Ariege. Training courses to search for avalanche victims proposed in January

Whether you are on foot, skis or snowshoes, knowledge of avalanches can be vital. (©Illustration Fabien Hisbacq – News Occitanie)

We saw it a few days ago, snowfall are important in Pyrénées. Rainfall episodes often followed by a significant thaw. This was the case during the Christmas holidays. At altitude, several meters of snow had accumulated over the days of November and December, before the mercury suddenly rose to display spring temperatures…

This sequence of low and high temperatures makes the snowpack very unstable. And conducive to avalanches. L’Ariège, like other departments, the massif has also been placed on weather alert several times for avalanches.

However, be aware that there are courses open to all to search for avalanche victims. This is the case in Ariège with the Ariège Dahu, which is organizing one this Saturday January 15, 2022 in Monts-d’Olmes as well as another January 29 (at the Col de Port).

That you are hiker on foot, on snowshoes or on skis, this knowledge is essential in this winter period.

Use the different search devices

Concretely, the training takes place over one day. First there is a trip on snowshoes of 1h30 to 2 hours to reach “the ideal site”. Follows a snow science training and risk prevention in winter.

Then, the mountain guides present the different DVA and Arva models. The DVA (avalanche victim detectors) come in kits with a probe and a shovel. The DVA is a wave receiver that allows the location of a victim under the snow. While the probe makes it possible to make a more precise search and to estimate the depth of the victim under the snow. The shovel of course allows the snow to be evacuated effectively to rescue the victim. A very long and often exhausting stage.

As for l’Arva (avalanche victim search device), it is a brand specialized in the detection and localization of avalanche victims.

The training continues with practical application with avalanche victim search exercises. But also the learning of first aid gestures to keep the victim alive.

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