With all the snow falling across the West this winter, avalanche danger is at an all-time high. Although the warning signs are often numerous — things like temperature, slope angle, wind, aspect, terrain, vegetation, and general snowpack conditions — they often go unobserved. UK company Slope Angel is hoping that by easily arming you with more information, the better equipped you will be to make educated decisions and reduce the risk of triggering or becoming caught in an avalanche.
Slope Angel Halo is a small, easy to use, robust device with a long battery life to aid decision-making in the mountains. Designed, developed, and tested in the French Alps, the device is useful for everyone from skiers, mountaineers, and hikers to rescue teams that venture into the mountains away from marked pistes and trails.
As two of the vital factors in identifying avalanche terrain/risk are slope angle (research has shown that 70% of avalanches occur on slopes greater than 30° and up to 50°) and air temperature (a rise of more than 8°C (46°F) in 12 hours significantly increases the risk of an avalanche and when the temperature drops beneath -25°C (-13°F), weak layers frequently develop) Slope Angel Halo includes an electronic inclinometer and thermometer, designed to accurately measure mountain slope gradients between 0° to 90° and air temperature in both °C and °F. To measure the slope angle, simply place the device either directly onto the slope or onto a ski pole (or similar) with the screen facing upwards (as in top photo).
Slope Angel Halo also includes an altimeter. The device identifies your altitude in both meters and feet when you scroll through the display. As avalanche forecasts give information on snowpack conditions at specific heights, knowing your altitude will allow you to quickly match this information.
As the Slope Angel Halo is just one piece in your full avalanche safety toolkit, it includes a transceiver checker to make sure everyone in your party has theirs switched on and working properly. Self and group checks, with both sound and visual confirmation, can take place in close proximity without the need to spread team members far apart.
Other features include a 24 hour clock so you always know the time of day and a power monitor to keep an eye on the battery life. The button cell battery has a 2-year life (depending on how stored and frequency of use) and is easily replaceable.
Attach the Slope Angel Halo to your clothing or equipment so that it is quickly accessible. It has been designed to withstand harsh mountain environments and is strong, lightweight and water-resistant (IP65 rated) and has a large LCD screen and big buttons so that information is highly visible and easy to access.
For £45 or roughly $60, Slope Angel Halo seems like a no brainer to include it in your mountain safety toolkit.