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Avalanche at TSV!!!!!

WaterGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#23
I think the mods should create a Recco thread. @Belgiangirl I think your post is a mischaracterization of what Recco really can do and is utilized for. I will post more when I'm not trying to get to work. My comments about Recco are for use inbounds on a mountain that has the recco system as part of their search and rescue.

On an inbound day like today after several feet of snow based on snow conditions I would be wearing my avy beacon have several recco reflectors as well as carrying some pocket bacon. That covers recco and avy receivers as well as rescue dogs.
 

pinto

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#25
I think the mods should create a Recco thread. @Belgiangirl I think your post is a mischaracterization of what Recco really can do and is utilized for. I will post more when I'm not trying to get to work. My comments about Recco are for use inbounds on a mountain that has the recco system as part of their search and rescue.

On an inbound day like today after several feet of snow based on snow conditions I would be wearing my avy beacon have several recco reflectors as well as carrying some pocket bacon. That covers recco and avy receivers as well as rescue dogs.
And how will it work correctly when everyone else on the mountain also has RECCO? With beacons, you turn them to search rather than transmit when there is a slide; you can't do it with RECCO. This is why they are commonly known as body recovery tools.
 

WaterGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#26
@pinto I wasn't sure if you were ski patrol at a mountain that uses RECCO and could expand on your comments? The RECCO website has a "downloads" tab/ section with information about training and searching with the Detector. Apparently the Detector can detect RECCO and Beacons. They discuss the issue you raise about interference from "rescuers" with RECCO and protocol for searching. Beacons have their own technology interference issues as well.

I never said it was a substitute for a beacon, nor that it be used for back country/side country etc, nor that it was a safety device. Rather its an inbounds extra line of recovery for those who ski at resorts that use the system during an inbounds avalanche. How many people who ski at a resort have and are wearing a beacon? The avalanche last year that occurred at my resort occurred in low visibility down to "intermediate" terrain and it was assumed that the majority of skiers had neither a beacon nor RECCO. That left a probe line and dogs to find victims.

For some reason RECCO is now being included in newer beacons - may want to ask the manufactures why they are including them. If you want more information go to RECCO.com I won't be starting a thread to discuss body recovery.

http://recco.com/upload/Global/Images/Downloads/Training material/quick_guide/RECCO-R9-quick-guide-v01_ENG_v05.pdf
 
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pinto

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#27
@pinto I wasn't sure if you were ski patrol at a mountain that uses RECCO and could expand on your comments? The RECCO website has a "downloads" tab/ section with information about training and searching with the Detector. Apparently the Detector can detect RECCO and Beacons. They discuss the issue you raise about interference from "rescuers" with RECCO and protocol for searching. Beacons have their own technology interference issues as well.

I never said it was a substitute for a beacon, nor that it be used for back country/side country etc, nor that it was a safety device. Rather its an inbounds extra line of recovery for those who ski at resorts that use the system during an inbounds avalanche. How many people who ski at a resort have and are wearing a beacon? The avalanche last year that occurred at my resort occurred in low visibility down to "intermediate" terrain and it was assumed that the majority of skiers had neither a beacon nor RECCO. That left a probe line and dogs to find victims.

For some reason RECCO is now being included in newer beacons - may want to ask the manufactures why they are including them. If you want more information go to RECCO.com I won't be starting a thread to discuss body recovery.

http://recco.com/upload/Global/Images/Downloads/Training material/quick_guide/RECCO-R9-quick-guide-v01_ENG_v05.pdf
I merely agree with @Belgiangirl that "...its the fastest way on mountain to be found" is just not correct. Patrollers do beacon searches first, in pretty much every scenario I have heard of. And there is an entire section in the link above talking about how to mitigate against "distracting" signals when using the Recco detector, signals that include not only other Recco reflectors, but metal objects like ski boot buckles. Yes, there are ways to search with other rescuers around, but those rescuers have to stay behind the detector. I would much rather have multiple searchers all using beacons and spread out over the avalanche debris looking for me. Maybe I'm missing something....

I think Recco is great as a secondary system. Yes, a few people have been found alive (I think they were all in Europe? I haven't read lately -- it's hard to find that information, and one would think they would advertise it if it were more than a few), and that's awesome. I am all for using everything you can. Just don't want people to think it is the fastest way. Better training and detectors do seem to be occurring, which is good.
 

WaterGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#28
@pinto @Belgiangirl - I see that I did say it was the fastest (not sure why-early morning no coffee?) in my original post.:rolleyes: Totally agree thats not a true statement as depending on the circumstances any method could be the "fastest" including visual ID prior to the slide, beacon, dog or probe etc.

I do agree that it is an additional chance, and why not have extra chances at recovery? There have been several live recoveries (see https://www.wemjournal.org/article/S1080-6032(16)00069-7/abstract) not sure about any in US yet. I did find this interesting rebuttal argument written by Recco to unofficial networks several years ago that explains Reccos position in an avalanche rescue.

https://unofficialnetworks.com/2011/12/05/recco-rebuttal-gear-review-posted-unofficial-networks/

While patrol may do beacon searches first, I do know that where I ski Patrol and SAR use Recco also. I'm really not sure how may people are wearing beacons on a regular basis on the mountain. And again referring the big slide last year, it was in terrain that could have taken out many skiers who most likely wouldn't have been wearing a beacon.
 
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Belgiangirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#29
@pinto @Belgiangirl - I see that I did say it was the fastest (not sure why-early morning no coffee?) in my original post.:rolleyes: Totally agree thats not a true statement as depending on the circumstances any method could be the "fastest" including visual ID prior to the slide, beacon, dog or probe etc.

I do agree that it is an additional chance, and why not have extra chances at recovery? There have been several live recoveries (see https://www.wemjournal.org/article/S1080-6032(16)00069-7/abstract) not sure about any in US yet. I did find this interesting rebuttal argument written by Recco to unofficial networks several years ago that explains Reccos position in an avalanche rescue.

https://unofficialnetworks.com/2011/12/05/recco-rebuttal-gear-review-posted-unofficial-networks/

While patrol may do beacon searches first, I do know that where I ski Patrol and SAR use Recco also. I'm really not sure how may people are wearing beacons on a regular basis on the mountain. And again referring the big slide last year, it was in terrain that could have taken out many skiers who most likely wouldn't have been wearing a beacon.
Well, seems like we all agree in the end :becky: It would indeed be a quick, cheap and convenient way to optimize your chances of recovery. The only thing that worries me is that some people might mistake it for an alternative to an avalanche beacon. It shouldn't be one or the other but always both if you can.

I remember seeing Recco signs at ski stations even as a kid, +15yrs ago. It's virtually everywhere in the EU and it's also useful for recovering people from glacier crevasses etc. Also has a broader search range than a transceiver and can locate multiple people at once (although newer beacons can do this too if I'm not mistaken).

On a side note, I'm so jealous of all the lift-accessed/sidecountry options you have in the US that are still considered inbounds ( just looked at a map of Taos/Kachina peak). Once you venture off the slopes in the EU, you're basically on your own. Even La Grave isn't avalanche controlled and it doesn't have a single groomed slope.
 
#30
I remember seeing Recco signs at ski stations even as a kid, +15yrs ago. It's virtually everywhere in the EU and it's also useful for recovering people from glacier crevasses etc. Also has a broader search range than a transceiver and can locate multiple people at once (although newer beacons can do this too if I'm not mistaken).
Interesting discussion. My Taos Ski Week instructor (advanced group) was wearing his beacon yesterday. Said he's been wearing it in-bounds more often this season.

There is a box in the top corner of the Taos trail map that says "The ski area is equipped with the RECCO Rescue System." Not part of the legend but prominently on the trail map painting itself, which is by James Neihues. There are insets for Kachina Peak & Highline Ridge and the West Basin Ridge. The full Kachina Peak hike is on the order of 45 min, the West Basin Ridge hike starts with a 10-15 min hike. From there, can access Highline Ridge or West Basin.
 

LKillick

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#36
Oh, so sad.

Incredible gift out of a horrifically sad situation, though. He'll save multiple lives. Always brought me to tears as a pediatric ICU nurse. Some of the most tragic losses I saw were only bearable knowing that others would get to live due to the generosity of families going through an impossibly difficult situation.
 
#37
An article prompted by the Kachina avalanche that is well worth taking the time to read carefully.

01/29/2019, Resort Skiing Is Dangerous. And It Always Will Be.
Two men died in one of the worst inbounds avalanches in decades. What happens now?


“On January 17, a catastrophic inbounds avalanche released in open terrain on the K3 Chute of Taos Ski Valley’s 12,481-foot Kachina Peak. The resulting slide ripped to the ground, capturing two skiers and depositing them in a debris pile reportedly 150 yards long and deeper in spots than a 20-foot probe. Both skiers, 26-year-old Matthew Zonghetti, of Massachusetts, and 22-year-old Corey Borg-Massanari, of Colorado, died. According to the Taos News, the deaths were the first avalanche fatalities in Taos’s 64-year history. These were deep burials (six-plus feet), which are rarely survived even in the best of circumstances.

Again, the avalanche occurred inbounds on open terrain. Neither skier did anything wrong that day. As with all avalanche deaths, whether inbounds or out, they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In the aftermath of such tragedies, there’s a tremendous sense of grief and an outpouring of support, specifically to the families who have lost a loved one, but also to the first responders and skiing community. And then, later, skiers and the wider public tend to ask three questions: How can avalanches happen inbounds on controlled terrain? What happens now? And, are inbounds avalanches becoming increasingly common?

I’ve done extensive reporting on this subject, and the answer to the first question—how can it happen?—is that, well, it’s complicated. Avalanches are an inherent risk of resort skiing and snowboarding. And they always will be. No matter how many explosives ski patrol tosses, the risk never goes to zero. It can’t. Avalanches don’t work that way.

Here’s a primer, with an apology to the avalanche professionals out there for dumbing it down. . . .


. . .

I’ll leave it to the avalanche professionals on the scene at Taos to determine the specifics of the Kachina Peak slide, but as a well-read 20-year veteran of backcountry skiing, the K3 avalanche was almost certainly not a storm slab, but rather a deep release of a persistent slab. Images and firsthand accounts of the Kachina slide would indicate that the entire snowpack broke all the way to the ground and ran the length of the avalanche path. A U.S. avalanche forecaster might call that a Category 5 event: it went as deep as it could possibly go, for as long as it could possibly go.

. . .

In the meantime, we’d all benefit from treating mountains and mountain environments like the inherently dangerous places they are. We owe that to the expert skiers who—through no fault of their own—died while skiing in this big terrain. Knowing that avalanches are an inherent risk in no way softens that human tragedy. But we can learn from the loss and remember that despite the grooming and the bubble chairs, the heated parking lots and the mid-mountain macchiatos, our high peaks are forever wild—and they always will be.”
 
#38
The review by the U.S. Forest Service of the January 2019 fatal avalanche on Kachina Peak is complete.

July 15, 2019, Albuquerque Journal
Federal review says skier triggered deadly Taos slide
" . . .
[Forest Service regional Winter Sports Coordinator Adam LaDell] said the procedures at Taos are in line with the industry’s current standards for best practices on snow safety.

“We didn’t find anything in our review, any red flags, anything they weren’t doing that’s in their permit,” LaDell said. “I’m very confident, where I’d go up and ride it and have no questions. Unfortunately things happen, very unfortunately.”

A representative for Taos Ski Valley had no immediate comment on the Forest Service review. Results of an investigation commissioned by the resort into the cause of the avalanche were not available.

Taos Ski Valley has begun the process of installing an avalanche control system that allows detonations by remote control to cope with unstable snow, reducing hazards associated with handling traditional explosives. Planning for the system already was underway before January’s deadly avalanche, Forest Service and resort officials said.
. . ."
 

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