Thompson Rivers University

Iain Stewart-Patterson

Name: Dr Iain Stewart-Patterson
Position: Senior Lecturer
Phone: 250 828-5184


Iain has been teaching in the Adventure Studies Department since 1992 and has been involved in Adventure Education since 1979. He is one of the very few fully certified international mountain guides (IFMGA) who has also completed a PhD. He has worked for a variety of adventure organizations including: Coast Range Heliskiing, Canadian Mountain Holidays, Mike Wiegele Heliskiing, Northern Escape Heliskiing and Yamnuska Adventures. He spent ten years working for Outward Bound Western Canada. His current research interests focus on: Recognition-Primed Decision Making and the development and acceleration of decision expertise.

Research Interests

The Role of Intuition in the Decision Process of Canadian Ski Guides
Measuring decision expertise
Avalanche education for snowmobilers
Localized dynamic loading of the snowpack
Belay methods for competition climbing
Ice Screw Strength
Decision-making in the Mountain Environment
Shock loading in belay anchor partial failure


PhD University of Edinburgh, Scotland
MEd (Curriculum and Instruction) University of Calgary
BPE (major Outdoor Pursuits) University of Calgary


Stewart-Patterson, I., The Impact of Commercial Snowmobile Guiding on Local Communities Chapter 6, Winter tourism Trends and Challenges, Eds. Probstl-Haider, U., Richins, H. and Turk, S., CABI (2019) ISBN-10: 1786395207 (2019)
Stewart-Patterson, I., Summer Mountaineering Leader Manual, Alpine Club of Canada, Canmore AB (2019)
Stewart-Patterson, I., Localized Dynamic Loading in Advanced Snowmobile Manoeuvers, The Avalanche Review, Vol 37, Issue 3, February (2019)
Stewart-Patterson, I., Exner, T. & Hanke, J., Localized dynamic loading in extreme snowmobile manoeuvers, Proceedings of the International Snow Science Workshop, Innsbruck Austria (2018).
Ledet, P. & Stewart-Patterson, I., Ottalie's Adventure Facilitating an ascent of Mt Albert Edward with a high school outdoor ed class and their classmate with Cerebral Palsy. ACMG News Winter (2017)
Stewart-Patterson, I. Measuring decision expertise in commercial ski guiding in a more meaningful way. Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism (2016),
Stewart-Patterson, I., Avoiding the Illusion of Validity #nothingbadhappened, The Avalanche Review, Vol. 34, No. 4 April 2016
Stewart-Patterson, I., & Hanke, J., Re-thinking the avalanche education curriculum for snowmobilers. Proceedings of the International Snow Science Workshop, Breckenridge, CO (2016).
Stewart-Patterson, I, & Hanke, J., Analysis of 40 years of snowmobiler fatalities 1976-2016. Proceedings of the International Snow Science Workshop, Breckenridge, CO (2016).
Gale, K., Atkins, D., Stewart-Patterson, I., Zweifel, B., Tremper, B., Fischoff, B., Jenkins, M., Jones, R., Keebler, J., Rahman, M., WongParodi, G., Borsuk, M., Osman, M., Sanfey, A., Dervin, B., Roberts, K., Carlson, E., Laney, M., Perez, K., & Barr, T., A Proposed Paradigm for Advancing Human Factors Research: Linking Behavioral and Avalanche Scientific Disciplines. Proceedings of the International Snow Science Workshop, Breckenridge, CO (2016).
Duncan, A. & Stewart-Patterson, I., Mountain snowmobilers in the absence of a daily public avalanche forecast. Proceedings of the International Snow Science Workshop, Breckenridge, CO (2016).
Stewart-Patterson, I., Decision Making Strategies in Avalanche Terrain, Proceedings of the Nordic Conference on Avalanches and Outdoors, Trondheim, Norway (2015)
Stewart-Patterson, I., Human factors in avalanche decision-making, Proceedings of the Nordic Conference on Avalanches and Outdoors, Trondheim, Norway (2015)
Stewart-Patterson, I., The development of ski guide decision expertise, Proceedings of the International Snow Science Workshop, Banff, AB. (2014)
Stewart-Patterson, I., The Infoex via Satellite Phone, Canadian Avalanche Association Newsletter, Spring 2012
Stewart-Patterson, I., Intuition in Expert Decision-Making, The Avalanche Review, Vol. 29, No. 4, April 2011
Stewart-Patterson, I., The Role of Intuition in Ski Guide Decision Making, Proceedings of the International Snow Science Workshop, Squaw Valley, CA. (2010)
Stewart-Patterson, I., Research into The Human Side of Decision Making, ACMG News, June 2007
Stewart-Patterson, I., Developing Good Decisions, The Avalanche Review, Winter 2005
Heshka, J. & Stewart-Patterson, I. Holding Strength of Ice Screws vs. Placement Angle, Association for Outdoor Recreation and Education, 8. (2004)
Stewart-Patterson, I., Is the process of experiential learning (outside the classroom) practical in higher education settings? YES, Controversial Issues in Adventure Education, Eds. Potter and Wurdinger, (1999

Employment History

2013-present Senior Lecturer / Coordinator Rock Program
2006-2013 Assistant Professor / Coordinator Climbing Programs
2007 Tenure granted
2002-2006 Lecturer / Coordinator Mountain Programs 1997-2002 Lecturer/ Adventure Diploma Program Coordinator 1992-1997 Lecturer

Courses Taught

Adventure Capstone
Adventure Sport and Tourism
Culture of Adventure
Contemporary Perspectives in Adventure
Field Research
Guiding Leadership
Expedition Planning and leadership
Instructional Skills Workshop
Rock Climbing
Ice Climbing
Avalanche Safety
Ski Touring

Professional Affiliations

Association of Canadian Mountain Guides: Full Mountain Guide (International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations designation IFMGA/UIAGM); Professional member; Instructor/Examiner
Canadian Avalanche Association: Professional member; Applied Avalanche Risk management Level 3; Course Leader Avalanche Safety Level 1
Wilderness Medical Associates: Wilderness First Responder
Trainer Development Workshop TRU
Facilitator Development Workshop Douglas College


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