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RECCO and the Mammoth slide

post #1 of 83
Thread Starter 
The slide today at Mamoth is a prime example of why the RECCO system is a very very good idea. This is the EXACT senareo that the system is designed and marked to gear manufactours for as it would allow rescuers to quickly locate any victims caught in the slide that happend to have a reflector on them.
post #2 of 83
Yep, although equip can sometimes be deployed a bit slowly (not always "near to hand"). The tags only cost $5-$10 so why people don't buy a few and stuff them in front and back pockets of jackets is a mystery. To be fair to Atomic my boots have them built in too but I bought tags before I had these boots. Obviously not gonna help long way away from the patrollers but for the price why not...........?
post #3 of 83
For those of us who don't know much about the system, can you provide some details?
post #4 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ullr
For those of us who don't know much about the system, can you provide some details?
You can read about it here: www.recco.com

Bassically it is a system that utiliczes small diaods worn by a skier that can be searched for and pinpoined using a special RECCO reciever. Outdoor companies like Arteryx and Sessions are soing these into there jackets, and Atomic is putting the diods in there boots. You can also buy the refletors and put them on your own boots, jackets etc.

This system is designed to find people that may not be wearing a tranciever, I.E. an in bounds avy but is not designed to replace trancievers in the BC.

Please familiarize your self with the system and start wearing a reflector, even if you allready have a tranciever, as this is a great method of passive protection.
post #5 of 83
Mammoth Patrol told me not to count on that system to save my life...
post #6 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammothsnowman
Mammoth Patrol told me not to count on that system to save my life...
Well, it sounds to me that who ever you talked to doesnt fully understand the system. It is not and never has bee nor will be a replacement for having a tranciever, but it is a safety device that can and has saved people before that have been caught in inbounds slides where you normally wouldnt expect people to be wearing beacons. So YES it CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE.
post #7 of 83
It's only good if the rescuers had the system. I'm guessing that very few do, as a beacon is far more the standard amoung rescue workers.
post #8 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
It's only good if the rescuers had the system. I'm guessing that very few do, as a beacon is far more the standard amoung rescue workers.
Actually most resorts now have it: http://www.recco.com/resorts/worldwide.asp

You are forgetting ONE MAJOR PROBLEM, 99.99 % of all INBOUNDS skiers DO NOT WEAR BEACONS! That is why the RECCO system is so good it is a safety net for something like what happened at Mammoth where you would not expect anyone caught in the slide to be wearing a beacon.

So arguing that it takes longer to deploy and that patrolers dont have one is kind of moot. Atl east in its current form it gives rescuers at least some hope of finding a person caught in a in bounds slide. Where tranceviers are going to be useless (If the victims dont have one on, what good is searching with one going to do).
post #9 of 83
Just wondering if the recuers at Mammoth used the Recco system yesterday when looking for skiers who might have been wearing the buttons? I have one on my sessions jacket, but never new if anyone used the system if I should succum to an avy inbounds.
post #10 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbakerskier
Actually most resorts now have it: http://www.recco.com/resorts/worldwide.asp

You are forgetting ONE MAJOR PROBLEM, 99.99 % of all INBOUNDS skiers DO NOT WEAR BEACONS! That is why the RECCO system is so good it is a safety net for something like what happened at Mammoth where you would not expect anyone caught in the slide to be wearing a beacon.

So arguing that it takes longer to deploy and that patrolers dont have one is kind of moot. Atl east in its current form it gives rescuers at least some hope of finding a person caught in a in bounds slide. Where tranceviers are going to be useless (If the victims dont have one on, what good is searching with one going to do).
You've done a great public service bringing this system to attention and writing a synopsis.
post #11 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier_j
You've done a great public service bringing this system to attention and writing a synopsis.
Seconded. And I'll see you a thumb!

The reasoning and the info are both solid. The number of inbounds slide and tree well issues reported this year make it pretty clear that a cheap, passive bit of extra insurance is a wise investment. And the links provided make it pretty clear that many resorts now have Recco systems ready to go. Big thanks to mtbakerskier for the thread!

As discussed in earlier threads, just remember to stick 'em on or in something least unlikely to get separated from your body. Put them on/in boots, jackets, etc. Do not put them in packs, onto skis, etc...

FWIW - supposedly the first thing Mammoth patrol did yesterday was a transceiver and Recco search.
post #12 of 83
Recco is fine as a backup, but the harsh reality is that its most likely use is for body recovery. Your primary chance for living through an avalanche burial is beacon rescue from a trained skiing companion. As soon as you start talking about waiting for patrol or organized rescue, your odds of survival go way way down.

I'm not all anti-Recco, just think that it needs to be viewed in perspective as a backup to a beacon, not as a primary rescue system.
post #13 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TruckeeBrian
Recco is fine as a backup, but the harsh reality is that its most likely use is for body recovery. Your primary chance for living through an avalanche burial is beacon rescue from a trained skiing companion. As soon as you start talking about waiting for patrol or organized rescue, your odds of survival go way way down.

I'm not all anti-Recco, just think that it needs to be viewed in perspective as a backup to a beacon, not as a primary rescue system.
Unless you get the 99.99% of skiers that dont wear beacons inbounds to star wearing them inbounds, RECCO is going to be the ONLY chance for surving an inbounds slide. There have been documented cases of live recoveries ussing the system. Plus it can also be used to search a very large area such as a resort for missing people in the case of a tree well incident etc.
post #14 of 83
The hard truth is that you most likely have between 15-30 mins from time of burial to time of extraction to come out of this situation alive. Given response time, search time and extraction time, recco just isn't going to do it. This is especially true if the slide covers such a wide area like the mammoth slide. Given the nature of the device, I see it as more of a back up. We have them in our ski school coats, but the tell us not to depend on them (read on big snow days, wear a beacon if you have one.)

Also most patrollers I know actually ski with their beacons on their person, so when they get to an accident site they can immediately start performing a search. With recco, they have to call dispatch, pull out the receiver, travel to the accident site, set up the search area, start sweeping, locate signal(s), and begin extraction. Now weather or not that takes 15 mins or more, is anybody's guess. I would guess that at Alta better than 30% of the skiers I know wear a beacon inbounds.
post #15 of 83
This RECCO system would also be great for people caught in storms or fog within ski area boundaries and then getting hopelessly lost sometimes for days outside the boundary. Has anyone been saved in this scenario?
post #16 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie
The hard truth is that you most likely have between 15-30 mins from time of burial to time of extraction to come out of this situation alive. Given response time, search time and extraction time, recco just isn't going to do it. This is especially true if the slide covers such a wide area like the mammoth slide. Given the nature of the device, I see it as more of a back up. We have them in our ski school coats, but the tell us not to depend on them.

Also most patrollers I know actually ski with their beacons on their person, so when they get to an accident site they can immediately start performing a search. With recco, they have to call dispatch, pull out the receiver, travel to the accident site, set up the search area, start sweeping, locate signal(s), and begin extraction. Now weather or not that takes 15 mins or more, is anybody's guess. I would guess that at Alta better than 30% of the skiers I know wear a beacon inbounds.
Okay tell me what would be a fster way to search for people in a inbounds lside such as mamoth??? A tranciever search by patrol is only going to work if those burried have a tranciever on (not likely in an inbounds avy). A probe line is EXTREMLY SLOW. RECCO is the only thing that could possible give any chance of recovering victims in an inbounds avalanch, even if it does take some time to deploy, at least it gives them a chance.

It is by no means a substitute or replacement for a trancier, but it is another method for locating victims, and is good passive protection in the evient that someone forgets to turn there beacon on or forgets batteries etc. So there really isnt any reason not to have the reflectors. It is about the best cheap inssurance your going to find.
post #17 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbakerskier
Okay tell me what would be a fster way to search for people in a inbounds lside such as mamoth??? A tranciever search by patrol is only going to work if those burried have a tranciever on (not likely in an inbounds avy). A probe line is EXTREMLY SLOW. RECCO is the only thing that could possible give any chance of recovering victims in an inbounds avalanch, even if it does take some time to deploy, at least it gives them a chance.

It is by no means a substitute or replacement for a trancier, but it is another method for locating victims, and is good passive protection in the evient that someone forgets to turn there beacon on or forgets batteries etc. So there really isnt any reason not to have the reflectors. It is about the best cheap inssurance your going to find.
Given the circumstances, your BEST chance for survival is still a beacon, then Recco, then they are probing to find your body for your funeral.

I'll agree 100% that it's good cheap insurance, but it isn't your BEST chance of survival. I guess that $300 for a transceiver is pretty cheap price to pay for my life.
post #18 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie
Given the circumstances, your BEST chance for survival is still a beacon, then Recco, then they are probing to find your body for your funeral.

I'll agree 100% that it's good cheap insurance, but it isn't your BEST chance of survival. I guess that $300 for a transceiver is pretty cheap price to pay for my life.
Untill you convince the 99.99% of all skiers that ski inbounds without a tranciever to start wearing a tranciever inbounds every day, Than RECCO is going to be the best method of searching for victims in an inbounds slide. No one is saying it is a substitute for a tranciever, but it does allow rescures to pinpoint victims faster than a trancier can if the Recco unit arrives on scene at the same time as patrol's first responce.
post #19 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbakerskier
Untill you convince the 99.99% of all skiers that ski inbounds without a tranciever to start wearing a tranciever inbounds every day, Than RECCO is going to be the best method of searching for victims in an inbounds slide. No one is saying it is a substitute for a tranciever, but it does allow rescures to pinpoint victims faster than a trancier can if the Recco unit arrives on scene at the same time as patrol's first responce.
Why does it matter what others do? So long as YOU are wearing a beacon that gives YOU the best chance of being found. Is your life worth $300?

The bottom line is that the Recco transceiver isn't going to arrive on scene first. Most mountains only have a few (1 or 2) at best and they are kept at a top patrol shack. They are also bulky and 3-5 lbs in weight, so it's not really an item that a single patroler could carry with them on a regular basis. In the couple of times where I know of inbounds incidents, the search order was just as it was in mammoth, tranceiver, recco, dogs, probe line. Again, with a transceiver, there could be multiple patrollers (and others) searching the debris field, not just 1 or two folks as with a Recco, and thus dramaticlly decreasing serach time. I guess we'll agree to disagree.
post #20 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie
Why does it matter what others do? So long as YOU are wearing a beacon that gives YOU the best chance of being found. Is your life worth $300?

The bottom line is that the Recco transceiver isn't going to arrive on scene first. Most mountains only have a few (1 or 2) at best and they are kept at a top patrol shack. They are also bulky and 3-5 lbs in weight, so it's not really an item that a single patroler could carry with them on a regular basis. In the couple of times where I know of inbounds incidents, the search order was just as it was in mammoth, tranceiver, recco, dogs, probe line. Again, with a transceiver, there could be multiple patrollers (and others) searching the debris field, not just 1 or two folks as with a Recco, and thus dramaticlly decreasing serach time. I guess we'll agree to disagree.

Please tell me what good a tranciever search is going to do if the victims are not wearing one.

While there is no way in hell I will ski in or out of bounds without a tranciever, the facts are in the numbers, and less than one percent of skiers wear a beacon when skiing in bounds. As soon as a slide is reported, it should be proper procedure for wich ever patroler is clossest to the RECCO to grab the RECCO unit and respond as quickly as possible.

It doesnt matter if the RECCO cant be deployed on scene as quickly as a tranciever if the victims are not wearing a beacon. At least it increases the chance that they will be found. While its tre that the RECCO detector cant be deployed as fast as a standard beacon it still works, and as the system improves it will become more portable and will be faster to deploy. So there is really no reason at all to argue against having it.
post #21 of 83
Given that nobody was caught in the slide, why is this an argument for RECCO? How often do in-bounds skiers get caught in slides in the US, once per decade? While $300 (or $5) might be a cheap price for possibly saving your life, how often does it really come into play? If it's one in 50 million (in-bounds) skier-days, then the cost-benefit ratio is still pretty high.
post #22 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbakerskier
Please tell me what good a tranciever search is going to do if the victims are not wearing one.

While there is no way in hell I will ski in or out of bounds without a tranciever, the facts are in the numbers, and less than one percent of skiers wear a beacon when skiing in bounds. As soon as a slide is reported, it should be proper procedure for wich ever patroler is clossest to the RECCO to grab the RECCO unit and respond as quickly as possible.

It doesnt matter if the RECCO cant be deployed on scene as quickly as a tranciever if the victims are not wearing a beacon. At least it increases the chance that they will be found. While its tre that the RECCO detector cant be deployed as fast as a standard beacon it still works, and as the system improves it will become more portable and will be faster to deploy. So there is really no reason at all to argue against having it.
I think you are missing my point. It's a good system. It's not the best bet. Also, how many folks have recco chips on them. I would argue it's less than the number that wear transceivers.

L
post #23 of 83
I think recco is going to be great for finding bodies at a resort or lost children.
Also if everyone is has recco reflectors on them, isn't it going to make it harder to figure out which is the one you should be zeroing in on? Look for the one that isn't moving?

Definitely good for filling a body bag.
post #24 of 83
MMSA patrol did use the Recco system yesterday. They also did a beacon search. They also had to make everyone with a beacon turn it off, or to search, so they could search. This made me worry about secondary releases, but there were none. MMSA has enough post control releases, that many of us wear beacons on any freshie day. Actually this slide location would have been reached very quickly by the guys with Recco, as Climax is the run directly under the top Gondola station. If it happened on the Tail? Better wear a beacon. Although Barryavox is working on a new beacon that can pick up Recco, so the system may become usefull in the future.
post #25 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrbd
Given that nobody was caught in the slide, why is this an argument for RECCO? How often do in-bounds skiers get caught in slides in the US, once per decade? While $300 (or $5) might be a cheap price for possibly saving your life, how often does it really come into play? If it's one in 50 million (in-bounds) skier-days, then the cost-benefit ratio is still pretty high.
You would be very suprised how often inbounds skiers get caught by slides. Hell a friend of mine was burried up to his neck at Baker on Friday on a main run directly under the lift. On average at Baker alone there is 10~15 in bounds close calls each year, despite extensive avy control. This probelm is way more common and wide spread than you might think.
post #26 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie
I think you are missing my point. It's a good system. It's not the best bet. Also, how many folks have recco chips on them. I would argue it's less than the number that wear transceivers.

L
Okay than name a better system for finding skiers in an inbounds slide where it is not common for people to be wearing beacons?

Actually since Atomic, Arteryx, Sessions, The NorthFace, Vans, Ripzone, etc all put the reflectors in there jackets, boots etc, far more people are likely to have the reflectors on them than those that have trancievers, plus the system can detect other electronics, so if you have a cell phone or a camera in your pocket, you can still befound even with out a reflector (The reflector makes it way easier to detect thou)
post #27 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz
I think recco is going to be great for finding bodies at a resort or lost children.
Also if everyone is has recco reflectors on them, isn't it going to make it harder to figure out which is the one you should be zeroing in on? Look for the one that isn't moving?

Definitely good for filling a body bag.
It pinpoints the reflector and does it with out relying on flux lines so that it is prety easy to find the victim even if the search party has the reflectors on themselves.
post #28 of 83
Recco seems like a cheap no brainer too me. Sure, it's most likely to recover a corpse, but I think my friends and family will appreciate not waiting until the spring thaw to find me. Transceives find corpses more often then not too.

My understanding is that in Europe, all the rescue helis have the system now. It's not uncommon with the cell phone coverage in the Alps for a heli to be on the scene within 10 minutes, so again, it seems to me like a no brainer for the cost.

And if more and more people are wearing the reflectors, the resorts will have more motivation to get (more of) the receivers and have them easily deployable.
post #29 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbakerskier
It pinpoints the reflector and does it with out relying on flux lines so that it is prety easy to find the victim even if the search party has the reflectors on themselves.
Ok, I am still confused. How do you differentiate between reflectors? As far as I know they are not unique. I take it from your post that the reflector provides a much more accurate pinpoint. It still seems that it could get difficult with a group of say 20 people with recco in the same area. Just curious. Is it that sensitive to movement?
post #30 of 83
The flux that MBS talks about has largely been eliminated from transceivers with the use of DSP (digital signal processing). From my understanding, it was mainly a problem for analog transceivers. As for the Recco, I'm not sure how it tells the difference bewteen signals.
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