Go and bury yourself!

Sports Ladies have been looking for new experiences/ac­tivities: a night ski mountaineering, snow burrying & digging out process, the patience of mountain guides & ice climbing.

Pieps company on the Czech market seems to capture the prevailing reluctance of Czech climbing & skiing public to systematic training. Thenfore Pieps company has decided to offer their Pipes search engines to general public with an avalanche introduction training for free.

We were in the group of three women going straight to the hut Výrovka. Our women deep hope was playing with the idea to obtain a weather beaten attention of local mountain guides. Hence sitting on the bus to Pec pod Sněžkou, we dragged the attention of one mountain guide who spent his time waiting at us until we settled ski glue strips & pointed out us on right direction. When he really got bored with our peaceful touring speed, we hunted another one. Fortunately, he had a cute long hair, so we immediately included him into our women mountain group. However Richter hut placed on our track became the demanding social obstacle for us. Nevertheless we reached a hut Výrovka at midnight, we were more sober than those who tried to accommodate us.

Night ski mountaineering
Night ski mountaineering (Click to enlarge)


In the morning we identified our mountain guide according to a pint in his hand. Along with about eighteen other participants, we plunged into the first theoretical part of avalanches. Motivational video about snow buried & dig out people had a clear message: it is important to have good friends.

We also learned following – it has been important to have good friends however it has been more important to have well-equipped good friends:

  1. Friend + Pieps + Probe + Shovel = digging out within 11 minutes
  2. Friend + Pieps + Shovel = digging out within 25 minutes
  3. Friend + Pieps = digging out within 1h – 2 h

As we quickly understood the statistical fact that most of snow buried people are suffocated within 15–18 minutes, we realized that lot of our friends are going to spend greater financial investment in following snow equipment. Hereby those without Pieps search engine we are going to say good bye to. Then we touched the topic of the avalanche devices/engines. Here we could see a fundamental precept:** „no avalanche device/engine is perfect, each has some error & each has different use“**. One of present lady in the room added a following note, it has been allright as it has been the same way like to (be)live with men – it has been important to learn working with them according to piece you have now in your hands.

Probe in practice

The practical probe part was taken place in thick fog straight in front of the hut Výrovka. We effectively began with composing of the avalanche probe by throwing it into the air. Mountain guide mentioned that following irresistibly fast probe position has been very appealing for women. We even did not have time to mutually agree, what has been more sexy; to flash probe assembly or to tie eighth rope know into the air however we had to start the process of probe digging into snow. Probe digging is important vertically to the slope & keep the probe at the bottom of the stick; otherwise we are going to hear how well-lighted material makes crunch & no long probe digging we are going to do.

With Pieps search engine can work everyone, more science is probe digging & snow clearing
With Pieps search engine can work everyone, more science is probe digging & snow clearing (Click to enlarge)

Shovel in practice

Also shovel work has been more science than we thought. According to all expectations snow shovel is supposed to be used only for snow clearing. Common buried person has been located approx. one meter above the surface, so the weight of removed snow could be estimated in thousands kgs. Snow digging takes the most time during the rescue process so you need to save your energy. The whole process begins with a gradual shovel snow touching the surface; not to immediately damage your prepared avalanche equipment. Next steps rather than snow throwing reminds snow paddling. One person paddles the snow in the hole, the other ones paddle that on the sides & behind so all dig snow is completely removed out of the hole.

Pieps search engine in practice

Every person can handle a modern Pieps search engine; sounded the main fundamental precept. We decided to verify that assap.. Minor issues were caused only during the gentle trace back, which occasionally placed us to wrong snow spot. It will definiely need more practice. You might be asking now; where there are the searching engines´s errors? My (Pieps DSP) has an obvious issue to search more buried victims. Searching engine keeps myself sending somewhere else instead of specific identification of victim number two or victim number three. So simply said if someone has a desire to be buried on the trip I participate, please do that organized & no more than two-member in the group. In connection with that, there was the same hell script showing for other buried participants: only one person stayed as a non-buried. The best what you can do for a buried victim is to quickly dig up & release the respiratory system of each victim you you have found. Then to come back & clear out the snow to get body parts out of the avalanche layer.

Made mistakes during a gentle search
Made mistakes during a gentle search (Click to enlarge)

Bury in practice

We enjoyed this part of the training so much. None of us could resist to have a look at beautiful snow graves.

Snow grave for men has been deeper than for women
Snow grave for men has been deeper than for women (Click to enlarge)

And our feelings? You're wearing a little snow layer, in our case, aprox. 20 cm. Your bended hands makes a little air-hand pocket in front of your mouth & also there has been a lot of snow shines going through the snow layer; it looks like nothing has matter. You are trying to move with your legs, unfortunately that has not been possible. Your chest has been pressing by snow shell, you still have not been able to take a deep breath. Also you have not been able to turn your head at all. You can literally just poke your little fingers around. Then someone starts digging you by snow probe, someone to jump on you here & there. You can afford to swear or yell obscenities at mountain leader like „dumm, stop jumping over my head,“ because there has been heard nothing outside. However buried inside you can hear all voices like coming from a great distance, while standing directly in front of you or directly on you. At that moment honestly said friendly sentence „Well, let´s go for a beer“ has not seemed so funny to you at all.

Happily dig out woman
Happily dig out woman (Click to enlarge)

You have not buried her enough!:

běžte se zahrabat from marketa syllova on Vimeo.

Profile in practice

Today´s educational masterwork has been considered the fact that there were two great guys who managed clearly & comprehensibly to provide us with the explanation of following wired graph:

Source: Mountain Rescue www.hscr.cz
Source: Mountain Rescue www.hscr.cz (Click to enlarge)

Unfortunately I am not able to forward following information further as I think I am not able to keep it in my mind for long.

Snow profile & Mountain Guide
Snow profile & Mountain Guide (Click to enlarge)

Avalanche backpack in practice

In the mountains I saw a lot of Austrians (sometimes the whole group), fully equipped with ABS bagpacks or other pneumatic systems. However I have never had enough personal glamor to anyone to come up with that & show me his bag.

Winged Eva
Winged Eva (Click to enlarge)

Today we have learned that if you pull te handle on time, you have 94% chance of your survival. Avalanche – bombs – pssssss – & Eva has already had two stylish wings. She can be glad that none of those present participants did not suffer by the Scottish sense of humor & there was a rubber doll blown up behind her neck.. (https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php …)


Evening was held in the light of non-smooth atmosphere. Mountain guide tried to convince us that the future belongs to freeride. As a new provoking stuff we came with another one (after Macedonian Hevi-skiing) a new sport activity, this time called heli-skinning. The principle is based on to climb up the hill on the skins, where we are going to be picked up by the helicopter & we are going to save our suffering, usually caused on the way down. All cost on behalf of the helicopter are going to be shared with guys in green pants & yellow jackets, just jumping out of it with their ironing boards in their hands on the top.

There was prepared a something new for Eva, Martina & Radek „their first then“. Next day we arranged for them an ice climbing, which has been created on the chimney of hut Výrovka. To avoid unexpected events, we went to bed as soon as possible hence mountain guides began mutually shouted „I'm in love.“ Following situation was simply caused by Eva, who stated that „she has done all these things this weekend only with the reason not to do a dusting at home“, which completely shocked our mountain guides.

Eva, Martina i Radek, měli před sebou další „tenkrát poprvé“, na zítra jsme si totiž zařídili lezení na ledu, který má Výrovka nastříkaný na komíně. Abychom předešli nečekaným událostem, odebrali jsme se na kutě rychle poté, co horští vůdci začali hromadně vykřikovat „Já jsem se zamiloval“. Eva totiž po jejich udivených komentářích na adresu poněkud neobvyklého programu dámské jízdy uvedla, že tohle všechno podniká přece proto, aby „o víkendu doma nemusela utírat prach“.

What are women doing hence they have been together alone?
What are women doing hence they have been together alone? (Click to enlarge)

Avalanche introduction as well as digging knowledge received within 6 hours was really too much for that day. Here are some notes that caught & entertained itself or those that I was not aware of. The whole day was very professionally & clearly handled & left its visible mark on us. Martina turned off her Pieps search engine hence we reach the station of Černý Most in Prague.

Let´s see what we have learned here, some major lessons for our skialpinists relaxing life:

  1. Friend is the one who own & use the avalanche equipment
  2. Whenever possible go to dig yourself (& dig out)
  3. Some guys would do better to stay in silent (the summary of discussion is freeride x skialpinism)

Video Martina Bártová

Introduction of avalanche issue – for " free with Pieps search engine":http://www.pips.cz/…012-2013.htm
Josef Milfait, mountain guid who did & won
Hut Výrovka accommodation & ice on the chimney
Adequate avalanche courses at Výrovce are organized by Namche
The outline of skialpinist & avalanche courses in CR & SR Mountainski.cz – přehled kurzů ski a laviny

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