Avalanche Death and Survival

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 9, 2005      

Get your avalanche safety equipment hereavalanche safety equipment here.

The theme of media avalanche coverage has changed this winter. More than ever we’re seeing first person accounts in magazines and on websites. The old admonition of “don’t go, but if you do carry a beacon,” has given way to “here is what it’s like — and it’s not pretty.”

The latest issue of Backcountry Magazine has a good account on page 33 — a tale of a well organized successful rescue during a backcountry skiing trip. On web forums you can find gripping accounts of heroics and morbid unsuccessful recovery. Even avalanche safety education is beginning to include more of this — see here. And for those of you new to this website, here is my own account from years ago, and another account of a near miss.

So what’s the deal with all this? Simple. Backcountry skiing has become mainstream. We don’t need lectures about what gear to carry — we’ve already got the list. Instead, we need to hear about other people’s experiences so we can learn from them. I encourage anyone who has first-hand experience with an avalanche accident to post their experiences on a web forum, or write up an article for a magazine or website. And if you’d like to publish an account on this website, we can do so as a guest blog.

My only worry about all this is that most accounts are of survival rather than death, and may give a false impression about survival probabilities. Nonetheless, the dead tell no tales, so we need to hear from the living who came close.

Get your avalanche safety equipment hereavalanche safety equipment here.


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