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Thread: New RECCO website...
12-07-2010, 02:17 PM #26
Thanks for all the replies. Yes, I can see how morons would get the wrong idea, but morons get the wrong idea about all kinds of things, including avalanche beacons and iPhones with "avalanche software". The RECCO reflector is superior to a probe line, and despite the product reviews and information posted above, I simply can't see why anyone thinks people are worse off with reflectors than without.
Yes, I am well-aware that there is a belief among the participants of this thread that the presence of a RECCO reflector will lead certain individuals to take bigger risks. Unfortunately, avalanche safety equipment has this general effect, along with helmets and climbing ropes and fatter skis. Certainly snowmobilers made for the mountains enable people to get into far more trouble than RECCO reflectors.
The fact of the matter is that failing to properly use most backcountry skiing equipment can lead to serious injuries and death, and a lot of backcountry ski equipment can lull us into a false sense of security. RECCO isn't any different, and I don't think it should be subject to special scrutiny.
It would be great if someone from RECCO could provide some data here. As I mentioned, I am not affiliated with RECCO, so I don't have any answers to some of the questions here, and I can't respond to the comments in any useful or conclusive fashion.
12-07-2010, 02:27 PM #27
I think you are just being obstinate and defensive here Cookie.
We are not deriding the technology or that they may be of some benefit in the right circumstances within a RESORT ( at least I'm not).
The harshness and critiscm is directed to the way RECCO markets and allows the clothing vendors to market their product and that they do little other than weasely fine print to deter the perception that they can be useful in the BC.
Last edited by Scotsman50; 12-07-2010 at 03:31 PM.Hugh Conway is my moral compass.
12-07-2010, 02:59 PM #28
Cookie - I'll stand you a beer if you'll go into a big box sporting or department store and can get a completely accurate and frank explantion of a recco clothing item that they carry from the closest sales person following your posed dumb gaper enquiry. No cheating now!
They act as a stupidity enabler far more than they act as a better alternative to a probeline.
12-07-2010, 06:01 PM #29Originally Posted by Scotsman50
Originally Posted by PNWBrit
I can definitely agree that, in conjunction with poor information, the RECCO tags could indeed serve as a stupidity enabler. Obviously, this isn't supposed to happen, but I agree that it does happen.
12-07-2010, 06:13 PM #30RECCO AB
- Join Date
- Jan 2009
DasBlunt invited me to this party (and I am glad he did), but in reading the thread I think I might be getting in between a dog and fire hydrant. Good thing I have a raincoat.
As I wrote in my post from last winter, I do work for RECCO. Before RECCO I worked for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center for nearly 20 years. I have also been involved in mountain rescue since the 1970s, and pro ski-patrolled for 20 years too. In all of these years I have participated on average in more than one avalanche rescue a year and as an avalanche researcher have investigated hundreds and hundreds of accidents.
Let me start with a few RECCO themes: 1) RECCO reflectors do not replace transceivers, 2) The RECCO System is a tool for organized rescue teams (ski patrols and mountain rescue). 3) RECCO reflectors have a place for all -- from novices to experts Ė in ski areas, sidecountry or backcountry.
Who should use reflectors?
I suspect most all of us use transceivers. How many of us have forgotten our transceiver or forgotten to turn it on? (I have, and more than once.) If you say you would never make this mistake, you havenít been skiing/riding long enough. In this situation, RECCO becomes a backup, even for experienced riders and avalanches nerds like us. Every year very experienced people forget their beacons or chose not to take one (Colorado last winter, Utah this winter). At the other end of the spectrum of riders are the avalanche ignorant, which are a lot of people. If people donít know about avalanche dangers, they donít know that they need to get educated and equipped with beacons, probes, and shovel. RECCO reflectors provide a base level of security whether itís the expert who forgets his or her beacon, or for the ignorant (who often are very good skiers or riders).
A beacon is the best tool for friends to find friends. Beacons also work well for rescuers to find people (and this happens every winter). But every winter 1/3 to 1/2 (depending upon the country) of all people buried and killed in avalanches donít have beacons. A probe pole is a very slow way to be found. (With a probe pole a single rescuer can search about 50m^2 per hour. A trained rescue dog searches at about 5000 to 10,000m^2 per hour. With a transceiver or a RECCO detector a rescuer can search about 60,000m^2 per hour.)
Where should reflectors be used?
The setting Ė- in-area, sidecountry or backcountry Ė for RECCO reflector use is irrelevant because a reflector does not replace a beacon. The problem is when someone doesnít have a beacon. The goal of any rescue is to find someone fast, no matter what method is used, whether itís beacons, RECCO, dogs, which are all way superior to a probe pole (probe line). Rescuers will almost always respond quicker to the sidecountry than the backcountry (but not always). A 15-minute response by rescuers is great until it takes 10 hours of probing to find someone. In the backcountry a 10-hour search benefits few people. But when the search only takes 15 minutes even if it took 1 or 2 hours for rescuers to arrive, organized rescuers can make a real difference.
In the US in the last 10 winters 2% of buried victims survived longer than 5 hours. Why not use technology that allows rescuers to search faster? Sure these people are lucky, but at least having a RECCO reflector allows you to be in a place to be lucky.
The issue of false confidence/false feeling of safety that RECCO reflectors might provide is really important to us, and we work very hard with brands and retailers to educate their sales staff. Yes, some sales people say the wrong things. Twenty to thirty years ago sales people also said the wrong things about beacons. One of the funnier stories was that beacons could be used by Denali climbers on a glacier to find crevasses. To this day, however, some sales people continue to say, ďA beacon will save your life.Ē This statement is false. The US statistics show only 39% of buried victims equipped with beacons survive. Scary.
We try to contact people that were found because of RECCO and so far none have said they chose to make riskier decisions because they had reflectors. The usual responses are things like thatís where their friends were going, or they had been there before and never had problems. Itís just like the scores of people that venture into the same spots, but with nothing.
All rescue devices (beacons, reflectors, AvaLungs and airbags) can sometimes cause false confidence. And all of us have been or are guilty of this. Think about it that next time you put your beacon around your neck, buy an airbag, or an Avalung. These are all excellent devices, but if you think they offer a shield to protect you, you or your relatives will be sadly disappointed.
Beacons and RECCO reflectors find people; neither devices guarantees survival. In fact the survival stats with beacons poor. If buried with a beacon, more people die than survive. In the last 10 years, despite beacons getting much better, the mortality rate of people buried with beacons is increasing. Itís up to 61%. There should be no doubt that the beacon is the best tool, but it doesnít replace good judgment. When dealing with avalanches even very skilled people, making good decisions, can still have bad outcomes.
Every winter in Europe, typically a handful of people are found alive because of the RECCO System. These people and their families are pretty happy because they got a second chance. Some day, and I hope sooner than later, the same will happen here in North America.
In the past couple of years RECCO has found a handful of buried victims in North America. Tragically, the victims had died. Conditions like trauma and multi-day Alaskan storms did not help. Two of the victims were not avalanche victims but lost skiers in tree-well type accidents.
A rescuerís perspective
If as a rescuer I was only concerned with how people were found in the past, I would use only probe poles and probe lines. Probe lines have saved far more lives than avalanche rescue dogs and RECCO. (The last person found alive in the United States by a trained avalanche dog was back in 1994. In more than one-third of rescues dogs failed to find buried victims. In Europe the figure is much lower.) However, I am not concerned with how people were found in the past. I am interested in what I can use today and tomorrow to find people faster and thatís why we as rescuers use beacons, the RECCO System, and dogs. If you were buried, wouldnít you want us to use every tool?
Thank you for reading.
12-07-2010, 07:00 PM #31
Dale - would you think it fair to say that at least 75% of your product's purchasers fundamentally misunderstood the purpose/function/capabilities/limitations of recco when they bought your product and for many that misunderstanding was reason for purchase. Evaluating that with risk perceptions of beacon , airbag or avalung purchasers is ridiculous.
That cheap misunderstanding has to alter peoples behaviour.
I know that Scotsman would be happy to host a phone conference for you to educate his snowmobiler employees if you'd be willing.
12-07-2010, 07:30 PM #32RECCO AB
- Join Date
- Jan 2009
Trying to figure out why people do what they do is almost impossible. Ask 5 behavioral economists and you'll get 25 different answers. Last winter my rescue team spent 2 months chasing an avid backcountry skier who had a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and thought it was an avalanche beacon. He'd turn on whenever he started down a backcountry slope, then he'd turn it off at the bottom. He got it as a Christmas gift but never read the user's manual. A lot of shop folks and individual users never read or watch our materials too.
I would very much like to talk with Scotsman and his staff. Please have him PM me or contact me via email@example.com. If any retailer would like more info or would like to chat, please contact me.
12-07-2010, 08:25 PM #33
I'm going to go with CookieMonster on this one. All this shit leads to a false sense of security, why single out RECCO? Does it ever occur to anyone that if you are using a flux line pattern to find a submerged human being, they are seriously fucked in the neck? Yet I see posts around here all the time that suggest beacon ownership is a prerequisite for snow riding with someone else, as though it conveys some halo of security. I'll take someone with snow sense and no beacon over some fucktard with a new Tracker2 100 times out of 100.
I guess I don't get the RECCO bile, either. There have been universes of refinements since they invented the Skadi over 40 years ago? Why not let RECCO evolve before we take a big deuce on it? And even if it never evolves, what is the issue with it existing as another slim margin of survivability?"Buy the Fucking Plane Tickets!"
-- Jack Tackle
12-07-2010, 08:42 PM #34
What's the point in arguing with him? The guy gets paid by RECCO. He's not going to put his paycheck and career in danger by telling the truth and he's obviously willing to compromise his own integrity by repeating the party line when his intellect MUST tell him that the RECCO dogma he is repeating is suspect to say the least. ( there is no other rational explanation).
Answer one question: don't deflect to the "message".
Dale: why doen't RECCO insist that every garment manufacturer using a RECCO detector MUST have a tag on it( produced by RECCO) explaining how the system works, it's capabilities and limitations and clearly marked ( since you won't agree to NOT SUITABLE FOR BACKCOUNTRY USE) that says" THIS IS NOT AN AVALANCHE BEACON" or something similar... very simple, cost cents. RECCO then insists, if you want RECCO on your garment, you must display tag or we won't sell to you.
Do that and the problem that I and many others have with RECCO simply evaporates. If the person buying the garment doesn't read the tag... that's their problem.
You admit that "a significant number of purchasers that buy your product misunderstand it" and go on to say you "think it's a good thing."... I understand the intellectual argument you are making in that regard but WOW that's some corporate mission statement right there! Can't think of many business models where a company would be proud of that. Usually the reverse is true on both counts and companies spend significant money and time to make sure that purchasers "fully understand" their product and think " that's a good thing."Hugh Conway is my moral compass.
12-07-2010, 09:14 PM #35
Thanks Scotsman. You own this thread now with a perfect point. Joe Strummer makes the best universal point, and I agree with him and CM and end my rant against Recco, but I would like to see something like what Scotsman says below implemented. Just a tag on the recco that has to be removed with all the information and warnings. A significant number is one too many IMHO. Beacons, shovel, probe without education is the same shit. I have climbed Mt Shasta, done multi week summer backpacking tours in Desolation Wilderness area, and now am getting into climbing and BC winter travel. I would not even step foot into winter BC unless I am ready. Most people don't work like this, but I do. I am not the market for Recco, clearly, but some sort of information must be stated about what actually Recco is.
Terje was right.
"We're all kooks to somebody else." -Shelby Menzel
12-07-2010, 11:15 PM #36RECCO AB
- Join Date
- Jan 2009
Hey Scotsman, never said I (or RECCO) was proud that a lot of folks don't understand our system. We do spend a lot of money and effort to educate folks and to motivate them to get educated about avalanches.
I do get paid from RECCO, but there is more to the story than me simply getting a paycheck. I actually first saw and used a detector back in 1987. It was right after I was the accident site leader for a 3-day search for 4 sidecountry (called it out-of-bounds back then) skiers buried and killed outside of a Colorado ski area. The debris covered nearly 24 acres. On one day we had over 400 people probing; another day saw over 300. Back then the detector weighed 35+ pounds and worked slightly better than VW van trying to pull a travel trailer over the mountains, but the detector and the system worked. For the next 20 years I kept my day job as a forecaster/researcher with the state of Colorado, and I volunteered time to RECCO, because I believed in the product and knew what it could do. Finally in 2007 I joined RECCO and got a paycheck.
On to your question.
Also, about 90% of the brands ALSO use an inside tag that is permanently attached to the product. Like the outer hang tags, the inside prominently says, "The RECCO System is not a substitute for the transceiver." The tag also gives a very brief description of the system. Here's what it looks like.
We try very hard to inform and educate. We have to. The consequences of an avalanche can be terminal. At some point, however, it becomes the user's responsibility to become aware of what they have. As you wrote, "If the person buying the garment doesn't read the tag... that's their problem."
12-07-2010, 11:38 PM #37
Those tags are WAY too much like a promo for RECCO. It reads like you are still selling the product. Way too positive/ like a sales pitch and not enough reality in those tags IMO.
And furthermore, I feel like none of us are bashing it for fun. It's only warnings in our minds, questioning something about the RECCO ideal, which is hard to pinpoint, but the flags are still there about how to make it safer and better. On one hand people are working towards better snow safety, like you Dale. On the other hand, some people see a false sense of security and are passionate about not misleading the sheep.
Glad you made it back over Dale.Terje was right.
"We're all kooks to somebody else." -Shelby Menzel
12-08-2010, 12:09 AM #38
12-08-2010, 12:22 AM #39
Dale: Thank you for your reply and let me start for apologizing for my statement about your motivation for defending RECCO. That was unfair and you obviously take avalanche safety very seriously and your volunteer work is commendable.
In addition I went and looked at all my RECCO equipped garments and found tags in two of the three garments I own as you describe so you OWN this thread and I am incorrect and guilty of the very accusations I was making. I am a moron and despite my embarrassment, when I'm wrong ... I need to own up to being wrong.
I've had a bee in my bonnet about RECCO for several years ever since hearing a store clerk tell me about the avalanche beacon in the jacket I was looking at and recently when trying to give the 20 or so avid snowmobiler's who work for my company some avy education at a company safety meeting I organized because I was horrified to hear about some of their weekend exploits and lack of avy savvy. During that session, I was aghast as I listened to several of them tell me they had avalanche beacons in their clothing and had bought the clothes for that very reason but were unaware of what RECCO was. Obviously the very tags I was complaining about being omitted where there in the (presumably)majority of their clothing with RECCO and if they didn't read the tags so be it. I've been blaming the wrong people.
However that is no excuse for getting my basic facts wrong and for that I apologize yet again.
It still disturbs me that a significant number of the purchasers who buy your product misunderstand it but I guess that's their problem if they are not willing to find the tags and read them.Hugh Conway is my moral compass.
12-08-2010, 01:11 AM #40RECCO AB
- Join Date
- Jan 2009
Scotsman50, I appreciate you listening. Thank you.
I try and RECCO tries to educate folks, and we'll keep pluggin' away at it. It's also good to know that you take this seriously, too. We all have to, especially if we want to keep playing in snow.
I am calling it a night. If you, or your staff, or anyone out there has questions, or thoughts, please give a shout.
12-08-2010, 09:04 AM #41Registered User
- Join Date
- Oct 2006
I understand people frustration with the false sense of security that might be created by RECCO reflectors.
However, I look at this situation as similar to what is going on in the automobile industry right now. Every single car that hits the road in this country nowadays has two things: seatbelts and airbags.
The two technologies are designed to work together, and riding in a car without a seatbelt with an airbag could arguably be more dangerous than not having one at all. Yet, people are still stupid and stubborn enough to drive around without their seatbelts on.
People are stupid enough to venture into the backcountry without receivers and stupid enough to assume that their RECCO reflectors are a sufficient safety precaution in the BC.
Just because people don't use their seatbelts and airbags propertly doesn't mean it makes sense to stop providing or even mandating these safety technologies.
I see the same thing with beacons and RECCO.
12-10-2010, 05:14 AM #42
In the eyes of the ignorant, the first bullet point is very decisive, whilst the red footnote language such as "the transceiver" is probably meaningless and very low impact.
So marketing bullet point #1 delivers a k.o. hit to the red warning text at the bottom.
I'd expect to see the red footnote text as the very first bullet point, however using the language "a personal avalanche transceiver" rather than "the transceiver".
That is my opinion, no disrespect intended.
I'll save my opinion on the second bullet point, because I think I may offend. Suffice to say that reading:
"advanced rescue system that enables fast searching...of a victims precise location"
"no training required"
...is not fair marketing.
No wonder Scotsman's sledder co-workers think they have avalanche transceivers built into their clothes (that don't even need batteries! yippee!)Life is not lift served.
Weather data for Hakuba, Japan
12-10-2010, 12:11 PM #43
I agree entirely with you Hohes.
The warning (actually it's more marketing) is at best meaningless to the average punter and very likely encourages the uneducated to travel in avalanche terrain.
I asked someone yesterday on a chair about his recco pants. He had completely misunderstood it's purpose or use. He actually believed that it enabled me to find him with my transciever. He wasn't wearing one as he "couldn't afford it" but guessed there were enough people wearing them these days that'd look for him that it didn't matter. I asked him how much his helmet cam set up cost.....
Of course then there was ther other clown whose shovel fell off the back of his pack on chair 6.
12-10-2010, 01:12 PM #44
Unless I missed something, not once has someone from Recco stated that the Recco-equipped gear is utterly useless unless whoever is organizing the rescue has the requisite Recco detector hardware for locating the buried Recco reflectors. IMO, that is the most important piece of information that is needed to understand the Recco system.
Furthermore, I would say that it is irresponsbile and misleading to claim that "RECCO reflectors have a place for all in ski areas, sidecountry or backcountry" when the truth is "RECCO reflectors have a place for all in areas where the responsible rescue organization is equipped with a RECCO detector." Pretty important difference, isn't it?We heard you in our twilight caves, one hundred fathom deep below, for notes of joy can pierce the waves, that drown each sound of war and woe.
12-10-2010, 02:20 PM #45Terje was right.
"We're all kooks to somebody else." -Shelby Menzel
12-10-2010, 02:35 PM #46
I understood that recco mostly donates detectors to ski areas?
Probably in order to be able to promote the number of areas equipped with them when advertsing their questionable "Advanced No Training or Batteries Necessary Fast Searching Avalanche Rescue Technology" products?
12-10-2010, 02:46 PM #47
To be fair, almost every resort any of us skis has at least one receiver
at quick glance it looks like Silverton is the only one I looked for and couldn't find, but they require transceivers. The real problem is that even if the resort has one (or a few), getting it from the patrol shack to slide path before you start losing brain cells would be pretty tough, so self/buddy rescue with a transceiver is still your best chance at being recovered in good shape.
Maybe an avalung and a recco would give you pretty good chances, but I sure don't want to be stuck down there in a frozen full body cast in the dark, sucking on a tube for 20 minutes before I black out. 6 minutes is somehow much more acceptableThe killer awoke before dawn.
He put his boots on.
12-12-2010, 05:20 PM #48
A young enthusiastic guy with no prior bc experience walked into an avalanche course classroom session yesterday, sat down, looked at the equipment list and asked "is a transceiver once of those those metal reflectors in your jacket?"
I was amazed. You couldn't make it up. During the class there was a little time set aside to set the facts straight in no uncertain terms. We then went onto survival statistics starting with 15 minutes/90% followed by 35 minutes/30%Life is not lift served.
Weather data for Hakuba, Japan