A couple of recent avalanche accidents have brought home the point that IF you get caught, you have a good chance of death or serious injury — despite gadgets such as locator beacons, probes, etc. More, an alarming analysis shows that most backcountry avalanche accidents occur when danger is obvious — and the people should know better because they are "experts."
Having succumbed to this syndrome myself, I’m on a tear to help new backcountry skiers I know (including family members) not to make the same mistakes. Only I don’t know how to go about it.
Fact is, most backcountry skiing and snowboarding entry-level avalanche education is based on the concept that self-rescue is what’s going to save you. Courses teach a smidgeon of decision making, but it’s rarely (if ever) conservative enough — and all to often based on snow pit voodoo. We might need a whole new paradigm of avalanche education. Stay tuned.
On a more positive note, my extensive historical collection of Randonnée bindings has reached a mature stage of completion. Count is at 28 bindings and growing. Recent acquisitions are the Salewa plate binding, and an original early 1960s plate/cable hybrid binder that came all the way from France thanks to Nut Story. The collection will be displayed at the Outdoor Retailer trade show in a few weeks, in the Couloir Magazine booth.
I’m in the midst of creating a virtual randonee binding museum here at wildsnow.com. If you know of any early randonnee AT alpine touring bindings that could be available, please let us know. We need the early adapter system that made a touring binding out of a Gertsch or Besser plate binding, and we need any early Eisers.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.