Avalanche Transceiver Park

What is an avalanche transceiver?

An avalanche transceiver is radio transceivers designed for the purpose of finding people buried under snow.  When transmitting, the device emits a pulsed signal which another transceiver can receive.  Due to the nature of the radio pulse, a person holding the receiving beacon can orientate it, and home in on the location of the transmitting beacon using a series of search techniques.  Transceivers all broadcast on the same frequency meaning that different models from different manufacturers are all compatible.

Wearing & working your transceiver?

The first thing to remember is to turn your transceiver on and to make sure the batteries are fully charged.  It is recommended that your unit is turned on before you leave the car park and switched off when safely back.  The units are best worn under your top layers of clothing so it cannot be ripped off you if you’re caught in an avalanche.  Once switched on transceivers are permanently transmitting a pulsed radio signal, therefore if caught in an avalanche you don’t need to switch it on.  If your group is avalanched, any of the party not caught in the slide, or the next party on the scene, turn their units to the ‘search’ mode and begin a systematic transceiver search as detailed in the excellent resources and videos below.

What is a transceiver training park?

Designed and jointly funded by Anatom, UK distributors of Back Country Access (BCA), world leaders in avalanche research and product development, the avalanche transceiver training park is approximately 500m2 and involves four avalanche transceivers (simulating victims) being buried under the deep layer of woodchip that covers the park. Every beacon is connected underground to a central control box where one or more units can be turned on to emit a signal that is picked up by the avalanche transceivers worn by trainee rescuers.

Why bother practising using a transceiver?

An individual’s chances of survival diminish rapidly the longer they are buried in an avalanche. Companion rescue therefore forms the focus of a successful recovery.  Increasingly individuals are carrying transceivers which can both transmit and receive a signal on a common frequency.  In this way any members of the party not avalanched become the main rescuers. Groups therefore have a need to be practiced in their use.  You don’t want to be learning how to use your transceiver for the very first time during a live rescue operation.

Who can use the park & how much does it cost?

The transceiver training park is available for anyone to use free of charge, we do ask that you phone us 24hrs in advance to check that no other groups are using the facility.  You will need to provide your own avalanche transceivers for use in the park.  If you have a group of people and would like to receive instruction on using avalanche transceivers we would be happy to tailor a course to your requirements. Please email [email protected] with details of your requirements.

There is a huge amount of information regarding avalanches, transceivers and search techniques available online.  One of the best sources of these is the BCA education page.  If you are interested in avalanche information it is worth spending a couple of hours looking through the information they have collated and reports they have commissioned.  Below is just a small selection that we have cherry picked, including a few of our own videos.