Buyer’s guide for snow probes
It doesn’t matter if you are more into freeriding or into touring, both are subject to avalanches and both require avalanche safety equipment.The first and most important recommendation is to be cautious. But sometimes, you can be as cautious as you want, the unforeseeable happens and in this case, you want to have everything you may need. If most riders automatically think of the beacon which will help others locate you if you are caught in an avalanche, you also need a shovel and a probe if it’s the other way around and if you need to look for a victim.
How to pick a probe?
Probes are often built the same way regardless of the brand. Basically, they are made of several steel sections linked by a metallic wire. When you asemble all the sections together and pull the wire to keep them locked, you get a long stick with a length varying from 2 meters to 2.7 meters depending on the models. If you are not limited by the size and you don’t mind carrying a few extra gramms go for the longer ones, you never know, it can always be useful.
Have you thought about our avalanche safety package?
If you want to get all bundled up and have your own custom equipment, you can either buy the elements separately or you can go for a package offered by the main brands and generally including probe, shovel and beacon. The main difference between the cheapest and most expensive packages comes mainly from the beacon. Low-end packages generally include a basic beacon when high-end packages come with beacons featuring the latest technologies such as the multi-victim search function. Shovels upgrade as well, made of plastic in the least expensive cases they become made of aluminium as the price goes higher. Probes remain more or less the same. The most expensive ones are a bit lighter with more sections to take less room in the bag.
How to use a snow probe?
When you have located the victim with the beacon and you got your probe out, you need to start probing from the center of the cross you draw with the beacon. Probe every 30cm and follow the shape of an expanding concentric circle. It is the most effective method up to date. The marking on the probe tells you how deep the victim is burried. Then, use your shovel and dig in a V shape towards the victim. This will give you enough room for excavation. Shoveling is the most energy-consuming stage of the rescue. Dig steady and fast. If it is many of you searching, swap with your friends to rest a little and be effective when you dig out. The best tip we can give is to practice as much as you can.
So, before you go out there and explore the backcountry, put a probe in your backapck!