Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Element Barryvox wins Gear of the Year award from Backcountry Skiing Canada

Every once in a while we're not above some shameless self-promotion!  It is nice to be recognized though, and we appreciate the work they put into running our products through their paces.  Check out the Element Barryvox Product Review here:  CLICK THIS LINK

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Service Bulletin for Inspection of Mammut and Snowpulse Avalanche Airbags

Inspections have shown that there is a possible assembly problem

affecting individual Mammut and Snowpulse avalanche airbags from the Winter

2011/2012 and Winter 2012/2013 production seasons. The problem is an improperly

screwed in connector between the deployment mechanism and the venturi valve.
Since Mammut cannot rule out that this problem could result in a loss of function in the event

of use, we hereby request that all customers inspect the connection in accordance with the

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tech Tips: Creating a "mental map" during multiple burial searches

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a group training with Mammut Snow Safety technical rep Doug Workman where we spent a morning practicing some of the advanced functions of the Pulse Barryvox transceiver.  Generally, this beacon allows either single or multiple burial searches to be accomplished extremely quickly and easily.  However, when a searcher confronted with a close proximity multiple burial runs into the problem of signal overlap, as with any digital beacon, things fall apart--when overlapping signals are present digital beacons struggle to differentiate the signals. In such instances, searchers need to recognize what is going on and revert to a backup method to conduct the search. 

Mammut Snow Safety Tech Rep Doug Workman demonstrating a Micro-Search Box. Photo: Steve Lloyd

One of the most fundamental things I took away from the session was the importance of the "mental map" that a searcher can use during a multiple burial search by integrating analog information into a typical digital search.  By "mental map", I mean that as you progress through a search, you can quickly and easily form a mental picture of not only how many burials you are dealing with but also where each of them is relative to each other.  Why is this important?  Because this "mental map" allows a searcher to see and react to signal overlap problems AS THEY HAPPEN, rather than realizing what's going on after a problem occurs.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Mammut You Tube Instructional Videos

If you own or use any of Mammut's avalanche safety products, you should become familiar with Mammut's You Tube channel, which is full of many instructional videos: Mammut Avalanche Safety You Tube.

Today, I would like to highlight the videos which demonstrate the proper use, re-packaging, and removal of the Protection Airbag System (PAS) and Removable Airbag Systems (RAS).

If you already own or are thinking of purchasing a Mammut PAS or RAS airbag, please watch these short videos to ensure proper use of your airbag system.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

New Year's Deep Slab Avalanche Cycle--Jackson Hole

Deep slab instability has been a widespread plague this winter throughout North America. Jackson Hole has not been immune. Currently, in the Snake River Range, a deep faceted layer up to 80 centimeters thick sits at the ground topped with an 80-100 centimeter hard slab. These slabs are quite strong and can support the weight of many skiers. However, if a thin spot is found, or if a heavier load is applied (like a snowmachine), the results are dramatic. Today (1/18/14), a week after the storm cleared out,  a snowmachiner triggered a deep, hard slab in the Palisades. This persistent weak layer will not go away quickly.

Below are photos from the last week's avalanche cycle in the Snake River Range in Wyoming and the Palisades in Eastern Idaho.

HS-AE-R3D3-O triggered on 1/14//14 with explosives, 
South Bowl of New Year's Bowl in South Fall Creek, Snake River Range

High Mountain Heli-Ski Guide Dave Fett at the 100cm crown on New Years's Bowl

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Introducing Avalanche Forecaster and Guide Karl Klassen

If you are not familiar with the name Karl Klassen, you should be. Klassen is the Chief Avalanche Forecaster at the Canadian Avalanche Center, an IFMGA guide, and the Guide Manager at Monashee Powder Snowcats. Klassen's papers and presentations are always on the top of my list of "must see" events at the bi-annual International Snow Science Workshop. Recently, Karl helped develop the "Avalanche Problems" system of communicating avalanche hazard in forecasts--a system quickly adopted across North America that has made forecasts easier to understand and decision making in the field more focused.

Karl recently wrote a post on the Canadian Avalanche Forecaster's blog that is a worthy read for professionals and recreationalists alike. In summary, North America is dealing with a very "Continental" snowpack this year that should have serious implications on the way we all make decisions. So, whether you ski in Western Canada, California, or Colorado, please give his recent post a read.

One of These Years is Not Like the Other

On another note, Klassen's guide's at Monashee Powder Snowcats are loyal users of the PULSE beacon. They have done extensive testing of the new 4.0 "Intelligent Search" and have found it useful for guests at their operation.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A little shout-out from our friends at Northern Escape Heli

I hate to toot our own horn, but sometimes it's just gotta be done!  We recently saw this article from our friends at Northern Escape Heli (NEH) detailing the Pulse Barryvox Avalanche Transciever.  For those who aren't familiar with them, NEH runs guided heli and snowcat trips near Terrace, BC.

Personally, watching the guides at an operator of this level work as a team to manage the safety of groups of clients is pretty amazing.

Friday, December 6, 2013

TECH TIPS: Perfecting Intelligent Search 4.0.

In the past several years, digital beacon technology has come a long way. At this point, even a first time user can usually perform a COARSE SEARCH for a single buried companion in a very short amount of time.

However, the FINE SEARCH still has a tendency to befuddle all but the most practiced users. Common errors include failing to check all four sides of the grid, erratically waving the beacon, and moving from standing to kneeling positions.

PULSE 4.0 Intelligent Search (labeled "assisted" in the settings) provides a fast, accurate, and efficient assisted FINE SEARCH which makes it much more difficult to fall into one of the aforementioned traps. In fact, it performs so well, that I believe professionals will also find the new update to be of great use.

There are, however, some guidelines to using Intelligent Search properly.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Understanding Your Avalanche Forecast

Avalanche Forecasters have a difficult job--they do not simply need to understand the specific stability issues in their respective regions, some of which are very large and variable, they also need to communicate that hazard to the public. In an effort to simplify the message to the public, many forecast centers in North America have adopted the "Avalanche Problems" model, which has proven to be a direct and clear method of communicating the heart of the matter.

Mountain Guide, Canadian Avalanche Forecaster, and AIARE founder Karl Klassen presented the relatively new Avalanche Problems concept at this year's ISSW in Grenoble and again at the Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop (USAW) in Salt Lake City. The Canadians have developed a clean, icon-based system which aims to categorize avalanche hazards into 8 problems. A concise summary of the 8 Avalanche Problems used by the Canadian Avalanche Association can be found here:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Antarctica Peninsula Ski Expedition 2013

From November 5-16 of 2013, Mammut ambassadors Doug Workman and Todd Offenbacher embarked on an Antarctic Peninsula ski-mountaineering expedition organized by Doug Stoup's Ice Axe Expeditions. Expedition Leader Stoup has visited the Antarctic Peninsula more than any other explorer alive. His intimate knowledge of the region makes him an authority on ski mountaineering on the Antarctic Peninsula--and the perfect leader to wrangle 22 mountain guides and there clients on one expedition ship. Respectively, this was Offenbacher's second and Workman's fourth expedition to the Peninsula.

The Sea Adventurer's route on the west coast
 of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands.