Close call at Echo Peak. Moral: Keep your gloves on!
Posted on January 2nd, 2013 by edge | 3 Comments
This POV footage came from a companion rescue at last week at Echo Peak, Calif.:
The footage definitely drives home a couple of simple points: 1. Everyone in your group should have an avalanche beacon, avalanche shovel, and avalanche probe (and preferably an avalanche airbag). In this incident only two of the five riders had the gear, so you’ll see a lot of time was burned exchanging gear–and there was much fumbling around with the shovel blade since the rescuer couldn’t find the shaft. It’s great that two of these folks had proper equipment, but that’s not good enough! What if the buried person didn’t have a beacon? What if he was buried, but had the group’s only shovel? Fortunately, this incident worked out, but it could have had completely different results if he didn’t get his hand above the surface.
2. Don’t take off your gloves! We’ve seen this many times (especially in beacon search drills): folks will remove their gloves to get out their beacon, then leave them on the ground when they start the search process. Big mistake! You’re desperately going to need these for the shoveling phase, which can be very time consuming and very tough on ungloved hands. You will lose huge amounts of efficiency by not having your gloves. Sounds simple, but it’s a common mistake. Take note!
A full incident report can be found on the Sierra Avalanche Center website.