rlshattuck wrote:anything I can learn from what they did right or wrong?
I can't think of much I would have done differently from a mid-rescue standpoint. They were lucky they had that much manpower immediately available. Imagine if it was just you alone trying to dig out your partner.
A couple general lessons I can see from the video:
1) I don't think I saw more than 1 or 2 shovels in use. WTF? There were at least 5-6 people standing around. Every single person
skiing the backcountry needs to have an easily accessible
shovel (and beacon + probe). They were dicking around for way too long trying to find/assemble/use shovels. Seconds count in a burial, seriously. All my backcountry packs have an external shovel pocket - you just undo 2 buckles, pull out the shovel, and extend the handle. That's it.
2) Unless you're in the (unlikely) scenario where you have multiple burly guys to pull a burial victim out, you're gonna have to dig. They got started pretty quickly, but the guy was digging kinda slow. With that kind of manpower, the guy with the shovel should have been digging so fast that he got tired in 6-90 seconds and passed the shovel on to someone else while he caught his breath. But props to them for assigning someone to clear away all the freshly dug snow - that makes everyone's life easier.
3) You notice that the camera man was annoyed by wearing his pack, but didn't take it off until the rescue was well under way... counter-intuitively, that's actually a good habit to be in (even though it applies more to avalanche rescues). If you see someone get buried, your first instinct is to take your pack off so you can search faster... but think about it, if you drop your pack, by the time you finally are standing over the victim, your shovel/probe/warm clothing/first aid equipment are all still tucked away in your backpack far off and you have to run back, get the pack, return to the burial site, etc. Keep your pack with you!
4) In the video the victim was buried pretty deep - almost out of reach. I'm not positive, but it looked like he might have even been sinking deeper. They probably weren't carrying crevasse gear, but with all the trees around, it would have been VERY simple to tie a hitch his ankle and then build a 3:1 off two nearby trees to haul him out, or at least prevent him from sinking. In this case, it was certainly quicker to dig him out based on his specific burial conditions, available manpower, etc, but it's worth thinking about as something to have in your bag of tricks.
5) This video makes a good argument for wearing one of these newfangled ultralight ski-mountaineering harnesses all the time when BC skiing. They weigh maybe 10oz/300g? Anyone with half a brain wears one on glaciated terrain, so why not wear one in the trees? It would certainly make getting pulled out a lot easier. It gives your potential rescuers a full strength haul point instead of trying to grab wet clothing, slick ski boots, etc.
That's all I can think of off the top of my head - would love to hear more thoughts or responses.