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Avalanche


Worth Knowing

All you have is less than 15 min to dig out your friends, so remember your showel and Pieps, but above all do everything you can to

  • minimize the risk that you or anybody else end up in an avalanche
  • maximize the likelihood that as few as possible gets caught if an avalanche goes off

The average time to find and dig out a person carrying a Pieps is for professionals: 18 min, for unpracticed: 32 min!

Why don't you just dig yourself out, if burried in an avalanche?

Water has a property that is very bad when it comes to avalanches. The freezing point depends on the pressure. The higher the pressure, the lower the freesing point. This means that snow or ice melts if the pressure is high enough.

And this is exactly what happens when an avalanche is slowed down to full stop by the landscape. Within a rather short time the snow is slowed down from a few hundred km/h to 0. This demands a violent force or to put it differently a high pressure. The result is that large parts of the snow melts very shortly. When the velocity hits zero, the high pressure disappears again causing all the melted snow to freeze again, but now as ice.

To put it short: The fluffy powder in a few seconds turn into something that is very much like concrete. If you are caught inside the concrete, you better wet your pants if not done allready. This gives the avalanche dogs a better chance for finding you!

For the same reason it is strictly forbidden to have a pee if you are at an avalanche where someone (might) be burried. You will have to wait.