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George Early

Avalanche!

Analysing a snow slope quickly and easily can help to identify and reduce exposure to avalanche risk.

In current years it has become more common for outdoor enthusiasts to venture into the back country during the winter months. Whether this be to hunt, climb, or ski, avalanches are a primary danger across all disciplines and can be fatal. 

Because of the relationship between terrain characteristics and avalanche zones, there are several tools used to minimise exposure to avalanche risk both above and below the snow pack. These range from primary devices such as compasses to crystal cards and snow tools used to analyse the snow pack below the surface. These current tools however are all separate from one another and it becomes difficult to manage several tools while quickly analysing a slope. 

George Early, one of our Bachelor of Engineering Technologies students, developed a device that integrates three of the most commonly used tools for analysis of slopes above the snow - a compass, altimeter and inclinometer. The device needed to be user-friendly and to cope with cold temperatures and impacts. George used CAD modelling, 3D printing, CNC cutting and testing to create a prototype. It is ergonomically designed and the silicone case provides shock proofing as well. George is now looking to take his design to market.

March 2021

Image credit: George Early, used with permission