Whether you are more freeride or freerando, the risk of avalanche remains the same. You must therefore be careful and have all the necessary mountain safety equipment. First of all, there are the three essentials: the avalanche transceiver or ARVA, the snow shovel and of course the snow probe. Only these three tools, perfectly mastered and correctly used, will allow you to intervene in case of an accident and to be rescued if necessary. And of course you should not hesitate to get trained to use your equipment and your snow probe.
The probe is an integral part of the avalanche safety equipment. It is essential to determine the exact location and depth of the victim and to act 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 the use of an avalanche transceiver for final location, it takes twice as long to free the victim: about 25 minutes. With the probe, the average rescue time is eleven minutes. Thus, rescue in the vital first 15 minutes is almost impossible without using a probe.
The material must be light, yet stable. The most robust ones are made of Aluminium T6 7075; a high quality material which guarantees an optimum weight and rigidity. For more lightness, carbon is used. It is rigid, extremely light and it freezes less quickly thanks to its low thermal conductivity. For users who value reliability and high precision over weight, steel probes will be used.
For an effective probe, the probe must have sufficient stability and rigidity so that it does not twist when used. This is the only way to achieve an accurate and efficient probe and not make mistakes. The larger the diameter of a probe for the same material, the more rigid it is, but also the heavier it is.
They are often made of steel or aramid. Because steel does not stretch, it is one of the most reliable tensioning systems. For aluminum/carbon probe segments, we will usually find aramid. Aramid fibers are lighter, yet offer high strength and excellent elongation resistance, making them ideal as a tensioning system.
This is an important consideration: common lengths are 240 cm, which covers the average burial depth of victims. But the probe must also be compact and easy to store, thanks to short individual segments.
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 the hard snow of an avalanche more easily.
The assembly system
To save even more time it must be fast. Using a probe with an intuitive and efficient assembly system is therefore crucial.
The principle and construction are generally the same whatever the brand. The parameters to take into account when choosing a snow 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 and give you the information you need to make the right choice.
The snow probe is in fact made up of several metal strands connected by a cable. Once the strands are laid end to end, they form a rigid pole that is locked together by the central cable. The length of a deployed probe varies between 2 meters and 2.7 meters. In most cases, during an avalanche, you will be buried less than a meter from the surface. But as 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!
Think about training once you have selected your equipment. It is important to know how to use your equipment before you go out in the field. ¨Think about the Safety Academy with Orthovox!
Alpinstore helps you to choose the best equipment on the market: Black Diamond, Mammut, Pieps, Orthovox, Camp or Arva