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  1. #1
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    Avalanche Safety Device tested

    Hello All, newbies here.

    Last Sunday Feb 5 through Friday the 10th we conducted testing of an avalanche safety device in the Selkirk Mountains near Revelstoke, British Columbia. The device we were testing was a 3 cubic foot inflated nylon bladder attached to a crash test dummy by a chest harness. Last year in three separate class 2 avalanche tests we found our dummy partially buried on the surface of the avalanche debris field with the nylon lift bag completely exposed on the surface. This year’s test results were quite different.

    In the first avalanche the two dummies (one dummy with an attached lift bag, and a control dummy with no lift bag) were placed on the top of the mountain, just beneath a rather large cornice. We bombed the cornice and dropped the snow just uphill of the dummies. Unfortunately the result was a rather large class 3 avalanche. The dummy with the lift bag attached (Adam) traveled approximately 3000 feet downhill at approximately 110 miles per hour. He slammed into a 4 foot diameter pine tree, wedged against it and was buried by 2 meters of very heavy snow. It took several hours to extract him. His head was completely torn off, his legs were both missing from the knees down, and both arms were torn off. The lift bag was still attached and torn open. The speed and the size of the avalanche were estimated by the avalanche control people we hired for the bombing, so we feel those estimates are good. The dummies we use are the same ones used by Fire Departments for training purposes, so they are quite durable.

    Eve, the dummy without the lift bag attached, was found 100 meters straight uphill from Adam. She was face down, head uphill, and completely buried under one foot of snow. Both of Eve’s legs were torn off, as well as both her arms. The avalanche snapped off several 40 foot pine trees, and everyone agreed it was not a survivable avalanche for a human. The debris field was about 400 meters across down in the valley.

    We can only surmise that the lift bag carried Adam further down the hill before he slammed into the tree and stopped.

    The second avalanche test produced another class 3 slide where the dummies took another 3000 foot ride while dropping down a 100 meter rock chute before launching off a 100 meter cliff. The dummies were found 50 meters apart with Adam uphill from Eve, and both dummies buried under 2 meters of snow. The lift bag was missing from Adam, and his torso was retired from service.

    The third and final avalanche test produced a class three avalanche with a 4000 foot runout. Unfortunately, after several failed attempts to bring down the mountain, the 50 pound bomb punched through the cornice, landed right next to Eve and blew her to kingdom come. A team will be flying into the area this spring before the grizzly bears emerge to locate and remove the various arms, legs, torsos and heads. We spotted Eve’s airborne torso in one frame of film, so we do think she will be recovered.

    We dropped our lift bag strength from 420 denier nylon (420 cross stitches per square inch) to 200 denier this year in order to conserve weight, and we put our dummies in unsurvivable locations. The plan is to return to 420 denier nylon, and to place our dummies lower on the slopes, rather than at the tops of the mountains. Although skier and snowmobile triggered avalanches often place the victim at the very top of the avalanche as it starts, we start our slides by dumping cornices, and we just don’t feel that dropping tons of snow onto test dummies is realistic.

    Any comments would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by WARI avalanche research institute
    The third and final avalanche test produced a class three avalanche with a 4000 foot runout. Unfortunately, after several failed attempts to bring down the mountain, the 50 pound bomb punched through the cornice, landed right next to Eve and blew her to kingdom come. A team will be flying into the area this spring before the grizzly bears emerge to locate and remove the various arms, legs, torsos and heads. We spotted Eve’s airborne torso in one frame of film, so we do think she will be recovered.
    Please post pics.

    How does your product differ from the traditional Lawinen airbag? Is your attachment system not as strong? what failed that caused the bag to be ripped off (sounds like the bag itself shredded)?

    Number one lesson: Large Class 3 avy's are freaking powerful.
    How deep was the crown? how wide was the slide?
    Last edited by Core Shot; 02-20-2006 at 04:17 PM.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”
    Hunter S. Thompson

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Core Shot
    Please post pics.
    Seconded.


    Will there be a memorial service for Adam & Eve?

  4. #4
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    Oct 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by WARI avalanche research institute

    We can only surmise that the lift bag carried Adam further down the hill before he slammed into the tree and stopped.
    Although this is a strong possibility would it not be more prudent to assume this is only one possibility and needs more study. There are many variables although the lift bag could be the problem. A still inflated bag would likely decrease the travel and maybe testing of the effects of a torn bag vs inflated vs no bag would help to prove that. While the benefits are what you want to prove the hazards are something you also should be fully aware of. I'm sure the heavier bag prevents most or all deflations but knowing the effect of the deflated bag would still be beneficial. Perhaps a smaller bag of the lighter material would still offer the benefits and be less likely to tear and pose less of a problem if it did deflate.

    I have no real idea and you may have considered all of these things already but you asked so I'm just brain stem storming.
    It's not so much the model year, it's the high mileage or meterage to keep the youth of Canada happy

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by WARI avalanche research institute
    Any comments would be appreciated.
    Wow !
    Wouldn't want to be a dummy for you guys.
    So you don't want "da bears" playing with the dummies parts ? Could make for some fine news photo's

    I guess the bladders described are similar to the self-inflating avi-backpacks mentioned elsewhere on these forums ?
    Expensive ($500US or so ?), and Canadian.

    ...Remember, those who think Global Warming is Fake, also think that Adam & Eve were Real...

  6. #6
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    "Adam traveled approximately 3000 feet downhill at approximately 110 miles per hour. He slammed into a 4 foot diameter pine tree, wedged against it and was buried by 2 meters of very heavy snow. It took several hours to extract him. His head was completely torn off, his legs were both missing from the knees down, and both arms were torn off."

    But apart from that he was OK? This bag system sounds a winner. Where can I buy one?

  7. #7
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    This is a much smaller version of an avalanche lifting system than what is currently out there in backpack form. Last year we had great results with three class 2 avalanches and our dummy ended up on "top" of the debris field after the slides. This year our equipment got tooled by the slides. We cut back on the thickness of our lift bag in order to conserve weight and it cost us. Next year we will return to the thicker 420 denier nylon lift bags.

  8. #8
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    .....more pics......

  9. #9
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    ...one more, more to come.....

  10. #10
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    Thanks for pics!
    Yikes!

  11. #11
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    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”
    Hunter S. Thompson

  12. #12
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    Adam's looking a bit down on his luck in that picture.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad_roo
    Adam's looking a bit down on his luck in that picture.
    Its only a flesh wound.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”
    Hunter S. Thompson

  14. #14
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    on the pointy end, calling the line, swearing my fucking ass off
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    Were they "testing the device" or trying to blow up the mountain?!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by likwid
    Were they "testing the device" or trying to blow up the mountain?!
    whatever, it looks like fun
    fur bearing, drunk, prancing eurosnob

  16. #16
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    Avalanche Three was a big bust. We retired Adam after avalanche test number two and went with just Eve wearing a lift bag for the third avy. Unfortunately the bomb landed right next to her. You can see her torso taking a ride in this pic......

  17. #17
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    closer look at Eve's torso.....

  18. #18
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    This stuff is killer. Maybe an inflatable sumo suit would work?

  19. #19
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    So, if I may, it seems that your results point to the fact that in the event of a large avalanche, blowing oneself up will reduce the chance of burial.

    Way to think out of the box.

  20. #20
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    I think Eve's gonna need a new Bogner.
    & is Adam using the latest Pantsuit for convicts?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by berko
    Way to think out of the box.
    I'm pretty sure they blew up the box, too.

  22. #22
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    Brilliant!

  23. #23
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    Here's a sequence of the device being inflated on Eve just prior to the avalanche.

    This first pic is at ignition......

  24. #24
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    Here it is at 1/2 second........

  25. #25
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    .....and at 1 second elapsed time.....

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