Monday, December 5, 2016

Emergency Rescue Sleds

In the backcountry there is no ski patrol. This means that there is nobody managing avalanches and this means that there is nobody to immediately rescue you if you get injured. That means that you have to manage these things yourself. The best way to do this is to take an avalanche course and to carry a rescue sled.

A rescue sled is a lightweight system that may be employed by a backcountry skier to haul out an injured partner.

Brooks Range Ultralight Rescue Sled

There is an argument out there that people aren't going to carry the extra weight of a commercial rescue sled. As I ski with ski guides a lot, I feel like this is absolutely not the case. There is nearly always someone in my ski parties with such a sled.

There are some very light systems that can be used to build rescue sleds. Some brands of shovels may be used to convert a patient's ski system into a rescue sled as well. Check out the following video from K2 on one such system.



As with all the other rescue systems that we cover in this blog, it is important to note that practice makes perfect. Every backcountry skier should practice with their avalanche beacon every year. It's not a bad idea to practice with your rescue sled system at the same time.

--Jason D. Martin

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