fueled by snow safety

What to know to survive adventure in alpine snow.

What to know to survive adventure in alpine snow.

When you’re high up on a snowy mountain, the air is cleaner, the world is quieter and the views are unmatchable. But danger is omnipresent. It’s not the thinness of the air, the cutting winds or plummeting temperatures. It’s snow. Tons of snow. Moving fast. Building speed. Barreling down. In the face of an avalanche, the very lives of avid mountain climbers, skiers, nature photographers, and other equally smart and courageous outdoor adventurers rely on petroleum products.

These are the must-have items — all made from durable synthetic materials — for every mountaineer. Remember, great gear is only as good as the person using it!

  • Avalanche Airbags: An airbag system built into a backpack inflates at the pull of a cord, designed to help make the person wearing it rise to the surface of the snow.
  • Avalanche Transceiver Beacon: Avalanche beacons are a class of active radio transceivers specialized to help find people or equipment under the snow.
  • Detector Unit: A detector unit consists of two parts — a reflector and a detector. The reflector is integrated into clothing, boots, helmets and body protection, while the detector is utilized by professional rescue teams.The detector sends out a signal, and if it “hits” a reflector, the signal bounces back.
  • Air Pack: Another tool that can come built into a backpack, an air pack claims to be able to keep you alive, under the snow, for up to 58 minutes.
  • Slope Meter: Also called an inclinometer, this tool helps climbers measure slope angle and aspect before their ascent.
  • Snow Probe: Avalanche probes help rescuers pinpoint the exact location of an avalanche victim and measure the burial depth.
  • Snow Saw: Snow saws can be used to rescue people but also to helpbuild snow shelters and cut out snow pits.
  • Snow Shovel: Outside of rescue, a solid collapsible snow shovel can help with making an emergency shelter or tent site as well as carving out snow to melt for drinking water.