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Author Topic: Avalanche Beacon  (Read 9775 times)
jimjar
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Avalanche Beacon
« on: 01/15/03, 03:07 AM »

I need to buy one. Which one should I get?
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Snowboarder_John
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #1 on: 01/15/03, 03:21 AM »

Jimjar,

It really depends on your beacon skill level/ proficiency. Most people would probably recommend the Backcountry Tracker because of its ease of use. I personally use a Ortovox M2 - why? I just do  Wink

Don't forget the shovel and probe. Make sure you get a metal bladed shovel and a dedicated probe (meaning not ski poles that convert).
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jimjar
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #2 on: 01/15/03, 03:37 AM »

I guess I should have said a bit about myself since I am new here. I am new to the backcountry. I did my first real snowboard trip this year to Muir and every since the resorts have just not been the same. I have my shovel and probe but definitely need more knowledge. I am looking into taking an avalanche class as soon as I can so I can get signed up for one. If anyone out there can help me to gain some of the skills I need to be safe in the backcountry I would love the advice. Also looking for people to do trips with as most of the people I ride with now are lazy and wouldn't thinking of hiking for turns.
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Snowboarder_John
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #3 on: 01/15/03, 03:53 AM »

There is another thread in Random Tracks about Avalanche Safety that you could use for information.
There is a good book by Bruce Tremper about avalanche safety "Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain" I think. Also a staple is "Freedom of the Hills" and "Allen and Mike's Backcountry Skiing Book". These are three titles that I pass on to people looking for information. The local library has some videos also - look up Avalanche at the local library.

Also the Partners Wanted before a trip could find some people to go with you next time you planned a trip.

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ultragrrl
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #4 on: 01/17/03, 04:42 AM »

I was just going to ask this same question.  I've been renting   , Backcountry Tracker.    But, I am intrigued by the Barryvox's size....a little nicer package than the Tracker maybe.  Any thoughts??
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Ned_Flanders
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #5 on: 01/17/03, 04:59 AM »

I have the Ortovox M2 and it is very easy to use.  It has very long range and is easy to pinpoint the victim.  The tracker doesnt have the range like the analog beacons do, but it excells once you pick up a signal.  I remember trying the barryvox and didnt like it that much.  All I remember is that it kept on switching from analog and digital and you have to program it or something.  The new ortovox X1 is suppose to have the range of the M2, but also can go to digital.  I don't know that much about it, but I suggest to research that one.

joshua

Quote
I was just going to ask this same question.  I've been renting   , Backcountry Tracker.    But, I am intrigued by the Barryvox's size....a little nicer package than the Tracker maybe.  Any thoughts??

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jimjar
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #6 on: 01/17/03, 05:13 AM »

ned  thanks for the tip. I have been looking into the Ortovox M2. Sounds like this would be the unit to get.
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ski_photomatt
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #7 on: 01/17/03, 06:56 AM »

I'm going to second Ned_Flanders, we have similar thoughts about this.  Don't discount the range of a transeiver as this to me is the major drawback with the Tracker (that being said, I have a Tracker).  When shopping for transeivers do your homework:  read the specs, go to the store and try them all out, pick a few and rent them if possible for extended trial, read the specs again.  I'd suggest checking out the Ortovox X1, it's a digital beacon like the tracker with a claimed 65m range (as opposed to the Tracker's 40m range).

I bought Bruce Tremper's "Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain" yesterday.  While I haven't had much time to dive very deep into it yet, it looks well written, well illustrated and very informative.
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BrentH
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WWW
Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #8 on: 01/17/03, 10:07 AM »

Just got a Barryvox prior to my last hut trip. This replaced an Ortovox F1, which is now my daughter's, and which, in turn, replaced an Ortovox dual-frequency she had been using.

Anyways, Day 1 at the Hut the guides put us clients through a drill. Starting outside transceiver range and given a general direction to go the team with two Barryvoxs found two burials in less than 8 minutes. The team without the Barryvoxs took at least twice as long.

It's a slick unit (hope I never have to use it in earnest). It is programmable, for example, allows specification of Time Before Auto Revert to Send and allows toggling between Digital and Analog search modes.

For what it's worth, Ruedi Beglinger and Battle Abbey give these units to their clients.
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ron j
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #9 on: 01/21/03, 01:55 AM »

Great info, Brent.
I do truly covet my older analog unit with its purported 90M range (SOS-F1).  And I'm pretty fast with it... I think.  That said I've still been considering an upgrade, mainly due to the stories such as yours, of drastically shorter recovery times with the digitals.  It just does not seem smart to ignore such a technological advantage.

That said, I'd like to add something for the self proclaimed beginning backcountry gliss aficionados posting earlier in this thread:  remember, while most of us more experienced (??) bc travelers wouldn't even think of going into the bc without an avy beacon, the beacon is definitely NOT our safety cushion.  
With a 1 in 3 chance of survival statistic associated with complete burials, it is not much to depend on, as your sole survival tool.  If I (perish the thought) am ever forced to use my beacon, for real, to rescue (or recover the body of) a skiing companion I will KNOW that I failed in using my primary bc snow safety tool, the knowledge, judgment and skills to AVOID the avalanche monster.  In light of recent incidents, it is pretty obvious that none of us  can be TOO accomplished at that.  I have a whole list of things I want to do to improve myself in that area.
So, YES, buy a beacon.  But ALSO get the training... and continue the training.
« Last Edit: 01/21/03, 01:57 AM by ron_j » Logged

"When I stop having fun I'm turnin' around"
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
"If a given person makes it a priority not to die in an avalanche, he or she stands a very good chance of living a long, happy life in the mountains." - Jill Fredston
jimjar
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #10 on: 01/21/03, 08:04 AM »

Ron thanks for the advice. I am tyring to get into a class in Feb. I am very excited to begin this learning process. So with that said I am open to any tips or advice. Also if anyone would like to take a newbie out and teach him a thing or two.......
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ron j
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #11 on: 01/22/03, 01:31 AM »

Our little gang welcomes newbies with a beacon, shovel and an eagerness-to-learn attitude.  Most all of us started that way.  Our trips are a bit slow and mellow for some (got some geezers in the group, yours truly included).
We go out most every weekend.  Feel free to email me when you can get out.
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"When I stop having fun I'm turnin' around"
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
"If a given person makes it a priority not to die in an avalanche, he or she stands a very good chance of living a long, happy life in the mountains." - Jill Fredston
Snowboarder_John
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #12 on: 01/24/03, 04:22 AM »

I just wanted to let people in search of avy gear that www.avalanchetools.com has some good packages. Packages include a Tracker, shovel and probe with free shipping for the price of the beacon itself locally with sales tax.
Just a head's up.
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jimjar
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #13 on: 01/27/03, 04:13 AM »

Ron my weekends are pretty much always free. when and where is your next trip planed?
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nwsnow
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #14 on: 01/27/03, 08:11 AM »

Ron J: where do you guys go mostly? I'm always looking for people who are willing to do practice searches.. I spend quite a bit if time instructing students in the Saftey Education program up here, but I'd like to get in with a group of backcountry travelers who I can practice with more often.

I'm in the Mt. Baker area.

Thanks!

http://www.nwsnow.org
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ron j
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #15 on: 01/27/03, 12:06 PM »

Jimjar - we usually make it out on Sundays.
Luke - You're also more than welcome to join us although we don't make it up to Baker much.
Our primary ski haunts are mostly in the south cascades; I-90 and south, plus some of the volcanoes in the summertime.  This sunday a couple of us are tied up "giving blood" again; working on another mounties course.
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"When I stop having fun I'm turnin' around"
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
"If a given person makes it a priority not to die in an avalanche, he or she stands a very good chance of living a long, happy life in the mountains." - Jill Fredston
jimjar
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #16 on: 01/28/03, 02:18 AM »

Sunday's are always good for me. Let me know when you can head out again.
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Mad_Dog
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #17 on: 01/28/03, 04:21 AM »

Nice to see that you, who are new to BC riding/skiing are eager and willing to learn what steps to take before venturing out in the "wild".  Ron and I ski together and continue to keep ourselves educated on safe BC travel.  The Mountaineers offer a wide selection of classes in backcountry ski and snowboarding, as well as glacier travel and crevasse rescue.  We continue to stay involved with the mountaineers and their classes to keep our won skills and awarness levels refreshed.  There is nothing like continuning to improve on the education of BC skills.  One thing to remember while doing a beacon "test" search.  When burying a beacon in the snow, A.  Remember to turn it on.  This really helps in locating it again,  Grin  and B. Place it in a plastic container or bag, since it is water resistant, not water repellent.  Jimjar, sounds like you are getting addicted to the BC already.  With your first trip to Muir, and noticing that the lift areas just don't cut it anymore.  Continue to keep yourself educated with BC travel and safety and soon you will find that Muir too, will remind you of your past days at the lift serviced area.   Ron and I have a great time in the BC, we do respect the mountain and play a little more on the conservative side, but we always have a great time and find areas where we can always make fresh tracks.  Hope to see you out there sometime soon.  
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There is nothing worse than refusing to learn: this is where old age begins.

Jeanette
jimjar
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #18 on: 01/28/03, 06:56 AM »

mad_dog thanks for the tips. I am reading everything I can get my hands on right now so I can't wait to put all this info togther out on the mountian. I feel like I am in school again and it is rather fun. Hope to see you on the hills soon.
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Tim
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #19 on: 01/28/03, 12:38 PM »

Sage advice and comments, Ron!  Smiley

Also, go to the TelemarkTips site and do a search of either the TelemarkTalk or Avalanche Safety forums for information on various beacons.  Lots of info there!
« Last Edit: 01/28/03, 12:40 PM by Tim » Logged
Tim
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Re: Avalanche Beacon
« Reply #20 on: 02/22/03, 02:50 PM »

Regardless of the type of beacon you buy, you have to realize that doing a real-life beacon search is the very last thing any of us want to do!  Our primary directive should be to stay out of avalanches altogether!  Although most of us have done it differently (myself included), I'd opt for spending my bucks on a good avalanche course before buying a beacon.  After all, they're not a talisman that keeps you out of trouble.  For a very good discussion of this issue, check out:

http://angeles.sierraclub.org/skimt/text/avyrisk.htm

Cheers,

Tim
« Last Edit: 02/22/03, 03:28 PM by Tim » Logged
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