October 23, 2014
Winter 2013 - 2014


Learn How To:
Analyze Snow Stability
Many experienced and skilled people get caught in avalanches.  The best way to be sure you are basing your decisions on natural factors rather than human factors is to follow a systematic, accepted and repeatable snow stability evaluation process.
Watch a video clip on identifying red flags

Identify Red Flags
Learn what clues in the backcountry can indicate increased avalanche danger.

Dig A Pit
We should all dig snow pits and perform stability tests along with making observations and indentifying Red Flags.  Occasionally there will be no easily recognizable Red Flags yet the snow pack may still be unstable; that is why your backcountry protocol should always include frequently digging snow pits and performing snow stability tests.
Compression Test
Dig a snow pit in a representative location and conducting a stability test. Join backcountry experts for a first hand look at snow stability tests.
Watch how to do a compression test

 

Extended Column Test 
After digging a pit, another good test is the ECT.  This tests both the initiation and propagation of a crack in a weak layer.
 

Rustchblock Test
tests a larger area than the compression or tap test and it may provide more accurate results.
Watch how to do a Rustchblock test
Take the guess work out of traveling in avalanche country
Learn How To:
Watch a video clip on how to do a beacon search Perform A Beacon Search
If you're partner gets buried in an avalanche, you have a 90% chance of finding him or her alive if you recover them within 15 minutes. To find them quickly, you need to become proficient with an avalanche beacon and carry a shovel and probe.  And if you are a victim, your chances are much better if you wear a helmet and have either an Avalung or an Air Bag System.

Conduct A Rescue
An avalanche rescue can be terrifying. The  best way to avoid panic during an actual rescue is to practice realistic scenarios beforehand.

Probing and Digging
Once you locate the buried person, you need to pinpoint their location in the snow with a probe and begin digging.  Digging someone out of hard avalanche debris can be exhausting and time consuming.

Survive The Night
Rescuing your partner from an avalanche may just be the beginning of an epic; it may be getting dark, it may be storming, your partner may be injured.  How are your partner and you going to survive the night?
 
Watch a video clip on tool tips
Tools
You should carry the following items when you go into the backcountry...