs. Rescue 3's curriculum meets the National Fire and Protection Agency's (NFPA) standard for Technical Water and Rope Rescue, known as NFPA 1670 and 1006.

Rescue 3 Courses

Providing students with practical, real world experience, Rescue 3 courses are intensive, active, and fun. Courses give students the skills and knowledge to keep them from becoming victims themselves, as well as safe and effective ways to perform rescues. Students will be engaged and energized by the hands on nature of the trainings and will leave prepared for swiftwater emergencies.

Rescue 3 Instructors

Rescue 3's instructors are professionals working in the disciplines they teach. They include paramedics, firefighters, law enforcement officers, Search and Rescue team members, as well as river guides and military personnel. While Rescue 3's instructors come from a wide variety of fields, they all share the same drive to save lives and teach others life saving techniques.





American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education


The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education’s mission is simple: “Save lives through avalanche education.” AIARE’s goals are to:

  • Increase the public awareness of avalanches and avalanche safety
  • Provide high quality avalanche education and thereby enhance public awareness and safety
  • Provide avalanche instructors with the curriculum, training and tools with which to educate students about the knowledge, methods, and decision making skills necessary to travel in avalanche terrain
  • Develop an international network of professional avalanche educators, and provide continued professional development in the form of instructor training and education.
AIARE adheres to the instructional guidelines established by the American Avalanche Association (AAA).

AIARE Courses

AIARE courses are designed to be a complete program of avalanche education. Within each course the lesson plans, student materials, and teaching aids are fully integrated. What you hear and see when an instructor delivers the content of a lesson plan in class or in the field is linked with what you take home when you leave.

Each course of the progression builds on knowledge and skills gained in the prerequisite course(s). The core curriculum for each course is established by:

  • Review and meet guidelines set by the American Avalanche Association
  • Comparison/alignment with other recognized programs, such as, the Canadian Avalanche Association's Recreational and Industry Training Programs.
  • Review and approval from the AIARE Technical Director who regularly discusses issues and ideas with course leaders, instructors, and course providers to develop, maintain, and upgrade curriculum.

AIARE Instructors

AIARE believes instructors need a combination of field experience, technical training, and teaching skills as well as ongoing upgrading in all of these areas. The organization feels it is important to include young, new instructors in the corps as well as the older experienced ones; this ensures that the instructor pool is constantly renewed, encourages the development of new ideas, and promotes growth in the program as a whole as well as in the individuals who teach the program. Instructors are required to meet specific personal qualifications and training prerequisites before being allowed access to AIARE course materials. Those who have the pre-requisites are required to meet specific requirements before qualifying for instructor status. The specific requirements increase as the level of the course an instructor wishes to teach goes up. In addition, course leader requirements are higher than instructor requirements.

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