Following on from discussions about digital mapping and online avalanche and weather forecasts during our recent avalanche courses this season, we thought it would be worth putting all that information in one place, so here we go:
Fatmap – 3D Hi Resolution Digital Mapping with terrain aspect, angle and altitude overlays. Its free desktop version has become our go to planning tool.
iPhiGeNie – French IGN maps available free to use online. Downloaded and used off line for a fee.
Swiss Mobility – Swiss topo maps available free to use online can be downloaded and used off line for a fee.
ViewRanger – World wide maps download for a fee.
Topo maps Norway – Norwegian Maps can be downloaded for free.
Bratt – Norwegian maps with slope angle overlay.
My GPS Coordinates – useful one button position fix very useful for giving rescue coordinates.
It should be noted that all of these navigation Apps generally have very limited navigational ability other than to place you on a map when compared to a modern GPS unit.
White Risk – Swiss Avalanche Forecast
Meteo Ski – France Meteo weather, avalanche and ski info site, very easy to give quick links to avalanche forecasts in our favourite areas.
Varsom – Norwegian avalanche service
BAA – Be Avalanche Aware – Scottish Avalanche Information forecasts and information.
Lawine Tirol – Tirol Avalanche Forecast
Meteomont – Italina avalanche forecasts
http://www.avalanches.org/eaws/en/main.php – Links to all European avalanche forecasts
www.slf.ch – Swiss avalanche forecasts
http://appweb.regione.vda.it/DBWeb/bollnivometeo/bollnivometeo.nsf/vista_e/$first?OpenDocument&L=_e – Val d’Aosta avalanche forecasts
https://avalanche.report/albina-web/bulletin/bulletin/latest?lang=en – Tirol avalanche forecast
http://www.meteofrance.com/previsions-meteo-montagne/bulletin-avalanches – French avalanche forecasts
https://www.avalanche.ca/map Canadian avalanche Forecasts and links to remote weather stations and crowd sourced reports. Also worth looking at https://www.mountainconditions.com/ for condition reports.
Weather Pro – One of our favourite sites as the model seems pretty accurate.
Meteo France – French forecast
YR.no – Norwegian model tends to forecast a bit pessimistically.
Windy – can compare different forecast models
Meteo Swiss – Swiss national forecast
Meteo Blue – nice site can often add specific mountains
Snow-Forecast – Does what it says often over optimistic on snow quantity.
All the above apps except weather pro have websites as well.
www.mountain-forecast.com – mountain specific weather forecasts.
Echo 112 – Calls rescue and send your location to the coordination centre.
Using a mapping GPS – that is a GPS unit with digital mapping as a background to your position, is in our view an essential tool. It has the beauty of not using your phones power and thereby draining your external communication device. You can plan routes on a desk top computer using Fat Map or on Base Camp – Garmin’s own software and then upload the route to your GPS unit. Using a mapping GPS as your primary navigation tool opens up your mental bandwidth to notice all the other avalanche, group and terrain related issues going on around you.
When operating in the back country it is worth considering a secondary form of communication as we cannot always get a mobile phone signal. The latest device that is worth considering is the Garmin Inreach which offers global text messaging and rescue through the Iridium network, but at affordable prices. Have a look at https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/592606
As a mountain professional it is now expected by the authorities that I will have a secondary form of communication when guiding, so there is no reason why recreationalists shouldn’t be considering this as well.