Preparing for Avalanche Rescue’s

Preparing for Avalanche Rescue’s

With winter outdoor activities just ahead for Star Valley, a timely blog was posted by Jim Steenburg in his blog

Courtesy “Steve the Cook”

Strategic Shoveling

While we are trapped in skier purgatory waiting for more snow, now is a good time to review effective avalanche rescue procedures for future (hopefully practice) implementation in the field.

Shoveling is typically the most time consuming part of avalanche rescue, especially for deeper burials.  You can save considerable time by using strategic shoveling techniques, as described by Edgerly and Atkins (International Snow Science Workshop Proceedings 2006) and Edgerly (International Snow Science Workshop Proceedings 2010).  Both articles are well worth 10 minutes of your time as they will save you critical time if you are put in the unfortunate position of needing to do a rescue.

In addition, here’s an excellent Backcountry Access YouTube video describing the basic technique.

A larger party would seem advantageous for excavation, but quickly and efficiently organizing the party to dig strategically can sometimes be challenging.

In the event of an incident, there can be leadership confusion and the challenges of organizing a large party.  This includes not only the shoveling stage, but also other stages of rescue.  Practice this critical component of avalanche rescue with your partners.