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Avalanche beacons and probes are pieces of equipment intended to aid in recovery of a person buried in an avalanche. Training on travel in avalanche terrain and the use of avalanche rescue equipment should be taken from a professional. Practicing probing and beacon recovery following training is essential in order to become efficient in equipment use. Avoiding avalanche burial is the primary objective when traveling in avalanche terrain. RMRA members should be familiar with and refer to:
which is the primary guidance for trips by the RMRA.
The material listed in the following topics is intended to provide additional information on safe travel in avalanche terrain:
Several organizations provide courses in safe travel in avalanche terrain. The Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA) does not certify courses or instructors. As part of the Instructor Agreement the instructor signed with the CAA, you should receive a book on Avalanche Safety as part of the course. Bring this to the attention of the Instructor, or the Canadian Avalanche Association if necessary. The CAA has set standards for course materials only. The CAA website has a list of organizations providing courses:
The following web sites are an example of two providers in the local area that RMRA members have used:
Various reviews on avalanche beacons can be found on the Internet. The technology is changing and the links and documentation available on the Internet changes. Using Google to search on "avalanche beacon reviews" is a way of accessing current information. It is also worthwhile seeking the current views of a professional while participating on a Recreational Avalanche Course. As of 2009 the following links have some research references:
This paper examines two possible means to improve the speed and efficiency of probing in rescues where there is still a possibility for live recovery. Limiting the depth of probing is discussed and several alternative probing techniques are compared.
The RMRA received an interesting and informative talk on "pops" and "drops" evaluation of snow-pack by Alec van Herwijnen in January 2005 arranged by member Doug Davison. This evaluation technique refines the standard compression and rutschblock tests by also evaluating the type of failure. The conclusion from this research is that skier triggered avalanches are more likely in snowpack that shows "pops" and "drops" types of failure at the weak layer. The following paper describes the research:
MEC has prepared a number of articles on avalanche awareness on their web site: