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Mountaineering The Mountaineering forum is for discussion that relates directly to mountaineering (alpinism, climbing).

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Old 06-23-2007, 08:37 PM
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hoosierdaddy hoosierdaddy is offline
Practical Backpacking­™ Associate Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Western Washington
Posts: 391
Avy beacons = body recovery tool?

While I’ve never been caught in an avalanche, I’ve been real close once and could have easily been buried. I’ve trained with avy beacons before, but didn’t really think it was a tool that I really needed to purchase. After all, they’re not cheap! I have always considered them a false sense of security and have tried to use knowledge and good judgment as my "tool." (Arguable whether not carrying one is good judgment) In my humble opinion, the best way to survive an avalanche is not to get into one. And training is the best way to do this. But once you are caught in an avalanche, all your avalanche avoidance training is pretty much moot. Doo-doo happens.

I am probably going to purchase a set either way, but I have never known anyone who has actually been saved by using one. The next time I feel a bit "iffy" about the snow pack stability and hear the little voice in my head say, "if it slides you have your beacon-it won't slide anyway", I can remind myself that they are only useful for finding dead bodies and possibly reconsider.

I don't want opinions on which beacon is better than others, so my question(s) is simple: Has anyone personally been buried and successfully been located and saved by a beacon or have you located and saved someone with a beacon, or was it simply a body recovery tool?
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Old 03-24-2008, 06:57 AM
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Alex Alex is offline
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8
avalanche beacons

I' just discovered your posting. Just to answer your question: I've been in an avalanche twice, but the first time I was only buried to the top of my skitouring boots ond thesecond time up to the waist, so no big deal to get out by myself. A friend of mine was buried completely 0.5-1m) but located with the baecon and rescued unharmed. When I had a Skitouring training at the Fraganter Hütte (Carinthia, Austria) a member of a Bergrettungsteam (=SAR) was buried by an avalanche almost 2 meter deep and saved unharmed by the other members of his team.
BUT I think you asked the wrong question ! If a beacon has an influence on burial time and survival of avalanche victims can only be answered with proper statistics.

[It is in German but perhaps you have a program to translate it or someone to translate it for you. (the answer in very short: you should carry a beacon, shovel and probe and practice, practice, practice...).
If you have further questions don't hesitate to ask.]
Hope it helps.
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