Himalayan Journal vol.34
The Himalayan Journal
Vol.34

Publication year:
1976

Editor:
Soli S. Mehta
Index
  1. EVEREST SOUTH-WEST FACE CLIMBED
    (Doug Scott)
  2. THE FRENCH EXPEDITION TO PUMORI (7,145 m.), 1975
    (Gerard Sighele)
  3. TREKKING IN NEPAL HIMALAYA - LANGTANG VALLEY
    (Rajendra Desai)
  4. DHAULAGIRI II -EAST RIDGE, 1975
    (Yoshio Kameyama)
  5. FIRST ASCENT AND TRAGEDY ON DHAULAGIRI IV, 1975
    (SHIRO NISHAMAE)
  6. TALUNG, 1975
    (A. J. S. GREWAL)
  7. ACCOUNT OF THE EXPLORATION OF TONGSHIONG GLACIER AND THE ZEMU GAP (19,230 ft.)
    (By J. K. BAJAJ)
  8. ACCOUNT OF AN ATTEMPT ON GUICHA PEAK (20,100 ft.)
    (P. C. S. RAUTELA)
  9. PHOKSUMDO LAKE
    (SUMANT SHAH)
  10. NORTH NANDADEVI BASIN AFTER FORTY YEAR
    (KIYOSHI SHIMIZU)
  11. THE ASCENT OF NANDADEVI AND NANDADEVI EAST, 1975
    (BALWANT S. SANDHU)
  12. KALANKA, 1974
    (MIKE TOWNEND)
  13. ASCENTS OF BANDARPUNCH (6,316 M.), 1975
    (L. P. SHARMA)
  14. THE I.M.A. EXPEDITION TO GANG CHUA AND LEO PARGIAL, 1974
    (JAGJIT SINGH)
  15. ACROSS KUGTI AND CHOBIA PASSES
    (K. C. PRASHAR)
  16. ON SKIS ACROSS ROHTHANG
    (RUPENDRA KUMAR SHARMA)
  17. KISHTWAR 1975
    (ROB COLLISTER)
  18. POLISH ASCENTS OF GASHERBRUM II AND III, 1975
    (JANUSZ ONYSZKIEWICZ)
  19. MY ESCAPE FROM GASHERBRUM II
    (LOUIS AUDOUBERT)
  20. VICTORY AND TRAGEDY ON BROAD PEAK, 1975
    (J. FERENSKI and K. GLAZEK)
  21. MOUNTAINS OF THE THUI GOL
    (DAVE BROADHEAD)
  22. SHAKLHAUR, 1975
    (DR. MARIAN BALA)
  23. AVALANCHE SEARCH TODAY
    (WALTER F. LORCH)
  24. EXPERIENCE WITH RESCUE TRANSCEIVERS
    (PETER S. LAWTON)
  25. THE GAURISHANKAR QUESTION
    (OVE SKJERVEN)
  26. BIRDS OF SWAT AND GILGIT
    (R. J. ISHERWOOD)
  27. HEAD INJURIES
    (BRAD FRANCIS)
  28. THE COLDER YOU ARE, THE WARMER YOU'LL BE
    (ELLIS LADER)
  29. THE SECOND SWEDISH EXPEDITION TO THE HIMALAYA, 1975
    (DR. S. UNGERHOLM)
  30. EXPEDITIONS TXIMIST TO EVEREST 1974
    (J. X. LORENTE ZUGUZA)
  31. LHOTSE, 1975
    (RICCARDO CASSIN)
  32. ANNAPURNA SOUTH PEAK-SOUTH-WEST RIDGE, 1974
    (TSUNEO SUZUKI)
  33. CHUREN HIMAL, 1974
    (HIROAKI YAMADA)
  34. TRISUL, 1975
    (MICHAEL CLARKE)
  35. DUNAGIRI, 1975
    (JOE TASKER)
  36. THE SILVER GOD MOUNTAIN (MULKILA) 1975
    (WARWICK DEACOCK)
  37. THE SPANISH EXPEDITION TO MANALI, 1975
    (JAIME MATAS)
  38. BRITISH EXPEDITION TO THE NOSHAQ REGION, 1974
    (ERIC ROBERTS)
  39. THE SPANISH HIMALAYAN EXPEDITION TO SARAGHRAR, 1975
    (RAMON BRAMONA RAMS)
  40. PURWAKSHAN VALLEY HINDU KUSI1. 1975
    (M. POPKO)
  41. THE 1975 NORTH OF ENGLAND HIMALAYA EXPEDITION
    (PAUL BEAN)
  42. OBITUARY
  43. BOOK REVIEWS
  44. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
  45. CLUB PROCEEDINGS 1975

AVALANCHE SEARCH TODAY

WALTER F. LORCH

(This and the next article are extracted from the 'Summit' magazine with the kind permission of its editor.)
LET me not waste time. This report has one purpose only-- to other. To save life. So before you read on, look at the graph. This is the essence and here I will dwell and let you ponder. If you could find and dig out instantly a man buried in an avalanche, his chance of survival would be 80%, the remain¬ing 20% are already dead due to blast or impact. Should you trace and free a man within 30 minutes, 60% will survive. After 2 1/2 hours the chances have dwindled to 15%. Eighty-five people out of a hundred will have lost their lives after 2 1/2 hours under the snow. Expressed differently-a victim's chance of survival is halved with every passing hour. Now look at the Survival Graph once more and continue to read, your mind charged with truth : SPEED ALONE WILL SAVE LIVES.

Classic Search Methods
These are divided into search techniques applicable to victims who carry aids to speed their location and those without. The only conventional aid is an avalanche cord (Lawinenchnur). Prior to entry into a danger zone, a 25 m. nylon cord is fixed to the body and trailed.

Rescue by Party Members : Self Help
The most likely action to rescue a man in time is immediate search by the remaining members of the party. Immediately after the avalanche has settled the search can begin. The members were present during the fall and some will have seen the point where their friend disappeared. Should they be able to free him within half an hour, his survival chance is 60%; after one hour his chance is only 40%.

Organised Rescue
Here the time factor is even more significant. The accident must be reported at once with precision. On the assumption that the Rescue Team is ready and sets off without delay, they may arrive at the scene within one to two hours. Let us assume the victim used an avalanche cord. To trace and free him will take at least 30 minutes. Add to this two hours for arrival of the Team and his chance of being alive is 15%,. If he carried no search aid and an avalanche dog worked with the Rescue Team, 30 minutes may be sufficient; survival chance is again 15%. It is clear that the time needed to bring a Rescue Team to the scene reduces survival chance to a small percentage.


Modern Avalanche Search Systems
Radio Transmitter-Receiver Systems Designed for Parties of Mountaineers : Self Help
Radio transmitter-receiver systems are designed specifically for Self Help. Every member of a mountaineering party carries a transceiver (with one exception all practical systems embody transmitter and receiver in one unit). Every member of the party carries a set. Before departure the sets are tested and then switched to transmit. Should any member be buried in an avalanche, the remaining ones immediately switch their sets to receive. When the avalanche has come to a halt the search can start at once.

Conclusions
The survival chance of avalanche victims is increased signi¬ficantly if every member of a party carried a transceiver system designed specifically for self help (referred to as a Bleep hereafter).

Current choice of a suitable system coupled with thorough training prior to departure can achieve a survival chance of above 70% compared with an average of 30%.

Every party member must carry a Bleep.

Case histories of avalanche accidents show that the burial of an entire party is so rare as to be statistically insignificant. They show further that professional guides and experienced leaders have the same chance of being buried as other members. This underlines the importance of conclusion 3 : every member must carry a Bleep.

Based on the above field tests, the subjective evaluation of the four radio transmitter-receiver systems now available are as follows : The Autophon received 75% more points in desirable characteristics than the Skilok, 50% more than the Pieps and 25% more than the Skadi system. It was particularly better in simpli¬city of operation, range and usability in adverse conditions.

Thoughts
I am convinced that the judicious use of a Bleep will reduce avalanche deaths dramatically. Within a few years, no mount¬aineering party will set out without Bleeps in the same way as sailors wear life jackets, motorcyclists or riders don helmets and flyers use seat belts. Every leader will insist on Bleeps for ail participants.

A considerable number of manufacturers will compete for this growth market; price and quality will vary widely. Performance will range from death trap to utmost suitability for purpose.

Manufacturer of the Autophon is Autophon, A. G. Ziegelmatt- strasse 1-15, CH-4500 Soleure, West Germany. The Skadi is manufactured by Lawtronics, 328 Walton Drive, Buffalo, New York 14226.