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Splitboard.com Forums • View topic - Snow Science Tool Kits


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 Post subject: Snow Science Tool Kits
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:44 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:45 am
Posts: 800
Location: Bozeman, MT
On trips where I plan to be getting outside the normal backcountry "trade routes" I bring a set of snow science tools with me so that I can provide our local avalanche forecasters with snow pit information that is outside the normal zones they typically receive info from.

inclinometer
crystal card
notepad
pen
thermometer
2 meter fiberglas folding ruler
10x loupe magnifier
compass
150cm snow cutting cord

Image

I put these items together through various sources for quite a bit cheaper than you can buy a pre-built kit from companies like BCA, Life-Link, or Brooks-Range. These are nice kits but I feel they are overbuilt and don't contain exactly the items I want.

I'd like to sew a pouch to store these items so that I can easily access them in a snow pit to record information. You'll note in the photo above the other two items I keep handy at all times while on a tour are visible as well - lip balm and sunscreen. I'm considering adding those to the pouch as well. This pouch will live in the lid of my pack along with my map, waterproof gloves, and food.

What are your thoughts or suggestions for doing this, or other, snow science related commentary?

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 Post subject: Re: Snow Science Tool Kits
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:41 am
Posts: 266
Location: Altadena SoCal
Nice.
You could save weight by bringing a compass with a clinometer and using the centimeter markings on your probe.


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 Post subject: Re: Snow Science Tool Kits
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:53 pm 
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Location: Bozeman, MT
HansGLudwig wrote:
Nice.
You could save weight by bringing a compass with a clinometer and using the centimeter markings on your probe.


That's on my list of things to change. Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Snow Science Tool Kits
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:21 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 8:56 pm
Posts: 467
Location: Meyers, CA
Solid kit. Here are some random thoughts.

Compass/probe suggestion is good. A folding ruler can be nice if the snow is so deep you aren't going to the ground, but otherwise a probe with markings works well. You can also find shorter/smaller/lighter folding rulers, if you are only interested in the top 1m. Some saws have 0-30cm markings and crystal cards printed on them, so if you are carrying a saw you can consider leaving your card/ruler. It just depends on what you prefer.

Digi thermometers can be fragile and too many are un-calibrateable, but if it works for you that's all that matters.

GPS is nice for having a precise location for your obs.

Mechanical pencils are pretty standard for recording, but if the pen works for you who cares.

Photos/video are great for big picture slide activity, wind transport/slab formation, settlement cones, and tiny facet stuff.

Depending on how SWAG you are trying to be in your observations, it might be nice to have a cheat sheet of data codes/symbols/geekery. Some notebooks have those printed in them or you can find them online and just insert them in your notebook.


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 Post subject: Re: Snow Science Tool Kits
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:05 am 
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Location: Bozeman, MT
The commentary is much appreciated, Dave.

dishwasher-dave wrote:
Some saws have 0-30cm markings and crystal cards printed on them, so if you are carrying a saw you can consider leaving your card/ruler. It just depends on what you prefer.


I've considered lasering this info onto my snow blade but it's silver in color and so far I prefer looking at the crystals on a dark background. Your suggestion would however save weight.

dishwasher-dave wrote:
Digi thermometers can be fragile and too many are un-calibrateable, but if it works for you that's all that matters.


I bought this a few years ago when I was just getting into this and at the time it seemed to me the digital would provide a quicker measurement. Perhaps I'll find an analog and take them both to see whether the digital is a bad idea.

dishwasher-dave wrote:
GPS is nice for having a precise location for your obs.


I always carry my phone in "airplane mode" and track my route with the built in GPS. I create waypoints at snow pits so I have an exact location.

dishwasher-dave wrote:
Mechanical pencils are pretty standard for recording, but if the pen works for you who cares.


I have a nifty little waterproof pen that works well with Rite in the Rain paper. It's a stubby little guy too so it's nice and compact.

dishwasher-dave wrote:
Photos/video are great for big picture slide activity, wind transport/slab formation, settlement cones, and tiny facet stuff.


Hadn't considered my camera to be part of my snow science kit before but I guess you're right.

dishwasher-dave wrote:
Depending on how SWAG you are trying to be in your observations, it might be nice to have a cheat sheet of data codes/symbols/geekery. Some notebooks have those printed in them or you can find them online and just insert them in your notebook.
[/quote]

I've actually been working on putting together my own document with this info that I planned to print onto a sheet small enough to fit inside my notepad. If I ever get around to finishing it I'll share it here.

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