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Author Topic: Alpental Beacon Park  (Read 14516 times)
lordhedgie
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Alpental Beacon Park
« on: 01/01/10, 10:03 AM »

I've heard of the Alpental Beacon Park before, but didn't know much about it.  When Silaswild and I decided to skip our planned Kendall trip yesterday due to a combination of poor snowpack and deteriorating weather, we spent a few hours skiing at Alpental instead.  When the driving snow and growing crowds got too large, we wandered over to the beacon park.  After playing in the park, we realized a post on TAY reminding folks of this resource was in order.

To get to the park, cross the street from the main parking lot (the one with the bridge to the lodge).  Just to your right, about 25 feet up the hill, you'll see what looks like a telephone pole with no wires.  On that pole is a control box that allows you to start scenarios.  The first time you use it it will need a few minutes to warm up; after that, it will start immediately by telling you how many victims are buried and starting a timer.   

You need a beacon, but probes are provided.  We used their probes, but they are fairly large and unwieldy so you may want your own.  Once you strike a victim with a probe, a horn sounds and a light flashes at the control station.  There is no need to dig (please don't).  Once all victims are located, the control station will tell you how long it took to locate each victim.

The control box offers easy, medium, and expert scenarios, although expert wasn't working for us.  I strongly recommend everyone venturing into the backcountry practice at this park at least once or twice a year; it's much better practice than looking for beacons in the backyard, and I wish I'd been here a lot sooner.

Oh, and my old analog Pieps still beat out the DTS Tracker.  Smiley  I feel validated that analog beacons require more skill and practice, but generally have longer range and more accurate directions, and especially out-perform in multiple-burial scenarios.
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AKRefugee
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #1 on: 01/01/10, 10:16 AM »

Thanks for the info, those parks are truly a great resource, I really want to make it over to one of them to hone the skills.  I have a Ortovox M2, so I'm glad that the analog beacons were rightly defended ; )  Happy New Years.
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lordhedgie
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #2 on: 01/01/10, 10:42 AM »

I'm not aware of any other beacon parks, although I'm sure there are some.  Maybe we should make a list; that would make a good resource.
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alecapone
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #3 on: 01/01/10, 11:08 AM »

Stevens pass is supposed to have one called BCA beacon basin. I haven't checked it out yet. Has anyone else?

http://www.stevenspass.com/Stevens/the-mountain/z-beacon-basin.aspx
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scott
Stimbuck
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #4 on: 01/01/10, 11:08 AM »

Glad to hear you are enjoying the beacon park.  I will see why the expert mode did not work.

We (Alpental Patrol/Pettigrew Foundation) are teaching a companion rescue class at that site every Saturday in January.  Kevin Pettigrew made a post recently about the classes, see: www.thedavidpettigrewmemorialfoundation.com  for details.

Although the park is open 24/7, I will have the site reserved for a couple of hours during the class- probably 9AM-11AM on Saturdays, January 2, 9, 16, 23, 30.  Thanks for your understanding and I look forward to seeing some of you there.

Stimbuck
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Chuck C
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #5 on: 01/01/10, 03:38 PM »

I'm not aware of any other beacon parks, although I'm sure there are some.  Maybe we should make a list; that would make a good resource.

There's one up at Crystal by the Campbell Basin lodge, also one at the Mountaneers property up at Snoqualmie.  I'm glad to see the Alpy one running, a couple of weeks ago it wasn't set up.  BCA's website has a full listing.

http://www.backcountryaccess.com/english/education/trainingpark.php

Last year we used the one at Crystal and were completely humiliated by a patroller who did a 3 or 4 burial scenario in something like 4 minutes.
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silaswild
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #6 on: 01/01/10, 04:28 PM »

Last year we used the one at Crystal and were completely humiliated by a patroller who did a 3 or 4 burial scenario in something like 4 minutes.
Glad to hear the Crystal patroller can save us, I bet you can too, what was your time?  4:01?  Better yet, don't get in a slide in the first place, know the terrain, conditions, and weather history well enough to avoid trouble.

Here's a couple shots of the Alpental machine yesterday.  Jimmy is holding one of the two (big, heavy) probes that are at the site.


* avipark.jpg (101.51 KB, 1000x1333 - viewed 2275 times.)

* aviparkinst.jpg (106.45 KB, 1000x1333 - viewed 2280 times.)
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Chuck C
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #7 on: 01/01/10, 07:13 PM »

Glad to hear the Crystal patroller can save us, I bet you can too, what was your time?  4:01? 

Around the 3 minute mark for a single burial.  My kid beat me later in the season at the Alpental park with a 1 minute for a single burial.  Once she can ski better she might finally be of some use.
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telemack
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #8 on: 01/03/10, 01:45 PM »

Stevens pass is supposed to have one called BCA beacon basin. I haven't checked it out yet. Has anyone else?

http://www.stevenspass.com/Stevens/the-mountain/z-beacon-basin.aspx
The website describes where the Stevens Beacon Basin is, but also says "opening TBD". 
Has anyone used it or know if it's in operation?
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Pete_H
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #9 on: 01/04/10, 03:09 PM »

Thanks for the info. Sounds like a great resource.
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pettigrew_kevin
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #10 on: 01/05/10, 10:41 AM »

Thanks John for telling everyone about the class you are offering.  The Classes are free, we welcome everyone of all skill levels.  Visit our site to sign up and learn about all our classes.  www.thedavidpettigrewmemorialfoundation.com

Thank you again for your hard work......
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Stimbuck
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #11 on: 01/06/10, 07:30 PM »

I looked over the controls today and added the additional 4 search pads to the site.  It looks like there is a problem with the "expert" button.  I will resolve this issue, but in the meanwhile please enjoy the Beacon park; you can still do single and multiple searches.
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JimH
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #12 on: 01/07/10, 01:05 PM »

The park is awesome. I plan to be back soon. Seeing the siren go off in the twilight every time we had a strike was kind of fun.

BTW, does the control unit save the times? I'm guessing no. But that might be interesting data. Especially if we knew something about the user and their beacon.

The additional targets will be a really nice addition. Thanks for adding those today!
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lordhedgie
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #13 on: 01/08/10, 10:32 PM »

I'll have to take another stab at it, thanks!
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4949
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #14 on: 01/14/10, 05:44 AM »

Stevens pass is supposed to have one called BCA beacon basin. I haven't checked it out yet. Has anyone else?

http://www.stevenspass.com/Stevens/the-mountain/z-beacon-basin.aspx

I called the Stevens Patrol FAR a few days ago and she said
they were in the process of moving it so it is not active
right now.
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silaswild
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #15 on: 01/16/10, 06:09 PM »

Ten of us joined stimbuck and Rob Gibson (Risk Manager at Alpental, yikes what a job!) for beacon and (wo)manniken search exercises at the Beacon Park today.   The setting, tools, weather and instructors were perfect for optimal training, thanks to all.  Afterward we were honored to meet David Pettigrew's dad and sister, and had a chance to thank them personally for this valuable snow safety educational resource. 

It is available 24/7, just show up and press the button, wait two minutes for random transmitter selection and system startup, then begin searching and bolster or bruise your ego with your results.
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hefeweizen
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #16 on: 02/05/10, 09:20 PM »

I called the Stevens Patrol FAR a few days ago and she said
they were in the process of moving it so it is not active
right now.

If people feel that they would use a "beacon park" at Stevens, I encourage you to voice your support to either BCA or the Stevens Pass Ski Patrol. The current setup that we have is quite antiquated (looks nothing like what Alpental has). I suspect that a surge of interest would help to bring newer systems and motivation to that program. It's awesome to see that people are using these resources.
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Stimbuck
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #17 on: 02/25/10, 08:25 AM »

The Alpental Easy Searcher field has been off-line for a couple of days.  Routine maintenance of the system and some "snow" maintenance as well.  The snow was too firm to probe through, making the searches somewhat incomplete.  I'll be up there today, so it should be going by mid-afternoon.

Cheers,

Stimbuck
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JimH
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #18 on: 02/25/10, 09:17 AM »

Thanks Stimbuck!!

The snow maintenance will definitely help. Really appreciate you taking the time to break up the icy shield near many of the targets.
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Stimbuck
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #19 on: 02/26/10, 01:34 AM »

Easy Searcher is up and running again.  The recent precipitation has helped to soften the frozen snow.  Targets are moved and should be easier to probe with broken snow.  We also added foam to the targets to give them a bit of a realistic feel.

$
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powtothepeople
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #20 on: 04/16/10, 08:58 AM »

Stimbuck, Gibb

How much longer will the beacon park be operational?

Thanks
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Stimbuck
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #21 on: 04/17/10, 08:38 AM »

We plan to keep it running through the end of April.
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BJM
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Re: Alpental Beacon Park
« Reply #22 on: 04/17/10, 06:33 PM »

Beacon Basin rocks and I deeply appreciate the alpy patrol for getting it set up and maintaining it. 

I would ask folks to cover their probe holes after they are done so it does not give it completely away for the next user...

cheers!!
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