Saturday, March 1, 2014

Saturday Outing

Today was spent at an event called "Be Prepared". It was mostly on avalanche safety and search and rescue. It was an un-official overview put on by several guys from church who have a lot of backcountry experience. They went over different types of avalanches, how they are triggered and the impact that weather has. As a final "test", we went out to the pipeline corridor where they had buried six avalanche beacons earlier. They divided everyone into small groups with a couple more beacons. We had to locate our two beacons, dig them out of the snow, use the material inside the buried plastic bag to make a small campfire and boil a cup of water. Our group took 12 minutes total. Most of the avalanche beacons were different brands and models but they all interoperated. Too bad everything didn't work that way.

You couldn't have asked for a better day than this for being outdoors. Crystal clear skies and warm sun. It was ~0°F in the morning but ~20°F by midday. We ended up tromping through waist deep snow to get to our beacon but I managed to stay completely dry and warm. I just wore the work boots that I use when riding though I did re-treat them with Nikwax leather treatment last night. The first time in almost two years. Combined that with snow bibs that I haven't used in years. Still haven't had to dig out the "winter boots" yet.

I did not ride out to the training location on the Elliot Highway as I was asked to drive the church van. But I did get at least some riding on a snow machine. Great training opportunity with some fun thrown in…

This, by the way, is the famous "Trans-Alaska Pipeline" in case you hadn't figure that out. That runs from Deadhorse on the North Slope to the port in Valdez.

17 comments:

SonjaM said...

Looks like a brilliant day for an outing, especially when its done on one of those snowcats (or whatever they are called).

RichardM said...

It was a beautiful day to be outside.

Most refer to them as sleds, snow machines, snow-gos, skidoos and some others call them snowmobiles.

Dar said...

There is nothing like a winter day with sunshine, the snow glistens like millions of diamonds. What was the average time of the groups in finding & digging out their beacons?

VStar Lady said...

A beautiful day for snowmachines to be out and about. We have almost too much snow here for sleds, they bog down if they slow down ... but that doesn't stop them. Two just roared up my driveway as a matter of fact, though today we are lacking the sunshine you had.

Trobairitz said...

Very good training to have especially this time of year.

Have they had many avalanches lately in Alaska? I've just been hearing about the BC ones.

Martha said...

I'd like to know what was in the plastic bag.

RichardM said...

Winter?! These are out Spring days! Once the snow melts it's "mud" season. This is much nicer than then. I think that March is the nicest month of the year. Lots of sun, clear skies, and no mosquitoes!

RichardM said...

I believe that this is the time recreational snow machine riders look forward to. Hence the timeliness of the training session.

RichardM said...

Lot of avalanches in the Spring and many are caused by people. Obviously, there are still naturally occurring ones but the ones where large sheets of snow come down are usually caused but snow machine riders high marking, Essentially riding as far up a steep slope as possible for bragging rights.

RichardM said...

Contents of the plastic bag:
Split spruce log, waxed dryer lint, "Fatstick", a match, small bundle of twigs, strip of a hand towel, small can with a wire bail.

The most fastest way was to criss-cross the split spruce, put the fire starters on the bottom, dip the end of the towel into someones snow machine gas tank, put that in the middle and top with the bundle of twigs. The fire was hot enough to start melting snow in the tin can in less than a minute.

redlegsrides said...

A great day indeed for some training, even if it was not motorcycle related.

RichardM said...

I suspect that there may be some that get together and practice snow riding but I haven't run into any around here. But it was a good introduction and I've never had an opportunity to play with the avalanche beacons before.

Martha said...

Waxed dryer lint. I must look up that item. I assume it's manufactured now and not something you make at home...

I'd say the gas makes the whole thing work very well and quickly! And Happy Spring to you in your favorite month!

Martha said...

I found lots of DIY waxed lint sites! Very good idea.

RichardM said...

The waxed dryer lint was a popular DIY project for Boy Scouts around here. They used to make them in egg cartons.

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

Richard, if the snow doesn't stop pretty soon around here, we'll need avalanche training. Our farmer showed up today with a skid loader and widened our almost tunnel of a driveway. As Peg said, "you could land a 747 here now". Maybe not, but that's how much more open it feels. As a result though, we may just be in danger of snow slides.

RichardM said...

Getting ready for breakup. DOT starts to push the snow way off the road after what they perceive is the last real snowfall to try and limit water (and ice) on the roads. Even our subdivision road gets the same treatment! :-)