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Avalanche surivial discussion

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi readers,

I am in search of individuals who have, or know of someone with, direct/indirect experience with avalanches for a thesis project.

My goal is to create a device that will equip users with tools they need to survive and avoid an avalanche.

Please contact me via private message.


Thanks everyone!

 

mod note: post edited to remove link and email address - use PM

post #2 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by gemmell View Post
 

 

My goal is to create a device that will equip users with tools they need to survive and avoid an avalanche.

 

 

 

I think you need to work on your thesis.  Not only is it poorly worded, but it is unclear what you are looking to do.  Spend at least a modicum of thought before you start asking for help.

post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maineac View Post
 

I think you need to work on your thesis.  Not only is it poorly worded, but it is unclear what you are looking to do.  Spend at least a modicum of thought before you start asking for help.

 

That's a bit harsh. But yeah - a bit more background and clarity would be good.

 

Especially as you (OP) are possibly asking some folks to open up deep wounds.

post #4 of 19

We have a large number of skiers here at Epic with extensive back country experience. They already have access to a wide range of tools to avoid avalanches and survive avalanches. They will be highly suspicious of someone who is proposing a single device that can serve both purposes. The best way to survive an avalanche is to not get into one. The best way to not get into one involves good decision making. Good luck on making a device that makes good decisions for people that people will actually follow. Many avalanche accidents involve people making decisions where they knew better but chose to take the risk. Now if you are talking about building a device that can automatically detect an avalanche in progress and automatically deploy an airbag and an avalung, you might be onto something. If that device could also scan surrounding snow on a real time basis to detect and rate weak layers in the snow pack (e.g. via sound waves), then you are really on the cutting edge. Some people may think of this as science fiction, but I did recently hear that scientists have invented a tractor beam of sorts and we're pretty close to a Dick Tracy style wrist video phone, so hey - why not?

post #5 of 19

Go steal the idea about using drones to find people buried in avalanches from that other thread.  /end thread

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your feedback, I really appreciate it. 

I've been researching the current avalanche safety gear and I'm looking for an elegant design, or series of designs, that will make it safer to ski/snowboard in the backcountry. I hope to minimize the size and weight and need for deployment.

I have also been researching prediction and decision making and I'm hoping to integrate that knowledge into the products. 

I love the direction of using sound waves and I'll add that to my list of research topics. 

Thanks again for your feedback, I was wondering if there is another route you might suggest I use to find avalanche survival stories. 

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your feedback, I'll have a look at that thread to see if there's something I can use. 

post #8 of 19

I strongly urge you to go to TGR.  Greater BC knowledge there.

post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maineac View Post
 

I strongly urge you to go to TGR.  Greater BC knowledge there.

 

SIR!

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tip, I'm having a look at that website now!

post #11 of 19

Epic has its strengths, Avalanche discussions is not one of them.

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maineac View Post

Epic has its strengths, Avalanche discussions is not one of them.

I think between a few of us we can certainly provide useful input. To the OP, what I'd need to know is what products your familiar with, what avy education, practical field experience, and what reading you've done, where you're doing your program, etc... If you could provide a bit of this, then we might know how to address your thoughts in a more useful way. In general folks here that bc ski and tour know about this stuff. There are other forums. You might want to try wildsnow.com and turns-all-year.com. Read a lot of their posts, etc... Before you post. You'll be able to ask better questions.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maineac View Post
 

Epic has its strengths, Avalanche discussions is not one of them.

I doubt we'll ever get to the quality level of some of the other options out there. But that should not stop us from trying to improve. There's a niche we can fill and we can do a better job. Let's think positive!

post #14 of 19

Personal teleporter that automatically activates on a certain kind of turbulence or maybe it telekinetically controlled by "Oh Sh*t!" thought patterns.  Would also help in accidental cliff drops and other more day to day circumstances like car crashes.

 

More seriously I'm highly sceptical of threads that start like yours because the rational response is if you don't have some tangible idea to test then fishing for inspiration on a forum is unlikely to give you something that will be a major step forward in safety.  Yes it'd be nice to have a Star Trek data recorder to analyze snowpack but the teleporter would be even nicer.  Otherwise there is a very big trust and ethical hurdle to overcome if you are looking for something that will substitute existing decision making frameworks.

 

 

From my non comprehensive reading on the area it seems that avalanche survival once caught is largely a matter of dumb luck augmented by some movement of the odds in your favour by wearing & deploying airbag, wearing helmet, having a good well trained crew on the spot immediately etc etc.  The most effective bit of avalanche survival is avoidance which means inherently making conservative choices in defiance of our lizard brains and primate tribal instincts e.g. powderlust and peer pressure. How you manage this in a world where most humans assume that the more experience they have the more "expert" they are is the real challenge.

post #15 of 19

In the realm of the fantastic (but jetpacks now, right?) I always thought there should be some way to melt the snow around you once you're buried. That doesn't help with trauma of course, but at the very least it would create an air pocket and buy you some time while people dig for you. I mean, a fire-breathing dragon wouldn't just lie there and take it, right?

 

Anyway, to the OP, not sure what/where you've been researching, but make sure to read this stuff: http://www.issw.net/index.php   http://www.snowstudies.org/ 

post #16 of 19

Here's a link to the other Drone thread on Epic.

 

The prototype drone can carry a 17lb pound payload and already has sensors to measure snow depth and water content. That's a lot of capacity for additional sensors. Do we already have have odor sensing technology to replace avy dogs? If not, there's a research project. A heat sensor might be able to locate a fresh victim. Cops already use similar technology in police helicopters. Ground penetrating radar ought to be able to easily find a victim not buried at ground level. What's the weight of those things? A drone ought to be able to do a beacon search much more rapidly then a human. The thing could drop dye packs on suspected locations. If a dual antenna beacon is more accurate and the thing has a seven foot size, would a 3 antenna beacon with more distance between the antennas be even better? Video could help partially buried victims or lost gear clues on the surface quicker even if only manually viewed by an operator team. Pattern recognition software might be even better. A sound sensor might also be useful. 

 

Looking at on the victim technology and speaking of sound sensors, would it be possible to embed sensors in outer clothing or an avy pack that could detect the pressure of a burial and activate a beeping sound alarm? What about a voice activated trigger? Avalanche snow sets like concrete but if rescuers can shovel through it, could a small robotic device drill to the surface? That could be voice activated or automatic. Such a device could deploy a location identifier when it reaches the surface and might even be helpful to get fresh air/vent CO2 better than an avalung.

 

Looking at areas like the Cottonwood canyons in Salt Lake where there is a relative concentration of skiers in the backcountry, could sound sensors on balloons detect avalanches and triangulate their locations (we already have similar technology to locate gun shot sounds in urban areas and there has been some research on avalanches producing infra sound)? At the least that could help forecasters. At best it could trigger the deployment of drones to the area to investigate if there is human activity and potential victims. On the previous link, it mentions the detection of infra sound  (below what humans can detect) 10 seconds prior to release. Although that can of warning lead time is probably only going to occur for non-human triggered slides, a device that could detect and identify such sounds and then sound a human audible warning (I'm thinking radar detector type technology here) might be an idea worth looking into,

 

One nice thing about science fiction is that sometimes the wacky ideas later turn out to be doable. Another nice thing is that dreaming up the ideas is entertainment. The bottom line here is that there is no shortage of potential research subjects even though they may seem a bit ridiculous.

post #17 of 19

Is the OP asking us to do his homework for him?

post #18 of 19
Quote:

Originally Posted by gemmell View Post

 

I was wondering if there is another route you might suggest I use to find avalanche survival stories. 

You might read chapters 1 - 5 on the following site.  And part 2 of the "Human Factor" will be available soon.

http://www.powder.com/human-factor/#

You've got your work cutout for you.  In all sincerity, good luck.

post #19 of 19

Also read the following article which I forgot to include above:

 

From the NY Times regarding the Avalanche at Tunnel Creek

http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2012/snow-fall/#/?part=tunnel-creek

PS  Best to read this on a monitor, with sound, vs. your phone.

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