Friday Video: How Not to Perform an Avalanche Rescue

Every year, avalanche workshops around the country show videos to backcountry skiers of avalanches caught on tape. It’s great for education and as a scare-you-straight tactic while witnessing the immense power of snow sliding down a mountain. Usually the footage is captured on a GoPro that the victim is wearing. It’s not often that the footage comes courtesy of the rescuer. Unfortunately in this video from the Tahoe area, the rescue was about as inept as can be, and is a good lesson on how not to perform an avalanche rescue.

Luckily the victim didn’t die. The issues are obvious – only 2 beacons, shovels and probes in a group of 5, missing avalanche shovel handle that slowed down the dig, and the rescuer for some insane reason taking his gloves off etc… For anyone who frequently tours and has taken at least a level 1 avalanche course, this video is downright painful to watch. I’d imagine it will be used by avy educators for years to come.

Stay safe out there.

5 comments for “Friday Video: How Not to Perform an Avalanche Rescue

  1. jared s
    January 4, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    unfortunately people have not been going easy on this guy; it’s painful to watch and probably embarrassing for him but he could have hit DELETE but instead chose to post it…skewering him just ensures that the next guy who makes a mistake and records it won’t post.

  2. Pierre
    January 5, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Yes, wil be using this in my classes. Originally thought this was a joke or training video. Not funny. Staying calm is one thing, but taking your sweet ass time while someone is suffocating is not acceptable. Get educated! Arrogance and over confidence doesn’t save lives or protect your own.

  3. January 5, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    That’s very true that the rescuer deserves credit for posting the video. I’m sure he is embarrassed, and learned a valuable lesson from this experience. Doubtless he’ll be more prepared when taking people into the backcountry in the future.

  4. edward
    January 22, 2013 at 7:57 pm


    However horrible this is, haven’t ever done one, I can only hope I would be better. at least get the airway clear ASAP

    Then again, as un-prepared and arrogant as he was, he did save his friends life.

Leave a Reply