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Ski Probe Length


Original Post
Adam S · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 140

This may be a stupid question, but can anyone recommend an appropriate length probe for typical Sierra snow conditions? The black diamond ones come in lengths from 220cm to 320cm. Thanks!

Seth Jones · · New Lenox, IL · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 25

Unless you need to be able to measure deep snow for snow study, you don't need it to be that long but I would probably want more than 220cm. I use a 260cm for rescue because if someone is buried deeper than I can strike with over 7' of probe, it's almost guaranteed they are already a goner. 320cm is awkwardly long and heavier without much additional utility.

Beean · · Canmore, AB · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 0

Long probes are nicer because you can probe full depth without bending over each time. This will speed up your probing considerably, both in fine searches and probe lines.

If carrying an extra 60grams or so means you can probe that much faster then there's no reason not to have a long probe.

Adam S · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 140

Thank you everyone for their help. So a mid-range pole in the 280cm range should work? Ill probably just get a normal aluminum probe instead of a more expensive and lighter carbon fiber one as this will be my first probe.

Seth Jones · · New Lenox, IL · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 25
Beean wrote:Long probes are nicer because you can probe full depth without bending over each time.
Like Dave said, that entirely depends on the depth of the snowpack. Even if you think your probe needs to hit the ground, which it really doesn't in most cases, there are places that commonly have 150"+ snowpacks. Even your 320cm isn't gonna get you to the bottom no matter how far you bend over. IMO, 320 is only sometimes useful for body recovery and snow study.

To your point about not wanting to bend over, I agree and would avoid 220 even in a shallower snowpack for that exact reason. I don't want to bend over just to get down 5-6' into the snowpack because I still have a slight hope that I can dig someone out alive from that depth and even a shallow snowpack can turn into deep avi debris in a terrain trap.
Seth Jones · · New Lenox, IL · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 25
Adam S wrote:Thank you everyone for their help. So a mid-range pole in the 280cm range should work? Ill probably just get a normal aluminum probe instead of a more expensive and lighter carbon fiber one as this will be my first probe.
IMO, 280cm will be fine for regular use regardless of where you ride. I prefer aluminum probes because they are more durable than carbon.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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