AVALANCHE SHOVEL GUIDE
FIND OUT WHAT YOU SHOULD LOOK OUT FOR WHEN PURCHASING A HIGH-QUALITY AVALANCHE SHOVEL.
With the correct avalanche shovel and an optimum shoveling strategy, you can gain important lifesaving time after an avalanche accident. But what makes a good avalanche shovel? What construction and which functions does it need? Find out what matters now!
Avalanche safety equipment is essential for freeriders and ski tourers who go off-piste in unsecured terrain. An avalanche shovel is just as important in this regard as an avalanche transceiver or avalanche probe. The construction, functions and safety standards are of decisive importance when purchasing a shovel. In the ORTOVOX AVALANCHE SHOVEL GUIDE, Chris Semmel, mountain guide and trainer with the Verband deutscher Berg- und Skiführer (VDBS – German mountain and ski guide association) explains what makes a high-quality shovel and which features you should look out for.
SHOVEL SHAFT & GRIP
WITH LARGE BLADE VOLUME AND 90° CLEARING FUNCTION
Statistics show that the chances of surviving an avalanche burial fall dramatically after 15 minutes. In an emergency situation, time is therefore of the essence (see picture to the right). Using a carefully-conceived shovel and the correct shoveling strategy saves important time in an emergency situation.
The average burial depth from which people are rescued alive is 50cm (statistics: Tschirky 2000). This requires the excavation of 1500 liters of snow! Saving time digging means increasing the chances of survival.
The graphic shows the shoveling duration for different shovels. While it takes 11 minutes and 20 seconds of shoveling with an average shovel and a small blade volume, a shovel with optimum shovel blade volume reduces shoveling time to an average of 9 minutes and 56 seconds. By converting to clearing function mode, additional lifesaving time can be saved. Blade volume and clearing function play an important role in the event of an avalanche burial. If the blade volume is too small, not enough snow can be shoveled in a short space of time.If it is too big, the snow can no longer be lifted effectively. In order to ensure optimum shoveling, the blade volume must be carefully considered and provide optimum usability. A clearing function used in the second clearing row makes shoveling even more effective.
*Shoveling Time based on a Master’s thesis from Innsbruck University (times extrapolated from a test with 0.6 cubic meters of excavated material to 1.5 cubic meters)
** How we calculate the shovel volume: Pure blade volume + 2 cm
THIS IS HOW YOU SHOVEL QUICKLY AND EFFECTIVELY TO SAVE TIME AND POWER THAT CAN SAVE LIVES.
When digging out avalanche victims after an avalanche, the following procedure should be followed:
- Read of the victim‘s depth from the probe and walk down the slope by this figure and start shoveling in a V-shape.
- If there are several helpers, two people stand at the front and shovel the snow backwards. The third stands behind and clears the snow away. change positions after one minute.
- The positions should be taken as follows:cut out blocks, shovel, and clear snow away.
- Tip: Shovels with a clearing function can save valuable time here.
ONLINE OR ON OUR AVALANCHE COURSES
Only with the right knowledge can you reduce the risk of getting caught in an avalanche: In the SAFETY ACADEMY AVALANCHE COURSES in cooperation with international mountain schools, we offer all the information you need about the risks involved when on the mountain. Get educated surrounded by snow-capped mountains and reduce the risk!
COMPARISON: AVALANCHE SHOVELS
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