Yeah, I know most of you out there have probably seen these vids, but I was thinking about the Avalung and other ‘avalanche safety’ devices this morning (it’s 80 out, you’d think I’d be thinking about surfing or something right?). I actually own a standalone Avalung that was a gift from the lady friend for Christmas, but I’ve honestly yet to wear it in the backcountry (shhh, don’t tell her!). Fortunately it hasn’t been like the first day I got my helmet, forgot it in the car initially, and later parked my dome in a tree (luckily a friend reminded me to grab my helmet at lunch), demolishing helmet #1. Between my beacon, my SLR chest harness, and constantly shedding layers (yes, I’m a fat, sweaty bitch) it’s yet to make it out – though granted most of the days I’ve gone out have been low risk days. For days that I deem a bit sketchier I’ll definitely wear it. Yes, they make the Avalung packs, and damn they’d be convenient, but my issue with them is being married to one pack design and size (Black Diamond please license the technology out to others!). Excuses excuses, I know. On to the vids.
Vid 1: Chris Cardello’s first person view of his burial in AK earlier this year. I know this made the rounds earlier this year, but still pretty amazing.
Vid 2: Non-embeddable, but interesting. Craig Dostie of Couloir Magazine (now Backcountry Magazine) volunteered to be buried for an hour while wearing an Avalung. It’s a longer vid so you may want to fast forward through parts, but definitely makes you think. His first person recount of the burial can be seen here.
The naysayers will continue to say it’s inconvenient, not a guarantee as you’ve got to get it in your mouth and keep it there, and can lead to bad decision making. The opposing view points out that if you are in an avalanche you’ll want every advantage you can think of to extend your life. I’ll continue to fall somewhere inbetween with my thinking – though I have to admit I am fond of living.