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Avalanche Beacon, Probe and Shovel

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Each winter and spring climbers, skiers and snowmobile users are involved in snow avalanches and rescues. The conditions are simply a mass of snow and a slope. With varying temperatures, the snow pack loosens and breaks free. Snow slips on an incline of any surface when a slight melting occurs, causing lubrication from the water. A small scale example is commonly seen on the roof of a house. It is common to see small sections of snow break free and sag and slip down the roof. If you examine this small-scale phenomenon on you may notice how layers of snow break free and slip. This is the principle behind a large-scale version. It is important to reach the victim within about 15 minutes. After that time hypothermia and lack of oxygen will greatly decrease chances of survival. There are several accessories that can improve rescue and chances of survival.

Avalanche Accessory

The Avalanche Beacon can greatly improve chances of rescue when used quickly and properly. It is a small and relatively light device weighing from 7 to 10 ounces. These transceiver beacons are either digital or analog with varying search performance factors with each type. Many avalanche transceivers can switch between modes. The experienced rescuer can use the positive attributes of either mode as he narrows the search.

An Avalanche Breathing Device along with the avalanche beacon are two very important survival tools for the backcountry enthusiast. The breathing device enables the victim to breathe when buried, extending the search time.

Portable Avalanche Shovels are made of lightweight plastic and aluminum. They are made to attach securely to the outside of a gear pack. Once the avalanche victim is located, using a shovel specifically made for snow will increase the speed of digging by a factor of four, compared to digging by hand.

Collapsible Avalanche Probes are easy to carry and fold to a compact portable size. These special poles are tubular steel that are joined together to make a snow probe up to 12 feet long. Some ski poles are made dual purpose with removal grips and baskets. This type of ski poles can be attached together to make approximately eight foot probe. Whether the rescuers use avalanche probes or ski poles, or something else, the key is locating the person quickly to save valuable time by avoiding digging in the wrong location.

The avalanche beacon or transceiver is the most effective and fastest method of locating a victim. When someone is buried in snow, the beacon will send a signal that other transceivers can detect. The backcountry enthusiast should set the beacon to "transmit" before entering an avalanche prone area. If an avalanche occurs, the rescuing personnel switch their transceiver to receive. The rescuing party makes their best guess as to the location of the buried person, then circles in a large pattern, decreasing the radius around the signal. Using an avalanche beacon takes practice, but if used skillfully can dramatically decrease the time an individual is caught in the snow.

Avalanche beacons and rescue gear:

Freeride Avalanche Beacon

Retail Price: $169.95
Sale Price: $135.96
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An affordable, high-tech beacon for everyone. The Pieps Freeride is a fully digital, single antenna avalanche transceiver designed for side-country and resort skiers who venture off the beaten path. Simple and easy to use. Small and lightweight. Never be without your Pieps.

BCA Tracker DTS Avalanche Beacon + Avalanche Probe

Great Price: $239.99 !!
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The world's first digital multi-antenna transceiver. The beacon that started a digital revolution. And still going strong. With a long track record for value, durability, and reliability, the Tracker DTS has been an industry staple since 1997. A real-time, digital display shows both direction and...

Zoom+ Avalanche Beacon

Retail Price: $298.95
Sale Price: $239.16
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The ZOOM+ combines the simplest handling with the latest technology and the most advanced design. Reduced to two functional buttons, the ZOOM+ concentrates on intuitive usability. The focus on the clearly designed LED-display is on the on / off switches and the switch between transmitting and searching....

DSP Sport Beacon

Retail Price: $319.95
Sale Price: $271.96
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Simplified and streamlined yet outfitted with all the features needed for fast, accurate searches in the event of a slide, the PIEPS DSP Sport Avalanche Beacon is as easy to use as it is powerful. With a 50-meter circular range, three antennas for pinpoint search accuracy, and a smart transmitter to...

Arctic Cat Snowmobile Avalanche Beacon BCA Tracker2

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When faced with an on-mountain emergency, this easy-to-use and efficient beacon is a necessity among your supplies The fastest, most precise pinpointing, with triple receiver antenna Instantaneous real-time display and easy-to-use interface An intuitive search/transmit switch makes it easier to use Thinner...

Backcountry Access Tracker2 Avalanche Beacon

Great Price: $299.95 !!
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DECENT FEATURES of the Backcountry Access Tracker2 Avalanche Beacon Rapid processor and simple user interface Real-time, digital display shows direction and distance Multiple burial indicator light Bright red LEDs (light emitting diodes) Uses three AAA alkaline batteries Includes a protective carrying...

DSP Pro Beacon

Retail Price: $419.95
Sale Price: $356.96
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Designed for ski mountaineers and backcountry skiers who regularly venture into serious terrain, the PIEPS DSP Pro Avalanche Beacon is packed with features. In addition to its massive 60-meter circular range and 55-meter search strip, the DSP Pro features an innovative smart transmitter that recognizes...

BLACK DIAMOND PIEPS DSP Sport Avalanche Beacon

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Never get caught without the PIEPS DSP Sport Avalanche Beacon. This powerful and intuitive device is perfect for fast, accurate searches in the event of a slide.

Pieps Freeride Avalanche Beacon

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The Pieps Freeride Avalanche Beacon is one of the most compact single-antenna transceivers on the market today. An easy-to-read LCD screen displays distance and dynamic field-flux strength to aid your search, and an accompanying acoustic signal allows you to look away from the beacon to scan the snow...

Pieps DSP Pro Avalanche Transceiver

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The PIEPS DSP Pro has a simple two-button interface that gives you only the options you need for fast and effective performance-send, search, scan, and flag. Just slide the side switch to toggle between transmitting and receiving and mark burials using the flag button. When you've flagged a signal,...

ARVA Neo Avalanche Beacon

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Beacon features like effective multiple burial recognition and W-Link have gotten a lot of play recently, often overshadowing what might still be a transceiver's most important feature: range. With the 60m search bandwidth of the Neo Avalanche Beacon, Arva is putting the focus back on signal distance,...

Backcountry Access Tracker DTS Avalanche Beacon

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DECENT FEATURES of the Backcountry Access Tracker DTS Avalanche Beacon Rapid processor and simple user interface Real-time, digital display shows direction and distance Bright red LEDs (light emitting diodes) Proven durability Uses three AAA alkaline batteries Includes a protective carrying case The...

Backcountry Access Tracker3 Avalanche Beacon

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Backcountry Access stepped it up again this winter with its all-new Tracker3 Avalanche Beacon. Twenty percent lighter and smaller than its big brother, the Tracker2, the Tracker3 contains real-time display, a third receiving antenna, and markings for multiple burials. Its progressive industrial design...

ARVA Evo4 Beacon

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Hopefully you'll only use the Arva Evo4 Beacon for practice, but its intuitive design makes for fast-and-easy use in emergency situations. The Evo4 is Arva's least expensive beacon with three antennas, and Arva upgraded it with a clearer, digital LCD screen for this season. It can indicate...
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