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A thread about Avalanche cords!!!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
just thought i would start it so Mr Goldsmith can share his pearls of wisdom with us all Little Angel
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
CEM, I give up. How did you know that DG would start his thread 2 minutes later?
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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?
He has extraordinary telepathic powers. I'm totally astounded by this.
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David Goldsmith, i was actually being serious [not something i do often] what products are you refering to.... K2 avalanche ball, similar type products or something else completely, what have i missed out there Puzzled Puzzled
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
We've already done this

http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=2338

unless there have been some new developments in money for old rope technology. The main thing I can think of is having done some further investigation of the avalanche ball (the modern equivalent of the cord) the cord attatched to the skier and ball is thin and strong enough to cut through the avalanche debris so if you find the ball on the surface you can pull the cord until you are vertically above the victim. This relies on the ball staying on the surface. There is not enough information about live rescues with this system to decide if it is effective. It suffers from the same issue as the ABS Airbag in that it must be released manually. The avalanche cord - trailing 20 meters of rope behind as you ski seem obsolete to me - especially given the type of skiing a lot of off-piste skiers do with more modern equipment.

I think DGs point is that 350 euros is too expensive for an avalanche beacon compared to the other solutions but you can find Ortovox F1 Focus beacons for around 160 euros which doesn't seem like too high a price to pay and it is an effective piece of kit. If you can afford 600 euros for skis and bindings you can afford the basic safety gear. The great thing is, your F1 Focus designed 20 years ago is compatible with the latest Mammut Pulse.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Sat 26-08-06 17:03; edited 2 times in total
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davidof, thank you

i now understand fully why i use a transceiver and not a big piece of string Toofy Grin
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
davidof, no, the relative cost of cords -v- transceivers is not really the issue.

But if this thread, or the other one, can save a couple of lives from a refreshed awareness of a proven lifesaver then it has to be a good thing. Nothing could be simpler as a DIY solution than a length of light synthetic tape/cord.

I commend CEM for starting this thread on avalanche cords.
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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!
If avalanche cords are the most effective means of locating buried victims, why does nobody use them? There are plenty of people who every day they ski are in terrain which might avalanche, yet how many of them have a cord but not a transceiver? What do professional mountain guides use? What about pisteurs? Are all these people stupid enough to risk their lives each day, because they have been suckered by those clever marketing people at the transceiver manufacturers?

Although trailing a bit of rope behind you might be simple, profesional skiers the world over have rejected it. The advice of the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research is to wear a transceiver. I don't think it is sensible to suggest anything else, and I'm surprised that DG, who occasionally proclaims his credentials here (ski journalist, qualified instructor, expert witness, etc), feels that it's a sensible piece of advice to offer.
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IMO it sounds pretty stupid to tie yourself to an avalanche.

I'm gonna stick to sausages.
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CEM, Why would you use a tranciever? Do you ski off-piste? wink
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parlor, ahhh drink driving (the keyboard) again eh? rolling eyes
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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.
parlor, you're going to tie yourself to sausages, or stick yourself to them Puzzled
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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
Well, Rob, I suggest you hypothetically place yourself a metre under a field of avalanche debris with a transceiver switched on - and an avalanche cord tied to your boot. You're suffocating, but have a fighting chance of rescue within 15 minutes before you may well die.

Above you are a bunch of skiing friends, in shock, with mixed abilities at locating buried transceivers (I once practised with a North American distributor of a famous brand who took 30 minutes to find one in my back garden). Their first task is to make a visual scan of the avalanche field.

They seek a speck, a small streak, of bright orange in the snow. It's a short section of your cord. They grab it, trace it back, dig, and discover you.

Alternatively, the entire length of cord is buried (unlikely?) but the transceiver searchers find you.

How quickly in each case? Impossible for any of us to answer.

I am not "suggesting" anything - as you propose - except that people keep a very open mind as to every means of locating buried victims. I'm far from convinced that the avalanche cord is history, especially in unexpectedly hazardous situations where anyone in their right mind would surely make use of a secondary (or maybe primary) tool.

I've quoted, on the other thread, the expert assertion of Colin Fraser. It's all very well to dismiss my credentials on this, but are you dismissing his historical evidence? Avalanches haven't changed since the 1960s. Nor have buried victims. Nor have people's abilities to use visual clues very quickly.

Wishing you a long life!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
David Goldsmith, thank you for that piece of creative writing. I do believe that you are 'suggesting' something: in several threads you have talked up the alleged merits of avalanche cords relative to the use of transceivers. This is despite the fact that you have indicated no personal tests of avalanche cords, nor have you cited any independent research or evaluation of their effectiveness relative to transceivers. Your only source you quote on the use of avalanche cords is a book published in 1966, and while avalanches haven't changed in the last 40 years technology most certainly has. You haven't addressed the issue of why the Swiss Avalanche Institute recommends the use of transceivers, or why mountain professionals don't use this technology.

BTW, I'm not dismissing your credentials, I'm simply expressing surprise that someone with credentials as illustrious as yours would push a solution to a potentially life-threatening situation on the basis of no rigorous evidence and contrary to professional practice.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Well, Rob, I'd suggest that capitalism has a very powerful drive to create fashion, promote R&D, promote marketing, manipulate and steer consumers. Perhaps even kill inventions that remain perfectly viable.

Maybe capitalism, rather than commonsense, strangled the avalanche cord?

The reason I don't necessarily 'go with the flow' on this one is the lack of data relating to lives saved by avalanche trasnsceivers. It could be that this data has been collated, but I've never seen it published.

I wonder how many off-piste skiers don't buy transceivers on grounds of cost, go skiing off-piste with nothing, but for a few quid could tie themselves to a length of cord? Some might still be alive today.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
David Goldsmith, blaming capitalism seems a bit of a stretch. You think mountain professionals wear transceivers because they're fashionable or because they've been conned by the fancy marketing? You seem to have a low opinion of the people who work in the mountains!

There's plenty of data on the number of avalanche victims who are wearing transceivers; just see, for example, the excellent posts by davidof. However, there seems to be no data on the effectiveness of avalanche cords.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Can someone explain how the cord manages to stay above the avalanche please.

Is this guaranteed ?

Are you supposed to ski with the cord dragging along the ground, or does it get released (manually/automatically) ?
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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?
And for a few quid could find themselves jerked off-balance into a fall on a steep slope when the cord catches in rock or a bush. If you think they're so great, why didn't you use them when you skied? My impression is that, based on no personal experience, you are advocating a practice which has long been abandoned for the reasons davidof has outlined in the other thread. For you this may be an academic discussion; for others of us getting avalanche safety right as best we can is a serious matter - and I am surprised you feel your expertise is greater than davidof's.
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achilles wrote:
My impression is that, based on no personal experience, you are advocating a practice which has long been abandoned for the reasons davidof has outlined in the other thread. For you this may be an academic discussion; for others of us getting avalanche safety right as best we can is a serious matter

Exactly right, in my opinion.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Latchigo wrote:
Can someone explain how the cord manages to stay above the avalanche please.

Is this guaranteed ?

Are you supposed to ski with the cord dragging along the ground, or does it get released (manually/automatically) ?

Sorry, missed your post. davidof explained the shortcomings of David's cords here.
Quote:
Regarding the specifics of avalanche cords, it is my opinion they are not practical and were used for the want of anything better. Trailing 20-30 meters of cord or ribbon will interfere with skiing and other other skiers and could be dangerous under certain conditions. The cord can also get buried either during the slide or if there is a secondary slide or sluffing. If it is buried even 1 cm you won't rescue your buddy. Without any compartive figures for their effectiveness such as I have outlined above I believe that an avalanche beacon remains the most practical and reliable method of locating a completely buried avalanche victim.
.

Because of davidof's various inputs, I think the other thread is well worth a read.
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I agree. I'll respond to your points, and those of Rob and Latchigo on the other thread. This thread can then become cordless (peculiar metaphor).
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Why do a lot of people use ribbons attached to their skis? They work... proved in a lot of cases.
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