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Go Pro of avalanche rescue

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
post #2 of 29

That run went from "Whoo Hoo" to "Oh Shit", really quickly!

post #3 of 29
Ski with friends!
post #4 of 29

Good use of ski pole.

I miss the easy releasing 490 bindings.

Good thing he was not skiing alone.

post #5 of 29
Interesting video, thanks for the link:

No beacons? Maybe, but I guess they weren't needed this time.

No gloves? Ouch.

Only one shovel? Good thing it wasn't with the buried person.

Pro tips for rescue shoveling:
http://www.backcountryaccess.com/2009/11/11/bca-video-training-series-part-3-strategic-shoveling/
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
I was afraid he was going to rip the guy's face with the shovel. But maybe he could tell from noise where his friend's head was.
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I was afraid he was going to rip the guy's face with the shovel. But maybe he could tell from noise where his friend's head was.

I guess his friend was also lucky that the rescuer wasn't standing on his friend's head.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I was afraid he was going to rip the guy's face with the shovel. But maybe he could tell from noise where his friend's head was.

 

hehe - I was afraid the rescuer would let his friend suffocate because he was afraid to rip his face off and actually dig.

post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post


No beacons? Maybe, but I guess they weren't needed this time.

 

 

I saw the interview of the survivor. He's wearing a beacon. But none of his friend had any they can use to locate him! 

 

He was aware of that fact as he waited.

 

He count himself lucky that he could get his pole above the surface. 

post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

No beacons? Maybe, but I guess they weren't needed this time.

I saw the interview of the survivor. He's wearing a beacon. But none of his friend had any they can use to locate him! 

He was aware of that fact as he waited.

He count himself lucky that he could get his pole above the surface. 

eek.gif
post #11 of 29

When I watched that, I kept wishing for the shovel to grow.

 

That, and that the overhanging snow wouldn't collapse.

 

I'm glad the guy got lucky.

post #12 of 29

I don't know how many of you use Go Pros -- I don't -- but I've often felt that I, personally, would be thinking about such possible, harrowing moments anytime I turned one of those things on to document some great line I was planning on skiing. I mean, you're in the middle of the worst nightmare, fighting for your life or your partner's, and it occurs to you, "oh, right, I'm filming this too. Just for posterity." 

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

I don't know how many of you use Go Pros -- I don't -- but I've often felt that I, personally, would be thinking about such possible, harrowing moments anytime I turned one of those things on to document some great line I was planning on skiing. I mean, you're in the middle of the worst nightmare, fighting for your life or your partner's, and it occurs to you, "oh, right, I'm filming this too. Just for posterity." 

I know, right?
post #14 of 29

I have found a lost gopro in the snow using a wifi signal. It got me to within 1 meter just looking at the number of 'bars' in the icon. I wonder if a wifi scanner could find a phone? That might make for a useful app since almost everyone carries cell phones with wifi these days. I wouldnt not carry a beacon tho. Where was this? Japan??

post #15 of 29

I am no expert in avvy rescue but have skiied in the BC during cat-skiing sessions etc.  I was surprised they (the rescuers) didn't have beacons on and was confused when he started asking if his other buddy had one.  I figured he was just going to turn his to "receive" and start executing the search.  Seemed like he moved pretty quickly...got the shovel together after a quick misfire.  Taking the extra 30 seconds to get the gloves on must feel like an eternity and I can certainly understand the urge to skip that step.  Once my hands get really wet, its almost impossible to get my gloves on.  Seems like he moved very quickly after that and dug with real urgency even though there was some risk of smashing his buddy with the shovel.  I'm curious how much time elapsed from the avvy until they had a clear airway for him?  I guess I can go check the video for myself.  All in all....they got the job done but seems crazy to cruise around in that much snow without a beacon..but that's just me.  Glad all were ok. 

post #16 of 29
Very lucky that top layer was not melted refrozen and rock hard. Apparently it took more tvan an hour with 5 people digging to get him out. Article states 75 people have been killied this year in Europe.

There was a warning. From his story:
Quote:
In order to get to the top of the line we had to do a short 20 metre push with our skis on from the piste. We were delighted to notice that there were no tracks leading to the run so we would score first tracks. However as we pushed through the deep snow I noticed a muffled ‘whumping’ sound as our skis broke through a thin layer of hoare frost about 30cm under the fresh layer of snow. We stopped and discussed our options. Due to this particular gully being known amongst locals as a safer option due to it’s short length and low pitch, also taking into account the fact that we had skied the line on previous trips in similar avalanche conditions without an issue, we decided to push on and ski the line anyway. 
http://avalanchesurvival.tumblr.com/
post #17 of 29

Thanks for posting, Tog.  I also noticed the part about the snow wall at the bottom of the gully which blocked his escape path.  This is a scary story and few things terrify me like the thought of being buried in an avalanche.  Another reminder of the same timeless message: build backcountry skills--including solid understanding of snow conditions, bring the right gear (ALWAYS have the beacon) and ski with people who have a similar risk tolerance as you do AND whom you can have an honest discussion about when its time to simply take a different line and live to ski another day.  It simply aint worth it. 

post #18 of 29

I have done some crazy stupid stuff (e.g. skiing the back side alone through trees with no avalanche safety gear or knowledge, and skiing some crazy lines without telling anyone where I was going), but if avalanche risk is 4/5, I'm staying in bounds.  Guess I don't have the powder bug.:dunno 

post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
 

... if avalanche risk is 4/5, I'm staying in bounds.  Guess I don't have the powder bug.:dunno 

 

According to the linked story by the guy this particular slide was inbounds.

post #20 of 29

Missed it.  Wow, inbounds and appearently open to the public (although off-piste by a 20 m push):eek.   Guess I had better educate myself regarding avalanche safety.  Unstable sounds coming up from the snow = bad.  Got it. 

Need more,. I'm not taking the course just yet, but I do recall a few links I've followed in the past.

Anybody got some informative links to put here?

post #21 of 29

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=bruce+tremper

 

I've read "Staying alive in avalanche terrain" and highly recommend it.  Great overview of the snow science, with practical "how to stay safe" advice.

post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
 

Missed it.  Wow, inbounds and appearently open to the public (although off-piste by a 20 m push):eek.   Guess I had better educate myself regarding avalanche safety.  Unstable sounds coming up from the snow = bad.  Got it.

 

So I knew nothing about the the terms on or off piste prior to joining this site this season, but it seems to me that "off-piste" in Europe in a lot of cases pretty much is back country/out of bounds (as compared to the US), since they often don't do any avy control. I suppose that why any of the folks in the video had avy gear in the first place.

post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbostedo View Post
 

 

So I knew nothing about the the terms on or off piste prior to joining this site this season, but it seems to me that "off-piste" in Europe in a lot of cases pretty much is back country/out of bounds (as compared to the US), since they often don't do any avy control. I suppose that why any of the folks in the video had avy gear in the first place.

It's more that Europe off piste IS inbounds, but they don't do avy control. And yes, more people do carry gear on a daily basis because of this. Resorts are vast over there, and there are few trees in many places, so there is no way they can really control everything, as they try to do in the US.

post #24 of 29
Dbostedo, you have much to learn.
Quote:
seems to me that "off-piste" in Europe in a lot of cases pretty much is back country/out of bounds (as compared to the US), since they often don't do any avy control
First, piste in Europe is a marked trail. Since much is above tree line this marking consists of poles. Now just outside this piste, not sure legally if it's 0 meters or what distance, but outside that basically imaginary line is "off piste".

This has implications. Even if you are on piste, ski patrol cost to bring you down is not necessarily free.
If you are "off piste" you are responsible for rescue/ski patrol costs. That means if you get hurt say 1 meter outside the piste pole where it's essentially the same thing, you are responsible for the cost of bringing you down. This is not included in the cost of your lift ticket. You can however buy insurance daily or seasonally to cover this. It's not expensive.

Where Michael Schumacher had his "off piste" accident was basically a large boulder field between pistes. Imagine one of the bowls at vail. On one side you'd have a wide bumped up piste. Then say 40 yards clear, then a boulder field, then clear on the other side. He went near the boulders and hit one not exposed landing on another with his head.

Where did you get the idea that they don't do avy control or mitigation in Europe? They've been dealing with it for a long time. It's just a little more accepted that people will die and they don't do large tnvestigations and reports all the time.

You can take all the avy courses you want and that's good, but most issues come down to heuristic traps.
Edited by Tog - 3/19/15 at 1:18pm
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Dbostedo, you have much to learn.

 

Definitely not debating that! As I pointed out, all of this is new to me and I'm happy to learn, so thanks.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post
Where did you get the idea that they don't do avy control or mitigation in Europe? 

 

That's not exactly what I said. I know they do some. But my impression from some other reading (on here and elsewhere) is that most avy control in Europe is where an avalanche could threaten something that is controlled - i.e. where it may threaten a lift, or piste, or base, or building, etc.

 

So I'm thinking that off-piste they often don't do any avy control. Is that not correct?

 

Because a lot of articles and videos give the impression that you shouldn't go off-piste in Europe without avy gear and treating it like back country in the US. (And yeah, I'm probably exagerating a bit, as I'm sure there are some areas off-piste that are inherently safe due to slope or size or something.)

post #26 of 29
Read about piste versus off piste above. Literally it could be a few feet difference. There's plenty of off piste that's safe. And lot's that not.

See this.
The article on heuristic traps I linked to last year is no longer online afaik.



Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie 
Quote:
Bold added.
...
As an avalanche educator, I feel like the most important thing that I can teach is how to remove yourself from your decision making process.  Looking back at the majority of avalanche accidents and fatalities, you can see flaws in the decision chain that led to the accident occurring.  These mistakes usually begin occurring well before the incident and there is usually more than one poor decision made in the events chain that leads to the accident.  Break one link in that decision/events chain and you have a different outcome.  

People make choices that fly in the face of evidence and experience everyday.  In avalanche terrain this can kill you.
 Unless the stability tests are so negative that they can't be ignored, people will find a way to justify what they want to do even in the face of questionable data.  Digging pits is pretty easy.  Being able to change your mind in mid trip and ski something else or just turn around and go home is harder.  Developing a sense of Situational Awareness and the ability to remove yourself from your decisions is more important than knowing a bunch of snow-science and stability tests and is a much harder thing to learn and implement.
http://www.epicski.com/t/120009/sidecountry-does-not-exist/60#post_1580209
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Read about piste versus off piste above. Literally it could be a few feet difference. There's plenty of off piste that's safe. And lot's that not.

See this.
The article on heuristic traps I linked to last year is no longer online afaik.



Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie 
http://www.epicski.com/t/120009/sidecountry-does-not-exist/60#post_1580209

 

Oh yeah.. I've read that thread and thought that piece was really interesting. Have gotten enough into it to consider a class (or any need of a class really), but it would be interesting to know whether the heuristic trap issue is now being heavily taught in classes. (Since that thread is a couple of years old.)

 

Too bad your link is broken - If you have any other particularly good reading recommendations, I'd appreciate some links.

post #28 of 29

Its interesting the difference between Europe in the US.  In my experience (10 trips to the Alps) when the big snows come they actually block off big parts of the slopes and limit where you can go MUCH more than the US.  At Zermatt we had a huge dump and they close 70% of the mountain..leaving open low angle aspects and similar trails.  You also tend to ski off-piste over there with a guide since crevasses and cliffs are not nearly as well marked or blocked off like they are in the US.  Its definitely freaky that this was in bounds, but as Tog suggests, the vastness of some of the areas and the above-tree line and open nature of the wide open runs makes it impossible to mitigate all Avvy hazards.  They definitely subscribe to much more of an individual accountability model for each person's choices and resulting consequences (cost to rescue etc).  In the Chamonix valley, helicopters fly around all day long rescuing people who have gone "off piste" and torn up knees.  If you haven't paid for the insurance you will be footing the bill for your rescue out.   I guess the bottom line is in-bounds avalanches are possible in the US..yet highly unlikely..though Snowbird and the Canyons have both had fatal inbounds avvies in the last few years.  I believe in-bounds, are much more likely in Europe given the differences in terrain and the openness of many of their larger resorts.  In either case, if you are out try to grab untracked POW, its incumbent on each skier to know the risks, carry and train with the equipment and make good choices based on their risk profile.  I have definitely skied areas similar to this and haven't thought twice...stupid and lucky so far.  As I've skied more off-piste in North America and Europe I've significantly re-evaluated some of those choices and am increasing my own training and education and trying to improve my decision making.  With young boys and a wife at home...my first goal is to come home at the end of the day.  I'll sacrifice some good POW turns for that!

post #29 of 29
Having been involved in several rescues (none Avi or skiing related) the biggest thing for the rescuer to do is take the stance "YOU'VE GOT ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD" even if you don't. Saves time on mistakes which add time or worse put yourself at even further risk. It also greatly increases you chance of success. Also makes people think you're not panic it's not that bad and everything is under control (even if you know better).

Stop!
Think!
Act!

Just my 2 cents.
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