Probes - Snow safety

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Whether you are more freeride or more freerando, the avalanche risk remains the same. You must therefore be careful and have all the necessary mountain safety equipment at your disposal. And first of all there are the three essentials: the avalanche victim detector or ARVA, the snow shovel and of course the snow probe. Only these three tools, perfectly mastered and correctly used, will enable you to intervene in the event of an accident and to be rescued if necessary. And of course you should not hesitate to train yourself to know how to use your equipment and snow probe.


The avalanche transducer is an integral part of avalanche safety equipment. It is indispensable for determining the exact location and depth of burial of the victim and thus for taking action as quickly as possible. Because in the event of an avalanche, it is the speed of reaction that can save lives.

Studies have shown that without using an avalanche probe for final location, it takes twice as long to free the victim: about 25 minutes. With the probe, the average rescue time is 11 minutes. Thus, rescue in the first 15 vital minutes is almost impossible without using a probe.

Things to know before buying a catheter

  • The materials

The material must be light, yet provide the necessary stability. The strongest ones are made of Aluminium T6 7075; a top-of-the-range material that guarantees optimum weight and rigidity. For lighter weight, carbon is used. It is rigid, extremely light and freezes less quickly due to its low thermal conductivity. For users who place more importance on reliability and high precision than weight, steel probes are available.

  • Rigidity

For an efficient probe, the probe must have sufficient stability and rigidity so that it does not bend when used. This is the only way to make an accurate and efficient sounding so that no errors are made. The larger the diameter of a probe is for the same material, the stiffer it is, but also heavier.

  • The tensioning system

They are often made of steel or aramid. Because steel does not stretch, it is one of the most reliable tensioning systems. For aluminium/carbon probe segments, we will usually find aramid. Aramid fibers are lighter, yet offer high strength and excellent resistance to elongation, making them ideal as a tensioning system.

  • The length

This is an important element: the common lengths are 240 cm, which covers the average burial depth of the victims. But the probe must also remain compact and easy to store, thanks to short individual segments.

  • The tip of the probe

A large probe tip, with a larger diameter than the rest of the probe, allows for better penetration. This reduces friction during probing. In addition, the pointed probe tip penetrates hard avalanche snow more easily.

The assembly system

To save even more time he has to be fast. Using a probe with an intuitive and efficient assembly system is therefore crucial.

Which snow probe to choose?

The principle and construction are generally the same regardless of the brand chosen. The parameters to be taken into account when choosing asnow probe are its length, its manufacturing materials, its diameter, its assembly and closing system. It must be both light and robust.

Experts will answer your doubts precisely and give you the necessary information so that you don't make any mistakes.

The snow sensor is actually made up of several metal strands connected by a cable. When placed end to end, the strands form a rigid pole that is locked in place with the central cable. The length of a deployed probe varies between 2 metres and 2.7 metres. In the majority of cases, during an avalanche one finds oneself buried less than one meter from the surface. But since who can do more can do less, why limit yourself to buying a small probe and save a few grams when you can carry a longer probe that could make the difference in some cases.

Discover our selection of probes !

Any last words of advice?

Think about training once you have selected your material. It is important to know how to use your equipment before you go into the field. ¨Pensez at the Safety Academy with Orthovox!

Alpinstore will help you make your choice with the best on the market: Black Diamond, Mammut, Pieps, Orthovox, Camp and Arva.

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