Avalanche terrain map on the watch
It would be useful to me to have avalanche terrain maps directly on the watch, in the same way we can already choose between High contrast, Outdoor and Dark map “themes”.
For the curious, here is what these maps look like in the app: https://www.suunto.com/en-nl/sports/News-Articles-container-page/how-to-use-avalanche-terrain-maps/
keep in mind that on risk level 3 and higher you need to zoom out quite far to see the slopes above you, too and then map details are reduced.
I will try POI for the next planning for key sections
@tuxella While I might like this and all of my skiing is backcountry, I am not sure how useful this would be. I plan my trips on either a tablet or computer and use my phone, which seems a little small sometimes when out skiing. I do not think on the watch screen it would be as helpful or useful as the screen is simply too small to see critical terrain features.
@freeheeler Our snowpack here in Colorado is very different than the Alps and due to a lot of factors, CAT here would not be very effective. I have taken three levels of Avalanche Courses here in the US and there is no map that could provide what you are describing. Our primary danger are slab avalanches that break at the ground and can be remotely triggered. These have killed Avalanche experts and a few years ago killed the majority of students in an avalanche safety class.
our biggest problems are slabs, too. since switzerland isn’t that big, I assume the analytics could be taken for a pattern?
no clue at all, I guess someone knows better than me
@freeheeler Yes for sure.
The way I imagine using these maps on the watch is more as a way of giving more context than just the track: I don’t plan each upside turn in advance, so seeing on the watch that one side of the face is steeper will help me remember why I chose the other side.
Don’t know if it would be possible, guess it might depend if this information is written into the maps but it would be great from a safety aspect if there was potential for a few different alarms to be added alongside the storm alarm?
For example I often run in areas that are prone to frequent rockfall or land/scree slips, sometimes I don’t realise or find that out until after the run. Would be very beneficial to be alerted to this before you head out into a potentially risky area. Just a thought
I agree with @Brad_Olwin , I don’t think these kind of maps fits to the watch. It’s to late to check the slope when you are on the tour, it is more important to plan the route before you start and then you’ll do it proper on a PC or a tablet. When out there I am using map data from the norwegian mapping authorities which are pretty precise. These data are even more precise than the slope data in SA. Data quality is critical concerning avalanche risk and you always should use the best data you can get.
check out this. I think you can’t visualize the details on the watch
we plan our tours with Werner Munter’s 3x3:
evaluate during planning
when arriving at the start
when approaching each slope
last winter we’ve frequently heard the warning sounds when stepping on an untouched surface, even it was only on risk level 2 officially. so we knew the forecast was too optimistic and we avoided the steep parts and channels.
when we came back to the hotel, someone told us they had to dig out 2 friends in a 40° slope. fortunately they survived unharmed!
@freeheeler I have been on two avalanche hazard courses, a basic and a advanced. Really fun with some snow nerding And I love reading about avalanches, there is something fascinating with it. Both the courses and reading helps med to do my own decisions supported by the avalanche forecast. Munter is a classic and really good! “Staying alive in avalanche terrain” is another classic. And there is a lot norwegian literature about that.
The thing is you can go your whole life on the “edge” but you don’t get a feedback before it´s too late. You think you did all right without knowing how close you have been to trigger an avalanche.
If it would be possible to implement a good map solution in Suunto there is another variable, the weather. When skiing other places it is essential to know the weather history and I am speaking with the locals in order to find out more. Last year I was skiing in Tromsø and just a week before 5 foreigners died in an avalanche. In Norway its mostly foreigners that die because they paid lots of money for the trip of their lifetime. And they want to ski… something that affect decision making. And here the cavalry isn’t around the corner and it takes som time to get help. The slope map is a nice feature, but I prefer other maps that are more detailed for the area I am skiing.
Have to admit that some in my group already triggered avalanches when in the back country but in a not complex terrain where the risk is easier to calculate. We are speaking about the risk, which risk we wann take and how we can reduce the danger. We are doing that before, during and after the tour. But there´s no 100% safety…
with the weather widget, I’ve asked for a report about total amount of rain/snow for the last 24h and few days. but I assume it could give a false feeling of safety.
as you say, it’s complex and many things need to be taken into account. wind direction, speed, temperature, snow base built etc.
and finally we must be honest to ourselves and need to be bold and strong to say no when it’s the right time.
some years ago I went on a skitour with my wife. the day before the level was at 4 and the final ascent to the summit is 45°.
I told her from the start it’s still level 3 and we are skipping the summit and go for an “alternative summit” in safe distance. interestingly, we meet 3 locals there. while we took off the skins and ate a sandwich, we saw groups passing by, heading directly into the summit ascent.
spoiler: nothing happened.
one local and I were observing the situation and he was shaking his head, too.
I was ready to grab the beacon, probe and shovel, anyway.
sometimes it needs one bold or carefree person and hordes will follow
@freeheeler it depends on what you are using the information for. It’s intersting to know the total amount of snow if you want to know if it will be a deep day or not But you don’t get the whole picture. We often take short cuts and thats something that is left from our time in the caves. So this kind of information could be such a shortcut that could lead to bad decisions.
In Norway we have som mountain rules and one of them is “It is not a shame to turn and go back”. So don’t be a sheep and follow the others without thinking
In May i was on a backcountry tour and just under the summit we did the lunch break. I don’t remember which level we had but it was more than reported. Right before the lunch break theres was an avalanche. To this point we went up all the way <30 degrees
Indeed, having the avalanche map available on the watch wouldn’t make it the only tool to use.
We already have to juggle with multiple apps (mobile or desktop) with different capabilities (online only or offline capable, 2D or 3D), for different uses (planing a trip, sharing plans, tracking) and map layers (by country, slope angle, recent avalanches, avalanche terrain, terrain hazard, dynamically taking latest avalanche report and risk reduction method into account…).