Probes – Leave Home Without Them?

| September 4, 2008 | 33 Comments

I hardly ever carry a probe for day backcountry ski trips. I know this makes me a bad person and I’ll burn in hell for it, but I have my reasons.

    1) Cheap lightweight probes are a disservice to humanity. They bend, break and don’t have the heft to punch through solid avalanche debris. If you are going to carry a probe, make it a good one (same thing with a shovel).
    2) A good sturdy probe is bulky and weighs too much.
    3) In the few avalanche burials I’ve been involved in, the victim was either partially exposed, or we were able to probe for him by turning a ski pole grip over and plunging it grip first, which worked.
    4) I like to ski with small groups (two is preferred, four is the max) and if there is a burial, I’d rather spend the precious few moments searching with a beacon and digging.
    5) If by chance I am part of a larger group, it’s a good bet that someone else has a probe.
An Italian Mountain Rescue team probing for bodies (none were found) with nice, big, beefy probes.
An Italian Mountain Rescue team probing for bodies (none were found) with nice, big, beefy probes.

This is an unpopular practice, but in my defense, I carried a probe for years before deciding to leave it out of my pack and still take one on all expeditions, or if I’m with a bigger group. For me, a probe is right on the cusp of “optional” equipment – somewhere between a shovel (required) and a helmet (personal choice). Your mileage may vary.

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About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (33)

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  1. randosteve says:

    The avy police are gonna get you now Andrew!!!!

  2. Bob says:

    Heh, Andrew lays out the Unsupportable opinion:

    “Cheap lightweight probes are a disservice to humanity. They bend, break and don’t have the heft to punch through solid avalanche debris. If you are going to carry a probe, make it a good one (same thing with a shovel).”
    – Agreed. But if your probe sucks, you could click through your own link and get a nice one.

    “A good sturdy probe is bulky and weighs too much.”
    – Weighs too much? Perhaps a little elss time on the computer and a little more time doing crunches and lunges. This might help: http://exercise.about.com/od/butthipsthighs/tp/butt.htm

    “If by chance I am part of a larger group, it’s a good bet that someone else has a probe.”
    – I’d make you carry mine.

    And what about the children? Won’t someone think about the children?

  3. Andrew says:

    There are headlamps for children, so maybe the market is ready for a Children’s Probe? Perfect for kids under eight. :)

  4. Bart says:

    Interesting. Compared to the weight of my voile shovel (almost 2 lbs), the probe I carry seems to add next to nothing. It’s a G3 of earlier vintage than the one in your link above, and I haven’t tested it in avy debris, but I think it probably weighs in around the 1/2 lb mark, the same as the one you recommend above. So I have hard time believing that saving an extra 1/2 lb is that big a deal. I mean jeez, if you’re that worried about weight, leave the bag of mushhrooms at home.

    Of course, that decision is a group one, like the decision of whether or not to carry avy gear. So if you and your partners all decide not to carry probes, that’s cool.

  5. Andrew thanks for the honesty it is refreshing. I will continue to carry my probe but how about a post on other things to leave out of your pack? My pack is always way to full but I like having extra layers, first aid kit, minimal repair kit, food, water, sunscreen, and avie gear. When do you skip the extra insulation layer?

  6. hmmm says:

    I used to be a part-time probe bringer, until involved in an burial where it proved itself to be extremely useful, if only for a shoveling guide. We were in a group and one person with the probe hit the body the moment we entered our fine search. I agree with the choice to bring or not. For me it was always more an issue of clutter then weight.

  7. Andrew says:

    Safety gear varies from person to person. I’ve been berated by a skier who insisted I was a moron for going into the backcountry without a stainless steel thermos of hot fluid (What are you going to do when your friend gets hypothermia and dies, eh?) and also seen vintage veterans go into the bc with nothing more than sunglasses and a banana – no partners, shovel, etc.. It depends.

  8. Andrew says:

    Hi Dustin – that’s a fine idea. Coming soon to a website near you.

  9. Hacksaw says:

    Andrew,
    I agree with you about cheap lightweight short probe poles, like the one BCA has in the handle of one of their shovels… They are a waste of money.

    I too once didn’t carry a probe pole. This is back when I started with the ski patrol. I thought I was “Hot Sh*t” with my transceiver in pinpointing.

    Well, we once had a transceiver competition and you had to dig out the buried transceiver. I came in and quickly found the signal and did my pinpoint (this is back in the days of the Ramer Echo 1 transceiver) and started to dig. And I dug and dug and dug and finally I hit ground. I had dug right past the buried transceiver……

    If I had had a probe I would have hit the padded board of 1′ X 1′ in size (about the size of someone buried on their side)right away. Needless to say the lesson was BUY AND CARRY A PROBE POLE.

    But, over the years I have found probe poles useful in other jobs then just probing for a buried avalanche victim.

    1) They are good for testing for weak layers in a deep snowpack. Slowly pushing it into the snowpack you can feel major density changes in the snowpack.

    2) I have used one as a splinting matterial for a broken leg once.

    3) Emergency tent pole.

    4) probing for cravess.

    5) use it to get extra reach to fill waterbottles.

    6) when doing data snowpits I have the mesurement marks on my probe pole, instead of carring a heavy folding ruler.

    7) can be used with my bivy/drag sheet in a emergency snow trench as one of the cross trench roof supports (along with skis and poles).

    8) I know a ski guide in Canada that once used his for some mid-winter fly fishing in a creek, while waiting for the heli to come back. Make sure you bring about 30′ of fishing line and a few flies….

    9) I guess, a probe pole could be used as a spear if you happened to end up in a major survival situation. ;-)

    10) Oh and last but not least, I once used a avy probe to find some folks that where buried in a snowcave (they forgot to take a shovel or cooking pot into the cave)after a major-ass storm in the Wind Rivers. It is really wild to be probing away and suddenly have sommeone on the other end start yanking on the pole….

    As far as weight goes, its not that much… I’ll keep mine in my pack.

    Cheers,
    Halsted

  10. Andrew says:

    Hi Hacksaw – I’ve done the same beacon/probe tests and came up with a variation on your conclusion: probes work well for finding one-foot square pieces of plywood in controlled test scenarios. :)

    But, I do carry probes on any sort of expeditions for many or the reasons you mentioned, including their value as a multi-use tool.

  11. Randonnee says:

    Anyone have any statistics in regard to lives saved by the use of a probe? In my experience on some rescues and rescue practices it seems pretty tough or unlikely to find fully buried victims in less than hours without clues or indications of their location.

    In my view the popular use of probes when doing a transceiver rescue has degraded such rescue and is needed only in a failed attempt. Competent use of a transceiver does not require probe use, something that I lived and taught.

    I use the carbon Life Link AEC poles. The AEC shaft is non-tapered, thus makes a well-functioning probe,if I were to ever need it. Otherwise, I do not own a probe and now estimate having 1000+ ski tour days on avalanche terrain (and 1200 ski area days on avalanche terrain, mostly Patrolling).

    When I Patrolled we learned to use our Skadi transceivers with earpieces on a wire to successfully retrieve buried transceivers on a fanny pack in under 5 minutes without a probe and most Patrollers could achieve 3 minute recovery times. We learned about proper pinpointing and the need to dig perpendicular to the snowpack, not on the plumb line. The perpendicular to the snowpack line is shortest through the snowpack, thus the strongest signal. The natural tendency is to dig in the plumb line, thus the stories of digging to the ground a few inches below the transceiver. We pretty much let most rookies experience this and learn that the line to the transceiver signal is strongest perpendicular to the snowpack. Of course, back in the day where I Patrolled probes were rigged up, large and bulky and several were mounted on Army packboards, and we used those after some incidents.

    Interesting to find this website, Andrew. I am also a fan of the K2 Chogori for my lightest of 3 rigs…I see it here and knew that you were a fan of the Chogori.

    Best, Rob

  12. Andrew says:

    Hi Rob,
    A Chorgori fan! That makes all two of us. I loved that ski and would have hoarded some if I knew they were going to be dropped so quickly.

    Glad you found StraightChuter.com – Andrew

  13. Andrew says:

    I don’t deny that probes could help save someone’s life, but at the same time, that could be said of Sat Phones, Personal Locator Beacons, huge medical kits, etc.. At some point, if you were to cover all the bases you’d have so much gear you couldn’t move, which I suppose would be the ultimate in safety as you’d never leave the trailhead.

  14. Hacksaw says:

    I really decided that probe poles are important to have after my ski patrol experience, that I mentioned earlier.

    But, I worked on the “Strategic Shoveling” study that Backcountry Access sponsored. And during that job, I learned a lot.

    The use of a probe pole is critical to the strategic shoveling method. The idea of this system is to not only reach a buried victim quickly, but also have enough room to treat (mouth to mouth & CPR, etc…) the buried victim. If you dig strait down do a victim, you end up with no room to work, and also you can crush what airpocket they may have.

    I would HIGHLY suggest that everyone read the Stategic Shoveling study. It can be found at:

    http://backcountryaccess.com/english/research/documents/EdgerlyAtkinsISSW06.pdf

    I think once you read this study you’ll realize having a probe pole can be critically important in quickly digging out a buried victim. And there is proof in the pudding that the Strategic Shoveling Method does work. As that there have been several successful recoveries since the study came out, where folks have adopted it as their prefered method for digging out a victim.

    I totally agree, “Yes you too can carry 75 lbs of ultra-lightweight mountaineering equipment.” But, I draw the line and don’t complain about the weight of certain “life-saving” equipment (shovel, probe pole, 1st aid kit and cell phone ). I don’t carry sat phones, ELB’s or hugh 1st aid kits. But, I have covered my bases with this minimal gear.

    BTW, my Ortovox 240 light pfa probe weight is about 270 grams/approx 8 – 8.5 Oz. Gee, if 8 or 10 oz. is going to break your day, I don’t know what to say….

    As for ski poles that covert into avalanche probes, they are a total waste of time and money.

    First off, I have never seen anyone that could assemble them faster then I can assemble a dedicate probe pole. I have won a lot of beer bets doing this, and haven’t lost yet.

    Second, I have never seen a pair of these poles survive more then about ten probing into REAL avalanche debris. Mainly because they have tappered shafts and make probing more difficult then strait shafts of a dedicated probe pole. These ski pole probes tend to get stuck and folks start whiggling/yanking them back and forth and they break at the linkage point.

    Halsted

  15. Andrew says:

    Thanks Halsted. The strategic shoveling link is excellent and I fully agree with the comments on probe poles. From my experience digging a person out of an 8′ deep burial, a REAL shovel is mandatory. It’s painful to see people buy really heavy touring gear, then a tiny little shovel to try to save weight.

  16. Randonnee says:

    Yes, I would feel that safety is possible going light without a ton of gear, because it is knowledge and observational application of that knowledge that is the basis of safety on avalanche terrain.

    I carry the lightest shovel that I think will do the job. In over 1000 days skitouring on avalanche terrain I have used an avalanche shovel -zero- times to rescue a partner. I kick avalanches on my skitours on about 1 of 5 tours in winter. I feel that I want to be nervous when someone must have an assortment of rescue gear on a skitour, as if they expect to become entrained in an avalanche. Aactually I would not tour with someone with this approach, avoidance is the only choice, and one needs the ability to do so.

    Andrew have you dug a live person from an 8 ft. burial? Has that happened- I think maybe once, anymore?

    The real problem with the Strategic Shoveling Study is that I see the author to be a manufacturer/ vendor of shovels and probes? Is this correct? If so, what of credibility, and what of the credibility of Professionals who push the study?

    Again, how many saves with just a probe? In reality, there is a bit of a chance of being rescued successfully by transceiver, but nothing to count on. I am acquainted with two individuals involved in skier complete burial and successful rescue by transceiver, so it is possible. Apparently people are being taught to pull out and use a probe and interrupt the transceiver search, as the victim quickly dies- unacceptable and specious thinking. A probeline in a ski area, at a highway burial, and similar situations makes some sense.

    By just reading the literature, it is evident that the only real potential lifesaver is the employment of a flotation device. Avalanche entrainment is rather like free solo climbing, get it right or die, do not expect to survive, in my view.

    Most skiers that I encounter online and in person express a huge ignorance of the basics of avalanche terrain and causative factors of avalanching. Those same unknowing skiers may carry the best probe and shovel, and have had a course or several, can dig a pit and describe the data, but cannot appear to meaningfully correlate the data. In my view, most skiers blunder around blindly on hazardous terrain. Most snow is stable most of the time, otherwise it just sluffs to the underlying surface. Therefore, most travelers on avalanche terrain get away with it most of the time, and probably do not understand why, and conversely do not understand why when entrained in an avalanche and speak of it in mysterious description. But most of these guys have spent money on BCA or other fancy shovels and probes and can talk about the avalanche science- especially pits and cool stuff- that may be presented in an interesting fashion in a class.

    The phenomenon of transceiver fascination and probe envy is in my view, ridiculous.

  17. Andrew says:

    I have dug a live person out from an 8′ burial and if I had had a better shovel, they might still be alive today.

    I thought the Strategic Shoveling paper was good food for thought. It may not happen that way in reality, but it was something to think about, which can be said for almost all avalanche advice. The ultimate remedy is abstinence, which in reality isn’t going to happen.

  18. Randonnee says:

    Sorry to hear of the rescue from a deep burial. I have watched an unroped climbing partner fall and die, and will always grieve it.

    Based on casual knowledge of your accomplishments, Andrew, I think that you must certainly engage in clear thinking and good judgment regarding the potential to become entrained in an avalanche.

    My 1000 days+ backcountry safety record is due in part to always being willing and able to embrace the choice to go elsewhere or ski it another day (Nobody wants to write or read about my exploits). Without those choices, the odds of avalanche accident is much higher.

    Again, my interest is to continually point out the need for travelers on avalanche terrain to understand the terrain, snowpack, and potential consequences. That may result in avoidance of avalanche entrainment,the real opportunity for safety.

  19. Hacksaw says:

    Randonnee,

    There is no problem with the Strategic Shoveling study, except for your crap inferring that it is flawed because it was one of the author’s works for BCA. You are the first and only person that has made any comment like this. The rest of the backcountry/avalanche world sees the great value in the study, and has adopted it as their method of digging a victim out. If you think the study is so flawed get off your ass, and get out there and prove it all wrong.

    As for my credibility as an avalanche professional, I have 14 years pro ski patrolling and 7 years working for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

    And NO, I was not paid by BCA to work on this Strategic Shoveling study, as where most of the folks listed on the study. I volunteered because I saw a lot of value to the backcountry community as a whole, in doing this study.

    You seem to thump you’re chest a lot about having 1000+ day’s ski touring. Big deal! A lot of us have that or even more in the backcountry, but we don’t ware it on our chests like a stupid merit badge.

    And BTW, a quick look at the 1980-86 SNOW TORRENTS book says 41 folks where found alive with spot probing/course probing and fine probing between 1950 and 1995 Vs. 31 found with transceivers…

    Halsted Morris

  20. Randonnee says:

    My argument would remain as emphasizing avoidance of avalanche entrainment. Get it right or die. In an avalanche accident a partner with the best transceiver and probe may very well often just witness death by avalanche, despite heroic recovery efforts. Rescue gear is not a life preserver. In my opinion the “community” and avalanche rescue gear manufacturers are perpetuating a myth of possible rescue to the disservice of safety and reason.

    In any field corporate involvement and money in research is seen as a likely conflict of interest. The avalanche community or profession is quite small and in my view lacks at times in regard to scientific background and method partly because of the level of education and practice of many individuals in the “community.” At one time I was involved in that work and that community for over a decade and except for the few university educated snow scientists I am not impressed. A social network does not necessarily result in research and promulgation of solid knowledge and practice.

    Great, data. 41 and 31 out of how many reported avalanche accidents?

    My point still is that there is far too much transceiver fascination and probe envy and that flaw is fostered by members of the very small avalanche community and gear manufacturers. It seems evident that in general, backcountry travelers often lack understanding of terrain and avalanching, and also also often may not consider carefully the potential consequences.

    In regard to probes, I have been considering for a year or two the purchase of one of the nice light probes for my partner to have. As I stated, my background and practice proved faster transceiver practice recovery with just competent transceiver use and no probe. I feel that my straight-shaft probe poles would work just fine to probe into the wall of the hole that I had dug if I missed.

  21. Dave says:

    “Competent use of a transceiver does not require probe use.”

    Wrong.

    Unlike some people here, I have never had to attempt rescuing a partner. However, when teaching avy classes, I try to find avy debris for mock scenarios in field sessions to point out the differences to students between acutal debris and undisturbed snow. Due to snow hardness and the difficulty of shoveling debris, it is critical to minimize unnecessary shoveling. This is why pinpointing victims is so important.

    Also, due to the curvature of a transceiver’s signal, it is possible that a deeply buried victim may be some distance off from the point where the signal transects the snow surface (I’m not sure how far, but in theory it is possible). Therefore, digging from that point may not lead directly to the victim. “Strategic shoveling” helps minimize this problem compared to digging straight down the probe. However, without a probe one could waste time digging, when minutes are precious.

    Many of the other things listed as unnecessary are red herrings (ie. sat phones may save lives, but are not important in the vital time window of a companion rescue scenario).

    Carrying a probe is essential. I recognize that everyone is entitled to an opinion, especially some of the very experienced cats roaming here. However, it concerns me to see you making this argument Andrew, because of the significance of your reputation and standing in the backcountry community. I fear too many will follow your example and find themselves unprepared.

    Lastly, “the real problem with the Strategic Shoveling Study is that I see the author to be a manufacturer/ vendor of shovels and probes?”. Huh? I’m pretty sure that it works with BD, G3, and Voile shovels too.

  22. Andrew says:

    Hi Dave – The most responsible thing I can do is to tell people not to go backcountry skiing. Aside from that, it is all shades of safety grey. Skiers have lived and died without probes for years, and as I mentioned, I bring them on all expeditions and occasionally on day trips, but not always. The same could be said for the red herring sat phone – there is no doubt they *could* save lives, but they aren’t on my list of essentials.

  23. Hacksaw says:

    Andrew,
    Ahhhhh I’m curious, what’s the difference is between an avalanche burial on a day trip Vs. an “expedition?”

    Halsted

  24. Andrew says:

    On daytrips the victims are only buried for a few hours, on an expedition, it could be for eternity. :) But, I get your point. I bring probes on expeditions because they are useful for probing crevasses, using as anchors, splints, etc.. In other words, they are useful for more than just probing.

  25. Randonnee says:

    Fun discussion.

    It seems that there is a thread of denial of the true consequences of avalanche entrainment. This probe/ transceiver fascination and shovel envy, in my view, just soothes the individual that is unwilling to embrace the deadly significance of getting in an avalanche.

    My impression from reading most of the literature is that it that once caught in a significant avalanche, surviving is mostly by chance. Some portion of that chance will allow for a live buried victim. From that portion one may derive further, as the seconds tick away -as the latest, greatest probe is retrieved and unfolded in priapic splendor- how many may be saved at what depth, by what level of skilled rescuer, carrying something to dig and on and on. In the end, to survive is luck regardless of what someone has sold you for rescue gear, regardless of which cool person taught your avalanche class, regardless of any ability to shovel snow in the approved fashion in a windmill precision motion.

    In regard to avalanche forecasting for your backcountry activities, get it right or die, everything else is fluff. .

  26. Dave says:

    Of course, avalanche avoidance is the most important skill. However, I think you miss the point Randonee. Accidents happen. As I tell my students: If you get caught in an avalanche you have already failed once, don’t fail twice by blowing the rescue. Developing rescue skills is one of the variables we can control.

  27. Randonnee says:

    No point missed. Mine is just independent thought based on considerable experience and ongoing study and consideration. Although, (but who cares…), I have been a Professional rescuer, proficient with all the stuff, trained, wrote plans, have done rescues, trained dogs.

    Undisciplined thought and practice lead to mainstream discussion and energy directed to the unlikely scenarios. An example is all of the energy and practice directed to the impossible task of rescue from a deep burial. Statistically, live rescue from deep burial occurs just above nil. However, that topic is a great way to promote sales of probes and fancy shovels. It also helps with the development of self-soothing personal hero narratives. One should become expert at the more likely scenarios first before getting bogged down solving intellectually and planning/ practicing for the near-impossible rescue.

    This accepted notion of interrupting a transceiver search in order to pull out a probe defies logic. It is my life experience that competent Patrollers made 3 to 5 minute transceiver pack recoveries from 200 ft or more, starting at the top of an avalanche path, minimum burial 3 ft. That is competent transceiver use. In my view no way should I stop the pinpoint and dig before 5 minutes to pull out a probe- and my personal standard is to visualize a part of the buried victim in 3 minutes and then finish getting them out. Many narratives found online by expertly-trained avalanche class students speak of their best being 15 minute standard transceiver recovery while using a probe.

    To repeat again- if one is alive and buried when the avalanche stops there is less of a chance of being recovered alive and intact than I am willing to embrace. Except for the many good Patrollers in my past association, I would trust hardly anyone to perform a competent rescue of me.In the ‘avalanche community’ there is so much illogic, undisciplined thinking, wishful thinking, hero dreams, personality worship, general poor judgment and ignorance that displaces sober consideration.

    I do have all of the gear, and carry it (straight shaft AEC probe poles is as far as I will go for probes, however).I can use that gear very well, and practice with it. I also take an avy dog, and wear an ABS. I do not rely on any of it.

    It is the avalanche hazard evaluation that matters. I believe this so strongly that I am as comfortable skiing an avalanche path solo as when with a partner- it is the same commitment in my view. I feel that the level of decision making and commitment is identical when solo or when having a platoon of giant-shovel-carrying probe-grasping rescuers standing by. Volumes of stories, past and up to very current avalanche accident accounts support my phrase- ‘get it right, or die.’

  28. Andrew says:

    Thanks Randonnee – that was well put.

    According to manufacturers, you shouldn’t travel in avalanche terrain without;

    – beacon (must have multiple search options)
    – shovel
    – probe
    – Avalung
    – ABS pack

    That’s a lot of stuff.

  29. Randonnee says:

    Thanks, maybe some of my hot air makes sense? Kudos Andrew to dare to start this discussion and continue it.

    I find satisfaction in solo skiing after making very informed decisions based on complete knowledge of the snowpack and quite a lot of field testing. That decision is real, no what-ifs. The result of error may be death, if I get it wrong. In reality, I feel that even when with a partner the decision is similar.

    At times I consider doing a meta-analysis of the literature and a paper to support maverick : )} ideas. I hesitate since there seems to be such intolerance from that social group that labels itself ‘the avalanche community.’ One may get hounded from the ISSW with such heretical independent thought that does not pay proper deference to the equipment lobby and the beer-bottle-clinking social leaders of certain social groups.

    I forgot to mention my Avalung. I have tended to leave it behind when wearing my ABS part of the time- another little debate with myself. About 1/2 of the time on ski tours I do not carry my transceiver. At times, I happily leave my heavy ABS at home. That is because the snowpack and areas that I ski with familiarity have no real hazards lurking at times, and my knowledge of the snowpack, weather, etc. allows for this; I may even kick a small slab or two while solo without a transceiver at the usual places (insignificant overnight wind deposition), but would consider it in general a low hazard day on a widespread basis at times. In spring time or MF/ isothermal snowpack, if hazard develops in that snowpack the skiing would be so poor that I would not be out there. In spite of all of this, in a seasonal snowpack my ingrained habits cause me to automatically ski cut at the appropriate places, ski the edges, pull in and hide under rocks, look for the escape, plan the run in stages from safety to safety or from planned escape to planned escape. In other words, continual vigilance. My thoughts are rarely occupied with probes and rescue theory, but are instead all about staying out of avalanches.

  30. Dave says:

    Point taken, again and again. Avalanches are best to avoid. Right.

    Grim statistics are a part of most avalanche course around here. However, we still feel it is necessary to teach proper rescue techniques. This is because people do occasionally make mistakes.

    This is beginning to resemble the current political conversation about abstinence vs. sex-ed and contraception.

  31. Bob says:

    Randonnee, how long does it take you to pull out your probe and deploy it? It doesn’t seem like a significantly time-consuming procedure to me. I’ve never dug for a live victim, but after pinpointing and poking a probe in, the probe makes for a nice reference point while digging and gives you an idea of how deep which is nice if you’re digging in at an angle.

  32. Randonnee says:

    Bob,

    Actually I have never used a probe to recover a transceiver, and currently do not own a probe except for the straight-shaft probe poles. I learned to use Skadi transceivers a while ago, when we had steel US Army folding shovels and had to unroll the wire (don’t break it!) for the Skadi earpiece. At that time, commercially manufactured probes were not so prevalent, Patrollers actually did not have any nice light probes to carry. In spite of all of this I saw motivated Patrollers get 3 minute practice recoveries on avalanche terrain with 3 ft or more burials. In all of this, I discovered that when motivated I could move a lot of snow while trenching in 90 seconds (90 second sprint) in an effort to discover the transceiver (target). Therefore, my thought is ‘why interrupt that prematurely.’ Following this, I think that currently too much probe fascination seems to encourage delay, thus degradation of a fast transceiver recovery. In general, my view of most skiers’ ability to rescue me really gives me little expectation of rescue, even if I am not killed outright. I am considering getting a light probe for my partner since most of my partners do not have the rescue ability as described above. This is the reality, in my view in spite of the occasional successful rescue. The fact that I have survived entrainment twice and have seen at least three others survive serious avalanche entrainment does not at all give me relief or confidence to survive an avalanche.

    As I said, I have the straight-shaft ski pole probes should I have the need. There are scenarios (see the video posted above here-impressive), clearly, that obviate the need for a probe. Deep burials, sure, but I try to stay away from any possible deep burial, meaning that one can have some idea of the avalanche potential and the potential result based on the slab thickness, slope characteristic, etc. The forces involved in deep burial and the statistics of survival are frightening and awesome.

    Best, Rob

  33. Hacksaw says:

    These guys are doing a presentation at ISSW.

    http://www.biglines.com/msgbrd/viewtopic.php?t=13987

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