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  1. #1
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    How much can Avalungs help?

    With all of the recent deaths that have unfortunately been rocking the community, how many of us out there use Avalungs on a regular basis? I haven't got one yet, but when I head out in March for my trip ill be sporting one. Do you all think that they are a must have? It wont help you physically get out of a tree well or help someone find you, but always having more time in a situations like those is priceless.

  2. #2
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    I think that now that they're integrated in backpacks they are a no brainer. This being said, you have to be able to get onto that nouth piece and hold onto it for them to work... You won't likely be able to reach it when the snow settles, if you're in an avy that buries you.

  3. #3
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    Yeah thats exactly what I was thinking too. I came across this.

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6C2eWRvZgKU"]YouTube - Avalanche Burial with Black Diamond AvaLung[/nomedia]

    I cant imagine how he was able to get it to his mouth here.

  4. #4
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    I got put under the snow once and the first thing i did was breathe in 2 lungfulls of snow. Does not help the "do not panic" hope. I have one and I think im aware enough to get it in my mouth in time, but who knows...
    Drive slow, homie.

  5. #5
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    Mouthpiece issues

    A big issue in my mind is the mouthpiece being ripped from your mouth during the course of the slide (if you even have it in your mouth in the first place).

    Before I invest in one, I'd like to see BD make a better mouthpiece more similar to a scuba diving mouthpiece that you can bite and keep in your mouth better than the current mouthpiece.

  6. #6
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    The two patrollers caught near Loveland this year, one had his avalung pack ripped off. If you do use one, make sure pack straps are TIGHT.

    Also pull the tube out far....let it hang loose. I think even put it in your mouth before a big decent?
    Terje was right.

    "We're all kooks to somebody else." -Shelby Menzel

  7. #7
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    I regularly ski with it in my mouth in avy terrain for that reason. Makes for a good snorkel too if you're skiing deep powder.
    "Ah, beer, my one weakness. My Achille's heel, if you will." -Homer Simpson

  8. #8
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    Since this has never been discussed here before. . .

    I put Avalungs in the "your seat cushion can also be used as a floatation device" category. Like Hugh Conway said, it's mostly a victory for the BD marketing department.

    I will get one once BD's patent expires and someone who knows how to make a good ski pack starts integrating them and they become de rigeur. I certainly welcome any razor slim margin of survivability, which is really all the thing would be.
    "Buy the Fucking Plane Tickets!"
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeStrummer View Post
    I will get one once BD's patent expires and someone who knows how to make a good ski pack starts integrating them and they become de rigeur. I certainly welcome any razor slim margin of survivability, which is really all the thing would be.
    Seems like they could be very effective for a tree well, where it is probably suffocation and not trauma that will kill you. you also don't have the issue of compacting snow to prevent mobility to get the mouthpiece after a fall, but that's just my conjecture.

    What is not conjecture is that a ski pack with shoulder straps does not = a snowboard carry option. That just irritates the living shit out of me and I wish they would stop the BS false advertising.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeStrummer View Post
    Since this has never been discussed here before. . .

    I put Avalungs in the "your seat cushion can also be used as a floatation device" category. Like Hugh Conway said, it's mostly a victory for the BD marketing department.

    I will get one once BD's patent expires and someone who knows how to make a good ski pack starts integrating them and they become de rigeur. I certainly welcome any razor slim margin of survivability, which is really all the thing would be.
    What would be your issues with the desings by the way?

    My big multiday mountainsmith pack never has issues in my mind.
    Terje was right.

    "We're all kooks to somebody else." -Shelby Menzel

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyber Cop View Post
    Seems like they could be very effective for a tree well, where it is probably suffocation and not trauma that will kill you. you also don't have the issue of compacting snow to prevent mobility to get the mouthpiece after a fall, but that's just my conjecture.

    What is not conjecture is that a ski pack with shoulder straps does not = a snowboard carry option. That just irritates the living shit out of me and I wish they would stop the BS false advertising.
    You are right, they suck for long hikes..... not enough support and too much movement. Now I use a stand alone avalung with a Burton pack.
    Terje was right.

    "We're all kooks to somebody else." -Shelby Menzel

  12. #12
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    I have one and have skied w/ it for a couple of days. I tried skiing w/ the mouthpiece in my mouth a few times and it just didn't work. If I had it in front of my teeth it'd just fall out no matter how loose the hose was, and if I had it behind my teeth I'd gag and I'd involuntarily spit it out. I 2nd the "better mouthpiece" idea.
    Putting the "core" in corporate, one turn at a time.

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neal0301 View Post
    Yeah thats exactly what I was thinking too. I came across this.

    YouTube - Avalanche Burial with Black Diamond AvaLung

    I cant imagine how he was able to get it to his mouth here.
    That video is pointless in showing the benefit of the avalung...
    - "approximate air supply without avalung 15:00"
    - "approximate air supply with avalung 58:00"
    - the guy was buried for 4:48, a quick rescue

    although the guy was able to get the mouthpiece in and keep it in... his group was quick enough that it wasn't needed.

    The video is a better demonstration of why a group needs to be well trained and disciplined in dangerous terrain.

    All in all, that video scares the shit outta me.
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  14. #14
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    Anyone who doesn't ride with their avalung mouthpiece in their mouth while riding in prone terrain isn't doing it right. It's really easy to keep the mouthpiece in your mouth if you practice despite its interesting design...

    One thing that I have thought about is the weirdness of the mouthpiece. It should be like a scuba/snorkel mouthpiece with tabs to bite on or something. It's kinda weird and difficult to bite/keep in your mouth imo.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickwm21 View Post
    That video is pointless in showing the benefit of the avalung...
    - "approximate air supply without avalung 15:00"
    - "approximate air supply with avalung 58:00"
    - the guy was buried for 4:48, a quick rescue

    although the guy was able to get the mouthpiece in and keep it in... his group was quick enough that it wasn't needed.

    The video is a better demonstration of why a group needs to be well trained and disciplined in dangerous terrain.

    All in all, that video scares the shit outta me.
    I posted that because it scared the shit out of me. 5 minutes or 50 minutes, thats what its gonna look and sound like. But, youre right it showed no benefit due to the fact he was rescued in less than 5 minutes.

  16. #16
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    Avalung, not so much.

    Avy air bag/pack, that has my interest.
    And I guess that I just don't know

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puffin View Post
    Anyone who doesn't ride with their avalung mouthpiece in their mouth while riding in prone terrain isn't doing it right. It's really easy to keep the mouthpiece in your mouth if you practice despite its interesting design...

    One thing that I have thought about is the weirdness of the mouthpiece. It should be like a scuba/snorkel mouthpiece with tabs to bite on or something. It's kinda weird and difficult to bite/keep in your mouth imo.
    So it's really easy and yet weird and difficult at the same time?
    Putting the "core" in corporate, one turn at a time.

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  18. #18
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    I have been using BD avalungs for several years now. And yes, you do typically have time to put it in your mouth in that instant that a slide starts (I know from experience).
    Now I have upgraded to an ABS airbag pack. It seems that NOT getting buried in the first place is far better than trying to breath under the surface.

    P.S. - For Sale: BD Avalung pack.
    Leave No Turn Unstoned!

  19. #19
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    Jul 2006
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    I post this from personal experience. I have been in two avalanches. one was almost fatal and the other was just a ride. The first I was buried skinning up a hill. I had no avalung and was under for almost 15 minutes. I had passed out from lack of oxygen and was pretty much dead when they found me. I would have had time to put the avalung in my mouth and this would have helped me tremendously. Also could have save me 12,000 dollars in lifelight fees. There was no trauma sustained when i was hit by the snow and it wouldn't have nocked my mouth piece out. I truly believe this would have helped me in this situation.
    Second time i had an avalung and had it out but not in my mouth. I hit a wind slab and it started to cary me. My first thought was to put the avalung in. I had kind of star fished my body out on the slab so i wouldn't sink, but ever time i tried to put the avalung in i would start to sink under the snow. Lucky for me i was able to stand up and ride off the slab, but it made me think that it would be very hard to put it in your mouth once things hit the fan.
    I always put it in my mouth if i feel uneasy about something i am skiing. I would suggest everyone else dose the same. Maybe try an experiment. While skiing with friends maybe at random have one of them call out for you to put it in your mouth. See how difficult it is to do when you do not expect it. This might change your mind.

  20. #20
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    Not too sure about many of you, but I would think that if you are nervous enough about a slope sliding to put in the mouthpiece, then maybe you shouldn't be on that particular slope...

  21. #21
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    If it keeps you alive then why not, with avalanches I'm more scared about trauma. Anyone that has been taken for a big ride will probably agree it's way more force then one might imagine. Being in a slide and being plowed through rocks and trees I don't think getting a tube in your mouth will be on top of your list for surviving, a big open slope with a nice smooth runout though it doesn't seem like a bad idea. There is the old "false safety" argument but there aren't too many anti helmet folks around anymore. After taking a few rides myself I'm really trying to avoid any more but you never really know.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neezer View Post
    Not too sure about many of you, but I would think that if you are nervous enough about a slope sliding to put in the mouthpiece, then maybe you shouldn't be on that particular slope...
    If you think you can be 100% confident that a slope is not going to slide, you need more experience and education. If you are never going to ski in avalanche terrain because you recognize the inherent uncertainty in stability analysis, then you don't need to think about carrying an avalung.

    I have one that I attached to my Osprey pack. It weighs next to nothing, cost me nothing, and I use it. I pull the mouthpiece all the way out whenever I am in avalanche terrain and I put it in my mouth for most descents. But I don't let having it affect my decision making in any way. It's just one small piece of insurance that I have to stack the odds a little more in my favor in case something goes wrong or I make a mistake. I focus all of my attention on not making that mistake.

    The best avalanche safety gear available to you is your educated and experienced brain. Avalungs, airbag packs, beacons, probes, and shovels are all just insurance policies, nothing more.

    I boiled my thermometer, and sure enough, this spot, which purported to be two thousand feet higher than the locality of the hotel, turned out to be nine thousand feet LOWER. Thus the fact was clearly demonstrated that, ABOVE A CERTAIN POINT, THE HIGHER A POINT SEEMS TO BE, THE LOWER IT ACTUALLY IS. Our ascent itself was a great achievement, but this contribution to science was an inconceivably greater matter.

    --MT--

  23. #23
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    Word. The mountains can be very tricky, once you think you have it all figured out they can turn your world upside down.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by telepariah View Post
    If you think you can be 100% confident that a slope is not going to slide, you need more experience and education. If you are never going to ski in avalanche terrain because you recognize the inherent uncertainty in stability analysis, then you don't need to think about carrying an avalung.

    I have one that I attached to my Osprey pack. It weighs next to nothing, cost me nothing, and I use it. I pull the mouthpiece all the way out whenever I am in avalanche terrain and I put it in my mouth for most descents. But I don't let having it affect my decision making in any way. It's just one small piece of insurance that I have to stack the odds a little more in my favor in case something goes wrong or I make a mistake. I focus all of my attention on not making that mistake.

    The best avalanche safety gear available to you is your educated and experienced brain. Avalungs, airbag packs, beacons, probes, and shovels are all just insurance policies, nothing more.
    thanks for that sage advice.
    Terje was right.

    "We're all kooks to somebody else." -Shelby Menzel

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meadow Skipper View Post
    Avalung, not so much.

    Avy air bag/pack, that has my interest.
    Quote Originally Posted by DropCliffsNotBombs View Post
    I have been using BD avalungs for several years now. And yes, you do typically have time to put it in your mouth in that instant that a slide starts (I know from experience).
    Now I have upgraded to an ABS airbag pack. It seems that NOT getting buried in the first place is far better than trying to breath under the surface.

    P.S. - For Sale: BD Avalung pack.
    The Air Bag packs have my interest as well. I was talking to a guy that guides in AK. We asked him his thoughts on Avalungs. He said they used the Snow Pluse Air bag packs, over an Avalung. If anyone has seen MSP's "The Way I See It", Kaj's segment shows the benefits of an air bag. I maybe thinking Air bag.
    "... when I turn, I just hope it hits me in the face."--Shroder Baker/Under the Influence

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