The slide has come to a stop, now what? Time is of the essence and the clock is ticking. You had better get the first responders started right now or the search and rescue operation is going to turn into a body recovery.
We have news today of another deadly avalanche, this time in Colorado. I have been through enough avalanche training to know that accurate prediction is a dicey proposition at best but that is not the reason for this post. My point is based on reports from the first responders that those who survived and were rescued were very lucky to get an emergency call out via cellphone because there is little to no coverage in that area.
The good thing is that they were all wearing avi beacons but it is astounding to me that in this day and age the survivors were left to rely on cellular and not satellite communications technology. That tells me that we have done a much better job of educating people about avalanche transceivers than we have on satellite messengers and PLBs (Personal Locator Beacons) so we have some work to do.
Avalanche training and wearing transceivers are obviously important but so is the ability for survivors or witnesses to call for specialized emergency assistance when the worst happens. The solution is get a SPOT, DeLorme inReach SE, or SPOT Global Phone then learn how to use it, make sure it is fully charged and carry it every single time you go out. I repeat, carry it every single time you go out. Seriously folks, this is an easy fix and I would say it is irresponsible or negligent if you don’t make this affordable preparation.
By the way, if you think that your satellite distress beacon will work when you are buried in the snow you better do some tests because if you are deep enough that you can’t dig yourself out you are too deep for the signal to get out.
For avalanche safety education start by going to the National Ski Patrol and Mountain Rescue Association websites then get some practical field training. Ignorance is a condition that can be treated and cured.