Avalanche avoidance made simple:
Measure the slope angle in three seconds.
Check immediately the risk of triggering an avalanche on this slope and today's avy danger level.
INSTANT CONTACT INCLINOMETRY:
Age-old ski-pole tricks were updated by adding
-A precision spirit level indicator vial on the horizontal pole,
....and slope angle grades on the vertical pole,
using basic trigonometric tangent tables.
The result: accurate and quick contact inclinometry instrument,
for measuring the slope right where you are.
PLUS VISUAL AVALANCHE RISK CHECK:
Two established avalanche decision frameworks utilize
only the slope angle and current avalanche danger grade to
determine the avalanche safety of the slope.
This info was painted on the pole over the degree markings,
for immediate risk check.
PLUS LINE-OF-SIGHT INCLINOMETRY:
I added a commercially available and patented PoleClinometer®
sticker; or line-of-sight inclinometry of an adjacent slope
(sideways, up- or downhill).
RESULT: UNIVERSAL AVY WISE CLINOPOLES
the fastest, and most reliable slope meter in the world.
In your hands all the way.
-Extremely lightweight (15 grams = 0,52 oz).
-Low-tech powered only by gravity; no worries of battery life or internet connection.
-Avy avoidance knowledge is built in the pole, you need not memorize lists,
calculations, algorithms etc. Only check the avalanche bulletin before heading out.
-Super easy to use, suitable for DIY and cheap.
Avalanche avoidance is the most important subject in avalanche education. It covers masses of information on mountains, snowpack, weather, equipment,travel tactics, human behavior etc. Many students feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of facts taught in avy courses. It really takes years to master the avalanche avoidance science. The beginner needs clear and simple means to avoid fatal danger.
The most constant and unequivocal determinant of avalanche triggering is the slope angle.
The simplest avalanche avoidance frameworks utilize only information of the slope angle and the day's avalanche danger grade from the avalanche bulletin. They have been shown to be 80 to 100% effective in avalanche accident prevention.
Avy wise clinopoles combine inclinometry and immediate visual risk check, making avalanche avoidance quick and simple even for the novice.
what's in it for me?
Ability to do slope safety evaluation in a couple of seconds results in frequent measurements.
Develops your slope angle estimation skills
Being able to do reliable risk assessment creates confidence and a mindset change from a passive follower of guide or buddies to an alert observer aware of the conditions.
Informs you about entering a slope where you may trigger an avalanche, how close to or how far into risk zone you have come: gives time to plan alternative route.
Backs up even the unpleasant decision to turn around.
Gives incentive to learn more of avalanche avoidance - to be able to tackle more challenging terrain.
Allows you to relax and enjoy the slopes you have determined safe, giving freedom to concentrate on other challenges of the sport.
...but is not:
AVY WISE CLINOPOLE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR FORMAL AVALANCHE TRAINING. Rather, it should be regarded as an invaluable companion after your first avalanche course.
The frameworks utilized do NOT protect you from avalanches triggered above you; spontaneously, by someone else or by remote triggering by yourself.
No avalanche decision framework can give you a 100% guarantee of avoiding self-triggered avalanches.
The freely hanging vertical pole is sensitive to hard wind.
If inclinometry is not done often enough, you may unknowingly wander onto a dangerously steep slope.
DIY instructions and scales/columns layouts are still developing. Feel free to design your own :-). I try to keep these pages updated.
AVALANCHE AVOIDANCE MADE SIMPLE:
Instant inclinometry and immediate visual risk check
Backcountry novices, young sidecountry riders and those without snow safety education are over-represented in avalanche mortality statistics. An emerging group in these statistics are adventurous snowshoers.
Taking a course does not make one an expert; the information on avalanche avoidance matures into relevant field behaviour only over some years of active practice.
The novice needs simple means to survive the first years in backcountry.
Those without avalanche education need an easy risk sensor.
The easiest avalanche avoidance frameworks: the Elementary Reduction Method (ERM) and the Afterski method require only that the user knows the danger grade given in avalanche bulletin, and does inclinometry. ERM recommends staying on slopes <40 degrees for moderate, <35 degrees for considerable, and <30 degrees for high avalanche danger. Afterski recommendations are 5 degrees lower. The methods have shown 80-100% preventive efficiency in various types of snowpack.
Inclinometry is easy but in real life often overlooked: Too cumbersome, too slow, no instrument carried along. Or maybe the meaning of the reading is obscure.
Age-old ski pole inclinometry was improved with bubble level vial and geometric tables to give a highly accurate slope angle in a couple of seconds, even with gloves on.
For line-of-sight inclinometry of an adjacent slope, there exists an equally fast tool: PoleClinometer® which can easily be applied on the same pair of poles, to make a ”universal clinopole” tool.
Immediate risk check
For the novice, the slope angle needs interpretation. This is achieved by painting three risk indicator columns, yellow, orange and red, representing moderate, considerable and high avalanche risks, next to the slope angle grades, to mark the highest recommended slope angles of ERM and Afterski.
With this tool even the total novice can estimate if the slope is reasonably safe to travel, and find an alternative route if necessary.
Cheap, low-tech, lightweight, durable, ready for use anytime, suitable for do-it-yourself (DIY) production. Bubble vial clinometer is an ”open source concept”: anybody may make, develop and even market it!
Easy and quick, so it is used often.
Alerts when approaching risk limits, visualizes how far into the risk area one has come, allows time for hazard mitigation tactics, helps in alternative route planning, supports difficult ”turn around, go home” -decisions.
Encourages to take responsibility of own safety and a mindset change: passive follower may grow into a responsible and alert traveler.
Will limit the user’s mobility – to keep one reasonably safe until more experience and skills are assimilated; thus highlights the benefits of further avalanche education.
Allows to relax and enjoy the safe slopes.
VERY LATEST PRESENTATION:
At The Nordic Skredkonferansen in Voss, Norway Oct 31-Nov 3, 2019
( You can download the Clinopole presentation slides: Sunday Nov. 3 at 11.40.)
Text for a poster presentation at International Snow Science Workshop In Innsbruck, Austria Oct 7-13, 2018