30

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. If you get caught in an avalanche when you are not properly equipped, then the best you can do is 'swim' like crazy to try and keep yourself afloat, and then ...


25

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 backpack over the snow surface. All participants walked away from his beacon in a straight line with their own beacons in "search" mode. We all marked in the snow the ...


23

First - Assess the situation and determine if an active rescue is possible and safe. Many would-be rescuers are caught or killed in follow up avalanches because they acted without assessing the surrounding conditions. Assuming you have equipment to assist in the rescue follow the guidelines below. Yell to alert your partners and other people that may be ...


14

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 little complicated to understand, but basically the worst case is if the PED emits a signal at or very close to 457kHz, which is the beacon frequency. LED ...


14

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 potentially damage this important piece of equipment before you even enter avalanche terrain. In the event of an avalanche, it's not just the pressure of snow on ...


13

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 the other one horizontally until it reaches the slope with one end and the first pole with the other end. Now you check the height in which the poles contact ...


12

This is an extremely deep topic which has entire forum sites dedicated to it. However I will attempt to summarize the key points for the average enthusiast. First - Don't ever travel into uncontrolled avalanche terrain if you have not received proper training from an expert in avalanche conditions, triggers, mitigation, and rescue. It's stupid, seriously ...


11

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.


11

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 avalanche who have the right gear (beacon receivers, probes, and shovels) as well as the experience from practicing with them to save you. Statistics show that the ...


9

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 trail that fractured is probably incidental. The sunlight was probably compacting & lubricating the snow all day, and if that guy hadn't triggered the ...


9

To expand a bit on the good answer already given: Slope - 25-45 degrees is a good broad suggestion, but your region of the country will have a big impact on this. Maritime snow is wetter and stickier, so tends to be most dangerous at steeper angles. Transitional and Continental snow is less wet, so has a most dangerous slope range on the lower end of the ...


8

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 you spend enough time in one area you'll start to become familiar enough with the terrain to remember roughly what the angles are and which routes are the best....


7

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 leads to a rapid temperature increase especially on southerly and westerly slopes even when the air (shade) temperature stays below zero. THE 5 RED FLAGS OF ...


7

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 shovel, in which case it is important to ensure that the shovel you carry will preform when you need it to, but you'll have to use your own judgment when ...


6

Two other answers have given methods for measuring this on-site. The trouble is that there's a lot of behavioral and sociological research showing that this doesn't really work. Once you get to the location where the activity is planned, you'll tend to go ahead anyway because you feel committed, and because there is a strong psychological need to show other ...


6

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 victims, some are not even found after hours of searching. The chance that at least some part of 30 m rope will be over the surface and therefore allows ...


6

In Banff you'll find Bow Summit is the go to beginner place. Parks has a great avalanche terrain map that shows you where to avoid, it's best to stay in the trees. Don't forget to check out the Parks Canada Avalanche Bulletin. Other good beginner spots include Boom Lake, which has a nice 3km tree switchback (real fun to come back down on) that opens up ...


6

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 a bunch of avalanche shovels. As they do not cite any norms that these shovels must comply to but comment that some manufacturers seemingly don't even test ...


6

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 that would snap in half shoveling well-packed snow. Try to avoid buying one online, and avoid buying any that have questionable customer reviews. If you can, ...


5

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 damaged in an avalanche I would certainly be more worried about whether I could survive the impact. Clothing is not going to provide much shielding against the sort ...


5

25-45 degrees of slope. If you can avoid this, you'll avoid most avalanches. New snow or newly wind-loaded snow. Unstable snow that collapses under your feet with a "whump". Pillowy or wavy looking snow. Recognize an avalanche chute -- an area with missing trees, messed up snow, etc.


5

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 from country to country but from mountain to mountain. You've got intermountain, continental, and maritime avalanche climates all with their own habits and ...


4

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 active use, so livestock grazing keeps many slopes completely free of trees: In fact, the word "Alps" for Europe's main mountain range is related to the words for ...


4

Basically the answer to your question is no, unless you're in very specific areas doing very specific activities. US wilderness areas are much bigger, much less accessible, and much less populated and developed than the Alps. You can get information, but it typically won't be very informative about specific places at specific times. Here in California, the ...


3

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 hands-on training. I thus add this answer for the record: if you are travelling in an area where avalanches are a known danger, take an avalanche training course! ...


2

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 beacon will function longer and may even have a stronger signal because the batteries aren't fighting the cold. I don't know how much of a difference this makes ...


2

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 read the angle with a single pole (found on this website). There are also several smart phone apps for your smart phone to measure the angle of a slope. These ...


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