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Mountain safety level 3

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
would a semi permanent pen do the same job? nice tip though!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
could do but end up with loads of marks and I would think get confusing. Also you might get it wrong in first instance and tough to change...
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@ajc2260626, knowing your location needs to be an ongoing thing when you have responsibility for navigating, not just something you calibrate once or twice a day. Having a marker which is quickly and easily moved every time you re-look at the map would be the priority, rather than something which is semi-permanent.
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yep i generally like to know where i am every 5 mins when using a map so that should work for me
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
ajc2260626 wrote:
yep i generally like to know where i am every 5 mins when using a map so that should work for me
Ditto. When I was leading the group I'd need to look at the map every time there was a decision point, and sometimes in between those times to make sure I'm still following the route I was working on. That might not have been every five minutes, but frequently enough to make good use of an easily moveable location marker. The plaster trick works best on the laminated versions of the topo maps.
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ajc2260626 wrote:
would a semi permanent pen do the same job? nice tip though!


Another option is two elastic bands, forming a cross hair across the map. It depends how often you need to fold/refold the map. Doing mountain marathons I tend to just fld the map small and "thumb" it but that wouldn't work in winter.

I also hate map cases with a passion and would only use on in very inclement weather (and even then, very rarely), just keep the map stuffed down the front of your jacket.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
has anyone used an altimeter app with an iwatch rather than a specific altimeter, i have an iwatch and would be good not to have to shell out on one of those
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
skimottaret wrote:

If you have the type of shovel with the probe inside the handle take it out and assemble the shovel/handle to speed up your searches, guy on my course failed when he dropped the little clip thingy that holds the shovel head onto the handle and ran out of time on rescue.


... or alternatively: if you have the type of shovel with the probe inside the handle then sell it on fleabay and buy dedicated tools for each job... Happy

rob@rar wrote:
knowing your location needs to be an ongoing thing when you have responsibility for navigating
- I would remove the last 6 words from that sentence... If you know where you are all the time then there will be no moment of panic when the trainer turns to you and says "OK - you take over from here" when you have been coasting along daydreaming for 30 minutes!

Other words of advice (as a now retired Mountain Safety Trainer) - don't wait until the first morning of the course to hire or buy any kit you don't own...get it sorted in advance and know how it works! And echoing advice further up the thread, get hold of the map well in advance and get familiar with interpreting the info on it. Compass work less important than just been able to read the info on the map and understand it (contours, symbols, what does a ridge look like and what does a valley look like etc etc)
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@offpisteskiing, sound advice, not followed by two young lads on my MS course who failed, at least in part because of poor navigation. We had to back out of one route when the Trainer stepped in as it was obvious to everyone except the lad that he was taking us along a route which was getting very sketchy. That morning we were all focused on our map reading, not just the ‘leader’.
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
@ajc2260626,
Where in the UK are you based?

I have a couple of pretty good (hand-held) GPS units somewhere (from my ballooning days) & would be happy to lend you one if you feel the need & convenient to get it to you.
I'm based in Towcester, Northants, btw.

Regrettably I feel that map reading, with the seeming reliance on SatNavs, is becoming something of a lost art. I certainly notice it with our new Vets.
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@HossDoc, am in ilkley yorks mate but was hoping the watch would do the trick?, thats a very kid offer.... i got my map the other day and had a quick look, i seem to remember most of what i learnt as a kid i think, but will be doing a bit before i go

@offpisteskiing, all my kit is my own and have used all of it apart from crampons before and will do a few kick turn practices before i go, my garden has a slight slope on it which should suffice!
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I had a watch with an altimeter and compass on my course but never really used the altimeter, and certainly didn't need it. And the compass was less reliable than the mechanical one.

Like @offpisteskiing, says the most useful thing was a) knowing at least roughly where you are all the time so you know roughly where to look on the map, and then b) really being able to translate terrain features to and from the map: i.e. what can I see on the map that should be visible in the landscape, and similarly what should the things I can see look like on the map? This is less obvious than you'd think: are the rocks big/steep enough to show up? Could the rocks on the map be hidden under snow? What contour pattern should that ridge/valley look like? Where is the hut that's on the map?

Perhaps in very low vis the altimeter would be more useful, but I only looked at it to check a position and even then it was less accurate than the map.


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Sun 4-11-18 1:08; edited 1 time in total
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
turbosmurf wrote:
Perhaps in very low vis the altimeter would be more useful, but I only looked at it to check a position and even then it was less accurate than the map.
I used a Suunto watch, didn't bother with the compass feature but I set the watch's altimeter to a reference point at the start of each day. When navigating I would sometimes use the watch to double-check my altitude, just for a little reassurance that I wasn't massively off where I thought I was on the map. Not something I'd rely on if I needed pin-point accuracy to navigate an exposed terrain feature, but as a confidence check I thought it was useful. I already had the watch so there was no additional cost when getting ready for the course, and I doubt that I would have gone to the expense of buying one just for that purpose. Much better to spend your money making sure you have a good avalanche transceiver which makes it quick and easy to locate buried 'victims' when you are assessed against the clock.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@ajc2260626, if you have the option of a warm-up day ahead of the course then it is definitely worth downloading the Swiss Map app and having a day skiing about relating where you are & what you see to what is shown on the map - instant feedback & great for dialing in what you see to what is on the map. Pretty sure it is either free or you can download a certain number of tiles for offline use if you don't want to burn data...
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@rob@rar, have got decent avi kit so should be all good there

@offpisteskiing, i only get there the eve before but have skied the area a couple of times so have some knowledge which will hopefully be of use
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
https://map.geo.admin.ch/mobile.html?topic=ech&bgLayer=ch.swisstopo.pixelkarte-farbe&layers=ch.swisstopo.zeitreihen,ch.bfs.gebaeude_wohnungs_register,ch.bav.haltestellen-oev,ch.swisstopo.swisstlm3d-wanderwege&layers_visibility=false,false,false,false&layers_timestamp=18641231,,,&lang=en

This is handy. If you have a look around you can overlay ski tour lines.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I’m going on this course next week.
Anyone else starting it on 18th Nov?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Just me I think
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@ajc2260626, see you at the weekend then
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
let me know how it goes @ajc2260626, & @VolklAttivaS5, I always think I should do this course!
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@kitenski, yes pass or fail I’m just doing it for the additional mountain knowledge it will give me ready for my ski season this winter.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@VolklAttivaS5, I won’t be there for the meeting but will be at restaurant Monday morning to pick lift pass
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
VolklAttivaS5 wrote:
@kitenski, yes pass or fail I’m just doing it for the additional mountain knowledge it will give me ready for my ski season this winter.


That is always my thinking, it will hopefully just make me a more savvy OP skier!
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@ajc2260626, it’s a 6 day course so the welcome meeting is the Sat evening, the Sun is the first day not the Mon.
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@VolklAttivaS5, lol that’s what I meant..... apparently the trainer is willy todd
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@ajc2260626, oh ok never heard of him.
Looking forward to it especially as there’s plenty of snow in Zermatt to enjoy the first free skiing day on the Sat, I get there on Fri to get sorted out ready.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Passed it
Tips for those considering doing it or are booked on to the course

Make sure you’re fit, I did some decent training 3-4 times a week for 5 weeks before going, running, rowing etc anything to build stamina. You won’t enjoy it if you’re not fit especially in Zermatt where most of the stuff is done at 3000m or above.

Learn how to use a map and compass/take a bearing/follow a bearing beforehand. Makes life easier if you already know how like I did.
Plenty of videos on You Tube how to do it by the likes of Silva etc.

Make sure you have snacks on you at all times so you can have a quick bite on the lift or whatever.
We did lots of skinning so I was pretty hungry.
That’s all.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Congratulations @VolklAttivaS5.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@VolklAttivaS5, snowHead snowHead
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@VolklAttivaS5, Well done ! I thought that was the best of all the BASI courses,
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Poster: A snowHead
@VolklAttivaS5, nice one Smile
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@VolklAttivaS5, congrats!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
VolklAttivaS5 wrote:
Passed it
Tips for those considering doing it or are booked on to the course

Make sure you’re fit, I did some decent training 3-4 times a week for 5 weeks before going, running, rowing etc anything to build stamina. You won’t enjoy it if you’re not fit especially in Zermatt where most of the stuff is done at 3000m or above.

Learn how to use a map and compass/take a bearing/follow a bearing beforehand. Makes life easier if you already know how like I did.
Plenty of videos on You Tube how to do it by the likes of Silva etc.

Make sure you have snacks on you at all times so you can have a quick bite on the lift or whatever.
We did lots of skinning so I was pretty hungry.
That’s all.


Congrats. Do you have time for a mini-blog? Sounds fun.
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@VolklAttivaS5, well done! Sounds as though it was really quite hard work - but so satisfying to have succeeded. snowHead
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@kieranm, @AndAnotherThing.., @ski, @skimottaret, @rob@rar, @AL9000, @pam w,

Thanks.
I’m glad I passed but it wouldn’t have made much difference to me if I hadn’t as I only went to glean the info and I’ve got that now.
So passing was a bonus.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
@ajc2260626, did you pass?
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
yep i did, but i was disappointed with some of the course and the amount of disparity of what the different groups were taught etc, as we were clearly not being taught the same things to the same degree which became apparent in the last two days.... also some of the info given out directly conflicted with the information in the manual etc. i would score the course 7/10. i am glad i went as like you i was there to learn and not to worries about pass or fail but i think that BASI should look to iron out one or two things in the syllabus.....
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
ajc2260626 wrote:
... also some of the info given out directly conflicted with the information in the manual etc.....


What info was that?
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it was to do with slab avalanches and is a small point but when the question was answered it was the opposite of what was in the manual...... so they can't both be correct. another person in the group had it in her notes too so it was definitely not just me being a bit stoopid Happy

not a massive deal BUT it shakes your confidence in your knowledge when something that you have learnt and is correct and you are then told thats not correct and made to look a bit dim
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@ajc2260626, well done for passing.
I enjoyed the last 2 days more than the rest of the week, the second fella was a gem and a fountain of knowledge, I felt I understood him better. Mind you we had a beautiful day and enjoyed lots of nice off piste on the Thursday so that might have been a factor!
We did a lot of skinning for the first 4 days.
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