Friday, December 12, 2014

The Evolution of the Avalanche Forecast: Problems, Likelihood, Consequence


The definition of risk is often described in terms of chance or probability. In the world of avalanche forecasts, avalanche hazard has often been hamstrung by this definition. An example of this problem is often seen during periods of deep slab or persistent problems, when the low likelihood of a major event--despite the severe consequences of such an event--warrants merely a moderate hazard rating. A fatal example of this occurred on December 26, 2013, when a rider triggered a deep slab on Jackson Hole's "Pucker Face" that subsequently killed him.

In 2005-06, building on Roger Atkins 2004 ISSW paper, the Utah Avalanche Center pioneered incorporating "Avalanche Problems" into their avalanche advisories. This system has since been widely adopted throughout North America. The UAC's platform can be found HERE. We blogged about the use of this format in Canada HERE. An example from the Crested Butte Avalanche Center can be found HERE.

Taking this one step further--essentially combining likelihood and consequence to say, "so what?"-- Drew Hardesty and the forecasters at the Utah Avalanche Center have developed an additional component in their daily forecasts. In this new platform, the given hazard rating will be accompanied with a Travel Precaution Advisory.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Mammut offers 30% discount on level-1 avy courses

We hope this holiday season Mammut can bring cheer to your home.  However, rather than simply outfitting you we would like to give a gift that keeps on giving:  education.  Mammut is partnering with four guide services across the US to offer skiers and riders a 30% discount on the cost of a Level-1 avalanche safety course when you purchase a Mammut airbag or beacon.  All Mammut avalanche airbags and avalanche beacons come with a "test and feel voucher" which is redeemable for the course discount at one of these participating providers
Click here to see a list of participating course providers

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

PULSE Barryvox Tips for the Advanced Rescuer



Different backcountry users need different skills. A weekend warrior doing laps in familiar terrain in a familiar snowpack needs a different skill-set than the skier who does a destination backcountry trip each season to a unfamiliar hut in a remote region. Similarly the professional user has different needs than the recreational user. From ISSW to the many regional snow and avalanche workshops around the United States this season, there has been considerable chatter about the difficulties that avalanche educators have teaching the many different beacons currently on the market.

In an effort to address different user needs, AIRIE and the American Avalanche Institute have begun to develop curriculums specifically for recreational versus professional users.
Keep in mind, many “recreational users” spend so much time in the backcountry that they may fall into the “professional user” group—people who are out frequently and devoted to being masters of their craft.

From an avalanche transceiver development perspective, Mammut has recognized different user needs for a long time, which is why we offer the ELEMENT for recreational users and the PULSE with both basic and advanced user-profiles for ambitious or advanced users.

Below, we will review some of the PULSE Barryvox’s features which cater to advanced rescuers. Details of these functions can be found in the PULSE USER MANUAL. Many of these features are also very useful for recreational users that are willing to spend a little more time mastering their beacon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Updated Beacon information for fleet owners: Application Safety Guide

The Application Safety Guide contains specific information mainly for professional users and fleet managers.  We recommend any fleet managers and professional users print off a copy for their reference.  Mammut publishes this information as an aid to developing protocols and procedures for professional organizations that will aid in the trouble-free usage of Barryvox avalanche beacons and maximize the safety of users. 

The updated Application Safety Guide is available on Mammut's website now: Link to Application Safety Guide. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Effect of Consumer Electronics on Avalanche Beacons


Mammut's Ilari Dammert Presents Poster at ISSW 2014




In the past few years, there has been a growing concern in the avalanche rescue community that consumer electronics interfere with avalanche transceivers ability to function properly. We have always known that metal objects like shovel blades or even foil wrappers can create electrical interference, but today just about every backcountry traveller is equipt with GO PROs, iPhones, VHF radios and other high frequency gadgets.

In an effort to further our understanding of this important topic, Ilari Dammert (Mammut Electronics Product Manager) and Erwin Meister (Project Manager CCS Adaxys) teamed up to explore the issue.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

MAMMUT presents "Intelligent Search" poster at ISSW 2014




Ilari Damert, Mammut's Electronics Product Manager, is presenting a poster/paper on the PULSE Barryvox's "Intelligent Search" function which was added to the 4.0 Firmware update last January. Intelligent Search is an optional feature in the PULSE 4.0's Advanced functions which makes fine search faster and more efficient. More information can be found at mammutavalanchesafety.com.

This poster presentation can be viewed on Friday at ISSW Banff. Ilari Damert is also available at the Mammut booth at ISSW. Please stop by the booth is you have any questions about this ground breaking function.



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mammut visits the ISSW and IKAR conferences--stop in and say hello!

Mammut representatives will be attending the ISSW (International Snow Science Workshop) in Banff as well as the IKAR-CISA (International Commission for Alpine Rescue) hosted by the Mountain Rescue Association in Lake Tahoe.

On Friday October 3rd at ISSW at 11:40am in the Kinnear Center room 303/305, and again on Tuesday October 7th at IKAR, Mammut avalanche equipment product manager Ilari Dammert will present a paper he co-authored on "The Effect of Consumer Electronics on Avalanche Beacons".  Limited copies of the paper will be available at the Mammut booth if you aren't able to make the presentation. 

Please stop in and say hello to the folks from Mammut.  During intermissions people will be available to answer questions.  Also, bring your Mammut avalanche beacons if you need a checkup or a firmware update. 

We hope to see you there!  

Monday, July 7, 2014

My Gu packets interfere with my beacon!?? Really?


It’s summertime, and few of us have avalanche beacons occupying our attention (if you do, please send a postcard!). Nevertheless, the other day I was part of a conversation that readers of this blog will find very interesting.  It started as many of these do, an email from an acquaintance about his buddies’ beacon. 

I have a friend who has a Pulse that occasionally beeps and displays something like “457 failure to send” (I’ve been with him when this happens). How can he get his beacon fixed/replaced?”

I replied that the “457 Send Failure”(LINK) screen prompt is actually there to alert you when your beacon experiences EXTERNAL interference from an electrical, metallic or magnetic object.  My friend, Steve Achelis of www.Beaconreviews.com , knows his stuff and remarked that they were way up on Mt Rainier where there should not have been any interference, and that none of the other group members had a problem.
My last response was “OH--last thing I thought of, a lot of people get this from a metallic foil wrapper (powerbar or the like) or electronic gizmo in the chest pocket of their jacket (right on top of beacon)....” 
Photo: Jonathan Shefftz/www.Beaconreviews.com

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Svalbard Sail/Ski 2014

Today, I repair the core shot from the only rock I hit in Svalbard, Norway during the last week of May. I was lucky enough to accompany 5 good friends and clients to Svalbard, Norway on the Aliega, a 65 foot sailboat based in Svalbard, Norway.

The beautiful Aleiga in Krossfjorden, PC: Ron Kase

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