How Well Do You Know How to Use Your Beacon? | Beacon Searching 101

Mike Bartholow | BackcountryBackcountry | BrainsBrains

Brought to you by SCARPA Backcountry Week

Over the next few days, I’m going to highlight some of the Backcountry Access avalanche safety videos for SnowBrains’ SCARPA Backcountry Week.

With over a dozen avalanche deaths in just over a week across North America, there is a lot of focus on avalanche safety in our community. Group size, effective communication, appropriate travel protocols, and good decision-making have been the focus of discussion of a couple of the more high-profile recent avalanche accidents. I don’t want to rehash these incidents here and try to say that I know what went wrong or how I would have done things differently because we can all make mistakes in these regards. I will say that all of those factors are quite important and seem to have been missed or ignored by experienced backcountry travelers. ‘Nuff said on that for now…

Avalanche Transceiver Training | Credit: BCA Facebook

How well do you know how to use your beacon? This was the question posed by Backcountry Access in a recent email highlighting their transceiver training video series. The video above goes through the basics of avalanche transceiver rescue training for one searcher and one victim. It breaks down the rescue process into the main steps you’ll follow along the way, starting with the Signal Search, moving to the Coarse Search leading into the Fine Search, and finally Pinpointing the avalanche victim.

With hazardous avalanche conditions persisting in many locations, now is the time to practice your transceiver rescue skills.  This video is a great start for those new to the backcountry and is the first step in an ever more complex series of rescue training available from BCA. You can download a one-page beacon search handout from BCA at BCA-Avalanche-Beacon-Searching-101-handout.

Backcountry Access’ Avalanche Safety videos can be found on their website

Beacon Search | Credit: BCA Facebook

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