Avalanche rescue

Backcountry safety

September 29, 2020

Anyone who ventures out into the backcountry should have basic training in both avalanche beacon rescue and rescue shoveling. Learn the basics of avalanche rescue here and take an avalanche course to solidify your knowledge.

Avalanche rescue steps

  1. Scene size up - Is it safe to rescue?
  2. Pick a rescue leader.
  3. Switch beacon to search mode.
  4. Start beacon search.
  5. Zig-zag beacon search.
  6. Locate beacon within two meters - begin probe search.
  7. Strike at 90°.
  8. When probe strike, start shoveling.
  9. Begin digging 1.5 times the burial depth downhill from the probe strike. Extract victim carefully.
  10. Check A,B,C: Airway, Breathing Circulation (pulse).
  11. Start CPR if need: 30:2 chest compress to rescue breath at rate of 100 compress per min.
  12. Assess for traumatic injuries, keep victim warm and rescue by helicopter if possible.

(5) Zig-zag beacon search

A= 100ft / 30m B = 50ft / 15m

(6) Locate beacon within two meters

Begin probe search A = 10’’ / 25cm

(7) Strike at 90°

(8) When probe strike, start shoveling

Emergency call

USA /Canada






Emergency signal



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