The Out and Back Podcast presented by Gaia GPS dives deep into conversation with long-distance hikers, record-breaking athletes, international overland travelers, and other inspiring adventurers who have mastered their backcountry craft. In every show, hosts Shanty, Mary, and Abby tap into each backcountry expert’s superpower so you can take their experience and knowledge with you on your next adventure.
46. How to Read the Avalanche Forecast with Snow Science Expert Simon Trautman
Checking the avalanche forecast before you head out into the winter backcountry should be at the top of your safety checklist. It predicts the avalanche risk for your zones and gives you a heads up on worrisome problems within the snowpack. But how much stock can you really put into an avalanche forecast? USFS avalanche expert Simon Trautman says the avy forecast is your building block for planning your day. However, once your feet are on the snow, the forecast should always take a back seat to your observations in the field. Tune in as Trautman teaches us how to get the most out of the avalanche forecast in your area.
45. Avoiding Summit Fever with Ski Mountaineers Luke Smithwick and Iain Kuo
In the fall of 2021, ski mountaineers Luke Smithwick and Iain Kuo attempted an unsupported, first ski descent of the world's seventh tallest peak - Mount Dhualagiri in Nepal. They spent weeks advancing to the mountain's 26,705-foot summit, but high winds and increasing avalanche danger held them back from the top. Smithwick and Kuo were forced to retreat, leaving the ski record on the table for another day. The decision to turn around didn't come easy, but sticking with an objective mindset helped them through the decision-making process. They walk us through how they safely navigate all those dangerous human factors that can lead skiers and mountaineers to make poor decisions in big mountains like the Himalaya and in the more accessible ranges close to home.
44. Lessons from a Deadly Avalanche Accident with Forecaster Nikki Champion
With avalanche danger rated high in the Wasatch Mountains, two separate backcountry ski parties went searching for safer, lower-angle terrain. They headed for Wilson Glade, a relatively mild slope that beckons skiers when conditions seem too dangerous to head into the steeps. The two groups checked the avalanche and weather forecasts, made a conservative travel plan, and carried all the right gear and backcountry experience for a successful trip. But, all precautions aside, they were swept away in a colossal avalanche. Four of eight people died. Avalanche Forecaster Nikki Champion, of the Utah Avalanche Center, walks us through what we can learn from this tragic accident as we head into a new ski season - one that could be shaping up to be just as dangerous as the last.
43. The Most Deadly Avalanche Season with CAIC Director Ethan Greene
Last year, a record number of people died in avalanches across the United States. Ethan Greene, PhD, Director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC), looks back at the contributing factors. He says a perfect storm of weak snowpack conditions and stressed decision-making led to last year's high accident rate. Dive into the surprising demographics as to who was most at-risk for getting caught in a slide last year. And learn why this year could be just as dangerous.
Trailer - Winter Safety Series
Last year was the deadliest avalanche season in modern U.S. history. Why was last season so deadly and what can we do to stay safer this year? We set out to answer those question in a four-episode winter safety series to be released December 15, 2021. Stay tuned as we pick the brains of experienced mountaineers, avalanche forecasters, and experts from across the nation for the best tips on avalanche awareness and safety. From learning about how to avoid "summit fever" to knowing the key details of an avalanche forecast, make sure to catch our winter safety series before heading out into the backcountry this winter.
42. Sat Comm with ZOLEO founder Morris Shawn
It's your worst nightmare. You're all alone, miles from the trailhead, when you trip over a rock and break your leg. What do you do? If you have a satellite communication device, you press a button and send a message for help. Yes, rescue in the backcountry has become that easy. In this episode, Morris Shawn, president of ZOLEO inc, breaks down the mysteries of satellite communication devices, including how much you can expect to spend on a ZOLEO sat comm unit and its messaging plans. Plus, hear about the most outlandish rescue calls Morris has seen in recent years, and find out what happens when you press that dreaded SOS button.
Keep it going.
So just asking …if we need to be educated on avalanche safety then why does it cost $500 plus to go to a class and there all sold out … shouldn’t there be a government program that helps us get educated??? Just a thought .. keep it up love your podcast ..ps I’ve been a Gaia member for yours…. Love it …
Lots of granular info
Not just individual experiences but also info from the various agencies that keep hikers safe. I learn a lot. Shanty is a really good interviewer. The apparently great editing keeps the interview quick and crisp
Went off the rails with a UFO crank
I liked this podcast, until they decided to credulously give a UFO crank a platform. I love backpacking, but I want information from people who think clearly and understand cognitive biases and how easy it is for humans to fool ourselves. Next they’ll be peddling some “natural” or “homeopathic” bear spray they were convinced by a con artist works to hikers. No thanks, unsubscribed.