View Full Version : Stupidest Piece of Snow Gear - EVER

05-24-2012, 10:43 AM
An avalanche beacon with no search mode.


05-24-2012, 11:13 AM
My kids play, "search and rescue" in he back yard with my Tracker. I'm sure they could find me, but don't think they could dig me out. I wouldn't go so far as calling that beacon the stupidest piece of snow gear. As a guide, there have been many times where I've put beacons on people knowing full well there is no way they are ever going to find me. But for Forest Service/Permit compliance I can see the use. Think of all the Heli/snowcat operations.

I would rate that beacon as better than a Recco http://www.recco.com/
and better than than an Avalung. http://www.rei.com/product/705146/black-diamond-avalung-ii

05-24-2012, 11:16 AM
Reminds me of the RECCO thing.. except at least that was passive and everybody knew it was kinda useless.. Imagine if there were tons of folk with these things turned on and something happened. It'd be impossible to get everybody to turn them off so you could search for burials. I imagine folks slogging around freaking out with these things in their pocket turned on as others slowly died.

05-24-2012, 12:03 PM
I don't agree Farnham, it's dangerous and arrogant.

I'm not ragging on a person who thinks they are soooo important that they MUST be found at all cost per say, but the blatant disregard for fellow backcountry users is irritating and depressing. Why anyone would think not being able to search is even an option is beyond me. I wear mine just about every day I'm on snow, even in bounds, just in case. From Loveland Chair 1 to b/c is only a few minutes and just never know. It's a matter of trust and if people are going to expect me to find them but they aren't going to bother even trying. They expect that S&R will be there to hold their hands and bail them out.

The Avalung can work and does not negatively impact anyone else who might or might not be in your party. I agree that it can give the same false sense of security, but that argument is also made about helmets. The "Would you ride this line if you weren't wearing a brain bucket and pads?" question. Maybe, actually probably.

But these things are not potentially confusing. The 5-minute survival rate is 99%, 15-minute survival rate for burial is 90%, but at 30-minutes your chance of survival is 30% and at 1-hour the chance of being found alive is 15%. Going further out, the 2-hour survival rate is 10%. When you consider being found alive and not suffer brain damage, the reality is that you have a few minutes to find a person who was not killed instantly. At 15+ minutes you very quickly eat actual burial death related time, it's about 3% per minute.

Getting these things shut down will consume critical time. Not to mention people are going to treat them as life preservers instead of emergency gear, so no training, no consideration of how to use them (e.g. go to search or off IMMEDIATELY if you are not buried). This IMHO is compounded by the target group, kids in particular. I understand the motivation to protect them. I'm sorry to sound harsh, but if a person cannot understand the ramifications of the situation they should not be there. Your little ones might be different, the truth is it's not age dependent, there are plenty of adults I won't ski with off piste.

05-24-2012, 12:44 PM
people are going to treat them as life preservers instead of emergency gear, so no training, no consideration of how to use them (e.g. go to search or off IMMEDIATELY if you are not buried).

total agreement. i was kind of floored when i saw that article this morning.

takes me back do my dive mastering/scuba instructor days and the all people i rescued who didn't know how to operate all the "technical" dive gear they had bought. the ones that were still alive were always dumbfounded that they had to be rescued since they had their stack of c-cards and all the "right" gear.

i have no desire to take my kids skiing in the back or side country. for me, it's not a place for them until they are old enough to fully understand the potential ramifications. when that time comes, i will not be a cheapskate.

05-24-2012, 02:43 PM
The only place I could ever see using that is for Porter. But I'd still have to shut it off in the case of a real burial.(same as if I use my extra transceiver) Really stupid piece of gear IMO. I can't see any practical use of that on a person other than the obvious, a body locater.

05-24-2012, 11:32 PM
We are in agreement and saying the same thing in different ways. The fact that we are discussing avalanche safety is valuable to all. I am not an advocate of taking children/inexperienced people into potential avalanche terrain. Teaching children early about avalanche safety when you live and work in the ski industry, is similar to teaching water safety if you live near the ocean. At what age do you teach kids CPR?

I would not put one on a dog or snowmobile for the reasons stated above.

I think the new airbag stuff is pretty cool, I'm giving it another generation before I buy one.

I just think there are a lot of stupid people.

05-25-2012, 10:16 AM
I just think there are a lot of stupid people.


05-25-2012, 02:26 PM
So...if I understand this piece of equipment right it has a beacon so the person wearing it can be found, but it would be useless for finding someone buried because there is no search mode? :confused:

I guess if you went skiing with someone with one of these it would only make sense for them to go first right :hill:

I can see Farnham's perspective though...If you ran an operation where you took 10-20 people into the back country with say 2-4 guides, it would seem that these would be useful to put on the people that don't have a clue about searching but might need to be found if they got buried. Just make sure the folks with units that can search aren't the first down the hill should an avalance be triggered. Or, maybe I'm missing something.