The Ultimate Avalanche Survival Tools

Posted by Carla Bamesberger | 01.06.2016


The National Avalanche Center is an organization dedicated to spreading awareness of avalanche danger. According to their website, avalanches claim more lives every year on national forest lands than any other natural hazard. Knowing what conditions to avoid and outfitting your group with basic safety equipment can increase your chances of survival. However, even with these measures in place, the danger still exists. You can further increase your odds with top-of-the-line safety technology designed to keep you alive long enough for rescuers to reach you


A Race Against Time


Aside from debris and obstacles, one of the biggest enemies of avalanche victims is time. When you have several tons of snow on top of you, access to air diminishes rapidly, and your body temperature will begin dropping due to the surrounding snow. The Avalanche Center of Utah reports that 93% of buried victims survive if found and recovered within 15 minutes of burial. The survival rate drops rapidly after that. Within 45 minutes, a victim only has a 20-30% chance of survival.


Buy Time with the AvaLung


To help increase your odds of survival, Black Diamond designed the AvaLung. Their revolutionary invention resembles a snorkel, and gives you more breathing room under the snow. Timed trials during testing showed that the AvaLung increased the time a buried victim could survive by giving them access to more oxygen.


The lightweight AvaLung fits into most Black Diamond backpacks. If you don't already own a Black Diamond pack, you can find Black Diamond packs with the AvaLung already built in for your convenience. These quality packs are designed to fit comfortably and move with you as you break powder.


Stay Near the Surface


You can also increase your chances of survival by equipping yourself with an ABS backpack to keep you near the surface. ABS packs from well-known companies such as Osprey, Backcountry Access, and Ortovox use deployable airbags to help protect you from deep burial. Similar to the technology that protects you during a car crash, two high-pressure airbags built into these packs rapidly inflate when activated. They increase your surface area and give you more buoyancy. A shallow burial allows the rescue team can dig you out faster. Make sure that you also keep a quality avalanche beacon on you so that rescuers can locate you faster.


A Redeployable ABS for Travel


If you are a hard-core powder hound who loves hitting the slopes as soon as the snow stops falling, you might want to invest in a redeployable ABS pack. Currently, most of the models on the market can only deploy the airbags once. Black Diamond’s Halo 28 Jetforce Avalanche Airbag Pack features a rechargeable ABS system. Travelers will also love this pack, which is one of the only ABS packs that you can bring onto an airplane.


For added convenience, the Halo 28 Jetforce features several exterior straps for skis and helmets. You will also enjoy interior pockets for accessories and avalanche beacons.


Your safety matters out on the slopes. We at Jax want you to have access to the gear you need to increase your chances of survival if you find yourself caught in an avalanche.

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