A long, thin, collapsible rod used by a rescuer to pinpoint the location of a burial subject beneath the snow surface.

Credit: Backcountry Access


Probes are critically important because they allow rescuers to pinpoint exactly where they need to dig, thereby expediting recovery. Avalanche probes are normally made of sections of rugged, lightweight material, such as aluminum or carbon fiber, and threaded by a cable that is used to quickly guide and lock the sections together when the probe is deployed. Avalanche probes are also used to make point observations of the snowpack’s depth or layers, and can be used with a cord to isolate snowpack test columns. The deployment cable can get clogged by snow or ice between uses; be sure to dry your probe out between tours, and practice deploying it regularly.

Practice deploying your probe regularly. Credit: Backcountry Access

Probes are used to quickly pinpoint the exact location and depth of a buried victim. Credit: Ortovox