Avalanches and dangers of the mountain : a few tips for a good winter !

The moutain is so beautiful that sometimes we forget it is also dangerous. Nature wasn’t created to adapt to Humans and if we want to fully enjoy it, we need to learn to be careful. This winter start has proven to us how dangerous Nature can be with the numerous avalanches that triggered in the Alps. So here is a little reminder of a few tips that will help you stay safe at the maximum when you go in the mountain.

 

 

Check the weather forecast.

This is the first and foremost thning to do when you plan a day or more in the mountain. We can never say it enough : check the weather forecast before doing any outdoor activity, whatever the season. Wetather can change very quickly and there are very serious risks to get lost, especially if you don’t really know the place you’re riding. It is simply enough with internet and all the smartphones apps that exists, it’ll only take a few minutes and it can save the day, or more.

 

 

Always go accompanied.

Even if your main reason to love the mountain so much is because you finally find peace there, there is no good day without sharing, whatever you may think. But above all, if you find yourself in a bad position, or even injured, your cellphone will not turn into a rescue squad. So yes, always go in the mountain accompanied, find yourself your moutnain buddy and always take him, or her, with you, and follow the ground rules: don’t go all at the same time in the slope, don’t ride the slope just above the person wainting for you further down, put your avalanche beacon on you, not in your backpack…

 

Go out with your equipment, whatever happens.

As they say, better have it with you and not use it than not have it when you need it. And as you never know what your day is going to be like, better be ready for anything. Dowhill skiing or freeriding, doesn’t matter, you always leave home with your avalanche beacon on you, your probe and your shovel in your backpack, the helmet on your head, and a friend carrying the whole equipment too. At the minimum. You can also add for a few euros, pounds or dollars, a rescue blanket and a first aid kit. They don’t take much room in the backpack and can save a life. Getting an ABS system backpack is also an excellent resolution if you are more of a freerider.

 

 

Get training, get informed and let people know.

We will never say it enough, the mountain is as beautiful as it can be dangerous. Get trained to the dangers it represents is a good way to stay safe from them, but also the best way to know how to react if anything happens. Know how to give first aid, know how to use your avalanche rescue gear, know how to set up a rope when you are stuck in the middle of nowhere… little things that save lives everyday. And the first thing to do when you want to enjoy the mountain : get information from the professionals, guides or snow patrollers, on the snow conditions and the dangers of the day.

Let your friends or relatives, the guides office or the police station from where you are leaving, know when you’re going, where and for how long. This is also probably one of the best way to be sure the someone will come for you if you are in a bad position, especially if you are leaving for a few days. Always let someone know you are going, especially when you feel like being lost in the wild for some time.

And last but not least, a very good thing to know is the emergency number(s) of the place/country you are visiting. In Europe, you can call 112 from about anywhere. It’s free and it will connect you to the right service wherever you are. In the United States, it’s the 911. As for the other countries you might want to visit for your mountain adventures, it is simply enough and will only take you a few minutes to get those numbers. Just a little detail that really matters.

 

Know when to step back.

If there was only one advice we would give you, it would be this one. Be able to say no is a proof of wisdom and great moral strength. And sometimes the only way to stay safe. So no hesitation, when you don’t feel it, or even if you feel it but all the signals are red, learn to listen to them and to step back.

 

Respect the mountain, be careful, and enjoy !

 

Credits icons :
Mountain Climbing by Juan Pablo Bravo from The Noun Project
Search and Rescue Team by Benni from The Noun Project
Shovel by Scott Lewis from The Noun Project
Weather by Mateo Zlatar from The Noun Project
Ski Touring by Felix Grossar from The Noun Project

Emily - EN
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