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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Ontario and a ship
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    6

    hanging lake slide

    A friend and old acquaintance of mine were involved in a slide near whistler yesterday. 1 buried and deceased. When the victim was found 3 hrs later his avy bag was ripped off and his beacon was in search mode. Very sad stuff, hopefully we can learn something from this.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/britis...tler-1.4010574

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/sout...uring/?fref=nf

    i am now questioning wether it is worth it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sonoma & Truckee
    Posts
    9,811
    A good friend of mine was in that area yesterday in a large group and hearing this news definitely gave me pause. I was relieved when I found out he was not involved. Sorry about your friend (or your friend's friend?).

    I have wondered about various beacons and how they are set to transmit / send mode and whether a tumble with a blow in the right spot could knock it out of place. I have a Mammut where you have to do a multi-point press down and slide over to switch to search or turn it off but I'm not sure about others.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Ontario and a ship
    Posts
    6
    thanks.

    word is, the beacon a Pieps DSP sport, was in his pants pocket and not in the harness ( i also do this...) which may have allowed it to switch from transmit to recieve. I will be using the harness from now on. Also to clarify his pack was still on but the actual bag was split open or ripped off.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Juxtaposition
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    5,815
    This is a sad story. Genuine condolences to all involved.

    I can see how the large and exposed sliding design of the Pieps Sport/Pro send/seach/off switch could possibly be activated by friction in a pants pocket during a slide.

    I also carry my beacon in my pants pocket sometimes, but it has a very different switch design (Mammut Pulse/Element)
    Life is not lift served.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sonoma & Truckee
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    9,811
    Yeah, I always carry my beacon in my pants pocket but the thinking there has to do with a regular ski crash (far more likely) and not wanting a hard object right over my abdomen / ribs, although I suppose it would apply to possible trauma in an avalanche as well.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    9,300ft
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    Sorry about your friend.

    Peips DSP sliders wrap around so pocket orientation doesn't matter.

    What I want to know is was did this person suffer unsurvivable trauma or was the beacon otherwise damaged beyond function? The forces involved with ripping the airbag off suggest potential for that. Because I remember Manuel saying essentially nobody has been pantsed by an avalanche without suffering unsurvibable trauma.

    Additionally, the DSP's can have a motion sensor based AUTO-REVERT-TO-TRANSMIT. However, Peips chose to DISABLE this by default and make this option not user selectable... you have to go to their service center to enable it. Had this beacon been enabled, it would have started transmitting roughly 4 minutes after the avalanche stopped despite having the switch in search mode.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peips DSP Manual
    There is also the option to carry the PIEPS DSP PRO/DSP SPORT with the supplied hand loop in a securely closeable trouser pocket without a protective case.
    I wear my Pulse in my pants. The beacons replacing the Pulse/Element will have similar but improved switches that will not be susceptible to this type of traumatic mode switching.
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Golden, CO
    Posts
    1,565
    damn
    sorry about your friend Chuurles.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    North Vancouver/Whistler
    Posts
    10,798
    So sorry for your loss

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Mt. Baker
    Posts
    1,320
    How do we know it was ever set correctly to transmit?

    On the pieps its easy to accidentally set it to search when turning on if you don't visually check, or do a proper group check.

    I always use a pieps backup every day I go out. It also works with any other brand beacon in case yours doesn't auto revert or if your beacon stops working for a variety of reasons.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunder View Post
    How do we know it was ever set correctly to transmit?

    On the pieps its easy to accidentally set it to search when turning on if you don't visually check, or do a proper group check.
    We don't, however, a "left-in-search-all-day" mode of failure is extremely unlikely in groups wearing other beacons, particularly large groups as this one was, because the "left-in-search" beacon goes bonkers from all the other transmitters and it is a bit hard to miss the cacaphony.

    I always use a pieps backup every day I go out. It also works with any other brand beacon in case yours doesn't auto revert or if your beacon stops working for a variety of reasons.
    Every beacon on the market has auto-revert and Peips are the only beacons where the user cannot enable/disable themselves (have to go to a shop).

    I'd say to someone considering a Peips Backup: do a TH check every time and get your auto-revert working (and understand how it works on your particular beacon), then let's split that $90 I saved you.

    Beacon transmit failures in avalanche accidents fall into 4 categories (from common to rare):
    1. Preventable by trailhead check
    2. Unsurvivably traumatic slides
    3. Preventable by auto-revert
    4. VERY rare other circumstances that I cannot give you a real-world example of

    #4 is where a peips backup will really help
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    off on yet another Tangent
    Posts
    2,555
    I also wear carry my DSP Sport in a pocket and became concerned after reading about this tragedy. Here is a video showing how the slider can be unlocked in a beacon pouch:



    From the notes under the video:

    Simon Thomson21 hours ago

    Good video bud. If I can add something it would be that the transceiver should be turned screen facing your body in the pouch, most manufactures recommend this position as it protects the screen during a violent crash or avalanche. In this position you wouldn't have the issue of the buckle landing over the button and chance of it sliding. Just my two cents...

    matty markiewicz
    15 hours ago

    Simon Thomson I should have mentioned in this video that I've had this happen when it's facing down too. The lock button can press against your chest and move the slider.

    Dan Batchelor20 hours ago
    Simon, I was just going to say the same thing... it fits in the pouch really well flipped towards your body, and hopefully that eliminates the buckle pressure point to press the unlock release button accidentally?

    matty markiewicz
    15 hours ago

    Dan Batchelor I've had this happen when wearing it both ways.
    Last edited by Alpinord; 03-08-2017 at 03:02 AM.
    Best regards, Terry
    (Direct Contact is best vs PMs)

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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Vernon BC
    Posts
    1,561
    Very sad new. My condolences. Thank you for the post.

    Tomorrow is the three year anniversary of an incident where I lost a very good friend of mine. Similar (but different) circumstances, beacon failure, Airbag failed to deploy.

    You are not alone with your internal struggle Re: is it worth it. It's been hard getting back on the horse. But, My perspective, mentality and risk assessments have changed (for the better) since then. Our group has really grown out of the tragedy, and we have tried to apply our lessons learned, and those of others, into our daily practice... I don't know what I would do without skiing, without the adventures, bonds, relationships, and stoke it has generated for me over the years. It's hard to reconcile how something so awesome can deliver something so brutal. You will eventually find a balance that's right for you. Much love.
    "Its not the arrow, its the Indian" - M.Pinto

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    slc
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    9,462
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuuurles View Post
    i am now questioning wether it is worth it.
    Sorry to hear about your friend. I haven't lost anyone close to me, but enough people with much more experience than me have died in the last few years that it has definitely affected me. If I am honest with myself, 1) low-angle meadow skipping bores me and everything I truly want to ski is avalanche terrain, and 2) no matter how careful you are, if you ski avalanche terrain your long-term probability of being caught in an avalanche gradually approaches 100%. Not that I don't enjoy a nice mellow tour, any day in the mountains is a good day, but I'd always rather be skiing steeper rowdier stuff.

    Not that I'm going to stop BC skiing completely, but I am a lot more risk averse and selective now. I tend to find myself getting more excited about mountain biking these days, and a big part of that is not having to worry about dying in a cold white tomb.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Vancouver BC
    Posts
    2,620
    OP: condolences for your loss.

    What's the advantage/purpose of carrying your beacon in your pants pocket? Not trolling here, just genuinely curious as I've always used the harness on my body. Faster/easier gloved access without unzipping jacket?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Gaperville, CO
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    3,081
    Quote Originally Posted by gramboh View Post
    OP: condolences for your loss.

    What's the advantage/purpose of carrying your beacon in your pants pocket? Not trolling here, just genuinely curious as I've always used the harness on my body. Faster/easier gloved access without unzipping jacket?
    Basically this. Easier access and a bit easier to do fine-grain search down low on the snow.

    My AIARE instructors preferred pocket access for this reason.

  16. #16
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    Oct 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by gramboh View Post
    OP: condolences for your loss.

    What's the advantage/purpose of carrying your beacon in your pants pocket? Not trolling here, just genuinely curious as I've always used the harness on my body. Faster/easier gloved access without unzipping jacket?
    1. Quickest access
    2. Avoids the frequent mistake of wearing the beacon outside all the layers when you strip down while ascending or under 2-3 layers when you layer up for descending or the inconvenience/discomfort necessary to avoid this problem.
    3. Easier fine searching / ergonomics
    4. Not having hard object over solid organs in a fall (Liver).
    5. No weight of the harness


    I've been doing it for 7 years
    Last edited by Summit; 03-09-2017 at 01:31 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    10,184
    When doing a fine search you are attempting to pinpoint the beacons location.

    I prefer to have the target as close to my airway as possible. Every ride I have ever taken has involved my banging into things and ending up bruised on the areas that are covered by pants pockets.

    Harness weight? Are you fucking joking?

    Carry your beacon wherever you like but there is a reason that the manufacturers build them into a harness.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Shuswap Highlands
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    2,027
    I often wear an equipment vest and/or chest vhf radio harness, which interferes with a beacon harness, so the beacon goes into the pants pocket.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Boulder
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    882
    Quote Originally Posted by gramboh View Post
    OP: condolences for your loss.

    What's the advantage/purpose of carrying your beacon in your pants pocket? Not trolling here, just genuinely curious as I've always used the harness on my body. Faster/easier gloved access without unzipping jacket?
    Another subtle thing I noticed during a practice scenario this year:

    When you're not the primary searcher but are still in the fray (assisting rescue prior to probe strike by assembling probe, shovel etc.) your beacon still needs to be in search mode, and needs to be stowed somewhere so you can use your hands. For me, it was awkward to try to stash my beacon (Tracker 2) in the harness w/o risking hitting the switch to revert to transmit. The tether that attaches the beacon to the harness also makes it awkward to stash in a pocket during this situation.

    FWIW I'm a beacon in pocket guy. My touring pants have a dedicated pocket with a sewn loop for the tether. The scenario above arose when demonstrating a rescue. I used the harness in that case because I was uncertain of the current AIARE recommendation and the company line of the organization I was working with, and did not want to demonstrate conflicting practice.
    Last edited by North; 03-09-2017 at 01:59 PM.

  20. #20
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    Oct 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunion View Post
    I prefer to have the target as close to my airway as possible.
    Where I adjusted my harness typically was within about 6-8" of where my beacon sits in my waist pocket.

    If that matters, then why don't you adjust your harness to sit on your upper sternum?

    Harness weight? Are you fucking joking?
    Not really a motivation for me, but I've heard some people say so. There are spandexers buying Peips Micros to save 60g.

    Carry your beacon wherever you like but there is a reason that the manufacturers build them into a harness.
    And there is a reason manufacturers and industry leaders say it is fine to put it in your pocket.

    Think for a moment... how many times have you been on a tour with someone who is wearing their bacon exposed to the elements because it is sunny and warm even though this against what we teach? Or under their shell and two layers of down because it is cold even though it will take an extra 10-20 seconds dicking around with zippers? Or people who move ackwardly or slowly or are incapable of getting their beacon really low to the snow in the fine search even after you stop and help them adjust their harness and bungee? Those are the real reasons I wear it in a pocket.
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Gaperville, CO
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunion View Post
    ...

    Carry your beacon wherever you like but there is a reason that the manufacturers build them into a harness.
    They supply a good harness so everyone has a good way to carry them. Not all pants have an appropriate pocket (sewn in, with a sewn loop tether) to carry a beacon.

    I doubt there is a documented case of someone caught in an avalanche being depants-ed that didn't die from trauma.

  22. #22
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    Oct 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by doebedoe View Post
    They supply a good harness so everyone has a good way to carry them. Not all pants have an appropriate pocket (sewn in, with a sewn loop tether) to carry a beacon.

    I doubt there is a documented case of someone caught in an avalanche being depants-ed that didn't die from trauma.
    This.

    And Manuel Genshwein checked for the existence of such a case... and couldn't find one. He made that point at a training I attended in 2010 along with the other points above and that is when I started putting my beacon in my pants.
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Spokane/Schweitzer
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    4,864
    Back on topic: My condolences to the family and to you, Chuuurles and his other friends. Sad day for everyone involved.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Colorado
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    2,094
    So the Pieps doesn't default to transmit after a period?
    So the Pieps can easily accidently be switched to search?
    How didn't he know that he was in Search? Wouldn't it make a lot of noise finding the other beacons?
    Did people search for him and couldn't find him after the slide?

    WTF


    Date
    2017-03-04
    Location
    Hanging Lake, Callaghan Valley near Whistler
    Location Description
    Province
    BC
    Mountain Range
    Coast Mountains
    Coordinates
    50.1491 -123.082 Lat/Long Decimal Degrees
    Elevation
    1600m
    Activity
    Backcountry Skiing
    Involvement
    1
    Injury
    0
    Fatality
    1
    Description
    One skier was fully buried in an avalanche that occurred on a slope above Hanging Lake, approximately 10 km northwest of Whistler. The avalanche was reported as a size 2.5, 100-150 m wide, running 400 m, with a crown depth of 80-100 cm. The avalanche occurred on a northwest aspect and slid on a layer of facets over a crust. The victim was the third of a party of six to descend the slope. No other party members were caught in the slide. The victim was located at an elevation of 1400 m; the elevation of the start zone was approximately 1600 m. The victim was washed through a stand of trees during the descent. Rescuers were unable to locate the victim using a transceiver search, despite the victim having a transceiver on their person. The transceiver, worn in a hip pocket, was found with the switch in the “search” position, for reasons unknown at this time. The victim deployed an avalanche balloon pack, but it was found to have sustained significant damage. The victim did not employ the pack’s crotch strap. Nearby parties as well as search and rescue assisted with the rescue and a probe line was established. The victim was eventually located with the help of a rescue dog approximately four hours after the avalanche occurred. CPR was initiated but the victim was pronounced deceased by a doctor on site.
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  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Ontario and a ship
    Posts
    6
    thanks for the info and advice.

    From what i have heard the crotch strap was used and the CAA report is incorrect on that.

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