Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 4:26 pm Posts: 411 Location: S.F. Bay Area
Had never heard an instructor or any reference book say it was okay to be in your pack, but I can understand the logic used. I might not agree, but that's the joy of it all... Don't have to..
My experience encourages me to keep it on my body. I took a good fall a couple years back inbounds that exploaded my pack and blew up a buckle and strap leaving quite a yardsale. I was fine (although not sure how fine i would have been without the pack). I can definitely see a situation where I might loose a pack, outside pocket, etc and still be alive and well enough to wish I could be found...
I'll stick to keeping the beacon strapped close to my body, under my jacket, or at worse in secured pocket of a middle or base layer. I just figure if there is an easy way to up my chances, I'll do it...
Also, how long will it take to get your beacon out (safely) when your buddy gets caught in a slide.
My beacon goes in with my shovel and probe (and first aid kit too). Those have to come out anyway in that situation. How does it take longer if everything you need is together in the same place? You would have to remove your pack, open up your jacket, get your beacon out, open your pack, and remove your shovel/probe. Whereas I just remove my pack, open it up and get everything out at once. Which one takes longer?
Karma Surf's point is valid. That and there is a possibility of the pack being ripped off while you still survive like NoKnees says. We also must not forget something that a beacon is often used for - body recovery.
You guys are prolly right that the best place for the beacon is strapped to you. I do think we focus too much time on these avy survival devices like beacons (and worst of all Avalungs) and not enough time on how to stay out of an avy (I should talk, right PJ?). Don't make the board/ski transition in a run-out zone, etc. If you go out there thinking that you will survive an avy, then your risk of being caught in one goes way up - it's psychological human factors. Just the fact that you wear a beacon means you are willing to put you and others in a certain amount of risk. *That* was my instructor's point and why he says where you put the beacon is not that important.
You guys are prolly right that the best place for the beacon is strapped to you. I do think we focus too much time on these avy survival devices like beacons (and worst of all Avalungs) and not enough time on how to stay out of an avy (I should talk, right PJ?).
If you go out there thinking that you will survive an avy, then your risk of being caught in one goes way up - it's psychological human factors. Just the fact that you wear a beacon means you are willing to put you and others in a certain amount of risk. *That* was my instructor's point and why he says where you put the beacon is not that important.
firkristsakes! well then, leave the beacon at home if that's the attitude. why would we put ourselves at such a risk and not take any precautions in doing so? a beacon acts as that precaution; not a prevention. does the instructor realize this? it is kind of a valid point he makes, but i don't agree with teaching this in a class (advanced or beginner). it seems as though it's his own feelings about overemphasizing the importance of "safety" gear. IMO, keep that to yourself and amongst friends, not to a group of newbies trying to learn the "right way" of how to keep themselves safe.
let's face it; we like things bigger, faster, louder, etc. therefore, we also may have the tendancy to try and cut corners. placing a beacon in your pack and giving yourself just one more thing to try and finangle with in a rescue search should not be an example of this, or something that should be promoted in an educational avalanche course. trying to justify it by having to get other equipment out of your pack at the same time is just plain bs. every second matters, and why would somebody (in thier right mind) want something else to remember in such an intense situation where there are about a million things going on in your head already? that makes no sense to me, but different strokes for different folks i suppose. (not folks i would plan on traveling with)
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:41 pm Posts: 1619 Location: Santa Cruz, CA
My transceiver is always on my body, and turned on/checked at the trailhead (not just when I get close to a "suspected avy zone").
As far as putting it in a pocket... I know nobody else on here has ever done this , but I can't count the number of times I've gotten to the bottom of a run and realized I had opened a jacket or pants pocket at the top and forgot to close it. When you put the transceiver on your body, it's pretty foolproof to make sure it's securely attached (and working, with the Ortovox power on via strap connection method).
In a search scenario, most transceiver strap attachments are designed so that you can quickly get them into search mode and hold them at a comfortable searching distance *without* removing the straps, which is important if a secondary slide occurs while you're searching and you're caught.
There are two reasons I don't think dropping your beacon in your pack is a good idea - 1) it takes longer for you to get to the tranceiver if you need to look for someone else (also to turn off your tranceiver if there's a search team) and 2) if you are in an avalanche and your pack is ripped off, searchers will only find the pack in the end. Even if you were to die, then there would still be no recovery and a group of people making a big effort for nothing.
I always wear on my body, over my base layer.
Always put your peeps closest to your body. The problems with putting it in your bag are numerous.
1 the bag can get ripped off, or blow apart
2 if the bag is bigger than a day pack the bag should be jettisoned in a slide(small bags can act like a turtle shell protecting you from trauma, while a bigger bag will just drag you around) chest and hip straps should be unbuckled before crossing a suspect slope
3 things fall out of bags and pockets, think how you would feel when your partner is going under and you go to pull out your becon and realize that it fell out when you pulled your lunch out (dad always told you to put the bills in one pocket and your knife in another so you dont pull out bills with your knife)
4 you endanger the lives of potential rescuers that would be putting themselves in a dangerous situation looking for your backpack to give to you next of kin.
knuckle, you say that your avi istructor had told you it is fine to put into your pack.... be aware that most entry level courses are just that; entry level. Along the lines of the "just enough to get you in trouble". The course is the first part, now travel with experienced people, read trip/accident reports(learn from others mistakes), gain experience before upping commitment, and look into taking a more informative course when you have the knowledge base. You might have also gotten shafted on your course(im sure in not the only one questioning the instructors knowledge on what seems to be a somewhat black/white topic) The canadian level one course is a great course to take with tonnes of stuff to learn. Not to be confused with the American Level 1. I believe that the Can lvl 1 is equivilant to the USA lvl 4.
Traveling in the backcounrty is about minimizing the hazard. you do everything you can to minimize hazard. You dont expect to get buirried but you always travel like you are expecting to be buried. I climbing you dont plan to fall but you always protect against a fall( back up your anchor and then back it up again, equalize, double check) its about going overkill (within reason) on saftey, so you can be out there tomorrow. Put the peeps on your body; your pack might not make it out tomorrow-but you will.
_________________ A man is not so drunk, as long as he can lie on the floor without holding on!
knuckle, ... The course is the first part, now travel with experienced people, read trip/accident reports(learn from others mistakes), gain experience before upping commitment, and look into taking a more informative course when you have the knowledge base.
Oh, okay, I'll get right on that.
The course was years ago. He also said not to jettison your pack (as if you'd have time to do that anyway), because it makes it easy to locate you visually or with a probe and/or people probing may think it's you instead. I should prolly retake it and/or upgrade and catch up on the current dogma.
Now I must go pay penance and do four Hail-Ullr's for violation thereof.
it seems as though i may be you that may want to look into the new current dogma since your course was years ago. Things have come up in recent years, like losing your pack. Yes it will make it easier to probe you, but again i thought the emphasis was on staying out of slides. If you bag is small keep it on, if you bag is big <40L it is in your best interest to remove your pack.
I spent all last winter touring with ACMG's around western Canada. The ACMG is recognized as the best ski guide certification in the world because of the associations emphasis on snow knowledge. The people who mentoured me where some of the best guides in the industry/world. Lead Guides and ski guides from the biggest operators in canada, like- CMH, Island Lake Lodge, Mike Wiglie, Catter Creek, Baldface...... Most of them having the CAA Level 2 which is more avalanche education than the recreational tourer could ever comprehend plus the experience need just to be accepteted to apply fot the ACMG exam. I spent numerous days with these people having them analyze and educate me on my decisions in the BC. These are also people who contribute to the new research that is being done in western canada.
Certain things may have changed since your "weekend" avi class years ago. Since then certain industry standards have presented themselves, like;
-People use brakes on skis now, and not leashes
-Beacons are to be worn not carried along for the ride(ever go to a mechanized ski operation and have the guide tell you to just put this in your pocket)
-If you are caught in a slide you get ride of anything you dont need that is on you i.e. skis, poles, and a backpack(if its big) and yes you will have time if you have unclipped your chest and hip strap, just put your arms back and it will fall of faster than your mom panties. Anything left on you will push and pull you in different directions plus try swiming with a 60lb bag on.
-The way in which a test colum fractures in now just as important if not more important than the force requried to get a result.
knuckle, put your becon on pick up a book and get with the times(dont have to if you dont want to, if you want take the chance its fine with me). My instruction was the most current that could be recieved from the best people in the industry.
Before you go out next time write a little note in your bag so if the coroner has to pass your belongings onto your Mom, wife, kid... they can read your last words instead of your real words over a dinner conversation of how glad you where to be wearing your beacon and be back at home.
_________________ A man is not so drunk, as long as he can lie on the floor without holding on!