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Avalanche beacon inbounds? - Page 2

post #31 of 55
What's the recommended way to carry a beacon?

I've never used the shoulder strap on mine, preferring to disgard the strap put the beacon in a zipped up jacket pocket.
post #32 of 55
Beacons should always go over your bottom layer. Why on earth do you not want to use the shoulder strap? Who the hell teaches you guys this stuff?

edit - sorry Im being bitchy with this cold.

- If i search for a burial (especially a deep burial) I'll pinpoint the tranceiver and probe. Sometimes if there's multiples you only have time to clear the airways then move on to the next burial. If you have the beacon in your pocket its in an unexpected spot and it costs me time to locate your airway. That's time from the next burial to search.

- A jacket can pocket can get torn open and the beacon ripped away in an avvy. Close to your base layer thats less likely to happen.

That still begs the question - who on earth told you to put the beacon in the jacket pocket?
post #33 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeLau
....That still begs the question - who on earth told you to put the beacon in the jacket pocket?
AFAIR it says in my DTS Tracker instructions that the shoulder harness is preferable but that a sealed pocket is ok. The pocket I use positions the beacon in the same place as it would if I used the harness but without all the faffing around. I take your point about the beacon being far less 'vunerable' on a harness.
post #34 of 55
Thread Starter 
What is wrong with wearing a beacon like it is meant to be worn? I used one for the first time last week and i had to check a couple of hours later whether it was still there as i couldn't feel it. I thought maybe somehow it had fallen off but it was still there.

While reading how to use it, i remember it saying DO NOT use rechargable batteries. Julie, a few non rechargable batteries a year doesn't cost much so i wouldn't use rechargable ones.
post #35 of 55
A cocky young lad was reported last year to have lost not only his jacket, but also his shirt in an avy in the BC outside of JHMR. He also broke both legs. Sounds to me like it would be rather presumptuous to put a beacon in a pocket.

Mike
post #36 of 55
This thread started as a question of wearing a beacon inbounds; i.e. is it overkill?. While a harness is best, it certainly isn't warranted for inbounds skiing. If an avalanche strips your jacket and shirt, the harness doesn't seem likely to stay with you either. For BC, I agree with using the harness. Inbounds, its questionable whether a beacon is useful at all. Some of you guys are just way too freaked out over this safety stuff.
post #37 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider
Some of you guys are just way too freaked out over this safety stuff.
Speaking of which, maybe I should start the old "Why should I wear a helmet?" thread... that would draw some ire.
post #38 of 55
I know a lot of people got the attitude avi's dont happen in bounds. This pic is from the other day in Fernie. Not set off by explosives, not skier triggered either (but certainly could have been) it came down during the night. The pic doesn't do it justice but this is more than enough of a slide to bury you.



This slope is 35-37 deg. If you ski on piste or only low angle slopes off piste no need for a beacon. But if you ski these steeper pitches after a snowfall you never know, avi contol can only do so much...like I said before there are no guarantees.
post #39 of 55
I am not going to argue with anyone here but I should say that both times I was buried in avy's I was skiing inbounds. Once at Mt. Bachelor and once at Mt. Hood Meadows. And let's be honest, unless you are skiing with a top flight becon hound the becon is really just a way to find your body. I was lucky, twice. Ah well, I do agree that the cost v value of using a becon for inbounds only is very limited.

Good luck.

Mark
post #40 of 55
Thread Starter 
Buried twice and still alive. : That is crazy.
post #41 of 55
The only slides I've triggered where inbounds. And small enough, thanks.

Wear your beacon on top of your innermost layer, use regular batteries (the new Li ones are nice) and not rechargeable, and *always* check the battery level and replace them as needed.

A lot of resorts have Recco equipment. Many modern clothes (or even ski boots) have Recco reflectors in them, and you can also buy some to sew in your own clothes.

Staying safe in dangerous terrain is, of course, the better option

YA
post #42 of 55
Whistles should be standard equipment for everyone. Not only are they helpful in backcountry and off-piste situations, but also for anyone who gets injured inbounds (even people who "just ski trails" can have accidents where they slide off the trail and aren't easily visible). It takes more energy to yell than it does to blow a whistle. And a whistle's sound carries farther in wind, blizzards, etc.

At Jay, patrollers are often sent out to search for people who get lost after going out of bounds. One day, a woman got separated from her group, went over a knoll that took her away from where everyone else had headed. She used her cell phone to call Jay and the state police. Patrollers pinpointed her location somewhat by using the GPS tracking system on her cell phone, but were trying to narrow it down. It was windy, so they couldn't hear her yell. They had her whistle a bird call so they could find her. Would have been a lot easier if she'd had a whistle to blow.

Thatsagirl
post #43 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussie_Ski_Bum
Buried twice and still alive. : That is crazy.
Buried twice and dug out twice by the same guy, my brother. I think the only reason he dug me out was because Mom would have been pissed if he didn't. Heh! We don’t' ski together so much anymore since he moved away and frankly skiing has always looked much more dangerous. I am trying to hook up with him and his family next week at Mt Bachelor. They are getting snow; maybe an Avalung would be an investment.

I will report in if anything untoward happens, or maybe not. Heh!

Mark
post #44 of 55
post #45 of 55
How many times can I repost this stuff? well, here is my story of the two avy's with an added story of a scary experience. It all came from a thread about scary experiences while skiing. Enjoy, or something:

I’ll bite! I have a number of “scary”experiences but my two avys and one event this last year come to mind as memorable and, with respect to this year’s story, fresh.

I posted this before so the reference to Camille's story won't make sense but . . .

During the mid 1980’s I had the dubious distinction of being involved in two avi’s. The first was a mid size slab avalanche, which occurred on a small inbounds hill at what is now the Northwest Express lift area at Mt. Bachelor, Oregon. My brother and I skied up to the hill through some widely spaced Doug Fir trees, as we broke out of the trees and skied down the hill (not really steep, maybe 25 degrees), the entire face of the snow broke free. We rode the slab for a short while, and then broke through. We were lucky, and were able to ski out to the side/bottom through some trees, which were about 50 – 60 yards away. Total slab size was about 100’ x 100’ x 18” or so, and slid for more than 60 yards. The pucker factor was very big. No warning, not an area we were expecting an avy, and we could see the slab crack and slough off while we were on it.
(This story actually leaves out the fact that I was trapped in the avy but not buried. The reason this was “scary” is that once I broke through the snow, my forward momentum all but stopped. The snow behind me, however, did not stop. I could feel the snow pushing me forward and pilling up behind me. The snow was also pushing me face down into the snow in front of me. Worse yet the snow was moving quite slowly which made it a bit like a bad dream. I knew I would soon be buried but there was nothing I could do. Quite frightening. But lucky for me the slide ran out of steam before my head, or even my shoulders were buried. Still it took quite a while to dig out even with my brothers help. The “slow motion” effect made this avy more frightening than the avy in the next story.

The second was very similar to Camille Coyle’s story. Again the same Bro and I were skiing, this time at Mt. Hood Meadows. We were skiing inbounds during a weekday after quite a few days of heavy snowfall. We probably had 2’ or so of new snow. We had skied the front of the ski area and had taken a few runs down the Hood River Meadows lift area. It was just about last run and we expected to find little fresh snow on this lift but did expect to find some good fast groomers to finish the day. On Willow, however, we found nice, although tracked, powder. It looked like a dozen skiers had been through the area (which is short and not very large). On our second, and last run down Willow, we decided to ski the skiers left part of the face. The top of Willow has a flat spot that is not very wide, and as I skied up, I skied to a stop on the left section of the table. I was about 2’ from the edge and not quite stopped when a section of the table about 30’ x 10’ by 6’ deep collapsed. I just remember dropping 6’ hitting upright and being pushed into a steep and tight ravine. I flipped over and my left ski caught on willows in the ravine. As I flipped, I remembered an avy lecture I had once heard about making an air pocket, so I grabbed my jacket and pulled it over my mouth/face.

Some thoughts on avy snow: it is cold, you can’t move, it is dark, you can’t breathe (the snow filled into my air pocket but I was able to clear an airway with my hands which were by my face and my tongue), it is totally quiet.
I was lucky. I fell and was trapped in the top part of the slide, upside down, with my skis above me acting like an umbrella. The area I was in was very steep, probable more than 45 degrees but short, perhaps 30’. So while I was deeply buried, it was easy to uncover me. The area I was in also caused some problems, since the snow above me was not stable. I did not feel at all safe till I was out of the slide and down on flat ground. The tip of my right ski was out of the snow so I was immediately discovered by my bro. Unfortunately, he had already skied below me and had to hike up the 45-degree slope, through the 2’ of new to get into a position to rescue. It took him about 20 minutes to get into position and about 10 min to dig my face out (that was real time in avy time the whole thing took about two hours). We made last chair but had to explain what happened to the lifty.

Reasons for the avy: I don’t know, but here is what I think. The area had received substantial snow over the past few days. That area had received more than its fair share and because there were few skiers it had not been heavily tracked. The small area I chose to stand on was free of tracks. I suspect my added weight on the unconsolidated snow caused the top to slough off and pull a section of snow down the hill. The ravine was completely covered until the avy pushed the snow below out of the way.

This was a small slide, but if I had been alone I would have died in it. It was dark by the time we made the lift and no one would have found me till next day at the soonest. Good avy skills are a must, ski with a partner, practice avy skills and rescue techniques. And don’t forget avys can happen inbounds as well as out.

I burned up a lot of my luck on that one day. But better surviving an avy than the night before winning a hand at poker.

The following is one of those events that happens unexpectedly and leaves you filled with rotten adrenaline for hours, even though ultimately it was a non event.

Skiing the Northwest Express lift at Mt Bachelor this year I took one of the run outs, which I seldom if ever take. An explanation about Bachelor’s topography is in order. On the NW Express the top 1/3 of the mountain is quite steep, the middle is moderately steep and the bottom is quite flat. The mountain has an odd rolling or undulating slope here where there is a drop of perhaps 50' followed by 50' of flat. This repeats over and over down the mountain even on the flats.

This happened on the flats and I was cruising along very fast, perhaps at 40 miles per hour, laying down RR tracks with big long radius carves, pre-jumping the rollers, and overall just having fun. As I came off one roller on a section of flats I was unfamiliar with, I realized my pre-jump would land in the trough before the next roller, I would have a hard compression (the next roller actually was uphill) and I would only be able to partially pre-jump that roller. This meant I would probably catch quite a bit of air off the top. Usually this was no problem but I could see that there was an island of trees (large Doug firs) about 30' dead ahead. The human brain is really cool. But mine was calculating I would land smack in the middle of the trees at 40 mph or maybe 30 if I tried a full on hockey stop.

More or less every warning horn in my brain was going off and my adrenal gland was pouring adrenaline into my blood stream as if it had a 3" hose connected directly to my heart. Here I am, mid flight with my blood pressure and heart rate redlined and time at 1/10th speed wondering whether or not I will feel the impact with a tree, which weighs more than many houses. Lucky for me with time at 1/10 speed I actually had time to think. I realized my only hope was to deflect my course a few degrees to the right once I landed and then pre-jump the next roller and hope to land before the trees, which might give me enough room to start a Herminator style Super G carve to the right and out of danger.

The problem with time at 1/10 speed is that you still move at normal speed so after landing, and compressing, I eliminated the decompression and immediately went to the deflection carve. I was sure I was not going to make the pre-jump (which would have meant trees). Somehow I threw my arms forward and sucked up the legs into a pre-jump.

I made it. But I really don’t know how. I landed very long but the deflection carve changed my trajectory enough so I was able to land and power carve out of danger. We went in for lunch after that run - I was completely spent. Without all the adrenaline I would not have made it. With the adrenaline I was able to carve at the bottom of a hard compression and still suck up for a pre-jump.

Well, there are three stories each “scary” for a different reason and “scary” in a different way.

Mark
post #46 of 55
Thanks for posting your stories again, MadDog. We all need to be aware that this kind of danger exists, and we need to know how to best prepare ourselves for the eventuality of getting caught and having to save ourselves. Never underestimate the power of the mountains and Mother Nature. Great respect is in order.

Thatsagirl
post #47 of 55
After the Mammoth slide we should bring back this thread. I wear my tranceiver inbounds on any dat a side is possible. Please don't believe some of the posts on this thread claiming the risk is so low. I have been in in bounds slides myself, and while I haven't been buried yet, the knowledge that I was beeping away has been a great relief.
post #48 of 55
I wear it on big mountains. 1) I usually do not know the area and "might" have a chance at skiing OB--thus I wear it. Note: I always ski with a partner in potential AVY conditions. This requires lots of lift talk, peering and waiting on ski partners, some of which (perhaps you) don't feel comfortable with me, since they neither know me or my level of training--which is cool. While disappointed, I understand being turned down.
2) Skiing IB on big snow days--Either I might be called upon to help or I might need help. As another person wrote: its comfortable and batteries are cheep. NOTE: Sometimes I am not wearing my shovel and probe--IB. Stupid but calculated. A) if I am the buried--they wont help me. B) if I am the locator--I can begin locating--usually IB there is cell service and Ski P. can arrive to dig.
--------------
Skiing in Switzerland--IB-- a guy was buried for 20 minutes. No avy gear. Thankfully he was with friends who saw him go under and there were Mountain Guides in the general area who had probes. He was knocked unconcious--would have died, but for the pros. NOTE: He was on a slope I skied the day earlier. He caused the Avy--by kicking down the snow so he would not have to jump into the coulier.
post #49 of 55
I got caught in an avy this christmass holidays while skiing in an lift served area which is actually no skifield. No controllers, nothing but a lift served area and normally 20-30 people to enjoy the powder.

I was standing on top of a open bowl which ended in a chute. Steepness around 40-55°. About 1m of windblown snow was in it - laying on top of a pure ice coat (10 days of sun with more than 0° C). Looking into the bowl we decided I would jump in an ride a little right to duck under a cliff. Not a good idea - as when I jumped in over the windlip already in the air an 50m wide 1m high rip got the avy mooving. When I landed everything was flowing already and after less than a second I was under the avy seeing nothing anymore and mooving towards the forest section which separates the small bowl from the chute. I had great great luck not to touch any trees hardly - with that speed it would have been my dead. (My friends guessed more than 70km/h through 20m of thick forest).

I couldn't react at all. I just noticed that my board pulled me down. Once through the forest into the chute I could escape sideways luckily. I had been taken down around 130m vertical and 140m horizontal.. the snowslide continued around 400m vertical drop to stop in a not so steep area.

While in the avalanche I touched some trees and lots of branches with my arms and one time got squirelled around a tree after touching it with my board. I had no fear but thought I wouldn't make it out of it. There was nothing to see but dark. My goggles got ripped of my helmet even while they were heavily fixed. I didn't even bother searching for them. My jacket and panst didn't show much of action but I had several cuts on my skin (freaking gore-stretch-material that allows cuts on your skin while leaving the material in good shape). I as well luxated my thumb (noticed it 20 minutes lated due to the shock) and ripped a ligament in my thumb. I thought damn that thumb hurts but didn't notice it had changed its direction).

I am still very happy about having worn an avy transceiver and knowing that my friends have shovels to dig me out in case.

I will never again think about entering a terrain where I know that I set off an avy but think I can hide.

Setting off an avy in a controlled matter being roped or being behind the avy is good but never go in anywhere knowing the avy is behind you. A little fault and your in it. Even if you know the couloir very good and have done it loads of times. A little change which is unforeseen and the avy catches you.

Allways wear a transceiver except if staying strictly on the groomed and in general safe and open slopes but even then it makes sense. don't forget the shovel either (which many people seem to do).
post #50 of 55
This is kind of thread hijack here, sorry, but what do you guys think about skiing in the side-country (like Crystal's backcountry) without a beacon/shovel etc., but only in low-moderate avy conditions and in a large group (3-4 people at the very least)?

From what I can get, they do avy control on the backcountry, but I understand that can be faulty especially in the backcountry, but we would only be skiing in low-moderate risk situations, with the avy control in a large group. Right now, our group of friends doesn't have the $ to get beacons etc. but don't want to be stuck on Rex and High Campbell all day.
post #51 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3eyedsmiley
This is kind of thread hijack here, sorry, but what do you guys think about skiing in the side-country (like Crystal's backcountry) without a beacon/shovel etc., but only in low-moderate avy conditions and in a large group (3-4 people at the very least)?

From what I can get, they do avy control on the backcountry, but I understand that can be faulty especially in the backcountry, but we would only be skiing in low-moderate risk situations, with the avy control in a large group. Right now, our group of friends doesn't have the $ to get beacons etc. but don't want to be stuck on Rex and High Campbell all day.
Does your group have the money to pay funeral costs either? If not stay the fu(& out of the BC, the side country or what ever you want to call it. You and your friends have no business being out side of a resort boundry with out the proper safety gear. TYhere are NO EXCEPTIONS. Think about it, HOW MUCH IS YOUR AND YOUR FRIENDS LIVES WORTH?
post #52 of 55
I probably wouldn't do that, you'll prolly get away with it but then again who needs to be alive eh? How many $$ do you rate your life? But if you fancy the comittment without you and your partners being trained well 'kin go fer it.

Given that I'm a wimp I think I might stay inbounds, which IMHO gives you a fair crack at the whip in N.America.
post #53 of 55
Please, consider sidecountry the same as backcounty. I think by definition we are talking about a training ground that is lift served, but is not subject to the avalanche control and rescue operations expected inbounds. Just because you find it easy to reach sidecountry, does not mean you shoud treat it differently than backcountry.

Backcountry skiers will judge conditions and go solo after considering risks. There are no absolute right and wrong approaches to back/side-country. Until you get experience, be conservative in you decisions. Its a habit that will probably continue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3eyedsmiley
This is kind of thread hijack here, sorry, but what do you guys think about skiing in the side-country (like Crystal's backcountry) without a beacon/shovel etc., but only in low-moderate avy conditions and in a large group (3-4 people at the very least)?

From what I can get, they do avy control on the backcountry, but I understand that can be faulty especially in the backcountry, but we would only be skiing in low-moderate risk situations, with the avy control in a large group. Right now, our group of friends doesn't have the $ to get beacons etc. but don't want to be stuck on Rex and High Campbell all day.
post #54 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3eyedsmiley
This is kind of thread hijack here, sorry, but what do you guys think about skiing in the side-country (like Crystal's backcountry) without a beacon/shovel etc., but only in low-moderate avy conditions and in a large group (3-4 people at the very least)?

From what I can get, they do avy control on the backcountry, but I understand that can be faulty especially in the backcountry, but we would only be skiing in low-moderate risk situations, with the avy control in a large group. Right now, our group of friends doesn't have the $ to get beacons etc. but don't want to be stuck on Rex and High Campbell all day.
Many of the avy deaths you hear about are in the very places you are talking about, just outside the boundaries of a resort. Remember all those deaths a few years back that were right outside the boundaries of The Canyons in Park City? Some of the deaths in Utah and Colorado within the past 2 years were also right outside resort boundaries. Of course, there are stories of people who suvived, but the risk is just so huge, is it really worth it?

Here's some sobering reading about avalanches just outside resort boundaries that might help you see the realities of what you're thinking:

Avy death outside Snowbasin boundaries
What we do know is that two people left the Snowbasin ski area Saturday, March 11th and headed into Taylor Canyon. Both of them were snowboarding and neither of them had avalanche rescue equipment...
http://www.avalanche.org/av-reports/...3?OID=10549209


Avy death on Pioneer Ridge, out-of-bounds near Brighton Ski Resort
Two snowboarders decided to leave the Brighton ski resort in the afternoon on Monday. They rode the Crest lift then exited through the ski area boundary gate and hiked up the ridge heading toward Pioneer Peak. Once they were near the intended ski decent, one of them had a large cornice break underneath him which in turn triggered a sizeable avalanche that swept him down the slope. Neither of them had any avalanche rescue gear with them.
http://www.avalanche.org/av-reports/...3?OID=10847888

Avy death in Five Fingers Bowl, Elk Mountains, near Aspen Highlands
At about 1445 hours Sunday afternoon a 32 year-old man was buried and killed in a sizable avalanche in the backcountry near the Aspen Highlands Ski Area. At the of the avalanche the man was participating in a Level II avalanche-awareness class in Five Fingers Bowl. (Five Fingers Bowl has become a popular out-of-area ski tour adjacent to the Aspen Highlands ski area. Access is either from the top of Highlands Peak via a USFS backcountry access gate...)
http://www.avalanche.org/proc-show.php3?OID=6063037

Next one, no deaths but one seriously injured:

Avy in Hells Canyon adjacent to the Snowbasin Resort
Four skiers and one snowboarder triggered an avalanche in out-of-bounds, backcountry terrain in Hells Canyon adjacent to the Snowbasin Resort in Utah. Three of the men were caught and swept about 500 meters down slope and all were partially buried. The three buried victims did not have any beacons nor other rescue gear, but were able to extricate themselves. One man was seriously injured with a femur fracture, pelvis injuries, a broken arm and head injuries.
http://www.avalanche.org/proc-show.php3?OID=5383687


And a reminder that slides happen on the East Coast too:

Death on Northeastern ridge of Mount Mansfield, Stowe, VT
http://www.avalanche.org/proc-show.php3?OID=5864002

Root around on Avalanche.org for awhile and you'll find plenty more examples. You really can't assume that it's safe just because it's accessible from a resort.

Thatsagirl
post #55 of 55
Great post, Thatsagirl. In (partial) defense of 3eyedsmiley, I believe that the "inbounds backcountry" at Crystal is subject to patrol rescue and control- it is not really the "sidecountry" that others have referred to- however it is far from the main part of the area, is only sporadically patrolled, and if you are caught in an avy there you would still need to rely on the rescue of your group to have any hope of survival. I haven't skied Crystal in the past 10 years (since we moved from Seattle), but I wouldn't ski in the the north or south backcountry without avy gear.
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