IN LIGHT OF THE CLOSURE OF MANY SKI LIFTS ACROSS THE GLOBE, MOUNTAIN ENTHUSIASTS ARE FLOCKING INTO BACKCOUNTRY AREAS AND OFTEN INTO UNPROTECTED TERRAIN. HERE ARE SIX MOUNTAIN SAFETY GOLDEN RULES YOU MUST FOLLOW ALWAYS, ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF THE ALREADY OVERCROWDED EMERGENCY DEPARTMENTS.
It doesn’t take much to turn an adventure into a nightmare in the mountains. Ninety percent of fatal avalanches are caused by their own victims, who, if they survive the avalanche, have only 15 minutes to be rescued.
There are three steps to follow in order to limit this risk and make full use of the mountains:
- 1 | Training
- 2 | Preparation
- 3 | Vigilance
Athletes on the Freeride World Tour are the first to use them, both in their regulation equipment during runs and in their regular mountain first aid refresher courses. Freeride World Tour athletes and fans adhere to the fundamental mountain safety rules.
1 | TRAINING
THE FIRST TIP IS TO TAKE A MOUNTAIN SAFETY COURSE WITH A GUIDE.
Get educated! This is the most important rule to remember. In the mountains, the climate is harsh, and it makes no sense to have the best equipment if you can’t use it properly.
To successfully locate an avalanche victim, an avalanche transceiver needs training. Once found, the victim must be dug up using a precise technique to prevent the snow from falling on them, thereby preventing suffocation.
You will never be able to learn the techniques of terrain identification, rescue, and use of equipment like you will during a mountain safety course. Please contact the closest ski resort and region to you to learn more about available courses:
- Hakuba, Japan: More Info
- Kicking Horse, Canada: More Info
- Ordino-Arcalís, Andorra: More Info
- Fieberbrunn, Austria: More Info
- Verbier, Switzerland: More Info
2 | PREPARATION
The second tip is to check the equipment you are using
Without the proper equipment, no climber should venture out. The minimum equipment recommended for riders is a helmet, an avalanche beacon, a shovel, a probe, and an airbag. Warm, waterproof, windproof clothing equipped with recco reflectors is recommended to facilitate your localization.
- You an find the Black Diamond safety equipment here
- You can find the Peak Performance technical clothing here
Check that your equipment is in working order after you’ve assembled it. Many people forget to check the battery on their avalanche beacons or adjust their skis even though it seems obvious.
The third tip is to prepare yourself for your adventure
After you have the basic equipment ready, you will need to plan your outing. Plan according to the following:
This information can be found on the ski resort’s website or on various weather forecasting websites.
3 | VIGILANCE
The 4th tip is to choose the right terrain
Do not be afraid to ask the patrollers about the location and the general state of the area at the beginning of the excursion. Patrollers often hold information that you cannot find anywhere else.
In order to assess the risks and feasibility of a climb, observe the mountain carefully once you arrive at your destination:
- Steepness/slope of a face
- Exposure of the face
- The effects of the sun and wind on the snow
- Trees, cliffs, rocks, crevasses are obstacles
- Patrollers placing safety signs
Making snow cuts will allow you to observe the snowpack’s composition. Multiple small and unstable heterogeneous layers are worse than thick homogenous layers.
Further, a homogeneous mantle reduces huge temperature differences between the different layers. What type of mantle will you be skiing on: on a 3 meter thick mantle or on a 1 meter thick mantle? During skiing, it is important to know the fragile layers you will reach first, in order to put the appropriate pressure.
You need to determine your level before committing yourself. Make sure you choose lines according to your level of skiing or snowboarding.
The fifth tip is 8 mistakes you should not make!
Most climbers live by a set of simple rules, and breaking these rules could prove deadly.
- Do not leave without telling someone about your plans (friend, relative, patroller).
- 2: You should not go alone
- 3. Freeriding with someone who is not adequately equipped is a bad idea
- 4. Keep away from already made tracks
- 5. Avoid stopping in places where you might get hurt
- 6. Separate and keep your distance from large groups.
- 7. Don’t follow someone without first observing, use your common sense, and do your own due diligence.
- 8. You shouldn’t just sit back and let the risks and dangers sneak up on you
The 6th tip is to respect the mountain
Ride the mountain, but most importantly, respect it, and it will respect you. Remember, we are very small in comparison with the majesty of the mountain!
To know more check out this video!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is mountain code?
In 1952, the Norwegian Trekking Association (Den norske turistforening, DNT) and the Norwegian Red Cross released the Mountain Code (“Fjellvettreglene”), a compiled set of nine instructions developed by locals over centuries.
What are the safety measures during mountaineering?
The safety measures during mountaineering are:
How do you summit a mountain?
To know how to summit a mountain, you need to check a video!