Backcountry Planning is based on the 4 main topics:
The basis for preparing any back-country skiing is the information from the Avalanche reports, Weather reports, tour guides and topographic maps, Its important you do your backcountry planning before heading out to the mountains.
We highly recommend the Ortovox Bergtouren App for backcountry planning, This app offers you many destinations to choose from with topographic maps.
It is essential to choose a route suitable for the avalanche situation. Slope steepness, aspect and avalanche terrain traps must be checked in case of any emergency situations.
Tip: Slope steepness can be read from the tour maps with a scale of 1:25000. (for contour line equidistant of 20 meters) with the aid of the mark on the side, however you must make sure you double check this before heading out.
Measuring Slope Steepness
The graphical reduction method combines the factors of avalanche danger levels, slope steepness, conditions and aspect and helps in estimating risk level and attempts to give a recommendation for action.
The graphic shows whether the risk of avalanche under various conditions is high or low, you can find out more about this on the Avalanche Basics,
If the conditions are not clear, assume that they are unfavourable. If conditions are favourable, the next lower danger level can be assumed, please read the diagram below :
The ski pole test (using ski poles of the same length) is an easy way to estimate the gradient of a slope during a tour. A ski pole is dropped downhill by the grip in the snow and then picked up again with the tip of the pole not being moved.
The second pole is held out with the grip against the grip of the first pole, serving as a pendulum:
You must ensure you have the correct training and the correct equipment in order to locate the buried victim in the case of an avalanche, the standard emergency kit must the following checklist :
a Avalanche kit enables you to locate and save your ski or snowboarding companions in the case of emergency
During search of a buried victim using a full avalanche kit (Transceiver, Shovel, Probe) you can dig them out in around 11 mins, if you are using just a transceiver then you are looking at 1 – 2 hours, the victim only has up to 15 mins to survive so please dont travel without them.
For more about probing and shovelling techniques please read the Avalanche Accidents.
Please click the image tabs below to find out more about our snowsafe Avalanche Safety Centre