31 votes
Accepted

What is the first thing to do, when buried in an avalanche?

The correct answer is to put your avalung mouthpiece in your mouth and inflate your airbag. If you don't have either of those things, then you are NOT properly equipped to be in avalanche terrain. ...
  • 53.2k
25 votes
Accepted

Do electronics interfere with avalanche beacons?

Yes it does, especially mobile phones. I attended an avalanche course last year. The guide did a very simple demonstration. He powered his avalanche beacon on "send" mode, and put it on his ...
  • 920
15 votes

Do electronics interfere with avalanche beacons?

I am the lead hardware engineer for Backcountry Access. Interference from personal electronic devices (PED) is very real, and it can range anywhere from minimal impact to severe. The reasons are a ...
14 votes

Is there a practical risk when wearing an avalanche beacon on your top layer?

Given that your avalanche beacon has the potential to be your partner's lifeline (or your own), it makes sense to protect it. Rocks, branches, skis, poles, ice tools, there's a lot that could ...
13 votes
Accepted

Measuring a dangerous snow slope

If you don't have a compass or other instruments, it is possible to measure the slope with your two (ski) poles solely. Just hold one pole vertically by using gravity and stick it into the snow. Hold ...
  • 12.1k
11 votes
Accepted

What are the measurements on this slope angle tool?

Source: John Baldwin: Slope Angles from Map Contours View this page for a refresher on how to do the maths to calculate slope on a topographic map.
  • 53.2k
11 votes

If you are buried in an avalanche will you survive?

Only 1 out of 10 survive Avalanches If you are completely buried in an avalanche the odds of survival are slim, unless you wear a transceiver (beacon), and you have partners that escaped the ...
  • 53.2k
9 votes
Accepted

What's the safest way to hike up a steep slope in deep snow?

Short answer: stay near the edges of a big concave slope, near trees or rocks that could stabilized the snow pack, or at least on a convex ridge where the snow should be less deep. Long answer: the ...
  • 1,780
8 votes

Measuring a dangerous snow slope

To put it simply, carry a compass with you that has a clinometer to measure a slope's angle, set one of your poles down on the slope and place the compass on top of the pole to get a solid reading. If ...
7 votes
Accepted

Are rolling snow pieces a sign of increased avalanche danger?

Yes, rolling snow when the temperatures warm can be a sign of an impending wet avalanche. Rolling balls, and point releases all indicate wet unstable snow. It is worth noting that direct sunlight ...
7 votes

How can I rescue someone lost in an avalanche?

In addition to Dangeranger's answer: If you as victim have climbing equipment or a rope, fasten it to your body (if not already fastened) and release your rope. It is very, very hard to find avalanche ...
7 votes

Quality/robustness of avalanche shovels

No there isn't. But it would be kinda nice if there was... A shovel is a shovel, they aren't a piece of fall protection or something that your life depends on. Someone elses life may depend on your ...
  • 53.2k
6 votes
Accepted

Quality/robustness of avalanche shovels

In this article in the bergundsteigen journal (unfortunately in German) the authors, one of whom is a known Swiss expert in the development of avalanche rescue systems and techniques, did a review of ...
6 votes

Quality/robustness of avalanche shovels

No, there doesn't seem to be any standard in place for avalanche shovels. Even though an avalanche shovel has to be depended on in a life or death situation, there are plenty of cheap ones out there ...
6 votes

Why are death percentages of death from trauma in an avalanche so different between USA, Europe, and Canada?

While it does not account for the difference between Canada and the USA, I'm pretty sure that one reason for the low numbers in Europe is that the latter has a lot of seasonal mountain pastures in ...
5 votes

Why are death percentages of death from trauma in an avalanche so different between USA, Europe, and Canada?

I don't have my copy of How to Survive in Avalanche Terrain in front of me, but one of the things that stood out to me relating to this is the wide variety of avalanche climates that exists not just ...
5 votes

Is there a practical risk when wearing an avalanche beacon on your top layer?

Beacons are tough. Tougher than you if you get thrown against a rock or a tree or buried under the snow. With that in mind, if things were so bad that there was any concern about my beacon being ...
4 votes
Accepted

Can a regular backpack be worn on top of an avalanche airbag vest?

The correct answer for sure is "it depends on the exact model" but that is quite useless ;) As far as I can see all the airbag vests deploy over your whole shoulder area. This is definitely not ...
  • 6,465
4 votes

How can I rescue someone lost in an avalanche?

The accepted answer gives good advice, which I will not repeat here. But although reading about what to do is much better than not knowing anything about what to do, reading is no substitute for ...
  • 22.6k
2 votes

Is there a practical risk when wearing an avalanche beacon on your top layer?

The biggest reason I've always believed that you wear your beacon next to your base layer is battery life. Cold is well known to reduce battery life. By keeping the beacon close to your body you r ...
  • 9,628
2 votes

Measuring a dangerous snow slope

You can use the common technique with the poles to measure the slope angle like discribed by @EverythingRightPlace. There is also a ski-pole-sticker that you can attach to your pole and then simply ...
  • 2,652
1 vote

Why are death percentages of death from trauma in an avalanche so different between USA, Europe, and Canada?

I wouldn't read too much into any avalanche statistic. While there may be plausible reasons behind the difference, the data sizes are just too small to make any reliable comparisons. Avalanches are ...

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