What's In Our Pack: Avy Safety Gear

By: Kelly Graff

Are you prepared to venture into the backcountry this winter? Knowledge and preparedness are the first steps to traveling safely. There are three mandatory pieces of safety gear that each person in your group should carry. Those three items are a shovel, beacon and probe. These key pieces will help shorten the recovery time in an avalanche rescue situation. 

1) Beacon - A beacon is an active radio transceiver thats purpose is emitting a signal that helps rescuers locate the avalanche victim. Modern beacons have three atennas and multiple burial features. We use the Mammut Element Barryvox. Click here to learn more.

2) Shovel - Backcountry snow shovels can come in handy for a multitude of reasons including drinking water, shelter building, snowpack analysis and burial retrieval. Backcountry enthusiasts use their shovel throughout the tour to see where week layers exist. In the event that someone in your party does get buried a shovel is essential. Shovels come in a variety of shapes and materials. Find one that works best for you based on the size of the blade, shape of the handle and material. We use Mammut Alugator Pro T. Click here to learn more.

3) Probe - The avalanche probe is much like a tent pole. It is a collapsible pole made of aluminum or carbon typically between 240cm – 300cm. The probe helps you pinpoint the exact location and depth of an avalanche victim. We use the Mammut Probe 280 Fast Lock. Click here to learn more. 

4) Airbag - The avalanche airbags are something that more and more backcountry enthusiast are starting to include with their safety gear. The airbag is designed to prevent you from being buried in an avalanche. The packs are created with a pull cords that inflates the bag make you larger so you rise to the surface while smaller items like snow sink to the bottom. We use the Mammut Ride Airbag. Click here to learn more. 

5) Avalanche Safety Course - The best way to prepare yourself for backcountry travel is by being properly educated. Learn how to identify dangerous slopes, how to avoid dangerous slopes, what to do if a slope slides, how to perform a rescue and much more in an AIARE course. Click here to learn more about AIARE Level 1 courses and AIARE Level 2 course .

Filed under: Tips & Tricks

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