All group members will be provided with avalanche transceivers made by Backcountry Access. All group members will be expected to ski with a shovel and a probe in their rucksack. Shovel and probe will be provided if people do not have their own. Each group member will be given training in the use of this safety equipment. Not only in how to operate the equipment but what to do if a group member is caught in an avalanche. While skiing on glaciated terrain each group member will be required to wear a harness in case they slip into a crevasse. They can also expect to take their turn carrying a compact Dyneema safety rope.

You can use an airbag pack, but they are not mandatory and you should understand their many and significant limitations.

Useful Apps

You should seriously consider downloading the EchoSOS app to your phone (iPhone | Android). When activated, EchoSOS automatically sends your location to rescue services.

You might also consider the French (iPhiGĂ©nie) and Swiss (Swiss Map Mobile) navigation maps. Weather apps are also useful: Yr is excellent. White Risk is great for avalanche condition information in the Swiss Alps.

Another Good Reason Not to Go to the Mountains without Mark…

Even with these great apps, mobile phone signal is not guaranteed all over the Alps. Therefore, it is essential that your guide is equipped with another means of communication.

Mark Seaton is a member of La Chamoniarde Rescue Service. As a registered member of the French Mountain Guides associations, Mark has the legal right to carry a radio allowing direct access to the Peloton Gendarmerie de Haute Montagne (PGHM) rescue helicopter anywhere in the French mountains, plus throughout Switzerland and northern Italy.

Unlike a phone call, these radio calls are direct. There needs to be no time-consuming verification: the dispatcher knows from the radio code who the guide is, and that the call is genuine.

This service is extremely impressive. Providing the weather is suitable to fly, the helicopter response time is a matter of mere minutes.