Pre-season preparation of your avalanche safety equipment

Sunday, 25 November 2012  |  Evan

I came across this short video on a YouTube channel that I subscribe to (thanks to Jan Bailey, mountain guide based in New Zealand, for the heads-up).  The channel is called "AvalancheGuys", and it's produced by the team at Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Centre, Montana.  I highly recommend it for videos on snowpack assessment, avalanche safety etc.  This particular video runs through some pre-season maintenance that you can do on your avalanche safety equipment.  This is important- when you need this stuff, you don't want to be faffing about with stiff connections between your shovel and its handle, or frozen links in your avalanche probe.  Check it out below, but if you don't have time to watch it, here are some key points:

-Deburr the blade of your avalanche shovel so that it doesn't snag on your pack every time you put it in or take it out

-Lubricate and protect the connections between your shovel handle and blade, and between links in your probe

-Put new batteries into your transceiver.  Use only alkaline batteries. Never use rechargeable batteries or lithium batteries.

Also, not mentioned in the video but very important if you have an airbag backpack, now is the time to check that your cylinder is full, that the pressure guage (if present) is reading the correct pressure, and that the cylinder is properly attached to the airbag system.  Fatalities have occured because these simple preparations have not been made.