Have you ever wondered about Mountain Rescue Services and what is involved?
They play an important role in looking after and preserving human life, as well as helping make the mountains of the world safer by setting off controlled avalanches.
One of the key parts of this process sees mountain rescue professionals intentionally cause controlled avalanches as part of their job. There are a number of factors behind this, and these are some of the things you need to know about the process.
A key reason for triggering these avalanches is, strangely, for safety reasons.
What happens is that mountain rescue will often trigger small, controlled avalanches in order to prevent larger ones from occurring.
Mountain towns, railway lines, and ski resorts where avalanches pose a risk to life will often see and hear explosive charges used to cause smaller avalanches.
There are a few different explosives that can be used to help with this such as:
These explosive charges are triggered usually in predetermined areas via Helicopter, Gazex Cannons or Metal pipes fixed to the side of the mountains on high-risk slopes.
Gazex Cannons are large pipes facing downwards which emit hot gases at vulnerable slopes top set off small controlled avalanches.
There is a Propane and Oxygen Chamber at a distance from the Cannon which is ignited at the base of the Pipe.
These actions are detonated remotely to keep Mountain Patrollers safe.
Ski checks are also performed to make sure an area would be safe to ski. Additionally, the avalanches can be controlled by special fences, nets, or artificial walls that can impact what the snowfall is going to do and which direction the snowfall will go in.
Prevent Further Avalanches
Explosives will loosen small buildups of snow, which will prevent larger buildups from occurring.
The idea here is to control the avalanches by preventing larger snow clusters from forming.
Mountain rescue researchers will check the environment beforehand, and dig snow pits or using radar technology.
Many areas of the world need to use these techniques to trigger controlled avalanches. They are commonly known in Utah to keep the train lines clear, as well as countries like Switzerland, and ski resorts across the world.
The idea is to make the slopes a little safer for skiers, and this can sometimes mean manipulating the snow in order to get the best possible outcome.
Yes is your answer, in season 18/19 two ski patrollers were killed in the french resort of Morillon when an explosive detonated before they could move away.
Its important for mountain rescue teams to keep distance from the slides, see video below of a controlled avalanche gone wrong :
It’s important to stay safe and have the correct training when skiing or snowboarding off-piste please check out further blogs below:
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