Gear > Avalanche Gear > AvaLung

Most victims who survive the initial slide suffocate in the period 15 to 45 minutes after being buried. There is considerable air in an avalanche, at least closer to the surface. However if the victim isn't lucky to find himself in an air pocket the water vapour in his breath freezes in the surrounding snow. This quickly builds up an impermeable layer around the victim trapping CO2 and asphyxiating the victim.

avalung II

AvaLung II

The AvaLung is an air filtration system. Oxygen enters from the front, the wearer breaths this through a tube and CO2 is expelled from the back. It serves to pre-long the time someone can be buried without suffocating. There is still the danger of hypothermia so quick rescue is still vital. There are a couple of drawbacks. The AvaLung is worn outside clothing and attention has to be paid to make sure the tube isn't compressed, say by rucksack straps. The skier also has to ride with the tube in front of their mouth.

avalung II

Avalung, not available in pink!

Telemark Tips has an interview with someone who has survived thanks to the avalung system.

BD have integrated the AvaLung into the shoulder strap and body of a range of 22, 32 and 42 litre rucksacks. The sacks have won the ISPO 06 European Ski Award.

AvaLung backpack
AvaLung Pack

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Categories: Snow Safety