Conditions for snow survey crews

Questions and reports related to Sierra Nevada current and forecast conditions, as well as general precautions and safety information. Trail conditions, fire/smoke reports, mosquito reports, weather and snow conditions, stream crossing information, and more.
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oldranger
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Re: Conditions for snow survey crews

Post by oldranger » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:03 pm

Missed by 1 flight on 2 different occasions being in a helicopter crash. Flying in them is a gas but I'll never do it again voluntarily! Also Eric I was wondering what you carried in case a bivouac was necessary?


Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!






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ERIC
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Re: Conditions for snow survey crews

Post by ERIC » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:35 pm

Man, your luck sounds about as good as mine. I've had more than one other near miss myself; one in small aircraft (fixed wing several years ago) while attempting to cross the Sierra where IIRC I was told freakishly both fuel pumps failed, and also a pilot that I had almost 100hrs of airtime with passed in a tragic accident one year ago on the western slope of the Sierra in Tulare County (NTSB just ruled it pilot error).

For this trip, we each had a 55L pack base filled with survival gear but everyone was able to add in whatever more they felt was necessary. Base gear included (among other things):

- large first aid kit
- headlamp
- instant heat packs
- emergency blankets
- candles, matches and lighters
- tarps
- sleeping bag/pad
- snow shovel
- snow saw

I added compass and regional topo maps, lots of extra top and bottom layers, extra socks and down booties, balaclava, trekking poles, food for 2-3 days.

Shared gear included, among other things, a SPOT device and Sat Phone.

I've been working on helping these guys to improve their emergency packs. Always looking for suggestions.
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Jimr
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Re: Conditions for snow survey crews

Post by Jimr » Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:29 pm

Eric,
I truly appreciate that you are sharing more of who you are.
If you don't want to be eaten, don't look like food.

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Re: Conditions for snow survey crews

Post by Shawn » Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:33 pm

Wow Eric, glad to know the others are okay - but holy smokes must have been your lucky day to miss the crash landing.

Last time I was up in a heli-for-hire, we were off shore over the pacific a mile or two well past dusk when the pilot informed me that he didn't have the quals or nav gear to fly at night. Geez, he might have spoken up a bit earlier.

Great photos, hope you can post more.

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ERIC
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Re: Conditions for snow survey crews

Post by ERIC » Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:59 pm

Jimr wrote:Eric,
I truly appreciate that you are sharing more of who you are.
Thanks. Where I live and what I do for work have never been a mystery to those whom are truly interested and skillful in searching the backgrounds of people on the internet. ;)
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Jimr
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Re: Conditions for snow survey crews

Post by Jimr » Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:12 pm

You do a wonderful job Eric. I am very good at internet research when it comes to people, companies and my job. I have no desire to research those who I consider brethren. I have grades in water treatment technology from the state of California, but that was another life. I truly enjoy your sharing of the above. It intrigues me.
If you don't want to be eaten, don't look like food.

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Re: Conditions for snow survey crews

Post by Tom_H » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:56 am

Eric, does that chopper have special footpads to support its weight on soft snow-something like snowshoes? If so, do they deploy after takeoff from a standard helipad?

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ERIC
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Re: Conditions for snow survey crews

Post by ERIC » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:44 am

Update: http://abc30.com/news/helicopter-crew-s ... t/1723416/
Man, that's more than a thousand feet higher up than I had assumed. These guys do survey the highest elevation snow course in the Sierra though, so guess I shouldn't be all that surprised.


Yes, it has pads that look like snowshoes affixed to the rear of the landing runners. The rear stays afloat while the pilot intentionally sinks the front of the craft into the snow and bounces the front like a '64 Impala until the snow is firm enough to shut the engine down for debarking.
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Re: Conditions for snow survey crews

Post by maverick » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:31 am

Always looking for suggestions.
A good survival training course, particularly emphasizing winter situations. You can carry all the right gear, but if you do not now how to use it or if you loose all of it in a crash, you will be forced to improvise from whatever mother nature has available to survive.
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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ERIC
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Re: Conditions for snow survey crews

Post by ERIC » Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:18 am

Two of us had taken a course, two of us hadn't. Probably best that everyone has though.
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