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Just curious. Talking with some friends tonight we got on the topic of avalaches. Of course someone had been buried and barely survived. It just sort of freaked me out a bit. I personally have none and have no interest of having one, but If anyone has experiences or advice I'm sure we all would like to know and should know. Knowledge is the best protection right. Also, what gear should one carry in the high country. How many of us are prepared to spend the night? :withstupid:
 

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It would take a book to answer all those questions thoroughly. I have to much experience with avalanches, but it is a part of the terrain that I choose to ride in. The very best thing you can take with you to the mountains is "COMMON SENSE".
Equipment minimum, Beacon, shovel and probe.
Cell Phone.
Rope is nice to have.
Space Blanket.
Liquid Drink (non alcohol)
Matches
FRIENDS, FRIENDS and more FRIENDS never ride alone
35 to 40 degree slopes are the most likely to hold a snow load until it avalanches, unfortunately they are also the most attractive for high marking. During the last 2 sled seasons I lost 3 close friends and a number of acquaintences. None were drinking or stupid.
Before going to the mountains, become proficient with the tools that you are carrying. I remember the first time someone handed me a probe, I did not know how assemble it. Those precious moments that it takes to figure something out could be the difference in life or death of a fellow human being.


RIDE SAFE
 

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Been in four and there is no way of knowing for sure, the first was in a heavily wooded area of large trees Jeff was barley saved, thank God (see pic at top) after being buried under 3' of snow, the middle pic is of his sled. The bottom is a large avalance that chased my son down the slope and surrounded my daughter inlaw and I, we were standing by the far sled. Notice the large trees broken off by the slide. Two weeks later 2 people were killed in the same area. We dont take any chances any more.





 

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One of the most informative books available on the subject is "Snow Sense" by Jill Fredstrom and Doug Fessler. These two are the former directors of the Alaska Mountain Safety Center. They are world renown experts on avalanches and are used as technical experts on many skiing movies and documentaries.

Take an avalanche and backcountry survival course. Maybe more importantly, make sure your riding partners take one. If they won't, get new partners. If you get caught in an avalanche, no one is going to come in and save you. It will have to be the guys and gals you ride with. And they have to know how to do it, and do it right.

Equipment for EACH PERSON in the group:
Beacon, Probe and Shovel

Equipment divided AMONG the group:
Space Blankets--Inclinometer
Extra tools (pit shovel and handsaw)
Water--Food--Map--GPS
Candles (heat, light and melting snow), Fire starting kit (magnesium chips...)
First Aid Kit--Signal Aids (The new laser lights are cool)
Cellphone or Radio
 

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:D The Canadian Avalanche Association has a book called Riding in avalanche Terrain. It is great info for all sledders.
check them out at www.avalanche.ca
They have all the info that you will need from gear to courses available
 

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I agree 100% with OMOTM and Kev, the most important thing you can take into the back country is "Common Sense". Get educated on avalances. I've taken 3 of Doug Fessler's courses and review the info. every year. Take any course that's available to you. Most, but not all the time, Mother Nature will give you the warnings. You just have to know how to reconize and read them. I've been riding the mountains for 24 yrs. and even with the experience I've gained, I've been caught in 3 (one just last year) avalances. Fortunately I was able to run out of the path of 2 and out ran the other. I was just plain lucky not skilled.
The next most important thing is equip. A becon, shovel and probe are a must. I won't ride with anyone who's not carrying. I can't understand how people will go buy a $7000 sled, $1,500 trailer and $500 worth of riding gear but not spend another $500 on equip. that could save their life! I also carry rope and tackle (crevasse rescue) first aid kit, signal device, energy bars and space blanket. This all packs nicely into my backpack.
But don't let all the horror stories scare you. The mountain back country is beautiful and thrilling. (I hate flatlands!!) Just get the training, buy the equip. and use common sense!
 

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AK riders be advised, this year is already shaping up to be another bad year. Went riding this weekend at Summit Lake and the slides have already started coming down. We came upon a group digging out a machine, luckily it pushed the rider out in front of the slide. It was a relatively small slide, but it doesn't take much to bury you.


RIDE SAFE
 

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OMOTM, where at Summit were you guys riding? If we don't get some snow soon, I am gonna have to burn up some vacation time and come up to Paxton. I can't remember ever having everything ready to go before the snow hit. Sleds, trailers, new gear, everything but cooperation from Mother Nature...
 

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I had some friends caught in a severe snow storm who ended up stranded in a bowl for two days their survival gear kept them alive. Most people carry space blankets and energy bars but not many think to carry something to melt snow in. Since the incident I tell as many people as I can to carry a small metal pot even a lid from a light wieght cooking pot will do. Dehydration is as dangerous as the cold. All three of my friends survived but were air lifted from the sight. A huge thankyou goes to the search and rescue volenteers who found and saved them!!
 

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70BEEKEEPER, that is a nasty tale. It reminds of a story OMTM told us. I think it is still in the M&P archives here. Anyways up in AK these three guys went into a bowl in the back country and couldnt get out. They were brand new mountain machines but not capable of climbing out. These guys were trapped there for almost three days if I remember right. They had to burn there sleds to stay alive. OMTM saw the smoke and went to investigateas he thought it was a sled burning. Him and his crew were able to get in and out easily. This winter is setting up to be a good one for snow, which will make avalanches more prevelant. Everyone take extra care and caution making sure to have the proper beacons and rescue equipment. Take time to practice with the equipment so you are familar with it, as time is of the essence when saving someone who is buried.

Permafrost
 

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Originally posted by permafrost@Nov 5 2004, 08:56 PM
70BEEKEEPER, that is a nasty tale.  It reminds of a story OMTM told us.  I think it is still in the M&P archives here.  Anyways up in AK these three guys went into a bowl in the back country and couldnt get out.  They were brand new mountain machines but not capable of climbing out.  These guys were trapped there for almost three days if I remember right.  They had to burn there sleds to stay alive.  OMTM saw the smoke and went to investigateas he thought it was a sled burning.  Him and his crew were able to get in and out easily.  This winter is setting up to be a good one for snow, which will make avalanches more prevelant.  Everyone take extra care and caution making sure to have the proper beacons and rescue equipment.  Take time to practice with the equipment so you are familar with it, as time is of the essence when saving someone who is buried.

Permafrost
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It has been a long time since I last posted. This is a picture of classic ignorance, One rider "High Marking" above his stuck buddy. This hillside avalanched 10 minutes after they got off.
 

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Originally posted by OMOTM@Dec 3 2004, 10:55 AM
It has been a long time since I last posted. This is a picture of classic ignorance, One rider "High Marking" above his stuck buddy. This hillside avalanched 10 minutes after they got off.
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Deffinately been a long time since you've posted OMOTM :!: I was wondering where you have been because you always have all those good Alaskan pictures in most of your posts. :)
 

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Originally posted by Snow-Drift@Dec 4 2004, 07:12 PM
Deffinately been a long time since you've posted OMOTM :!:  I was wondering where you have been because you always have all those good Alaskan pictures in most of your posts.  :)
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Thanks Snowdrift, unfortunately work has been hampering my activity. Fortunately that is over. This is a picutre of a very nice climb.
Bill
 

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Bill, good to hear from you :)
You will have to make up for all the "lost" time at work with some extra sledding missions. I am getting our sleds ready for the season and hope the snow we have stays. Looking forward to some great pics and posts.

Jeff
 

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Snow demons hard at work here this weekend.........12/10/04 on skier buried and killed......12/11/04 2 snowmobilers buried 1 killed 1 in hospital.....and the weekend is still young............ !!! The Story Picture
 

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Never hurts to keep a topic like this alive. I've been buried , Watched others get buried and watched a friend die in avalanches..We can never be too careful out there people..Common sense is the best safety tool we have---Lets all use it along with all the other tools available to us nowadays
 
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