When I heard the word "probe" I used to think of beer-bellied, slack-jawed, pig farmers and San Luis Valley locals talking about their latest encounter with extraterrestrials. Thanks to Backcountry Access (BCA), however, I have a new frame of reference for probes after spending a number of days this season in the Colorado backcountry with their Profile 240 avalanche probe.
Thanks to their "quickie tensioning system," you can literally throw the probe together, assembling this sometimes-vital piece of equipment in mere seconds. Just a bit of practice will soon have you throwing the Profile together with alien-esque precision. Once assembled, the Profile is nearly 8' long, more-than-adequate for the average burial depth or "deepest" of backwoods farmer. With silk-screened depth markings, you'll know how deep the snow is under-ski, be able to measure your snow-profile accurately, and, God-forbid, be able to tell how deeply your buddy is buried underneath all that debris (See BCA's shoveling techniques for relevant information.) Breaking down the probe into stealth mode is a cinch; just pinch the plastic wings on the top to release the tension and it's done.
Constructed of light-but-sturdy aluminum, the Profile 240 collapses small enough to
fit inside your day-pack and weighs about 1/2 a pound,leaving you with little excuse to travel in the winter backcountry (or local UFO landing site) without one. Unfortunately, the Profile 240 is probably the only probe you'll ever be able to use on your friends and still have a social life afterwards. Can't have it all. So join me in turning your probe paranoia into probing power and together we can rule the galaxy, er, backcountry. Be safe!
AMGA TRSM Certified
AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Instructor
Colorado Mountain School
341 Moraine Avenue
Estes Park CO 80517