/ Glenmore Lodge To Issue Avalanche Kit To Course Participants?
Thoughts? Observations? If Glenmore Lodge go in this direction will everyone else follow? Should they?
As I believe it they are running this to collect data and information.
There isn't a requirement for other organisations to follow suit with tsp kit being issued on every winter course.
What would an avalanche kit include?
Presumably a probe, shovel and a transceiver - anything else?
I don't think it's unreasonable for them to issue these. At the same time I don't think it's unreasonable for other centres to not issue them.
That said - if the training course is something like winter skills then I would suggest that it'd be an obvious core part of the course to learn how to use such equipment.
Glenmore Lodge have always been pretty good about supplying kit for courses. They'll lend you bits that other providers will tend to rent for an additional fee.
For ski touring, winter climbing or winter skills there's maybe an argument for wearing transceivers. Most centres do for touring and snow holing already. For winter walking probably not.
For winter climbing I think not unless you intentionally want to go out in unsonsildated snow. I'd rather climb on good solid neve.
Might it act as a false safety net? If there was a real risk of being avalanched should you really be out on that slope aspect?
Does being stricter about snow conditions I am willing to climb on mean I reduce the days climbing I get? Aye but i would rather that that chance it.
Aye, I agree with all of that. Heuristic trap etc. plus the fact that the type of slides we get on climbing ground tend to involve more trauma than burials.
I can see why the national centres are trialling them tho.
So, walkers don't get caught in avalanches then?
Yes they do.
My observation was to do with the OP and organised groups going out with providers.
First one I clicked on was:
"Whilst on the move over a uniform piece of 40 degree neve whooph noise was heard under foot"
A friend of mine wrote this, which makes for an interesting read:
Why would you NOT carry one? In the last few years, it appears that the price of winter jackets, gloves etc. has rocketed. This doesn't appear to be true for transceivers. A quick search finds a suitable transceiver for around £125. I'd see that as a cheap insurance policy when spread out over a climbing career!
Presumably they will need a statistically significant number of parties to be avalanched to enable them to evaluate the trial?
Well there clearly is a risk of avalanche as soon as you venture out into snowy mountainous conditions, be it on skis, snow shoes or boots (climbing or hill walking).
The Lodge is the closest centre in proximity to the Cairngorm massive and as such I'm sure that the instructors are pretty clued up on conditions etc. HOWEVER, this is scotland and its rather dynamic out there. This point is proven by the simple fact that Glenmore Lodge groups have been avalanched over the years… tragically with the loss of a young lads life last year. A few days after that event another group from the lodge were avalanched, fortunately only resulting in a twisted ankle. Evidence of Heuristic traps?
As a customer on a course i would want to be trained in all skills regarding winter activities, and yes, prevention is obviously better than cure. However, our stability tests are hardly scientific and only relate to that one small area, so in order to mitigate further use of safe travel techniques could be employed, thats all well and good, but if 1 person gets avalanched and the group doesn't have shovel probe transceiver, the individual is practically as good as dead, unless they are incredibly lucky…. i'm not sure i want to be relying on Luck to save my life.
I would say that the issue, training and use of the "holy trinity" (probe, shovel, transceiver) is not exactly an excessive step to take.
We were out doing avalanche rescue training a couple of weekends ago, and a few winter skills groups passed us while we were searching that had transceivers on so not just the lodge that are thinking this way. Not a bad idea at all to give a basic awareness of personal avalanche rescue equipment and how to use it during winter skills or any other courses, and possibly helps get the message across on the dangers of avalanche.
Even with very careful planning, it's impossible to 100% elliminate the risk, and even if you do plan well, being able to react if another party is caught out is part of the reason for the training and the equipment.
If people are at least aware of the equipment, how to use it and the processes then they can make an informed decision on whether to use / carry it.
It will be worthwhile looking at the research findings of Eveline Braun's Master's thesis on the SAIS data:
Comments from the 2012-2013 SAIS report, p9
'The University of Zurich
An analysis of SAIS records dating back to 1990 by Eveline Braun for her Masters Thesis was carried out this year.This work presents a very thorough analysis of the data available, and provides us with very good quality data which will be invaluable for the Scottish avalanche service in many ways. In particular, Eveline has identiﬁed in the data a number of
patterns most commonly associated with avalanche events: namely thaw conditions (about 22% of avalanche events), new snow with or without drifting (about 55% of avalanche events) and persistent cold and weak snow cover (about 11% of avalanche events). These data provide a quantitative conﬁrmation of some subjective theories developed by the SAIS over the years. Furthermore, over the 25 year period of the service 297 avalanches have been reported as being triggered by people. Additionally the extensive work that has been done on ordering and correcting datasets will be very useful for future work.'
I'm on a course at Glenmore Lodge at the moment and the first thing they got us to sign out from stores was a transceiver, a snow shovel and a probe. They explained that the fact is there's tonnes of research about the average person not using these and they thought it wouldn't do any harm to collect data on the average winter mountaineer using one. The test is to be over 3 years and i'm sure they'll publish their findings!
Chat to JJ/ IS/ NW, think they're cool to share thoughts.
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