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Snow, Avalanches and Rescue
UD 6-81-9 E (english edition) A guide to Cold Weather Operations – booklet 9, "Snow, Avalanches and Rescue" has been issued for use by allied wintercources and foreign units exercising under Norwegian command. Terningmoen, november 1998
Jan Erik Karlsen Brigader Inspector of Infantry
Karsten Reitan Lieutenant Colonel Commandant SVI
UD 6-81 E A Guide to Cold Weather Operations includes: UD UD UD UD UD UD UD UD UD UD 6-81-1 6-81-2 6-81-3 6-81-4 Winter conditions Personal Clothing Food Frostbite and Other Injuries 6-81-5 (Booklet 5): Movement 6-81-6 (Booklet 6): Bivouacs 6-81-7 (Booklet 7): Cold Weather Equipment 6-81-8 (Booklet 8): Field Works and Camouflage 6-81-9 (Booklet 9): Snow, Avalanches and Rescue 6-81-10 (Booklet 10): Weapon effects (Booklet (Booklet (Booklet (Booklet 1): 2): 3): 4):
.... Loose snow avalanches ................ The theory of avalanches Introduction ................................................... Frequency of avalanches in different terrain ..................................................................................... Temperature ......... Avalanches Types of avalanches ... The stability of the snow Snow profile ................................. The starting zone ......... Snow Fresh snow .............................. Shape of terrain ................... Flake avalanches ................ Slush avalanches ............................................. The avalanche track and the run-out zone ..................... Forces working in an avalanche ..................................... Rain ......................... Weather causing avalanches Snowfall and wind ............................................................................ Shapes of snow grains and crystals ............. Avalanche movement ................................................................. The gliding block ............Contents Para Foreword .......................................... Avalanche terrain The avalanche area . Page 11 1 3 4 5 7 9 10 11 12 13 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 25 27 28 29 30 32 33 33 35 12 13 13 14 16 18 18 19 19 19 22 24 25 25 26 27 28 29 31 31 32 33 33 34 35 38 4 ............ Sunshine ......................................... The use of dynamite ..................................... Metamorphism ......................................................... The spade test ........... Control of snow stability ........................................................................................................................... Snow profile and the spade test ........................................ Temperature ............
.................................................... 36 36 Page 39 40 38 41 41 42 42 45 46 47 48 49 50 44 45 47 47 47 47 48 52 53 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 50 51 51 51 52 52 52 53 54 54 5 ........................ Precipitation .................................... Wind .........................Para The range of an avalanche ................ Limitations of the avalanche map ................... Weather report .................................... Ground ........ Crossing dangerous ground ..................................... Changes in weather .......... Snow ....................... Zone I .......... Loose masses ........................................................................................................ Preparations and training in terrain prone to avalanches Preparations Map ............................................ The effect of avalanches on forests and loose masses Forest ....................................................................... Methods for measuring the range of an avalanche ........... Choosing a safe route ............................................................. How to operate in avalanche prone terrain General ................................................ Temperature ..................................... How to use the avalanche map .................................................................................... Avalanche map .......... Zone II ........................................................................... The avalanche map’s division into zones .....
....................................... 69 Communications equipment . 112 Branch leader order .............................................................................. 74 Thermometer..... 106 Operational medical leader ......................................... screen.............. 82 Primary area of search ........................................ 91 Digging out and treatment of casualties 95 Planned search in an avalanche Responsibility ................... 116 Page 56 56 58 59 59 60 60 60 60 60 60 61 62 62 63 64 65 66 67 69 70 72 73 74 76 76 78 78 78 79 79 6 ............ 105 Branch leader avalanche .... 70 Spades ............ 88 Warning ............................. snow profile forms .......................................................................... 80 Quick search ..... 84 Avalanche guard ...................................................................................... 73 Helicopter ......................................The avalanche group Para General ...... 115 Communications officer ............. 75 PC with modem ....................................................... 64 Task and responsibility ................... 103 Rescue leader ............... 114 Log keeper/intelligence officer ............................................. 87 Tentative search ....... 78 Helping yourself .................... 71 Transponders ............... 96 Organization and tasks ................................... 72 Vehicle and trailer ................................. 76 Bivouacking material and provisions ............ 66 Equipment and materials ............................. 111 Branch leader medical ............................................................................................................. 99 Personnel and tasks ................ 85 Surface search ........ 77 Rescue General ........................................... 63 Organization .................................
......................................Para Logistics officer . 127 Military participation in search and rescue operations Tools for search in avalanches ... Work at the scene of the avalanche ............................. 151 Crossing of dangerous areas ... 118 Leader aid post ............. 123 Re-loading area .................. 143 Search with detector ............ 146 Training and information about avalanches and search/rescue work Training .................................. 126 The systematic search ...................... 154 Page 79 79 80 80 80 82 84 84 85 89 89 90 90 93 93 95 95 97 97 100 101 101 102 103 103 103 7 .......... 117 Press officer ........................................ 144 Rescue and search equipment .............. 133 The search pole ..... 153 Quick search in an avalanche .............................................................................placing .................................. 150 Choice of route .................. 142 The reflector .................. 152 Crossing unsafe ice .......... 125 The scene of the accident .. 140 Function ................................... 136 How to carry a transponder ........................... 134 The avalanche rope ............... 148 Search in an avalanche ................... 139 The detector .......... 121 Rescue dogs ........................................................ 119 Transport leader ........... 120 Guideline for leading rescue operations....................................... 135 The transponder ............................................................ 149 Cave for person posing as casualty .......................................................................................................................................................
................... Litterature ................................................... The vital avalanche rules ..... Gliding block ............................................... How to move where there is avalanche hazard in special situations ........ Avalanche warning . Measuring the angle of inclination ...........................................Appendix Page Interpretation of snow profile form ............ HF 5-2 ..... 104-107 108-110 111 112 113-114 115-117 118-121 122-125 126 127 8 ................ primarily for avalanches ........ Estimating the range of an avalanche .......................... Rescue kit............
... 50 Figure 24 Flake avalanche in narrow valley ............ 36 Figure 17 Avalanche prone terrain which not can be seen from bottom of the valley ..... 46 Figure 23 Weather data in a meteogram ............................................ 54 9 ......................................................................................... 38 Figure 18 Simple method for estimating range of an avalanche .... 21 Figure 8 Examples of fractures or breaks in the snow layers ............................................................. 14 Figure 2-3 Forming of ice bridges between snow crystals .............. 15 Figure 4 Growing metamorphism .. 43 Figure 22 Avalanche map with suggested probability of route ....... 53 Figure 25 Follow ridges ................ 35 Figure 13 Release area at bottom ............. 16 Figure 5 Classifications of avalanches ........................ 43 Figure 20 Forest hit by an avalanche........................................... stress and shearing forces ............... 20 Figure 7 Forces influencing a snow flake on a slope .... 28 Figure 12 The snow make the terrain look steeper than it relly is . 43 Figure 21 Stone wall deposited by an avalanche ending in a river ... 18 Figure 6 Snow can take stretch.......Figures Page Fig 1 Destructive metamorphism ................................. 24 Figure 10 The spade test .......... 40 Figure 19 Trees that have often been exposed to avalanches ......be safe ......... 36 Figure 15 Release area in open concave terrain36 Figure 16 Løssneområde i konvekse partier ........................................ 36 Figure 14 Release area in gap ......................................... 27 Figure 11 Use of dynamite ................... 22 Figure 9 Pit for a snow profile ..............
............................ 66 Figure 30 Digging out casualty ............................... 63 Figure 28 Choise of primary area of search ... 91 How to use the transponder before ..... 96 Placing of the reflector on the boots 96 Search with detector ......... 70 Figure 31 Table of organization for rescue leader .................................... 57 Figure 27 Deathrate in avalanches ..... 93 Detector with search unit................................................... 89 Avalanche rope.......................... 96 Cave for person posing as casualty 101 Figure 41 Figure 42 Figure 43 Figure 44 10 ......................................... 64 Figure 29 Tentative search ........................... 94 Placing of the reflector into the field trouser and the field jacket ...... 75 Figure 33 Systematic search ......................... 92 How to carry a transponder .................... 92 How to find a person caught by .........Page Figure 26 The table of organization for field exercises of 2 brigades or equivalent .......... headset and power element ... 91 Transponder ......................... 71 Figure 32 Organization of accident area ................... 84 Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 Search pole ............
Foreword This booklet has been made by the School of Infantry and Winter Warfare. The purpose of this booklet is to increase the officers understanding and knowledge of how to choose a safe route to avoid being exposed to an avalanche. 11 . staff officers responsible for the planning of winter exercises and members of the avalanche team. Yet it has to be added that a complete understanding of this topic can only be achieved through continuous practice and training. The booklet is also meant to enhance officers theoretical knowledge of avalanches and search and rescue operations. In addition Norges Høgfjellskole has contributed to the chapter dealing with search and rescue. The booklet is aimed at those officers who have acquired practical experience and applies in particular to instructors made responsible for arctic training within their units. the Norwegian Institute of Geotechnology in cooperation with the Norwegian Red Cross rescue team.
If totally buried by an avalanche the possibility of survival decreases as time passes. To prevent future accidents. Then the interplay and the 12 . Our urbanised way of life has made us accept quite readily a number of safety measures. In leisure time. It is therefore a public duty for the Military to train our soldiers for winter conditions and to give them understanding of the importance of choosing a safe route. one by one. however. it looks as if neither research. 2. In order to train our units to execute all types of winter operations. Over the past years the number of skiers killed in avalanches has been increasing. The three factors are: • The snow • The weather • The terrain The first part of this booklet covers these three factors. warnings or strict measures taken by professionals related to avalanche hazard carry any weight. like for instance the car safety belt. About six people are killed yearly by avalanches in Norway. In case of an accident they should also be able to participate actively in search and rescue operations. it is important to improve the knowledge of the factors which contribute to a potential avalanche. usually only one in ten will be alive. all kinds of winter conditions including how to operate in mountain areas must be mastered.The theory of avalanches Introduction 1. and after about three hours.
have little stability. however. Usually snow falls in the shape of needles or simple star-shaped forms. For elaborately shaped fluffy snow crystals to fall there also have to be clouds and an equally long time of fall. Snow is solid water. The snow crystals which consist of a number of spikes with sharp edges. 13 . rime will cling to the crystals making them lumpy and white. be emphasized that in this field. Metamorphism 4. In damp air. If it is steeper than 60O the snow normally falls down into many small slides. a few degrees below zero and dry air. i e steeper than 30O and up to 60O. For the snow stars to fall down in one piece it has to be calm or very light breeze. New snow fallen in calm and cold weather. is light and fluffy. but there are no research findings that can guarantee a safe choice of route. often called loose snow. weather and terrain. The new snow crystals can be destroyed by the wind even on their way to the ground or by the wind causing the crystals to blow along the surface.importance of the different factors will be covered. It must. Sometimes snow falls in the shape of hexagonal stars. Snow Fresh snow 3. Science has come far also in this field. There is little binding and consistency in such snow and loose snow avalanches may be triggered if the terrain is steep enough. it is absolutely essential to use a practical approach. more than in many others. The theoretical basis must be supplied with practical experience in evaluating snow.
If each layer of snow is carefully examined it does not take long to establish that the layers consist of fine grained snow. which means that the edges and spikes are being destroyed because of sublimation. There is a connection between wind polishing. Shapes of snow grains and crystals. Most often there are edged snow grains where the edges are straight and characteristic 120° angles indicate crystallizing. When this process is allowed to go on unchecked the eventual outcome is 14 . There is probably one or several layers of snow crust. wind packing and the binding of the snow. A destructive metamorphism in the snow crystals start immediately.Figure 1 Destructive metamorphism. Shapes of snow grains and crystals 5. Rough grained snow common in late winter (Easter) or in snow patches found during summer in the mountains can be formed. see fig 1. depending on how cold it has been. The layer closest to the ground often becomes rather loose during winter.
consists of thin slates which are extremely slippery. Because pyramids usually are hollow the term cup crystal is used. 15 . The typical 120° angles and parallel strips with sides of the base are recognized. This has a bearing on the release of flake avalanches. 6. In winter and especially in a coastal climate a crystalline relation of the sliding snow is more rare and appears as thin glittering strips between fine grained layers. The small balls are also porous and quite aptly called brittle hail. A close scrutiny will reveal their colour to be whiter than «summer hail».hexa-gonal pyramids with strips parallel with the sides of the base. however. Such surface rime. In winter and especially in a coastal climate thin layers of hail may be observed. More to the point is probably the Norwegian term sliding snow (rennsnø) (because of much air and little binding in such layers). Figure 2 and 3 Forming of ice bridges between snow crystals.
so-called cup crystals will develop (fig 4). If there is a thin snow layer combined with a low air temperature the difference in temperatures between the top and the bottom of the snow will be large.Figure 4 Growing metamorphism Temperature 7. hexagonal. The relatively warm snow near the ground contains more water than the colder snow near the surface. and consequently there is a movement of water vapour upwards the snow. The temperature on the ground under the snow is normally close to 0°C because of the heat from the earth’s interior. The surface of the snow. will adapt to the air temperature especially in clear weather with little wind. The results is that a growing metamorphism starts and the crystals form plane slates. At first the crystals form shapes like cubes or prisms (grained snow). This vapour will be sublimed on the snow crystals in the upper layers. hollow crystals. 16 . and if the process goes on long enough. however.
may be enough to cause fractures in the snow. for example a skier moving in the area or a cornice falling down.8. Crystals which grow in this way can be several millimetres across and the contacting surfaces between the crystals will be reduced. It is common that such layers are formed during the winter and they will first appear near the ground. Thundering sounds in the snow are often a warning sign to skiers in the area. The consequence of this is that the cohesion between the crystals will also be reduced. This snow has little resistance and will start sliding at the lightest touch. 17 . or so-called sliding snow. After a long period of cold and little snow a great deal of the snow will be transformed into cup crystals. This layer can withstand the weight of new snowfalls while a sudden weight of.
Figure 5 Classifications of avalanches. Avalanches can be divided into two main groups: . This is the case with light new snow recently in calm weather or fallen in spring when sun and rain melt the binding between the snow grains. 18 .loose snow avalanches .flake avalanches. Loose snow avalanches 10 Loose snow avalanches occur normally on the surface of the snow when the binding between the snow crystals is weak. Loose snow avalanches often start at a point and spread out in a pear-shaped form.Avalanches Types of avalanches 9.
This type of avalanches can be released at places with an angle of declination less than 30° and may have a range beyond the 20° angle rule. Forces working in an avalanche 13. Flake avalanches can contain great masses of snow when hillsides several hundred metres long can break at the same time. The flake will be broken up into small snow blocks in its path. Even though the snow is light and loose at the bottom of the valley there is a danger that a flake avalanche may start higher up in the mountain side where the terrain is more exposed to wind.Flake avalanches 11. temperature and humidity a metamorphism of the snow grains will occur which causes greater compactness. The breaking points’ height can be several metres high. 19 . Slush avalanches 12. Depending on time. Slush avalanches can occur after heavy rain and snow melting. When the avalanche reaches the bottom of the valley it may therefore be difficult to decide whether the avalanche was set off as a flake or loose snow avalanche. Flake avalanches are characterized by a firm layer of snow gliding on a looser layer further down in the snow or along the ground. A sharp breaking point along the upper end is formed. It is vital to stay out of courses of brooks or in large brooks running down to the bottom of the valley. To understand the triggering mechanism it is necessary to take a closer look at the forces working in a snow layer. This process can be observed as a compression in the snow as the depth of the snow decreases.
Because the terrain varies both in roughness and angle of inclination. To keep the snow in place. 14. Moreover. the movement of the snow grains will vary in speed from one place to another. Figure 6 Snow can take stretch. but the force of gravity will in addition lead to a parallel movement with the angle of inclination. The greatest movement occurs on mountain sides. We must distinguish 20 . this force has to be absorbed along the sides and bottom of the flake. This causes tension in the snow. The force of gravity influences the snow flake on a slope. the snow may glide on the underlying layer if this is smooth. The consequenses of movement and gliding can be observed because trees on steep. like e g a slope of naked rock or grassy field. snow rich slopes get a characteristic bend from the root up to a certain point on the trunk.On a slope the snow grains will move partly along the plumb line because they set. stress and shearing forces.
15. Fig 9 illustrates how these forces work in a snow flake on a slope. 16.between shearing. is that the flake loses its anchorage and an avalanche can be triggered (figure 10). The ability of the snow flake to withstand different forces depends on the snow’s shearing. The break can be heard as a thundering sound when the snow sinks. 21 . Most accidents involving skiers occur because the skier sets off the avalanche as opposed to avalanches being triggered by natural causes. If the strain becomes too strong the anchors will not hold and an avalanche will be set off. stretching and stressing compactness. Also quick accumulation of snow either by snowfall or through drifting may cause breaks in loose layers. Figure 7 Forces influencing a snow flake on a slope. stretching and stressing forces. The consequence of this. The shearing forces are of vital importance in setting off an avalanche because they influence the weak and loose layers further down in the snow.
As the speed increases the blocks are broken down and the avalanches becomes a mixture of snow whirled up into the air (snow cloud) and snow balls rolling.51. Its movement is at first a glide because the snow flakes are broken up into small blocks which glide on a plane surface. Never move close to the foot of a steep hill when thundering sounds can be heard from the snow.In periodes of unstable conditions a break in the snow at the foot of a hill can spred very quickly up the slope and cause flake avalanches to be released higher up on the mountain side. 22 . When an avalanche moves down a mountain side its speed increases rapidly. jumping Figure 8 Examples of fractures or breaks in the snow layers. Avalanche movement 17.
The snow masses will harden when the avalanche has come to a halt and the snow becomes hard and fast. It is difficult to dig in this snow and in rescue operations steel spades have to be used. If the snow is wet the masses have a tendency to form concentrated tongues or cones. The accumulation of snow in an avalanche may be more than 10 m deep if the avalanche stops in narrow passes. In flat terrain the accumulation of snow will be much thinner. The greatest speed a dry flake avalanche can reach varies usually between 30 and 60 m/sec (about 100-200 km/h) depending on angle of inclination and the consistency of the snow.and sliding on the surface. Avalanches of wet snow can have greater friction and the speed is reduced to 10 to 30 m/sec about 35-100 km/h. 23 .
or the differences can be established by using hand. the snow is more or less deposited in layers. It is also possible to establish the layers by sweeping the profile with a mitten.The stability of the snow Snow profile 18. In bad light the layers are hard to observe. However. a brush etc. there is no doubt that the snow on steep leeward mountain slopes is deposited in layers Figure 9 Pit for snow profile 24 . For a simple comparison of the the resistance there is international agreement on using the hand test. it can be noticed that the resistance varies with the layers of the profile. This method is described in annex 1. Depending on how late it is in winter and how the weather has been. If the light is so good that each layer can be observed. pencil or knife..
In order to find out how avalanches are formed a snow profile dug above the tree line on leeward slopes compared to the dominant wind direction will offer the best information. In a sheltered wooded area the new snow may lie untouched and offer an opportunity for studying each hexagonal snow crystal. Varying resistance will decide if skis can carry a person on top of the snow or if he sinks into the new snow and the skiing conditions will change with grain and crystal forms. The depth of the snow will vary with vegetation and the shape of the terrain in different areas. The term snow profile means a cut through the entire snow layer. While moving variations in the snow layer can be observed. while on the leeward side great masses of snow may have been accumulated. ridges and hills may be swept bare of snow above the tree line.19. • • • Control of snow stability Snow stability can be controlled as follows: Snow profile and spade test Gliding block Dynamite Snow profile and the spade test 20. The cut is to be dug vertically to the wind direction and the difference in height on the leeward slope is not to exceed 5 metres danger of avalanche! The height of the snow 25 . Fore more than 20 years the use of the snow profile and the spade test as means to develop a better understanding of the snow and why avalanches are released have been developed in Norway. The method is aiming at creating familiarity with the snow when moving outdoors and finding spots where the method can be applied. After a period of wind.
In order to check the stability of the snow and if avalanches can be released. Experience shows. The steepness of the leeward slope should preferably be around 30° or steeper. . The binding between the layers is more or less solid which becomes evident as it is dug down through the layers. It shows that fine grained snow makes flakes (with a resistance of four fingers or more solid).. It means that in places where the flakes are thick enough. The approach is to cut a trapezoid-shaped piece from the upmost layer in the same way a cake is cut. try to loosen layer by layer. When the snow profile has been studied it is time for the spade test to establish how great the danger of an avalanche is. with the width of a spade. The spade test 21. It also proves that the anchoring between the single flake of fine grained snow and underlying layers is weak. the best method is to dig a snow profile above the tree line on leeward slopes compared to the dominant wind direction.should be more than 1 metre so that all layers are included (a search pole can be useful).. Several gliding layers in the snow profile are often found which were not apparent in the study of the profile. With the spade in a vertical position. Dig the profile 3/4 metre wide and smooth the surface of the cut using the spade.. that all layers influencing on the danger of an avalanche are rarely found through just the spade test. i e heavy enough compared to the binding beneath and the steepness of a leeward 26 . The spade test makes clear experiences which are normally not put into context. however.
it may be tempting to cross where there is a lot of snow. The gliding block is a more time consuming method than the spade test. where the wind has deposited snow in the shape of fine grained flakes on the leeward slopes.slope with sufficient level of height a flake avalanche may be released. Figure 10 The spade test 27 . See appendix 2. A flake avalanche is the very type of avalanche to which skiers and band wagons are most exposed. In winters with little snow. The gliding block 22.
b. c.Figure 11 Use of dynamite 23. a. This method is normally reserved for the avalanche team. d. When the snow drift falls down it may release an avalanche. Dynamite can be used like this: 1-3 kg charges placed on top of the snow or preferably 1-2 m above the snow and close to a loose area 5-10 kg charges lowered from helicopters 20-25 kg placed on bare rock so that the reverberation will release an avalanche. The use of dynamite This gives a very good indication whether an avalanche can be released. To be placed as close as possible to a loose snow area 20-30 kg dug down into a crested snow drift. 28 .
As a rule the amount of precipitation increases with the height above sea level. It is hard to give guidelines about when an avalanche can be set off. the air will sink again and the precipitation decreases. 29 . When damp air from the sea around Norway moved towards land.Weather causing avalanches 24. wind and the angle of inclination are important. i e cold air can contain less vapour than hot air. As described in para 2. After the mountains have been passed. How well the different snow layers are bound together must also be taken into consideration. • Snowfall and wind • Rain • Sunshine Snowfall and wind 25. the ability of air to hold vapour is dependent on temperature. In addition to precipitation. Most avalanches are released during or shortly after heavy precipitation when the large low pressure areas move across the country. They are often followed by showers which can cause heavy precipitation along the coast and the mountains west of the watershed. the air is pressed upwards and the temperature falls. An avalanche may occur when newly fallen snow reaches a depth of 20-30 cm on a surface offering bad anchorage. The temperature decreases usually at 6-7°C per 100 metre rise. The air therefore cannot contain so much vapour and there are clouds and precipitation which means that the heaviest precipitation will fall in the mountains some miles from the coast.
26. In windy weather much of the snow will blow away when the wind direction is towards a mountain side. wind is also of great importance. but the danger still exists for release through human activity. The figure applies to the danger of an avalanche in a large area. The estimation of the danger of an avalanche varies from time to time. The snow will be accumulated on the leeward side or where the wind is too weak to move the snow. the conditions may become unstable and if the terrain has the right form an avalanche will probably be released. Areas to the leeward side will therefore accumulate greater masses of snow even if the precipitation is 30 . is shown in figure 11. the snow will sink and more snow is needed before the risk of an avalanche becomes equal to a situation with heavy snowfall over a short period of time. in other cases it takes more than 100 cm. 50 cm or more during 24 hours. A heavy snowfall is needed to set off an avalanche in calm weather as opposed to when a wind is blowing.In cases of heavy snow fall. i e where the wind speed is below that of a fresh breeze. After periods of snow fall and wind the danger of naturally released avalanches will soon be over. At wind speeds above 5 m/sec the degree of danger on leeward sides must be increased by a factor of 1 or 2 depending on the speed and the duration of the wind. Not only the amount of newly fallen snow influences the danger of avalanche. The intensity of the snowfall will consequently be of importance in assessing the risk of an avalanche. If the snowfall lasts for some time. In some cases only 20 cm of newly fallen snow is enough to set off an avalanche.
51.moderate. It is not only snowfall which will trigger avalanches. The structure of the snow is important because rain following newly fallen snow is liable to release avalanches much more quickly than rain falling on old snow. Most avalanches occur on leeward slopes where great masses of snow have been accumulated through precipitation and wind. because the destructive metamorphism and the forming of ice bridges between the snow grains accelerate so that the compactness improves. the wind causes the snow crystals to break into pieces and their edges are polished. At low temperature the destructive metamorphism of the snow crystals and the forming of ice bridges are slow. Rain 27. packing the snow densely. It has the ability to withstand greater strain then loose snow and great masses are allowed to build up before an avalanche is set off. Temperature 28. Rain following snow will soften snow and the resistance of the snow is decreased. and the snow may be unstable for several days after a snowfall. It is assumed that 5-10 mm of precipitation per day can be enough to set off an avalanche. When the temperature rises. the compactness is diminished so that the risk of an avalanche increases at first. Over a long period of time (several weeks) the 31 . Temperature is of importance for the stability of the snow. Furthermore. Then the snow becomes gradually stabilized by the mild weather.
Newly fallen snow which is not too polluted from industrial effluent. This can occur even if the air temperature is below 0° C. depends on the consistency of the snow. as the sunshine becomes more intense. 32 . it will have a warming effect on the snow. Intense sunshine in spring thus increases the danger of avalanches. Sunshine 29. The moisture will penetrate the snow downwards and the conditions will be similar to the effects of rain. In spring. Older snow will reflect considerably less so that it warms more quickly and becomes moist.temperature is important in the relatively thin snow will turn the lower layers into gliding snow which makes the snow more unstable during a cold period. will reflect up to 90% of the sun rays. How much solar energy is accumulated in the surface of the snow.
The inclination or the steepness is the factor which is of the greatest importance concerning avalanches. are rarely set off when the inclination of the sliding layer is less than 30 . When the angle of inclination is down towards 30 relatively large amount of snow is needed to set off the avalanche because the anchoring forces are usually strong enough to hold the snow.Avalanche terrain 30. The avalanche area The avalanche area is divided into: starting zone avalanche track run-out zone 31. considered to be the most dangerous ones. Big avalanches spanning the larger part of a mountain side.60 less snow is required for an avalanche to be released. there is little difference between points a and c. Because the snow is deposited unevenly on a slope the critical angle of inclination causing the release of an avalanche can be exeeded. At a steepness of 50 . All slopes between 30 and 60 can cause avalanches if rocks and other obstacles are covered by snow. may cover a long stretch of terrain between the release area and the avalanche cone. In very steep terrain the snow will not be anchored and therefore slide gradually. Research carried 33 . Flake avalanches. but smaller. Avalanches are therefore more frequent. Concerning small avalanches. . Terrain steeper than about 60 will not cause avalanches. The starting zone 32.
50 . The greater the speed and volume of the avalanche. When the angle of inclination is down to about 1520m . To determine how steep a slope is. Large dry avalanches can move over flat ground and cross bottoms of valleys spanning several hundred metres unless they are stopped in. or not far from. This is also the case when the snow is moist or wet because of the great friction in the snow. the slope where they were released. the following two methods can be applied: 34 . If the snow is dry and the avalanche moves at great speed the snow masses may still pass 25-30 metrehigh hills. the greater its capacity to move forward in a straight line i e in the direction the mountain side slopes. This research covers self-triggered avalanches. Avalanches will follow the hollows of the ground and all the time seek the lowest points or where there is little or nothing to stop them. Marked features like ridges and hills decide their course. An exception is so-called brush or slush avalanches which contain so much water that they run like rivers. the breaking of a dry avalanche normally starts. The avalanche track and the run-out zone 33. Measurements taken of a number of avalanches released by skiers show that the lower release limit of flake avalanches is about 30 . i e due to weather conditions or because of changes in the stability of the snow.out in this country on about 500 large avalanches shows that most of them are released at an angle between 35 .
crevices and marked gaps. Notice. The most common leward areas of a mountain side are small gullies and passes of varying shapes. In addition to the angle of inclination the shape of the terrain itself is of great importance as to where an avalanche is set off on a mountain side.use of ski poles .use of compass and water bottle These methods are described in appendix 3. are also typical release areas for large avalanches (see figures 1416). Bottoms. Areas on the leeward side are usually most avalanche prone. however.. Consequently the risk of avalanches is greater in hollow and bowl shaped terrain (concave terrain) than on hills and mountain ridges where the snow normally blows off. Shape of terrain 34. Slopes of naked rock and even grassy surfaces may often cause avalanches. for instance an area of scree. large masses of snow may accumulate. A lot of snow is accumulated here and the risk of an avalanche increases with the amount of snow. that the angle of inclination estimated by using a map can be wrong in the terrain because of the accumulation of snow. Figure 12 The snow make the terrain look steeper than it really is. i e areas where there is or previously has been a glacier. Where there is a marked transition from a precipice to a more gently slanted area below. 35 .
especially late in winter when sunshine and rain make the snow thoroughly wet so that melted water at ground level reduces friction.Figure 13 Release area at bottom. Where the steepness of the terrain increases downward (convex areas) stretch tension is inherent in the snow. Figure 14 Release aarea in gap. 36 . This is also the case just below areas where the snow layer is well anchored to large stones and outcrop rock. In such stretch zones avalanches are easily triggered.
Figure 16 Release area in convex terrain. 37 .Figure 15 Release area in open concave terrain.
crevices and concave slopes are set off where the wind does not get a hold. 3. 6. Most fatal accidents occur on slopes between 20 . 4. much snow can be swept down the leeward side of the mountain. Below zones of anchorage. we must watch protruding ridges and hills if they are covered with snow because avalanches can also be released here. Large avalanches probably also come from such areas. crevices. Slopes of naked rock. 38 . 29 27 12 12 10 10 As the survey shows. deep passes. 2. the shape of the terrain in the release areas of avalanches is as follows in order of frequency: Shape of terrain Distribution in percentage of avalanche frequency 1. about 60% of all avalanches from bottoms.Frequency of avalanches in different terrain 35. According to an investigation of about 250 avalanches on the west coast of Norway.40 metres high. On the other hand. Open concave slopes and gaps. especially during snowfall and little wind. Convex areas. 5. There are cases in which skiers have been killed on slopes only between 5 and 10 metres high. The height of a slope need not be great before an avalanche may pose a serious threat. Deep passes. The risk of an avalanche on such a mountain side is greater than when the mountain top is shaped like a sharp ridge. Bottoms. If a mountain has a flat top.
In relatively gentle tracks with an even transition to the bottom of the valley.35 36 .Figure 17 Avalanche prone terrain which not can be seen from the bottom of the valley.25 26 .40 Above 41 2% 12 % 24 % 27 % 22 % 13 % Usually the angle A is a little above 30 . The range of an avalanche 36. Angle (A) (range) Frequency of avalanche 20 or less 21 . 39 . A method of measuring the range of an avalanche is described in appendix 4. The table below shows how the range in degrees (angle A) is distributed in relation to the frequency of avalanches. this angle may be reduced to 19-20 .30 31 .
This means that when the sighting line from our position at the bottom of the valley to the potential release point is 20° . 40 . at ratio 1:3. This method starts with the horizontal distance from the release area. see fig 20. the sighting line should make an angle of 20° or less. b. It is called the «20 degree rule». To be on the safe side. Methods for measuring the range of an avalanche 37. the avalanche will only occasionally reach so far.Figure 18 Simple method for estimating range of an avalanche.
In areas where avalanches are less frequent. and the mountain side rises 50 . avalanches are the most likely cause. see fig 21. Where avalanches are relatively rare. When trees are hit by avalanches. the trees are taller. they are damaged in various ways. the trees are small and their trunks are bent because they are often pressed to the ground. Where there are annual avalanches there is no forest. Birches especially grow in such areas because they can stand the weight from an avalanche without being totally destroyed. 39. Notice that such damage may also be due to heavy snow. however. Alders are also frequently found in avalanche areas.The effect of avalanches on forests and loose masses Forest 38. but it proves at least that avalanches are relatively rare. the trees lie pointing in the same direction like stripes or lanes down the mountain side.100 m above the forest. In old forest it may prove difficult to distinguish between damage caused by avalanches. Such damage can be used in considering the danger of an avalanche. or how frequently an avalanche is set off. 40. The reason for this is that the avalanche only needs a short distance before its speed is so high that the trees cannot withstand its pressure. by wind or by heavy snow. the avalanche will have sufficient speed to pass through the forest. this is no guarantee that it is a safe area. Even if the forest is quite dense on the mountain side. If a large avalanche is set off above the tree line. but when an old tree is hit by an avalanche it breaks or its trunk is shattered. 41 . If.
Loose masses 41. the bottom of the valley is strewn with suck material which is easily spotted because of its fresh colour and because it is often found on top of new vegetation. Sometimes it may be difficult to decide if the loose material has been deposited by small streams or by an avalanche. The reason for this is that this material was higher up in the snow when the avalanche stopped and remained on the blocks when the snow melted. A similar thing can be observed where large frequent avalanches end in rivers or lakes. 42 . an avalanche will dig holes in the ground because of its sudden change of course. dig into the ground and carry stones and earth along which are deposited in the lower parts of the track when the snow melts. Often a small lake is formed in these hollows. stones and sand deposited by the avalanches. is that gravel and stone are often found on top of big blocks. Thus a clearly visible hollow is made and the loose masses are deposited around it like a wall. In places where an avalanche comes down a steep mountain side and the transition to the bottom of the valley is abrupt. Large avalanches may transport loose masses further away from the mountain side than small streams and also further than a rock slide can reach. and in particular those that are set off in spring when the snow is wet. Then lagoons are formed with a «reef» of gravel. In places where there are annual avalanches. Another common feature about material transported by an avalanche. Large avalanches.
Figure 21 Stone wall deposited by an avalanche ending in a river. 43 .Figure 19 Trees that have often been exposed to avalanches. Figure 20 Forest hit by an avalanche.
A map is one of the most important means of help we have in planning a route. It is important to realize that steep slopes less than 30 .5 mm. When the release area and the avalanche cone have been 44 . Then there is only the distance between the contour lines to work on. This corresponds to a distance between the 20 m contour lines of 0. These two factors are decisive in identifying potentially dangerous areas of avalanches. An avalanche may be sett off at an angle of inclination down to 30°. 43. The contour lines give us a good picture of the terrain features and how steep a mountain side is. If the distance is shorter or similar to this.7 mm. it is steep enough for an avalanche to be released. In this way possible release areas can be marked on the map.40 m high cannont normally be identified by studying the contour lines. and between the 100 m contour lines of 3.Preparations and training in terrain prone to avalanches Preparations Map 42. Map series M 711 on a scale of 1:50 000 and a contour interval of 20 m now covers almost all of Norway. In appendix 4 a method of estimating the range of an avalanche is described. This method puts a limit to possible avalanche cones. Maps on our scale are therefore not accurate enough.
Part of a snow avalanche map is shown in fig 22 45 . the snow conditions have to be considered with a view to possible avalanches. When a potential hazard area is being considered. Then it is possible to get close to the release areas and also see them from different angles so the best possible impression of the ground can be obtained. 44. then make a reconnaissance. It has been made for the military for planning purposes and exercises and should not be used in other contexts. Start with maps and air photos. It is easy to underestimate potential release areas in the upper parts of a mountain side when it is viewed from the bottom of the valley. climb the opposite side to get a better view. All parts steeper than 30° must be looked upon as potential release areas and all leeward sides must be considered carefully. if the area is to be used in military operations. The most efficient method is using a helicopter. Avalanche map 45.marked on the map. The map shows areas prone to avalanches. The view may also be hampered by protruding rocks and ridges so that the upper parts are not clearly visible. the first thing to do is to look for possible release areas. if possible. Therefore it is better to move from the mountain side or. If the snow conditions are deemed ustable and that an avalanche may be released the area is to be considered dangerous and a safe outside or around this area has to be chosen.
46 . This map is divided into following zones: Avalanche starting zones Terrain steep enough for avalanche release. Figure 22 Avalanche map with suggested probability of route. which may be exposed to avalanches. Avalanche run-out zones Terrain lying below starting zones. The maps are produced for the Norwegian Military Geographic Service and should not be used for other purposes without reservation.Snow Avalanche Map This map indicates areas where snow avalanches may occur.
Zone I : Avalanche starting zones . In some places the line of zone II is drawn above the built-up area even though it may be within the zone II area.The avalanche map’s division into zones 46. In creek beds the variation altitude is normally less than 40m and is therefore not indicated in the map. The map shows the avalanche starting zones which can be identified by means of the contour lines. The map does not offer information indicating how frequently an avalanche may be released. Snow conditions in creek beds often favour avalanches. The terrain is steep enough for an avalanche to be released. Zone I is identified by means of the map’s contour lines and is to be marked where the distance between the 20m lines is 0. Avalanches can therefore occur in slopes not steep enough to be included in the map.7mm or less and there is no dense forest. Terrain below the avalanche starting zones that can be reached by avalanches. Limitations of the avalanche map 49.Zone II : Avalanche run-out zones Zone I 47. thus being very dangerous. In certain 47 . Zone II 48. The map is divided into the following zones: . Zone II is identified as a result of an estimation built on experiences drawn from many avalanche tracks (cp appendix 4). Some steep areas are omitted since the forest is so dense that the risk of an avalanche is considered to be small.
areas there are yearly avalanches while in other areas years may pass between avalanches. The prevailing wind direction must also be taken into consideration in the planning. During planning. This wind often causes drifting snow and a danger of avalanches also on western and nothern slopes. For that reason it may be advisable to cross these mountain slopes if the choice of route falls within zone I or II on the avalanche map. The avalanche map is well suited for planning exercises and choice of routes. Even if the mountain slope appears wind-swept there may be snow in small river beds along the mountain side. 51. After long 48 . Local people can offer valuable information on the likelihood of avalanches in their areas. It is therefore advisable to mark the avalanche tracks based on local knowledge. This means that the mountain sides to the leeward accumulate most snow and have the greatest frequency of avalanches. How to use the avalanche map 50. attention must be paid to the map’s limitations and how it is constructed. The weather throughout the winter will indicate the composition of the snow layers. In North Norway there is also wind from a south-eastern direction blowing along valleys and fjords. Because of the dominant wind direction some mountain side may appear wind-swept. In Norway most precipitation is brougt by winds blowing from a north-westerly and a south-westerly direction. Mention of «safe mountain sides» should be taken with a pinch of salt if the shape and the angle of inclination indicate a potential danger of avalanches. If there is any doubt choose another route.
and this period has to be focused on when considering the danger of an avalanche.stable periods of cold weather with favourable conditions for growing metamorphism. and this period has to be focused on when considering the danger of an avalanche. it is important to realize that the snow may consist of loose layers and consequently be unstable. It is the weather over the last 3 days which is of the greatest importance. It is the weather over the last 3 days which is of the greatest importance. 49 . however. Mild periods with temperatures above 0° C will. cause stability in the snow.
terrain and precipice.snow quality .weather.How to operate in avalanche prone terrain General 52. wind and temperature . Figure 23 Weather data in a meteogram 50 . The following factores influence exercises in avalanche prone terrain: . precipitation.
If a fresh breeze or even stronger winds have been blowing. An amount of percipitation exeeding 30 mm over the past 3 days is a sign that avalanches may be released. This should be done on a leeward slope.48 hours . Meteograms can be ordered by fax or from the meterological stations in Bergen. Wind 56. Trondheim. The meteogram may also offer important information.120 hours. The snow depth should be measured in the actual site by using a ski stick or by digging in the snow.Weather report 53. It is important to be aware of the fact that 1 mm precipitation equals about 1 cm of newly fallen snow (fig 25). The weather prognoses indicate what weather can be expected in the nearest future. The prognoses are for: . The latest weather reports and information from weather stations are important. Precipitation 55. Wind is also of great importance. The meteogram is prepared by the Norwegian Meterological Institute and offers weather data graphically at 0000hrs and 1800hrs daily. Data on how much snow has fallen over the past 3-5 days have to be available. These may be updated daily or on demand. 54. Tromsoe or from the Norwegian Meterological Institute in Oslo. there is 51 . How strong has the wind been and from which direction has it been blowing.
The wind is especially important if there has been a lot of loose snow in the mountain up to the time the wind started.reason to believe that snow has been drifting to the leeward side. A sudden rise to about 0° C normally increases the danger of an avalanche. - Ground 59. Snow Before there is any activity. Also observe natural signs of warning: recent avalanches in the vicinity skiing causes long rifts in the snow small flakes loosen if a ski is put down at an angle thundering sounds mean that a weak layer of snow has broken. there is reason to assume that the danger of an avalanche will decrease. Choice of route must be decided by the stability of the snow. depending on which wind directions have been dominant.using the spade test (see para 14). The test should be taken on slopes facing different directions because the conditions may vary from one mountain side to the other. Several incidents have proved that wind alone can cause accumulation of snow on a slope where the avalanches were released. The temperature has great influence on the danger of avalanches. 58. If it has been warmer and then the temperature falls. Temperature 57. Stay away from the foot of 52 . the stability of the snow must be checked .
It is difficult to judge the angle of inclination. Figure 24 Flake avalanche in narrow valley. and at great speeds it is easy to end up in steep areas where an avalanche may be released. If flake avalanches have been released in brook beds the route must be along bare ridges and hills. It is imperative to understand that the risk can increase within a few hours. In spring. The danger of avalanches will all the time change with the weather. or if there is a sudden change of weather after a long cold and stable period. Changes in weather 60. especially if the wind increases markedly and there is much loose snow on the ground. be careful of steep mountain sides exposed to sunshine. In addition there might be slush or brush avalanches. During periods of 53 . Utmost care must be exercised when skiing down hill.mountain sides and avoid narrow brook beds if the snow appears to be unstable.
avoid staying in narrow valleys or where streams end at the bottom of valleys. how to choose a safe route. Choosing a safe route 61. it is important to state what measures should be taken if a situation arises which makes it necessary to cross such areas. A booklet has been made. even if avalanches have not been triggered for a long time. Figure 25 Follow ridges – be safe. Be careful not to say that an area is safe if the conditions indicate that a possible avalanche can be released.quick snow melting or heavy rain. Army booklet 5-2. Nevertheless. It lists a number of useful points in choosing a safe route in winter. Crossing dangerous ground 62. 54 . Never enter an area if there is an avalanche hazard. The booklet is appendix 8 to this manual.
a war time situation . The latest issue of UD 2-1 covering these points should always be used.inadvertently entering an avalanche prone area In both cases the officer in charge has to evaluate the ground and choose a route which in his opinion and from his experience offers the least possible risk. 55 . There are no techniques or means which can guarantee a 100% safe crossing of avalanche prone terrain.A field training exercise is not reason good enough to enter avalanche prone terrain. There are two emergency situations that need to be covered under this heading because military units may be involved: . See UD 2-1 points 12450-12458 1996/97 edition. appendix 9 to this manual.
Organization 64. 56 . Manning of the avalanche group is decided for each exercise and depends on the geographical extension of the exercise area and number of participating units. The officer in charge of planning and running the exercise carries the responsibility for the assessment.The avalanche group General 63. Assessment of a possible avalanche hazard starts when the planning of a field exercise has come so far that the exercise area has been designated. A separate avalanche group is established in connection with field exercises. brigade exercises or exercises at higher levels. The assessment is followed by a reconnaissance before snowfall. The daily responsibility can be given to a specially competent person. On staff level the responsibility rests with S-2/G-2. Even if an avalanche group is established it is important to underline that personnel in the area also carry responsibility for the current assessment of the avalanche hazard and report to the avalanche group.
Figure 26 The table of organization for field exercises of 2 brigades or equivalent.3 persons and be led by an officer.2 or more sections The avalanche group is at the disposal of the exercise leader on the recommendation of the commander of the group. The group’s staff should consist of 2 persons and be led by an officer. 57 . The avalanche group is administratively linked to the exercise directing staff. The avalanche group is divided into: . Each section should consist of 2 .staff which is part of the exercise directing staff .65.
.gathering information/assessment of avalanche hazard in the area where units will operate . advise on avalanche hazards in the accident area and 58 .recommendation on use of exercise area 67.Contact with local police. The exercise planning staff notifies their units. 68. The sections’ tasks: . If required it should be issued more frequently.Issuing an evaluation (0-4) 1-2 times a day through the exercise planning staff. Standing order for the avalanche group should include: .gathering information on avalanche hazards . highway authorities and local people for information on avalanches . The evaluation should be issued for a 24hour period.Contact with meterological stations to gather information on weather .report to avalanche group staff . The avalanche group’s tasks and responsibilities: .Offer assistance in case of avalanches.advising tactical leader . The first evaluation or warning must be issued to the units before leaving for the exercise area.The warning is to have high priority .Task and responsibility 66.One warning should cover the whole exercise area .processing of information .Evaluation of the potential dangers of avalanches in the exercise area .processing of information .may also report directly to units involved or the exercise directing staff.
Participation in the exercise director’s planning of the exercise when required . - - Communications equipment 70. 59 . Telephone is most practical to the directing staff and mobile phone internally.along the route in and out of the area . The avalanche group must have communication with the directing staff and internally within the group. SR 92 (meals ready to eat) 69.The leader of the avalanche group is to/should participate in daily briefs for staff and umpires.77 should be used. If a mobile phone is not available VHF stations like the AN/PRC . Equipment and materials The avalanche group should have the following: communications equipment search poles spades transponders vehicle with trailer 2 snowscooters helicopter at disposal thermometer screen snow profile forms pc with modem and access to the meteogram service at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute tent/sheet stove sleeping bag ground sheet rations.
The patrols can reach roads on their own and be picked up by vehicles. Used by the search sections to check the snow and then assess the stability of the snow. The vehicle should be a four wheel drive.2 hours a day) to put patrols in critical places in order to cover the exercise area as well as possible. snow profile forms 75. Thermometer. Used by the sections to check the snow. Used to gather information from the Norwegian Meterological Institute on weather pronoses for the exercise area. A helicopter should be available to the avalanche group (about 1 . Used by the members of the avalanche group because they move in terrain which might be prone to avalanches. PC with modem 76. Helicopter 74. Draw snow profiles.Spades 71. A thorough recce will normally take about 4 hours. Used for transport of snow scooters to different places in the exercise area. Vehicle and trailer 73. 60 . screen. Transponders 72.
Bivouacking material and provisions 77. 61 . Used by the search sections to survive outdoors in case of bad weather.
79.only shout when you hear someone on top of you. Even with no apparent success during the first hours. If caught in an avalanche: . There are examples of people who have been alive after 24 hours and in some cases after several days.organized search.ski diagonally downwards toward a safe area . Do not expect to be heard even if you hear personnel moving in the snow above you. The possibility of survival in an avalanche decreases rapidly and the rescue work must be aimed at finding possible casualties as quickly as possible.get rid of your back pack if possible .cover and protect your face with your hands and arms to get breathing space . 62 .Rescue General 78.quick search .cover your face to prevent snow from getting into your mouth and nose.do not struggle in order to avoid lack of oxygen . the effort should be eagerly maintained. Rescue work in an avalanche is a race against time! Those taking part in search and rescue operations and particularly the officer in charge must consider the danger of potential avalanches. Helping yourself 80. If buried: . Rescue and search is divided into: .helping yourself .
Remain in the vehicle as this improves your chances of being found. Quick search means that a unit or individuals after an avalanche immediately start searching with whatever means available. The chances of survival are reduced dramatically with the time underneath the snow. 63 . Figure 27 Deathrate in avalanches. If you realise that you will not succeed cut the engine immediately because of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. Quick search 82. If you drive a bandwagon give full speed and try to escape the avalanche by driving diagonally out of it. The quick search is important in order to save as many as possible.81.
Evaluate the hazard of avalanches . The choise of a primary area of search is decided by: The sweeping-along-point and the further course of the avalanche through the sweepingalong-point and the point where the snow around the point of disappearance rested.First aid Figure 28 Choise of primary area of search. If possible the search should be limited to a primary area.Start the surface search .Decide on a primary search sector . Thus the possibility of finding survivors will increase.Carry out a tentative search together with a surface search . Primary area of search 84.Sound the alarm . It will not be possible to determine 64 . give a good background to estimate the possible place where the person caught might be buried.83. How to carry out the quick search: . a small area with a good chance of a find.
If the transition is even. The profile of the slope where the avalanche has been started may give some clues. a very pistol or a weapon and ammunition. The person caught by an avalanche at the foot of the slope will therefore be carried a shorter way than a person caught higher up. c. d. Traces like ski tracks running into the avalanche and items found must be considered when deciding the primary area of search. the snow from the upper parts of the slope will end on the top of the snow at the foot of the slope. The avalanche guard will be posted by the branch leader avalanche and equipped with means to warn. e. The guard should be positioned in a safe place where he can observe the area from which the branch leader thinks a new avalanche may start. If however. there is an abrupt transition.b.g. Avalanche guard 85. exactly where the person might be. The speed of the snow is greatest on the surface and lowest along the edges of the avalanche. it is probable that the person taken in the avalanche high up will lie somewhat behind the front of the avalanche. 65 . Obstacles in the track of the avalanche cause the snow to be accumulated upstream or gathered downstream around the obstacle. e. The person caught by the avalanche may lie in eddies or in narrow passes. Avalanche guards are one or several persons posted in the avalanche area to warn personnel about new avalanches. Therefore an area called the primary area of search has to be established. like a ski jumping hill.
Sound the alarm immediately if an avalanche is released. The avalanche guard informs branch leader avalanche in case weather or darkness makes it impossible to observe the potential rupture zone.Observe potential rupture zones . Surface search 87.. The whole avalanche is searched by personnel walking through the avalanche looking for items on the surface and listening for possible cries for help from persons buried in the avalanche.86. Finds are controlled. Figure 29 Tentative search. It is decisive that that the warning procedure is rehearsed so that the alarm can be sounded almost simultaneously with the release of the avalanche. Tasks: . for instance. by checking what is at the end of a ski pole or a ski etc. The avalanche guard is to be changed at regular intervals. Finds are marked. 66 .
If search poles are not available. Personnel in the search line should not carry avalanche ropes as this may make an evacuation difficult in case of a new avalanche. Behind each search line there must be 4 men carrying spades. Remove the disk and push the stick down into the snow. 89. The pattern of the search must be carried through quickly but cautiously. He organizes the search line so that the pivot at the edge of the area acts as guide of line and indicates with his search pole the first point of search at the farthest corner of the area. The leader of the search section (should not be the branch leader avalanche) is leader of the search line. A search line should not consist of more than 10 men. The distance between the search points sideway. There is certain danger of hurting the person buried in snow. A ski pole is too short but better than no stick or pole at all. the spade team and the marking team. several search lines should be arranged. The tentative search is carried out like this: 67 . marking equipment and spare search poles or sticks. Lack of time means that the search team must work as efficiently as possible. but an injury of this kind will be negligible compared to what can be achieved if he is found as quickly as possible. If more men are available. use ski poles. 90. This is achieved by putting each man with feet about 50 cm apart and about 25 cm to the next man in the direction of the marker. should be 75 cm. Use the sharp end of the pole to get through the snow.Tentative search 88. The search area must be marked carefully.
searches and marks once again . The search continues . The search pole remains standing.the search line leader controls the line and the intervals between the men and starts the work by ordering: Search! . In a real situation this will prove impossible (big blocks etc) ..when a find is made. the order «search» is given. It is important to wear mittens to avoid icing along the pole . See also systematic search point 127. The search team need not keep their feet apart from the start of the search. The search pole is moved cautiously but firmly. the line moves forward.if there is no find. not deeper.the searchers probe vertically down to 2 metres.when changing the personnel in the search line those released leave their search poles down in their last search holes. The crew walk in single file along the poles the shortest way out of the area and downwards along the edges of the area.the search line should keep quiet. A new pole is handed over by one of the spade team.when all poles are at rest about 75 cm in front of the holes already searched. 68 . The interval is maintained by checking aganist the marker . It is adjusted by ordering back those who are ahead. The leader of the line will constantly check the alignment. the pole is withdrawn rapidly and the end of the pole is put on the next point of search (about 75 cm ahead). the message is sent down the line to the search line leader and directly to the personnel carrying spades.
If there are few people present it is vital that assistance is brought in to participate in the rescue work. Then one fetches help. In case of bad or unpredictable weather conditions 2 persons should be sent to fetch help. 92. First aid locate the head of the casualty make sure the respiratory passages are open if necessary.this may be a problem depending on the distance to populated areas and the possibilities for coming to assistance. b. The following are some guidelines for warning in case no means of communications are available: a. Several people are present One person is dispatched in order to sound the alarm. In case of an avalanche it is imperative to sound the alarm . Only two present Both carry out a tentative search for 45 minutes.Warning 91. Only one present He/she conducts a tentative search for 45 minutes and then fetches help. 93. start resuscitation and heart compression 69 . c. Those who have survived for 45 minutes are often able to survive for another few hours. These are guidelines for warning and should be used as such. the others start a tentative search. A tentative search is carried out for 45 minutes because the chances of finding people alive are greatest during this period of time. If communications have been established an immediate warning is issued.
check injuries. back and chest . The most frequent causes of fatal accidents in avalanches are suffocation and hypothermia. Fractures of legs. It is not clear how the casualty is positioned in the avalanche. put in stable position .if unconscious. Release head first.. Cover the casualty to keep him warm. careful with neck. Figure 30 Digging out casualty. While a first aider works with the patient. 94. can easily occur in avalanches. priority should be given to: Locating the casualty using search poles. therefore all digging should be along the search pole. Digging out and treatment of casualties 95. First aiders and stretcher carriers are called. When digging out a casualty. 70 .compare moving a casualty with the danger of further hypothermia. personnel with spades make the hole larger and prepare access for the pulk out of the avalanche. back etc.
Figure 31 Table of organization for rescue leader. 71 .
If the police have arrived and are running the search and rescue operation it is their responsibility to notify next of kin about injured and dead. medical. Normally a clergyman is used.Planned search in an avalanche Responsibility 96. The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Justice is responsible for the execution of rescue and search operations. In case of an avalanche accident the police will be assisted by civilian and military institutions and organizations. The responsibilities of the police in these 72 . It is the responsibility of the hospital to report on the condition of personnel admitted to hospital. They are the quickest and most reliable means of finding casualties in an avalanche. 97. Besides the military there are several institutions and voluntary organizations educated and trained for search in avalanches. among others the Red Cross. There is a strong need for close cooperation between the parties involved to operate efficiently in search and rescue operations.and bivouacking equipments and a staff. The aim is to save lives. Even if the police have the responsibility it may prove practical that the military help to notify next of kin (if military personnel are involved in the accident) and the police ask for this help. signals-. platoons and companies with tracked vehicles-. 98. Because of the way a military unit is organized it can be used effectively in such operations: in sections. The Association of Norwegian Rescue Dogs and the Military Dog Training School have well trained dogs.
Norwegian Telecommunications (Telenor). Organized rescue operations in Norway are run by one of the two Main Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCC) in Bodoe and Stavanger. The LRCC is normally established on the premises of the police HQ. The MRCC is run by the local chief constable with representatives from the Military. The chief constable who runs the LRCC organizes the centre according to requirements. A police HQ given this task is called a local rescue coordination centre (LRCC). The areas of responsibility comprise the waters north and south of the 65th parallel and the land areas north and south of the border between Namdal and Helgeland police districts. In case of a rescue operation the LRCC appoints a rescue leader (RL) to organize and coordinate the efforts at the scene of the accident. The LRCC informs the media. The MRCC is responsible for running and coordinating the rescue operation directly from its centre.- operations include: command and coordination of the operation information to the media identification of casualties notifying next of kin Organization and tasks The Main Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) 99. or the responsibility can be transferred to a police HQ. 73 . the Public Health Service and the Air Traffic Service.In principle the LRCC is organized in the same way and has the same responsibilities as the MRCC. especially in case of minor accidents. The Local Rescue Coordination Centre (LRCC) 100.
keeper of log/intelligence . keeping a log and intelligence.intelligence .operational medical leader . Communications must be established to the LRCC/MRCC from the CP. One person may cover several tasks. An evaluation of the extent of the accident.101.rescue leader .branch leader avalanche .press and information Personnel and tasks 103. e. a tracked vehicle or outdoors.provide resources .command and coordination .communications officer . If there are personnel from several organizations and units participating in the rescue operation one representative from each of them will be part of the rescue leader’s CP. a vehicle.Responsibilities .press officer .intelligence officer 74 .branch leader order . The following categories of personnel can be part of a rescue operation. It should be located as close to the scene of the accident as possible without causing problems for other activities going on. The rescue leader’s CP will be manned by the rescue leader and his staff.communications/keeping a log . 102. g. time and means available decide the number of people in the rescue leader’s CP.logistics officer .The rescue leader’s command post may be established in a building.medical branch leader . .
Figure 32 Organization of accident area 75 . Responsibilities of personnel in the rescue leader’s command post (RLCP).104.
Rescue leader 105.a spade team of up to 4 persons . He is to carry a green vest on which is printed “rescue leader” on the front and on the back.leader . search line tentative search): . He should have communications with the LRCC.the avalanche guard 108. He organizes the area. All personnel in the accident area are under his command.a search line of up to 10 persons .the search sections . The rescue leader establishes a command post (RLCP) from where he directs the work. Branch leader avalanche 106. coordinates the efforts of his personnel and is responsible for providing necessary resources through the LRCC. Branch leader avalanche has to carry an armband/vest to make him easily recognised by the rescue personnel.The rescue leader is the local representative of the chief constable. Branch leader avalanche will then take over his functions in the accident area.He must be competent in areas of snow and avalanches and is resposible for evaluating avalanche hazards and is in charge of the search in the avalanche. 76 .The search section should consist of at least 15 persons (cp.a marking team (established when necessary. 107. At the start of a rescue operation there may be no rescue leader present.In the avalanche area the branch leader avalanche directs: .
Digging in case of a probable find and marking the outer limits of the search area.surface search . The marking team is to mark the outer limits of the avalanche and other potential areas pointed out by the branch leader avalanche.estimate the avalanche hazard . 110.find a safe route to the site of the avalanche . The search teams are made ready in the waiting area.tentative search .if necessary. The number of search teams will depend on personnel and materials available and the size of the avalanche.His tasks are to: . In calm weather with no precipitation marking may not be necessary. The tasks of a search team will be to carry out: .recommend how to organize the work at the site taking into consideration the hazard of new avalanches.post avalanche guard .systematic search 109.decide escape route and route in and out of the avalanche . The search line is equipped with a search pole for each man in addition to a couple of search poles for the spade team. The marking team must be equipped with appropriate marking materials.the number of persons will depend on the situation).lead the surface search and pick out the primary area of search 77 . wind direction and route into the area . The spade team will be issued with spades and marking materials. mark the outer limits of the avalanche .
medical personnel and ambulances. Branch leader order 114. an ambulance check point.cooperate with the logistics officer at the LRCC about the need of resources Operational medical leader 111.Branch leader order should be a police officer. He is in charge of medical equipment. Branch leader medical 112.Branch leader medical should be a doctor or the best qualified medical orderly in the avalanche area. In cooperation with the branch leader avalanche and the rescue leader he picks out a landing site for helicopters.. He is to cover all functions related to order and registration.lead the search and the use of rescue dogs . He reports to the rescue leader and coordinates the use of hospitals and the evacuation of casualties with the LRCC. Branch leader medical is to carry a white vest ith his title printed in red.Operational medical leader should be a person experienced in leading practical medical work.In cooperation with branch leader avalanche he picks out an aid post for casualties. He appoints an operational medical leader and a leader at the aid post. He has the main medical responsibility for this service and will be in charge of the medical treatment. 78 . collection point for evacuees. 113. He organizes the evacuation of casualties to the aid post and to hospital.
Press officer 118. provisions and quarters. He is responsible for establishing and running a store. He appoints persons to be in charge inside the areas of his responsiblity and a person in charge of screening and control. consisting of personnel. At the ambulance check point the evacuees are registered. supplies. Branch leader order carries a yellow vest with his title printed in blue. Logistics officer 117. Log keeper/intelligence officer 115. The intelligence officer is to gather information about evacuees and missing. Communications officer 116. transport. The check points are meant to organize the accident area to prevent personnel from getting lost. materials.waiting area for rescue personnel and an area for those killed in the avalanche.Through the LCR the logistics officer will provide necessary resources for the accident area.The log keeper is to record the efforts at the scene of the accident and also all messages going in and out.The person in charge of communications is responsible for establishing and maintaining communications to the LRC and the functions established in the accident area. provide information and show them the area of the 79 .In accordance with guide lines laid down by the rescue leader he is to meet the media.
rescue dogs and equipment.When the branch leader avalanche or other persons arrive at the avalanche the following tasks must be carried out immediately: a. the media should be given as much information as possible. He/she should be a doctor or a qualified nurse.needs for personnel.The transport leader is responsible for the evacuation of persons found in the avalanche to the aid post and then to hospital in cooperation with the other leaders within the medical branch. Transport leader 120. The LRC will offer information in addition to what is provided at the scene of the accident. Guideline for leading rescue operations Work at the scene of the avalanche 121. Report to the local rescue leader (LRL) and the local rescue centre (LRC) about the accident.where and when the avalanche occurred .accident. . Generally speaking. 80 . Leader aid post 119. A balance must be found between the need for information from the media and the concern for those affected by the accident. The contents of the report will depend on what facts have already been established.how many missing . The leader of the aid post is responsible for establishing and running the aid post and for the treatment and prioritising of the injured at the aid post.
Check if they can be linked to missing persons.The primary area of search is pointed out and marked. If necessary. His immediate superior is branch leader order. .A search team is organized.The report is to be sent by radio or by dispatch rider if communications have not been established.The marking team start marking the outer limits of the avalanche if necessary (poles. . . He is to inform fresh personnel entering the avalanche about escape routes. . listen. If necessary. The entire track of the avalanche is searched by a line of men. Items found are marked.The hazard of new avalanches has to be evaluated. The sentry will control who is in the avalanche area at all times and will immediately be able to establish whether anyone in the rescue team is missing if a new avalanche is set off.Extra equipment belonging to personnel is put in the waiting area for extra personnel. ski). shout. . Search preferably along the line of fall towards the ground.A check point is placed on the outer edge of the avalanche where the entry and exit points are.Surface search starts. twigs. search.transponders are carried by personnel entering the avalanche area. . .122. If the unit is organized in sections and teams with leaders.3 m. Branch leader avalanche uses one or several search teams. avalanche guards are posted in safe places where they can observe possible dangerous release areas. 81 . Distance apart 2 . but should remain where they were found. .Escape routes are decided.
the area is being searched with relatively large distances between each crossing. B or C. Because the rescue dog is trained for the smell of the casualty it is important that the rescue personnel are ordered out of the avalanche to the leeward side.e.Normally the dog handler makes the dog carry out a tentative search first. The search team is taken to a stand-by area where they are issued the necessary equipment from the store. A rescue dog will upon completed training be classified as A. a systematic 82 . If there is no results the search becomes more concentrated. There are also police dogs trained as rescue dogs in all police districts. 124. A rescue dog must be called in as soon as an avalanche accident has occurred. In case of a large avalanche it is important to concentrate on the most probable areas (primary search area). i.this structure should be maintained. When the dog handler arrives he has to talk to the rescue leader to form an opinion as to where casualties most likely can be found. This is done to avoid mixing up the different smells and thus confusing the dog and probably spoil the search. Rescue dogs 123. i.e. The Association of Norwegian Rescue Dogs is a nationwide organization training and licensing dogs and dog handlers for search and rescue operations. Class A dogs are the best trained dogs. Several dogs and dog handlers should be called in because a rescue dog tires relatively quickly in the snow. The dog handler will keep the rescue leader informed about what measures have to be taken to facilitate the dog’s search.
In addition to what can be seen in fig 28 a reloading area can be established. Here the priorities of personnel and material are sorted out before being transported to the site of the accident. preferably in a latrine. Urine has a strong smell and will cause problems for the rescue dogs avoid using signal flares or causing sharp noises because many dogs are carefully trained and taught to attack at the sound of gunshots (applies to military and police dogs) generators can also cause difficulties if they are placed so that exhaust gases drift into the avalanche area bitches on heat must not be allowed into the area dogs that are not searching should be kept out of the area. Rescue dogs are useful in the avalanche. The search speed of a class A dog is 4 acres in an hour.search. in a systematic search about 1 acre an hour. It should be located at a road and as close to the site of the accident as possible. food or similar things in the avalanche personnel who need to urinate should do this on the leeward side. Occasional personnel are gathered here and organized. - - - - 83 . Therefore search and rescue personnel must be aware of the following: avoid loud and unnecessary talk when the dogs are searching so as not to disturb them do not leave cigarette ends.
Therefore a tentative search has to be started. Occasional personnel are gathered here and organized.In addition to what can be seen in fig 28 a reloading area can be established. Speed is paramount in a rescue operation when an avalanche has been released. A planned search is started when there are indications of where a casualty may be or when there is no hope of finding survivors. It should be located at a road and as close to the site of the accident as possible. The scene of the accident 126.Re-loading area 125. Figure 33 Systematic search 84 . Here the priorities of personnel and material are sorted out before being transported to the site of the accident. Repeated tentative searches across the the same sector are the best way to find survivors.
The search line leader organizes the search line. The personnel in the search line stand with their feet about 50 cm apart.everyone now searches three new points and marks with his pole at rest about 25 cm in 85 . It is no longer imperative to maintain the orginal foot positions because the conditions will not permit that . the search line leader can control the line and check that the correct intervals are being kept. When all search poles are at rest marking the next search point. but with the following differences: The systematic search 127. If nothing is found the pole is withdrawn quickly and the participants search at an individual pace at points between each person’s boots and just in front of the other foot’s boot . When the search pattern seems good he orders: Search! The personnel then move forward to a spot which is suitable for three new search points. and about 25 cm to the boots of the next man. The marker has one foot on the edge of the area and marks with his search pole the first search point directly in front of his foot.when three attempts have been made the next search point is marked about 25 cm in front of the previous search point.the search starts on the ordrer: Search! It follows the same pattern as the tentative search but now the whole length of the pole is being used if necessary. The rest of the personnel mark their first search point in the same way so that the search line leader can guide. adjust and control intervals .A planned search with search poles is carried out as a tentative search.
front of his last point of search 128.The systematic search is expected to give a 100% chance of a find when the search pattern of 25x25 cm is maintained and the search pole is used vertically - if the pole is not long enough it may be necessary to dig. This should be considered a final resort.
Military participation in search and rescue operations
129.Military units may be used in avalanche search and rescue operations in two ways: - the local police authorities request the assistance of a military unit in a operation which has started or is about to start. The request may cover both personnel and material. If human lives are in danger such a request is to be met. - a military unit starts a search and rescue operation on its own. Military units or civilians may have been caught in an avalanche. The police take over the leadership on arrival and the rescue leader reports when he assumes command. 130.When the police request assistance the rescue work will be run by the police. Under such circumstances military units will supply personnel and material where and when required. Officers can be used as branch leaders or in other capacities as leaders. Units reporting to an avalanche area to serve as rescue and search personnel are to stay in the waiting area while the commanding officer gets in touch with the rescue leader. It is very important that the work is organized in the way described in paras 81 - 107 and in fig 28. Then the police can take over leadership functions without having to change the working procedure. A military unit starting the operation before police take over is to do what is necessary under the circumstances. The military commander will act as commander in the avalanche area. 87
131.The title of rescue leader (RL) does not apply to military personnel because it is linked to the functions covered by the police force. The extent of the accident carries out the tasks of the rescue leader until he takes over control. The commander in the avalanche area picks out branch leaders among his subordinates. Depending on what organizations are called up and extent of the accident, officers will act as advisers in the capacity of branch leader avalanche or in other functions after the rescue leader has taken over command. 132. It is essential for an efficient search that the rescue leader and personnel in all leadership functions have received proper training. The work will also run more smoothly if a link has been established between the institutions and the authorities beforehand so that the parties know each other and know what is expected of them. Proper use of search poles also requires trained personnel, at least 30, preferably more. These people can make up the advance party and then gradually guide less experienced people to enable them to perform satisfactorily. The start and arrangement of the operation should be planned and exercised to make it possible for key personnel to start the search without delay. Because of Norway’s geography a rescue leader must be prepared to improvise concerning both personnel and equipment. 113.In winter a unit (bn equivalent) must make sure they know what personnel are trained in search and rescue operations and earmark them to run operations if the need arises. The unit must also know where the nearest rescue
dogs are and how to alert the dog handlers. Tools for search in avalanches 133.The tools available today can only be used with limited speed and caution. They can be arranged according to function. a. The following traditional search tools require no signals: - search poles - rescue dogs. b. Other search methods require that the missing person carries some sort of signal: - avalanche rope - transponder and detectors. The search pole 134. The search pole is about 3 metres long. It must have a lock which allows it to remain in one piece during the search. The pole has to be rounded in the end used to search with.
Figure 34 Search pole
There are several types. These indications appear every few metres. 137. the rope is trailed by the user at its full length. The transponder has a built-in directional aerial. on some ropes. The transponder 136.The transponder is an electronic sender/ receiver when turned on transmits radio signals. e. Barryvox. An avalanche rope comes in different lengths and colours. Ortovox and Pieps.Function control . If the user is caught in an avalanche parts of the rope may be visible to the search personnel. The arrows are to point in the direction of this end. Working time of batteries: 5 hours when the transponder is used actievely in a search and 14 days when used passive. An ordinary type is about 20 metres long and red. One end of the rope is fastened around the waist when used. Range: At least 60 m. They will see from the indications on the rope in which direction to search and. at least once a day. A transponder is always to be turned on before an exercise starts.g. also the distance to the missing person.The avalanche rope 135.transponder A function control has to be carried out before exercises and in any case. 90 . The officer in charge parades his men on one line and checks the function by walking along the line. In avalanche prone areas. Search depth: About 5 m. Some ropes are marked with an arrow and distance to one end.
When a searcher is within range of someone caught in an avalanche the sender/receiver will start beeping.When the point of disappearance is not known and several people can start to search. The volume will increase with the 91 . . Turns on “send” Figure 35 Avalanche rope Figure 36 Transponder 138.Officer 1.How to search before receiving signals from someone caught in an avalanche.When the point of disappearance is not known . Turns on “send” Personnel Turn on “receive” at minimum volume 2.When the point of disappearance is known . Turns on “receive” Turn on “send” at min volume 3.
Figure 37 How to use the transponder before receiving signals from someone caught in an avalanche. 92 . Figure 38 How to find a person caught by an avalanche when signals have been received.
The user attaches the transponder to his body as shown in figure 39. How to carry a transponder 139.distance to the person in the avalanche. It is carried like this so that the waves from the transponder can reach the surface whatever position the casualty has in the avalanche. The reflectors are to be attached to each person in a correct way. If taken by an avalanche. the recco searcher can be used in the avalanche by sending signals Figure 39 How to carry a transponder 93 . The detector is an instrument consisting of a search unit (recco searcher) and one or several receivers (recco reflectors). The detector 140. For this reason the search is to be carried out as shown in the figure below.
a backpack containing the power element (battery for field exercises and search and rescue operations BA 5598 lithium SO2. headset and power element. for training in garrison: A2V rechargable battery) 94 . carried in right/left hand (in the other hand a search pole) . Therefore it will take some time from the moment the avalanche has been released till the detector is in place and ready to start the search. The detector consists of .8 m in the snow. The range is reduced by increasing snow density (water) and the number of different layers in the snow. handle. The detector is placed to the rear of of a military unit.a search unit with aerial. switches and power cable.Figure 40 Detector with search unit. The detector has a range of about 60m outdoors. returned by the reflector. 141. By means of this the person carrying the searcher will be able to locate the casualty quite simply. and 3 .
In these positions at least one reflector will be facing upwards in the avalanche and will increase the range of the signal. All soldiers are to have two reflectors sown into their uniforms. When the signal hits a reflector the frequency of the signal is doubled (1834 Mhz) and can be received by the antenna. If the transmitted signal is not doubled by a reflector only a constant basic tone is heard which indicates that search signals are being transmitted. Function 142. The other one to be sown into the hip pocket of the field jacket (so that it is placed at the LEFT back side of the body). The angle in which the transmitted signal hits and the position of the reflector under the snow also influences the range..battery charger for «training batteries». A detector uses the so-called frequency doubling principle. depending on the “strength” of the return signal which varies with distance and the angle to the reflector. A radar signal (917 Mhz) is transmitted by a directional aerial which can be twisted and turned in various directions by the searcher. The audible tone’s volume varies. the signal is transformed into an audible variable tone heard on the headsets. One of these is to be sown at the bottom of the RIGHT side pocket of the field trousers.2 reflectors (diodes with folie aerial) to be carried by each soldier . In the receiver.placing 143. Another acceptable 95 . The reflector .headsets with connecting line and amplifier for reflector signal .
Figure 42 Placing of the reflector on the boots.Figure 41 Placing of the reflector into the field trouser. Figure 43 Search with detector 96 .and jacket.
find probability. 145. This information will vary depending on the user and the conditions in the avalanche. radios.The table below shows the capacity of the different tools.twisting the aerial gently clockwise and anticlockwise Because the signals are directional the operator will be able to approach the missing person more directly than with the transponder. A survey of rescue and search equipment in connection with avalanches has been made and distributed to all units in question.swinging the aerial gently from side to side .) have diodes. The search area should be 5 10 m wide. search depth and advantages/disadvantages. etc. The searcher must be aware of signals from other personnel searching in the avalanche. The searcher must vary the angle of the aerial . Search in an avalanche follows the pattern shown in fig 43. The search personnel must be aware that all electronic equipment (cameras. personnel in the avalanche should remove their reflectors. Search with detector 144. To make it easier for an inexperienced searcher.turning the aerial gently towards and away from the ground . Such equipment will also give audible signals to the detector. This material 97 .position is to put the reflector on the shoe laces of each boot (between the D-rings of the boots). Rescue and search equipment 146.
should be stored separately in the unit’s store (bn) and be carried along on exercises. Disadvantages: Limited search depth. See appendix 7. low capacity and the searcher may hurt the missing person without noticing it. Well suited for quick search. Rescue dog Tentative search ca 2000 m2/hour High accuracy and capacity. easy to transport. 98 . Good find probability. can improvise. It often takes a long time and to warn dog handler and dog to get them to the avalanche area. Capacity: Advantage: 20 search poles Tentative search 2-300 m2/hour. Easy to use.
Demands training. Effective search. Easy to carry. 99 . Dependent on batteries. Detector Up to 20000 m2/hour High accuracy and capacity.Transponder Up to 20000 m2/hour High accuracy and capacity. Demands training The missing person must carry sender and it has to be turned on. Dependent on batteries. Search can start immediately after avalanche. Effective search.
The poster called “The vital avalanche rules” in appendix 10 illustrates when there is great danger of avalanches.basic training .Training and information about avalanches and search/rescue work 147. Training 148.military academy .When training for rescue work in avalanches it is important that those responsible carefully evaluate the danger of avalanche in the training area. Norwegian Winter Course .the School of Infantry and Winter Warfare. Keep in mind that training forms the pattern for later exercises. where to move. 100 .officer candidate school . and what to do if taken by an avalanche. A winter training programme has been made and it is divided into the following levels: . Choose therefore a gentle slope where there is no risk of an avalanche .even if the weather turns around and increases the danger.refresher courses Information about avalanches and rescue work are part of this programme. The appendix can be put up on notice boards in barracks and inside camps during winter.
transponders and detectors (can be put into a bergen) can also be dug down.Search in an avalanche can be integrated with an exercise in quick search so that several can be trained simultaneously and in context. The avalanche can be marked by snow blocks in an area which is so large that it takes some time to perform the search. Loose snow can cause the hole to cave in which might have serious consequenses for the person acting as a casualty.bags.Search in an avalanche 149. check that the snow is compact. 101 . there must be no traffic across the spot where a cave has Figure 44 Cave for person posing as casualty.To make a hole. Cave for person posing as casualty 150. ground sheets. If people are to be buried rules about how this has to be done must be observed. Even if the snow is compact. Equipment like sleeping. about 50x100 m. bergens.
been dug and where the person is supposed to lie. When he has layed down in his sleepingbag on the mat and reported that he is comfortable. The leader of the exercises is responsible for this part. Dig about 1. He pulls the other sleepingmat over him to protect his face and crotch when the searchers start using their poles. If a wind is blowing. Then dig in about 75 cm towards the overhang. The cave must be deep enough to lie unrestricted. HF 5-2 are included. the person must be dug out at once. The opening is then closed with large snow blocks and the cave is filled with snow. Contact must be kept by radio all the time. The pole is made ready and put down at his right hand. all traces will soon be wiped out.5 m vertically into the snow. and a search pole. The level of difficulty can be varied compared to the skills of the soldiers. a torch. He then puts the pole further down into the snow until it is invisible for those on top of him. He must make sure that he has some points of reference in the area so the cave can be found quickly. 102 . He has an extra sleepingmat. Choice of route 151. The training can be done in patrols or sections with a different section leader for each point. a thermos flask with hot drink. In case the contact is lost. He can also use his search pole to signal a need for help by moving it upwards in the snow. The cave must have the right depth for the planned training.A track can be made through an area where the points mentioned in the folder. radio communication is checked. about 60 cm will do.
The quick search is the most important thing to do once there has been an avalanche and people are involved.It is an imperative demand that the rules of UD 2-1 are observed. organises the work... How this is done is described in HF 5-2..It is vital that the rules laid down in UD 2-1 are observed.. Let each patrol/ section measure the thickness of the ice and mark according to the rules. The organized rescue is a continuation of the quick search. the spade test and the gliding block. Contact the unit and inform them that there is an avalanche in grid .. for instance the platoon commander.. He organises and leads the unit so that the rescue work can start as quickly as possible. Crossing unsafe ice 153. e. Crossing of dangerous areas 152. Divide into patrols or sections and disperse personnel on the lake. Further details can be found in this manual under different headings. It is possible to go to an area which is dangerous and show the personnel how close to the mountain side you can go and still be on safe ground (the 20 degree rule). g. Quick search in an avalanche 154. This can be trained while a unit is on the move. 103 . (ought to be in the vicinity so that a quick search can start as quickly as possible).Other points can also be trained. The officer in charge.
The stability of the snow layers can vary greatly locally within the same area. fog crust.Appendix 1 UD 6-81-9 Page 1 of 4 Interpretation of snow profile form Snow profile forms are mainly a means of help for the avalanche group. Several snow profile forms will have to be made from different points of observation in the terrain before any conclusion can be drawn about the danger of avalanches in the area. wind crust 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 104 . Kornform Main types Newly fallen snow Snow signs 1 2 – crystals close to their original form – hail (frozen wateer vapour) – irregular rounded forms with spikes – first stage of destructive metamorphism Fine grained snow – rounded simple crystals – end stage of destructive metamorphism – or crystals forms influenced by wind Edged grained snow – crystals with plane surfaces – final stage of growing metamorpism Sliding snow – cup crystals – final stage of growing metamorphism Rough grained snow – rounded melting forms – "wet" crystals attached to each other Hoar-frost – feathershaped frost flakes on the surface and in cavities around stones and trees Ice Ice crust – rain crustt. sun crust.
Hardness By using the hand test the hardness of the snow can be established.
Description (after hand test)
Hand test method
Very loose (fist)
Loose (4 fingers)
Medium hard (1 finger)
Very hard (knife)
How to use the snow profile form A pit is dug,the snow layers are identified and filled in stating grain form, hardness, density and size of grains. Use the number code for hardness and symbol for grain form. The spade test is made downwards in the snow and if the layer glides easily, this put down in the column for note. Observe if avalanches have been triggered in the area and put this down in the form stating altitude of release area and in what direction the loose area is pointing. What the snow profile form number 1 of 4 from snow profile in grid 134 114 KVITFJELLET says is that there are two weak and loose layers of snow. The hoarfrost between 12 and 14cm constitutes a very slippery gliding layer for the snow above. This hoarfrost will gradually represent a dangerous gliding layer that with much snow above it can release large flake avalanches if exposed to physical strain (personnel, vehicles). The loose layers between 24-41cm and 80-92cm consist of fresh snow and fine grained snow and rough grained snow respectively. Common for the weak and loose layers is that the binding between the snow crystals is weak and that through physical strain they can break and cause a flake avalanche. In this case the danger of an avalanche is considered to be moderate. The evaluation is given only on the basis of this snow profile. This is equivalent to level 2 in the warning, and indicates that there is a danger that personnel and vehicles may release an avalanche in steep areas. The final warning is based on several snow profiles taken in several directions at different altitudes, and based on practical tests of snow stability by means of gliding block/explosives.
because the pressure from a tracked vehicle is greater than that of a soldier on skies or snowshoes. Then dig a 0.personnel below the block have to be removed. The danger may vary on other slopes. dig all the way down to the ground. Before applying pressure on the block (sawing with avalanche rope or digging out). A safe place has to be found which is also typical of the area to be examined. but not for tracked vehicles. The outcome og this examination is valid for units moving on skis or snowshoes. if possible. the upper wall as vertical as possible.5 m wide ditch 1.5 m 108 . even fairly close ones. If the gliding block is to have any significance to the unit. and at both ends of it. depending on terrain direction compared to the direction the wind is blowing. This method is to be applied by trained personnel.Appendix 2 UD 6-81-9 Page 1 av 2 Gliding block Digging out a gliding block will only say something about the danger of an avalanche on the slope and in the actual direction where the digging took place. the ditch should be at least 2 m deep (in deep snow). This is well suited for a snow profile. Personnel digging must be equipped with saftey means like transponder or detector.5 m into the snow vertically on the first ditch. The gliding block is dug out in this way: Dig a ditch vertically on the line of fall about 3 m long. see figures. it has to be dug on slopes which will be crossed by the unit in question. Then a gliding block 2 x 1. This applies for both methods.
as shown in figure. It is also possible to cut a triangular snow block by means of a search pole and avalanche rope (if necessary with knots) as shown in figure 46.which is only fastened to the snow by its upper part appears.quick method 109 . Figure 45 Digging out a gliding block Figure 46 Coned gliding block .
Sometime it may be useful to check the layers somewhat more carefully both to find out about the structure of the snow and to gather information valuable to personnel not present. see appendix 9. Moderate danger The area should be avoided. Skier crosses the block. If the block isrealeased fairly it indicates weak binding between the different layers. may crossed in an emergency. Skier moves on top of the block.Pressure which releases the gliding block Sawing by means of the avalanche rope. 110 . point 12451. Skier jumps once on top of the block. Second jump Jumps without skis The block is not released after several jumps Little danger The area can be crossed By using this method the danger of an avalanche and what measures are to be taken can be determined with relatively great certainty. Evaluation Very great danger Measure when released The area is not to be crossed. The test can be taken through the snow all the way down to the ground. but normally the top 1-2 m are most important to check.
356O = 44O 10% = 40O slope). The water in the bottle is the horizontal plane. The angle of slope is measured by putting the compass ruler towards a potential loose snow area parallel to the mountain side. Turn the compass house so that its meridians run parallel to the horizontal plane.Appendix 3 UD 6-81-9 Measuring the angle of inclination By means of a compass and a water bottle filled with water (or equivalent) the angle of slope can be measured with great accuracy. 111 . Figure 47 Measuring the angle of inclination by means of a ski stick. If the compass has 400O. The number of degrees from the north arrow equals the angle of slope. 10% has to be deducted from the given angle of slope 380O .320O= 40O slope (400O . Figure 48 Measuring the angle of slope by means of compass ans water bottle.
This 10m point can be decided by the distance between the contour lines of a map. The angle of this line is called B (see figure below). In the M 711 series map. The steepness is defined by means of a line of sight. a 10m inclination will be the equivalent of 2. 112 . connecting one point in the valley side where the angle of inclination is 10m with the top of the release area.2 mm intervals between the contour lines. scale 1 : 50 000 and contour intervals of 20 m. Figure 49 Estimating the range of an avalanche.Appendix 4 UD 6-81-9 Estimating the range of an avalanche The longest range of one single avalanche is decided by the general steepness of the mountain side.
The tests should be made at different levels above sealevel and all through the area which is covered by the warning. based on the warning and local snow and weather conditions.the weather forecast for the next few days must be taken into consideration. The warning should be based on: . The danger of avalanche is diveded into five: See page 112.check of snow profile (pit profile/gliding block) on slopes facing different directions. The officer in charge will consider and decide where to move. The warning refers to stages used in the avalanche map.Appendix 5 UD 6-81-9 Avalanche warning Avalanche warning is information for units on avalanche danger in certain areas. 113 . In order to take advantage of the warning an avalanche map is needed. The tests should be made regularly . Warning about danger of avalanche is issued such warnings on a regular basis all throug the winter.
Avalanche hazard in zone 1 and 2 on avalanche maps. Low probability of avalanche release. Avalanche hazard 2 MEDIUM AVALANCHE HAZARD Risk of avalanches being triggered by personnel or vehicles on steep slopes ( > 30 degrees) ie in zone 1 on avalanche maps. Avalanche hazard 4 VERY HIGH AVALANCHE HAZARD High probability of avalanche release. Avalanche hazard is greatest on slopes in the lee of the current wind direction or exposed to sunlight radiation or warm air.Avalanche warning Avalanche hazard 0 NO AVALANCHE HAZARD. 114 . Avalanche hazard 1 LOW AVALANCHE HAZARD Snow cover is mainly stable. Avalanche hazard 3 HIGH AVALANCHE HAZARD Naturally occuring avalanches may run into zone 2 on avalanche maps.
security (chest) 8465-25-134-2145 CLIMBING HARNESS. AVALANCHE. red. 16. lighting. security (sitting) 8465-25-132-3412 SKI. primarily for avalanches (4240-25-138-9369) The following equipment should be collected at the unit depot (bn equivalent) for use in rescue operations and should be carried on unit exercises: a) 1. 17. 6. 15. 12. 45 m long (static strech-rope) 8465-25-126-2155 SNOWSHOE. 5. AVALANCHE LINE 4240-25-128-0194 LINE. with flat battery holder 8465-25-134-2148 CARABINER with screw catch 8465-25-134-2149 CARABINER without screw catch 8465-25-114-3092 CLIMBING HARNESS. with case. battery. 22. electric 6150-25-109-3809 CABLE. Search/rescue equipment 4240-25-139-0515 CARRYING REEL. ca 70 cm long 5110-25-100-5275 AXE. 11. 8.Appendix 7 UD 6-81-9 Rescue kit. 13. 14. 9. 10. hand (snow shovel) 5120-25-100-4322 SPADE (building spade) 5825-25-134-6994 TRANSPONDER 5825-25-134-7926 DETECTOR 5830-25-102-0501 MEGAPHONE. halogen 6230-25STAND. bow. general 5110-25-100-4504 SAW. 7 mm x 20 m 4240-25-109-5146 PROBE. ski-light type. electric 5860-25-134-7925 REFLECTION PLATE 6115-25-132-9974 GENERATOR SET. 20. 21. 4. 2. mountain climbing (climbing rope) 9 mm. reel 6230-25FLOODLIGHT. electric. 23. AVALANCHE. 5 sections. with foot 6230-14-236-1980 LIGHT. 18. 24. for floodlight. M/85 aluminium with bindings Each 50 » 50 » 30 « 1 « 2 « 3 « 9 « 10 « 8 « 2 « 2 Pair 50 Each 2 « 8 « 4 » » « « « « Pair « Each 4 14 3 2 2 2 31 51 4 25. M/58 with toe clip and back binding 8465-25-117-2225 SKI POLES. Pair 20 115 . M/71. aluminium 8465-25-125-4786 ROPE. with carrying strap 5120-25-100-4979 SHOVEL. 3. 3 m total length 4240-25-103-7821 AXE. 19. 7. flat-woven.
7. meeting point Each 1 9905-25-138-9915 SIGN. indicating. 8. hand fired « 12 1370-12-120-1385 SIGNAL. large writing on yellow reflective base. 10. 8. 14. light (signal shell). 5. signal « 40 8465-25-829-7176 ROPE. 3. avalanche warning « 4 9905-25-138-9919 SIGN. complete with 10x heating elements Each « « « « « « « » 1 2 1 1 2 1 8 8 8 c) 1. patient WOOL BLANKET. indicating. medical soldier MEDICAL CASE no 1 SPLINT KIT. red « 9 4020-25-101-3501 ROPE. white « 12 1370-12-120-1384 SIGNAL. fibre. indicating. 4. rest area « 1 9905-25-138-9917 SIGN. single HEATER. 6530-25-734-1800 6530-25-734-1126 6530-25-101-4498 6530-25-133-6499 6530-25-736-2450 6530-25-736-1450 7210-25-134-2514 7210-25-786-0271 8465-25-128-3804 PULK. green Meter110 4240-25-138-9912 MARKER POLE. green « 12 1370-12-120-8977 SIGNAL. light (signal shell). reflective Each 70 (for marking places and finds) 6230-12-120-3659 LIGHT. 6. 11. 120 cm long. « 5 orange with fluorescent band front and back) 8455-25-138-9943 ARMBAND. yellow (mine tape) Roll 10 9905-25-138-9913 SIGN SET. complete MEDICAL EQUIPMENT. The writing on the sign should be readable from 75 m) Each 1 Consist of: 8115-25BOX. dia 8 mm HELP SLEDGE EQUIPMENT. LRCC « 1 9905-25-138-9916 SIGN. Medical equipment: 6530-25-734-1012 STRETCHER. indicating. complete LASHING ROPE. personal equipment. mobile and post BLANKET. 3. red reflective (for marking leaders with special duties) « 5 8465-25-829-4701 WHISTEL. 12. signal Each 3 1340-99-966-2984 ROCKET. plastic pipe. sign set Each 1 9905-25-138-9914 SIGN. 5. 13.b) 1. indicating. 12 m.counting post « 1 9905-25-138-9918 SIGN. waitiing area « 1 116 . light (signal shell). 9. patient. 15. rescue kit (sheet 30x45 cm. 9. SITE MARKING « 1 8415-25-116-4914 VEST. light parachute. casualty transport. 6. indicating. with carrying straps Each 2 2. high visibility (traffic vest. 10. a) b) c) d) e) f) g) Marking and warning equipment: 1095-25-102-7202 PISTOL. battery red/green filter « 12 8345-25-103-1226 AIRCRAFT LANDING. 10 mm. khaki « 40 9330-25-101-4053 PLASTIC TAPE. 4. 2. The sign should be easily attached to a stake or a tree. 7.
0.5 l « 8110-25-105-2813 BOTTLE. 18. 12. incandescent. white « 7240-25-786-1061 CAN. over local area BOX. 1. BA5598U. incandescent. not rechargeable. A+B-packs Each Diverse: 6605-25-100-0865 NATO-katno 8115-25- 21 18 8 40 24 4 6 7 4 60 2 2 8 8 9 4 1 4 4 1 20 20 COMPASS. indicating. not rechargeable. 3-5 l « 7330-25-116-0749 BUCKET. 9905-25-138-9920 9905-25-138-9921 9905-25-138-9922 SIGN. 9.5 V BA3030 for megaphone » 6135-00-935-2587 BATTERY. transport. 6. 14. BA3058. BA9. helicopter landing site « SIGN. 1 l. parafin. for patient heater « 6135-01-034-2239 BATTERY. insulated. fuel. 11.4 V. for flood light « 6260-25-101-5481 CANDLE. for search equipment passive transmitter « 6240-12-123-7448 LAMP. 15. 2. for red spirit » 8110-25-116-0850 CAN.11 l capacity « 7310-25-788-0185 STOVE. for various materials Each 10 Set Each 117 . food.5 V. 1. Logistics/maintenance/bivouac equipment 6135-00-120-1026 BATTERY. not rechargeable.5 V. 2. 17. not rechargeable. cylindrical. magnetic (touring compass) type SILVA 15 or equivalent MAP. storm matches Box u/nr RATION PACKS.5 V. 1 l « 7330-25-788-1733 POT. 14. for active transmitter « 6135-00-935-2587 BATTERY. (casserole). 13. plastic. 2. 6 in diam. ambulance place « POLE. not rechargeable. 20. incandescent.5 V. 3. 10. for head light Each 6135-00-120-1020 BATTERY. ski. cylindrical.5 V. directions sign « 1 1 11 7. with strainer « 7240-25-116-1329 FUNNEL. 20 l « 7240-25-114-8107 FUNNEL. 3. screw top. plastic. fuel. 1. 19. thermos. 22.5 V BA30 for torch » 6135-00-930-0030 BATTERY. 5 l for parafin Each 8465-25-829-5876 REPAIR KIT. 5. base E10 for torch » 6240-12-121-3301 LAMP. 12. flat 4. 3. 8. e) 1. short thick. screw top. not rechargeable. 1. plastic. base E10 for head light » 6240LAMP. 4. optimus 111 « 7330-25-788-1473 FLASK. 21. 16. indicating. BA3058. complete « 9920-25-100-0865 MATCHES.h) i) j) d) 1. cooking.
generally speaking. 1996/97. The officer in charge is responsible for deciding escape route(s) for the personnel dependant on where they are posted in the avalanche area.rescue and search operations . If the avalanche track has to be crossed it will be smart to cross as high up as possible one man at a time. In his choice he will have to consider the following options: a. Move sensibly with no sudden moves. cross slightly downwards through the dangerous area on foot/snow shoes/skis.Appendix 9 UD 6-81-9 How to move where there is avalanche hazard in special situations (Extract from UD 2-1. Precautions 12451. b.g. Points 12450 .) Special 12450. 122 .accidentally entered avalanche hazardous area It has to be pointed out that exercises are not reason good enough to pass or stay in an area with great avalanche hazard. 12452. A unit may be forced to cross or stay in an area where there is great avalanche hazard in certain situations like e. In rescue and search operations the officer in charge will have to evaluate the ground and choose a route that in his experience constitutes the least risk to his unit. This is dependant on time available. follow the line of fall straight down hill on foot/snow shoes/ skis. follow the line of fall straight upwards on foot/snow shoes/ skis.: .12458. personnel and the avalanche hazard. ch H. In search and rescue operations one or several persons are to be posted at once to sound the alarm if there is another avalanche. c.
avoids making sudden movements until the officer in charge has evaluated the situation. Particular attention must be paid to the following safty measures before the area is crossed: . Crossing dangerous ground on foot/snow shoes/skis 12454. points 80-81 in which they have been instructed. Note: This is very important in order to avoid increasing the pressure on the snow in certain places. they are supposed to act in accordance with UD 6-81-9.2 .the avalanche warner is to report possible avalanches at higher altitudes Crossing dangerous ground with bandwagon/skidoos 12455. after first having considered the conditions mentioned in point 12451.If personnel are caught and buried in an avalanche.avalanche guards are to be posted and at least one avalanche warner . To get out of the area in the safest way possible the officer in charge will have to consider the possibility of walking back in his own tracks or choose the options listed in point 12451. can be placed in the snow to help navigate .the avalanche guards are to be able to observe the person who at any given time is in the potential track of an avalanche . Everybody stops. The drivers are to put the coiled avalanche 123 . Before a unit can pass a dangerous area the officer in charge will take the necessary precautions dfescribed in UD 6-81-9 point 62. b. skis etc.Freeze!” The warning is passed from man to man. Stop the unit in the most recently crossed safe area.by taking a cross bearing be able to establish the point of being swept away and the point of disappearance.two . If it is possible to drive around the dangerous area the crossing should be done like this: a. All personnel exept the drivers unload and the officer in charge implements the measures mentioned in para 12454. Sticks. If a unit inadvertently has entered a hazardous area the person who is first aware of this shouts: “ Avalanche hazard . 12453.
They are to act in accordance with point 12454. The personnel are to cross the dangerous area first. d. If this does not work kill the engine immediately to avoid the danger of carbon monoxide.release skis and sticks . The guards are to check the bearing of both personnel and band wagons/ skidoos. If on skis and caught in an avalanche try to: . Generally speaking. At least two guards and one warner are posted. g. This applies particularly to band wagons. Fasten a towing rope to the hook on the trailer of the band wagon. If surprised by an avalanche while crossing dangerous ground. If on a skidoos or in a bandwagon give full speed ahead and try to traverse out of the avalanche. do the following: a. the tracked vehicles are to cross as high up as possible in the potential avalanche track preferable by driving diagonally out of the avalanche track.try to crouch and protect your face with your hands and 124 . The hatches of the bandwagon are to be closed. c.ropes in their laps or on the bonnet of the vehicle. b. This will make search and rescue easier if the vehicle is caught in an avalanche. Radio stations are turned on and distributed to the vehicles. Remain in the band wagon because this increases your chances of being found. 12457.swim to avoid being buried 12458. f. If on skis try to traverse out of the avalanche. then the tracked vehicles. the others unwind their ropes. The only exception to this is if a helper is needed to guide the band wagon. How to act if caught by an avalanche (personnel/vehicles/ skidoos) 12456. h. When choosing a route be particularly aware of the danger that the vehicle may overturn. If buried: . The crossing is done so that there is only one person at a time in the dangerous area. e.
shout when someone is heard above you. they may hear you.do not fight.arms to make breating space . this may result in lack of oxygen . 125 .
Appendix 10 UD 6-81-9 126 .
means. • Ramsli... G 1981 Snow and avalanches. 1983 Statens naturvärdsverk. rescue. the following material can be recommended: • Perla. . 127 . • Kempe. U Snow and avalanches.Appendix 11 UD 6-81-9 Literature For those who wants further literature about avalanche. Identification of avalanche hazard based on studies of different types of terrain. Universitetsforlaget. • Bakkehøi. R I and Martenelli Avalanche Handbook 1976 Agriculture Handbook 489 USDA. K 1978 NGI-report 58302-13. etc. Forest Service • Lied. S 1979 NGI-report 58302-16.vegetation and loose-materials.. A About avalanches. Extreme weather conditions causing avalanches. C and Olofson. • Göransson. Avalanches.
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