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Thread: Snow Study Kit

  1. #1
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    Snow Study Kit

    I am finally at an education level that I can actually use a snow study kit. Looking at the options it looks more cost effective to build my own kit, but the convenience of just ordering a kit also appeals to me. Just looking for a nudge one way or another. If I do go with a kit, which one, and what should I add to it?
    The Worst mistakes, make the best memories.

  2. #2
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    what edu level would that be? just curious.

    rog

  3. #3
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  4. #4
    Hugh Conway Guest
    you generally get better quality equipment and save money doing it yourself. If you want prebought Wasatch touring used to have the best, haven't had a gander at the actual bits lately:
    http://wasatchtouring-com.web10.temp...ist.asp?scat=2

    otherwise I found pit digging a research activity not a touring activity

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    build your own.
    my everyday kit:

    write in the rain book
    2 thermometers
    metric ruler
    saw
    cordage
    10x loupe and crystal card
    knife

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by camlax View Post
    build your own.
    my everyday kit:

    write in the rain book
    2 thermometers
    metric ruler
    saw
    cordage
    10x loupe and crystal card
    knife

    This^^^^

  7. #7
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    Add in a two dollar 2" paintbrush from Ace hardware, make that one digital thermometer, and these days either a camera or an iPhone (to use the Ullr labs Mast program). I also have about a dozen of those little wooden popsicle or tongue depressor sticks to mark the layers.

    You might also look for a cheap small fanny pack from the thrift store to stash it in so that you can have it all handy at your waist. Have seen many people lose their stuff in the snow.

  8. #8
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    Please clarify what you mean about "Snow Study Kit". That can run the gamit from a simple backcountry avalanche potential assement kit to a full-blown quantitative snow structure analysis kit replete with coring devices, micro-coring devices, portable compression analysis equipment for determining loading limits, etc etc...none of which would really be applicable for backcountry recreational travel.

    The above-noted "Write in the Rain" waterproof notebooks are a great addition to whichever mode you have in mind, no matter how complex or simple. They are literally invaluable in the BC!

    --
    "The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity - it's envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it; a jealous, possesive love that grabs at what it can." by Yann Martel from Life of Pi



    Posted by DJSapp:
    "Squirrels are rats with good PR."

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by camlax View Post
    build your own.
    my everyday kit:

    write in the rain book
    2 thermometers
    metric ruler
    saw
    cordage
    10x loupe and crystal card
    knife
    + slope o meter!

    What is the necessity for 2 thermometers? Just to make things quicker?
    Drive slow, homie.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by icelanticskier View Post
    what edu level would that be? just curious.

    rog
    Level II, not that impressive overall but the guys at mtavalanche asked myself and another guide to record as much as we can to send to them since they have to cover such a large area, any help they can get is a huge help. And since we are in the BC everyday between us, we dig a lot of pits.
    The Worst mistakes, make the best memories.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by camlax View Post
    build your own.
    my everyday kit:

    write in the rain book
    2 thermometers
    metric ruler
    saw
    cordage
    10x loupe and crystal card
    knife
    Thats what I figured. Now I just have to find a small container for everything, and make a list so my wife will get just what I want. This would be perfect stocking stuffer items.
    The Worst mistakes, make the best memories.

  12. #12
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    Another key tool I take in the field with me, and I recommend to anybody doing field studies, is a small digital recorder...that way you can quickly and easily record your observations/data and later, when warm and dry, you can bring them back up to transcribe into your notebook, 'puter or data log.

    You can get a good but small one for about $39. Keep it in an inner pocket to keep the batteries warm.

    --
    "The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity - it's envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it; a jealous, possesive love that grabs at what it can." by Yann Martel from Life of Pi



    Posted by DJSapp:
    "Squirrels are rats with good PR."

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z View Post
    + slope o meter!

    What is the necessity for 2 thermometers? Just to make things quicker?
    We used to carry 2-3 dial stem thermometers so it goes faster. Takes dial stems a long time to adjust to new temp, but they can be calibrated. Hard to calibrate digitals, but they go so much quicker one is adequate.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donkey Punch View Post
    Level II, not that impressive overall but the guys at mtavalanche asked myself and another guide to record as much as we can to send to them since they have to cover such a large area, any help they can get is a huge help. And since we are in the BC everyday between us, we dig a lot of pits.
    got it, cool!

    rog

  15. #15
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    Oct 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z View Post
    What is the necessity for 2 thermometers? Just to make things quicker?
    Ya just to make things quicker. They're light and small so its no big deal to have 2

    Also, forgot to mention, PENCIL NOT PEN! Nothing is worse than having it too cold and your pen stops working!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by homemadesalsa View Post
    We used to carry 2-3 dial stem thermometers so it goes faster. Takes dial stems a long time to adjust to new temp, but they can be calibrated. Hard to calibrate digitals, but they go so much quicker one is adequate.
    Hear, hear! Dial stems have to be calibrated in ice water, although I used to drink the water afterwards.

    Sent from my Paranoid Android using TGR forums.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by homemadesalsa View Post
    You might also look for a cheap small fanny pack from the thrift store to stash it in so that you can have it all handy at your waist. Have seen many people lose their stuff in the snow.
    Another option is from Brooks Range. They have some good, very light cases of various sizes for keeping the book and other gear. And they are bright yellow, which is nice for the snow.

    I actually have two, depending on how much gear I am taking:

    In my experience, the basic field organizer can hold your book, a pencil, two thermometers, a crystal card and a folding mag glass:

    http://brooks-range.com/Field-Organizer.html

    The Snow Study Field Organizer can hold all of the above, in addition to a large folding ruler, paintbrush, etc... And this version zips up.

    http://brooks-range.com/snow-study-organizer-pro.html

    Basically, if I was going to do a full snow profile, I would take the later, but for simple quick hasty pits I take the former as it is noticeably lighter and smaller.

  18. #18
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    Over the years I have pared down my snowpit kit to what I feel is the minimum, for doing both hasty and data pits. I have a G3 “Bonesaw” in my pack that I also use in my pits. Here is what I carry in my snowpit kit.

    One Hacksaw Publishing Backcountry Field Card = it’s both a grid card and slope inclinometer.

    8 – 10 wooden Popsicle sticks. These are for marking layers and holding my “ruler.”

    One digital Polder or Cooper thermometer = these are fully calibrated. And I have never had any “calibration” issues of more than 2 tenths of a degree. These can be used in F or C degree modes.

    One small button compass = it’s about the size of a quarter. Their great to have if you get confused about what slope aspect you might be on. I have an altimeter watch on, so I can record altitude.I

    I carry and use an 8 X 20 monocular for both looking long distances and as a magnifying loop. All you have to do is turn the monocular around from looking long distance and you can use it as a magnifying loop.

    My Ortovox probe pole has depth markings on it every 10 cm’s. I use some of my Popsicle sticks to hold it against the pit wall. Then I use the centimeter scale off my grid card to get exact measurements, from the probe pole marks.

    Two number 2 pencils.

    And last but not least my Hacksaw Publishing, Professional Snow Data Field Book.

    http://www.hacksawpublishing.com

    All of this except the monocular, field book (grid card inside book), probe pole, Bonesaw, goes into a small net style stuff sack. The net stuff sack allows the gear to dry out, if there is any extra snow on it.
    "True love is much easier to find with a helicopter"

  19. #19
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    117
    Only thing I can add is be very careful of the quality of your 10x loop, or monocular as Hacksaw suggest. First time I looked through a good quality loop I realized that my piece of trash was hindering more than helping. They run from $10 to $100 plus and there is a reason. Den

  20. #20
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    if i know i'm digging a full profile:

    http://www.amazon.com/Life-Link-25X-.../dp/B001GABIY0

    have one of these that i like. i think it's made by edmund optics. be extra careful to not get it too wet, as it likes to fog up. i found that with a 10x or 5x loupe, i could see almost the same with my naked eye.

    a piece of 3mm cord with knots every 6" for tests. i can't say i ever dig rutschblocks, so a 2.5m length after knots is what i carry. makest ect and pst quicker and cleaner than a saw.

    snowpit technologies field book. might have to try a hacksaw book, but i like the rose for quick notes throughout the day.

    3 calibratable dial stem thermometers. it always seems that one isn't calibrated perfect, so i can have 2 that are. fast!

    snow saw.

    mechanical pencil.

    2m folding ruler like bca or brooks range.

    compass.

    grid card.

    hacksaw, you should make a book with half of it full profiles like in your book and half the danger rose like in ian mccammon's book. laid out like first 50 pages danger rose and second 50 pages full profile. i would get a couple of those things. no cheat sheets, no extra pages, just the basics.
    Live To Ski!

  21. #21
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    oh yeah, and whiskey, because it always seems to be cold if i'm diggin.
    Live To Ski!

  22. #22
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    Aug 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunion View Post
    This^^^^
    plus pencils...

  23. #23
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    Sorry, but Hacksaw Publishing is now out of business.
    "True love is much easier to find with a helicopter"

  24. #24
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    I wasted time and money buying a pre packaged BCA study kit.

    As someone already mentioned, a quality loupe is helpful. The stock bca version gets clogged with snow, and offers marginal better magnifying power than your eyes.

    The lead guide in my CAA Ops 1 Avvy class just duct taped a homemade pencil and digital thermometer pouch to his rite in the rain book.

    The book fits in a coat pocket or outside backpack pouch easily. This allows for easy weather / site observation notes on the fly.

    He carried a brooks range foldable ruler and a nice loupe inside a small pouch in his backpack.

    This makes for a great bare bones study kit that isn't awkward or bulky.

    I'd also point out that carrying a shovel with a straight blade is extremely helpful when trying to dig a uniform pit. The better shape your pit walls are, the more accurate your layer ID and stability tests can be.

    I personally carry a G3 bonesaw, and it has a crystal screen built in, which also eliminates another tool.

    Final note: analog thermometers suck ass and take forever to get up to temp.

    Just my $0.02

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Park City
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    I typically don't bring the saw anymore since I find it easily destroy my puffys. My kit....
    A skinny 2 or 3mm chord with knots works well enough for tests.
    Crystal Card
    2 Copper Atkins Digital thermometers (calabrited for life) DFP450W
    Blue Book from snow pit technology is much better than AAIRE book
    Lupe
    Extra mechanical pencils.
    "Officially known as Highway U-210, more commonly known as Little Cottonwood Canyon and unofficially acknowledged as the epicenter of the greatest snow on earth." Andrew McLean

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