Learn To Dig - Avy Rescue Digging Strategy
No matter how fast your transceiver skills, locating an avalanche victim under the snow is only half the battle. Your partner’s life still hangs on how fast you can dig them out.
Historically, the average extraction time for someone buried under three feet of snow has been around 15 minutes. In hard snow or with a deep burial, extractions have been known to take up to an hour. European studies suggest 90% of avy victims buried for less than 15 minutes can be revived. Once the burial time slips past the 15 minute mark, survival rates plummet. Beyond 35 minutes, studies say only 30% survive.
Just as digital beacons have improved search times, significant research has gone into devising specialized digging strategies that speed up extraction times. The importance of understanding these rescue digging techniques can not be overstated. Finding a beacon signal and getting a positive probe strike within two minutes won’t do any good if it takes you another 20 minutes to reach your partner.
This video by Backcountry Access is a good introduction to strategic rescue shoveling. The techniques described in the video have proven to speed up extraction times considerably and especially in companion rescues (only one rescuer).
You’ll also want to check out this article about the "Snow Conveyor" digging method developed by Manuel Genswein and Ragnhild Eide. The snow conveyor method is recognized as the preferred digging strategy if you have multiple rescuers. In tests, Manuel and Ragnhild’s crew has been able to repeatedly perform two-meter extractions in rock hard snow in under 20 minutes. Read about it here.
But beyond watching videos or reading articles, the best way to learn strategic digging techniques is in a professional avalanche course. Find a course close to you in this avy course directory.
21 December 2013
100% Boards Built With Super Sap Bio Resin + FSC Wood Cores
Since our first boards rolled out of the press in 2010 we have strived to balance the qualities of performance, durability and sustainability in our production. We recognize that our manufacturing has an impact on the environment so we use as...
Introducing The 2019/20 Binding Collection
While board and boot performance always get heavy consideration, binding performance is often slept on. Any two straps and a highback may get you down the hill, but not all bindings ride the same. When you are strapped into a binding that’s...
Introducing The Frontier + Frontier Split
New Name, Same Playful Freeride Spirit Excited to introduce the newly re-named Jones Frontier and Frontier Split. Formerly named the Explorer, the Frontier is a directional freeride board designed to be the perfect daily driver for the creative...
Introducing The 2019/20 Flagship
Ten years at the forefront of freeriding Since 2010, the Flagship has defined freeride performance as one of the most confidence inspiring snowboards on the planet. Refining the Flagship design year after year, it has also come to define our...
Introducing The 2019/20 Mountain Safety Collection
The rewards of backcountry snowboarding can be beyond your wildest dreams, but so can the ugly realities of the risks. Avalanche danger in backcountry terrain is a serious threat to your life and the lives of your backcountry partners. When you...
Spring Snow Camping Tips
Story by Nick Russell Sleeping in the mountains is paradise. Walking into the backcountry and carrying everything you need to survive brings a gratifying sense of self-sustainability and strength. Although it can take a great amount of effort...