Kent Scheler, Lead Guide for Teton Gravity Research, The North Face athletes Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, Ian McIntosh, Xavier de la Rue, Jimmy Chin, and Dale Atkins, President of the American Avalanche Association, provide insight on how to how to push the limits in the backcountry without exceeding your boundaries. This episode focuses on an introduction to avalanche safety and backcountry gear.
This is not a replacement for formal avalanche training. If you plan to go out the backcountry you must make sure that you have the necessary skills and equipment to make the right decisions
Avalanches are generally formed in certain conditions, this makes them reasonably predictable. In simple terms avalanches happen when two layers of snow do not bond properly meaning that when a trigger action occurs the top slab simply slides down creating avalanche. This trigger could be anything from you riding down, to a cornice, to the sun.
Avalanches should be, as with all aspects in the mountains, respected greatly. If you have any doubt about the safety of a route you are taking, you should always turn back. “Live to ride another day”.
There’s lots of equipment you should take with you into the backcountry, the minimum equipment you should take and what it does is listed below.
Basic Avalanche Equipment
- The Transceiver(or beacon). This device allows you to locate another person in an avalanche.
- Probe. This is so that you can probe down to more accurately find the person once you have found their rough position with the transceiver.
- Shovel. And this is to dig them out.
- Helmet. Always a good idea.
This is just some of the equipment that you can take with you there other things like Avalungs which can further help. All this equipment is useless unless you know how to use it, therefore you should create scenarios in safe grounds, like the resort, to practice your skills so that if the worst happens you know exactly what to do and how to use the equipment effectively and efficiently. To make sure you practice loads.
Of course technology does sometimes fail so you should test equipment before every time you go out, and you should have the skills to go to read the terrain and the snowpack and make decisions to the hoaxes never have to use this equipment.
Remember! This is only a small snippet of information and is not a replacement for formal avalanche training. If you plan to go out the backcountry you must make sure that you have the necessary skills and equipment to make the right decisions