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  1. #1
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    Smile What to carry in the backcountry....

    As avalanche educators we have often talked about the basic avalanche rescue equipment that folks should have/carry. For years it has been that folks should carry a transceiver (beacon), shovel and probe pole (dedicated probe pole, not the older ski pole probes). To this we’ve added RECCO reflectors. All this gear will help you be found or to find someone, but it may not help you survive an avalanche.

    As avy educators we have gone on to suggest a well-stocked first aid kit, and to take a CPR course. Other gear to consider include: the Avalung which has also proved to be useful in avalanches/tree-wells survival. Avalanche airbag packs are now also an item that folks should consider; and you might consider a helmet too.

    Just remember don’t consider any of these tools your guarantee to survival. Surviving an avalanche is about luck. ALL these tools can do – when in trained hands – is to help put you in a better place to be.

    One additional item I would like to now suggest is a fairly low budget item, but very useful, and that’s a good wood/snow saw. A saw like the G3 Bonesaw or even a garden folding saw can easily cut wood and snow.

    There have been many cases where avalanche victims have been buried up against trees, and tree limbs have caused problems with digging out the victim. Besides helping to free a friend , the saw can be used in snowpit work, or even splinting broken bones (wrists, elbows, arms), or cutting firewood for emergency bivys and cutting down minor trees for helicopter landing zones/spots.

    It’s a thought. What do you think?
    "True love is much easier to find with a helicopter"

  2. #2
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    Good post

    Add to this, gear repair kit... and bacon
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  3. #3
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    Dec 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summit View Post
    Good post

    Add to this, gear repair kit... and bacon
    And beer.

  4. #4
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    And hookers n blow

  5. #5
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    Feb 2012
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    Missoula
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    A gun, for wolves, obviously.


    On a more serious note, probably some stuff to get you through a night or two out there- extra layers, fire starter, space blanket/bivvy, maybe a small gas stove?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    285
    agree with all of the above. esp hookers and blow.

    obviously this is getting much much harder, esp in the states, but i always try to have a couple of pain killers with me just in case. if someone is injured, and in serious pain, but not life threatening and needs to get out of a bad situation (hang fire, lost, whatever), they could prove very useful. i keep them with my first aide kit, same i use for mtn biking, DH, camping etc.

    oh and a flask of over 100 proof whisky. good for cleaning wounds, dulling pain, or post run celebration.

  7. #7
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    Walkie talkie. Your whole crew should have them. Some of the nicer ones have rewind features and NOAA weather alerts.
    It's the easiest way to communicate after you've skied the slope and want to relay some information back to your party and a fine alternate in the event your area has no cell service.

    I also love the little survival tins. They are low weight and the nice ones have 35+ items in there. Bury in some random pocket and forget about it.

  8. #8
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    Dec 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by hatchgreenchile View Post
    Walkie talkie. Your whole crew should have them. Some of the nicer ones have rewind features and NOAA weather alerts.
    It's the easiest way to communicate after you've skied the slope and want to relay some information back to your party and a fine alternate in the event your area has no cell service.
    This. As covert pointed out on his podcast, radios are the only piece of gear (other than your brain) that can actually help prevent avalanche accidents.

  9. #9
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    Jan 2006
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    Not surprising that guy with the handle Hacksaw is suggesting we carry a hacksaw in the BC.

    Move upside and let the man go through...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrenalated View Post
    This. As covert pointed out on his podcast, radios are the only piece of gear (other than your brain) that can actually help prevent avalanche accidents.
    and a compass clinometer
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by steezybomber View Post
    obviously this is getting much much harder, esp in the states, but i always try to have a couple of pain killers with me just in case. if someone is injured, and in serious pain, but not life threatening and needs to get out of a bad situation (hang fire, lost, whatever), they could prove very useful. i keep them with my first aide kit, same i use for mtn biking, DH, camping etc.
    Same, I keep a couple vicodin or something like that from an old Rx of my wife's in our first aid kit. I always remember the scene in Touching the Void where he says "he gave me the strongest painkillers we had, which were effectively headache tablets..." not sure how smart it is to take first aid advice from a movie but hey, I'm not a doctor.

    My other random usefuls: voile straps (duh), swiss army knife (w/screwdriver etc), climbing tape, compass/clinometer, extra batteries, often a charger pack for my phone. I use this one: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 , it will fully recharge my phone 2 or 3 times and it holds a charge for weeks if you don't use it.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    213
    Nthing radios; I don't think I've had something had as big of an impact on my group's safety in the backcountry. Particularly when exploring new terrain. Being able to tell a buddy "hey heads up, there's a cliff 10' to the left of my tracks, stay right" when a few hundred yards away is very helpful.

    Some of my other gear varies depending on where I'm at. I probably won't carry an alcohol stove on a 3-4 hour mission, but if the tour is going to take most of the day if things go well, it goes in the pack in case things don't go well. Other bits, like a small first aid kit, extra food, warm puffy etc. always make it in the pack.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Zip ties and narcs can get me through a lot. Oh, and a small Vise Grips(tm) and a SAK are better than leathermans, IMO.
    山、川、森林、砂漠、海、空

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    In the shadow of the wasatch
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    Everything else stated, headlamp, parachute cord, gorilla tape around my poles (keeps the rubber lower grips from slipping too far on my bd poles), water/windproof matches, cotton balls slathered in vaseline as a firestarter, TP aka backcountry dollar bills, nitrile gloves and plastic grocery bags good for wound care, hauling out trash/soiled TP or vapor barrier. I rarely tour where humanity isnt at the bottom of the drainage but when I do I plan to overnight in emergency so a couple a three or 4 space blankets, small camp extra food and starbucks via insta coffee. I have also dry land practiced making a ski litter with my skis, shovel blade handle and ski poles. Never had to use it in the field but think I could pull it off in a pinch

  15. #15
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    Dec 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meadow Skipper View Post
    Zip ties and narcs can get me through a lot.
    Just make sure the narcs don't contain acetaminophen... so you can increase their effectiveness with some of the whiskey.


  16. #16
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    Dec 2007
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    Oh and a 9mm for wolves and or 12 gauge slug gun for grizz or polar bears

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by skaredshtles View Post
    Just make sure the narcs don't contain acetaminophen... so you can increase their effectiveness with some of the whiskey.

    Heh. Of course.

    Good to see you here MW.
    山、川、森林、砂漠、海、空

  18. #18
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    Jan 2015
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    106
    Hose clamps are small, light, very strong, and can be combined. A good supplement to tape, Voile straps, and zip ties.

  19. #19
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    Sep 2006
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    Midgaard
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    I bring a lot of the good stuff already mentioned. Hand warmers have been a finger saver for me in the past. Usually bring a warm pair of gloves too as I typically tour in light leather. An extra light base layer. Bailing wire.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacques Sheer-Rocko View Post
    Hose clamps are small, light, very strong, and can be combined.
    ^That's a good one. And I carry 20 feet or so of rolled-up flat 1 inch webbing which comes in handy sometimes for securing stuff, anchors, etc.
    山、川、森林、砂漠、海、空

  21. #21
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    Jun 2009
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    hell, CA pop 4
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    Personal Locator Beacon! Spot, In Reach, ACR, Sat phone, or whatever.


    I'm snowbike, so maybe more tools than most here. But as mentioned above, the baby vicegrips are my go to. 2 of those can do a hell of a lot.


    For radios we run the Garmin Rino, because they have a buddy finding feature. Follow the GPS to find them.


    And as mentioned COMPASS, be it electronic toy, or out of a box of cereal. White out conditions can make directions tough sometimes.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    North Vancouver/Whistler
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    i've been thinking of a jetboil ever since a friend of mine was rescued from a 2m deep burial by another group of friends. He was in shock and the rescuers had a jetboil for fluids and warming. I'd like something that is like my thermos of tea but with a canister attached so you can boil up more water if need be. Obviously there's more weight and bulk but it seems like if I can find a Jetboil that doubles as a thermos that'd be ideal. IS there such a thing?

    Also now carry a Bothy Bag for 2.

  23. #23
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    Jan 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeLau View Post
    i've been thinking of a jetboil ever since a friend of mine was rescued from a 2m deep burial by another group of friends. He was in shock and the rescuers had a jetboil for fluids and warming. I'd like something that is like my thermos of tea but with a canister attached so you can boil up more water if need be. Obviously there's more weight and bulk but it seems like if I can find a Jetboil that doubles as a thermos that'd be ideal. IS there such a thing?

    Also now carry a Bothy Bag for 2.
    On a big day, I may carry a msr reactor instead of extra water (or more than a liter).

    Then I can stay hydrated.

    Under 7h days I just keep adding snow to my water bottle, this way I drink about 1.7 l of water, starting with 1l.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post
    On a big day, I may carry a msr reactor instead of extra water (or more than a liter).

    Then I can stay hydrated.

    Under 7h days I just keep adding snow to my water bottle, this way I drink about 1.7 l of water, starting with 1l.
    I would guess Lee tours enough to know all that.

    Lee, I've never seen such a device. My guess is it's not made because the insulated thermos part would weigh too much for most people to carry.

    Hose clamps are a good one — feel pretty dumb for not having thought of that given how often I use them around the lab.

    OP: Recco reflector seems hardly worth mentioning, right? My understanding is they're pretty much useful for body recovery only...
    "Alpine rock and steep, deep powder are what I seek, and I will always find solace there." - Bean Bowers

    meager stoke

  25. #25
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    Nov 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by auvgeek View Post
    Hose clamps are a good one — feel pretty dumb for not having thought of that given how often I use them around the lab.

    OP: Recco reflector seems hardly worth mentioning, right? My understanding is they're pretty much useful for body recovery only...
    Paul Ramer made a little kit, for mending broken ski poles that had hose clamps in it.

    As for RECCO, there have been a number of LIVE recoveries with it.
    "True love is much easier to find with a helicopter"

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