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  1. #1
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    The burial victim would have died - A learning to use my avy gear TR.

    After reading Trackhead's thread about touring partners, I decided the time to practice with my avalanche tools had come. Saturday, when I asked a patroller about the beacon park at The Canyons, he said it was still out of service. He did, however, tell me the patrol stations at the top of each lift typically buries a beacon and they take turns finding and re-burying the beacon throughout the day. I asked the patrollers at the Tombstone chair about their buried beacon and they looked at me very suspiciously. When I explained that I wanted to practice using my beacon, they told me what run to go down and asked me to re-bury the beacon should I find it. Not quite a needle in a haystack, but probably not unlike showing up on the scene of an avalanche after the fact.

    I started receiving a signal after zig-zagging two thirds down the run. Unfortunately, I stopped in the trees about twenty or thirty feet below where the beacon was buried. As I hiked back up the hill in sugary snow and breakable crust, I couldn't help but think about someone dying a slow death as I slogged up the hill. Using a Tracker was helping a neophyte like myself find the buried beacon, but the conditions were making it difficult to reach the victim to start digging.

    While I think practicing in a beacon park, like those at Snowbird and The Canyons, is valuable; it was just that little bit more real world trying to find a buried beacon on an open run. I can only imagine the panic and fear that must set in when faced with an actual burial victim.

    I know I have more work to do.
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Science-fiction author Robert Heinlein

  2. #2
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    Good post.

    J-

  3. #3
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    What type of transceiver where you using?
    "True love is much easier to find with a helicopter"

  4. #4
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    Good write up. Did the same thing last year in Big Sky after getting that as a "pratice tip" from a local buddy.

  5. #5
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    I wish CO resorts had beacon parks. Sounds like a great idea to encourage people to practice.
    Fighting leads to killing, and killing gets to warring. And that was damn near the death of us all.

  6. #6
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    Wow this is so cool that those patrollers hide that beacon and practice throughout the day!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMatt View Post
    I wish CO resorts had beacon parks. Sounds like a great idea to encourage people to practice.
    They do - http://tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25480


    Good post. I was just thinking about this situation the other day. After heading down a long backcountry run and being completely exhausted, I was thinking that it would be very difficult to have to hike up through waist deep snow to dig someone out. Being physcially fit also makes a difference in avalanche rescue.
    "Can't vouch for him, though he seems normal via email."

  8. #8
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Below Zero View Post
    Great, thanks!

    I'll have to go check out Loveland's setup.
    Fighting leads to killing, and killing gets to warring. And that was damn near the death of us all.

  9. #9
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    At the Avalance Center at Rogers Pass in Canada's Glacier Nat. Park they have a becon park with 7 buried beacons. As you walk in there is a board where you can switch on any one, or multiple beacons to practice looking for several victims at a time, and then probe to find the buried box(es) with the signal. It's free and open 24 hrs. a day. It was so cool it made you feel guilty if you didn't use it to practice.
    Gravity Junkie

    How can you be in two places at once when you're not anywhere at all?

  10. #10
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    Yeah, big difference when you’re looking for a beacon on a slope verses the flats.
    The trumpet scatters its awful sound Over the graves of all lands Summoning all before the throne

    Death and mankind shall be stunned When Nature arises To give account before the Judge

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greydon Clark View Post
    Yeah, big difference when you’re looking for a beacon on a slope verses the flats.
    and when it is buried deep versus just below the surface. turning it from a 2-D to a 3-D problem makes it much harder.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    Ben Franklin

  12. #12
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    "bury" a beacon in a tree for 3d fun

  13. #13
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    In the avie courses I've taken, the burial test is the one that stresses me out the most. The last one I did for the level 2 @ Silverton had us find 2 beacons on a steep slope and you failed if you didn't do it in under 5 minutes.

    At 12k, I wuz weeeeeezin.
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  14. #14
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    It's a lot more difficult to make sure your primary search is covering enough terrain side to side without an actual slide to confine your zig-zags.

    Also important to know the range of your beacon with beacons at their worst alignment so you can cover all of the slide.

    As you point out crucial not to end up below the victim.

    Good post.
    Quote Originally Posted by Downbound Train View Post
    And there will come a day when our ancestors look back...........

  15. #15
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    After my digital Pieps DSP got stolen earlier this month I was back to my old analog Ortovox F1, which I hadn't practiced with for a couple of years. I did a practice session last Friday, and was disappointed that my times with the F1 were at least a minute or more off my normal times, and that multiple burials required quite a bit more concentration, trial and error. Goes to show (at least for me) that even with many years of past practice, beacon search skills require honing on a regular basis. Also makes me think how the "crutch" of modern digital beacons can make one complacent when going back to older equipment.

  16. #16
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    you know what they say: practice makes perfect.

    It isn't clear but do you think you ended up below the victem b/c your pattern was too wide or did the beacon bring you in from below?
    "It is not the result that counts! It is not the result but the spirit! Not what - but how. Not what has been attained - but at what price.
    - A. Solzhenitsyn

  17. #17
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    I am by no means an expert at this stuff, but I would think that ending up below the victim wouldn't be that bad. Granted, then you have to hike up to them, but if there are multiple people searching (and there should be, cus any group should be bigger than 2, and you shouldn't have more than 1 person exposed at once) then one person going below the victim would seem like the fastest way to narrow down the search area. Sure, the one person would have to hike up a bit, but it would get people probing and digging a good bit quicker than searching slowly, to make sure you didn't get too low.

    Just my two cents.

    Good thread though, we all could do with being a bit more proficient, I'm sure.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    What type of transceiver where you using?
    Come on now Hacksaw, the answer was right in front you.
    Quote Originally Posted by InspectorGadget View Post
    Using a Tracker ...


    As though if I didn't already know I was out of shape climbing up to dig out a buried beacon; yesterday I put on the skins for some in-resort exercise. More wheezing. Wanting to further display my lack of physical conditioning, I took my wife's* road bike out for a short ride in the afternoon sun. Climbing back up the hill to my house in first gear . . . . yup, more wheezing.



    LB - I think my search pattern was too wide.



    * I didn't want to get all the road salt and grim on my new Colnago.
    Last edited by InspectorGadget; 01-29-2007 at 12:39 PM.
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Science-fiction author Robert Heinlein

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I am by no means an expert at this stuff, but I would think that ending up below the victim wouldn't be that bad. Granted, then you have to hike up to them, but if there are multiple people searching (and there should be, cus any group should be bigger than 2, and you shouldn't have more than 1 person exposed at once) then one person going below the victim would seem like the fastest way to narrow down the search area. Sure, the one person would have to hike up a bit, but it would get people probing and digging a good bit quicker than searching slowly, to make sure you didn't get too low.

    Just my two cents.

    Good thread though, we all could do with being a bit more proficient, I'm sure.
    Nothing wrong with a group of two - it's more important than ever not to expose more than one perosn at a time though.

    Staying above victim is crucial. If you have the man power several people conducting primary searches saves a ton of time.

    Last edited by PNWbrit; 01-29-2007 at 12:39 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Downbound Train View Post
    And there will come a day when our ancestors look back...........

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