This season, a new initiative called Project ZERO was launched into the world wide webisphere by the industry’s most experienced avalanche pros. The goal is simple: to reduce 100% of avalanche fatalities in the backcountry through better decision making, knowledge and education. Achieving this goal is a little more complex, but with collaborate campaigns like Project ZERO, the support and tools are out there to help make this a reality.
The experts over at Project ZERO have launched a site called Backcountry Starts Here, a handy resource for any backcountry user, however experienced. This week, they share some tips and philosophy on using your beacon — one of the most essential yet misunderstood pieces of equipment for backcountry travel. Go have a read, then go find your transceiver and hang out with it for a little bit. Turn it on, turn it off, hold a cell phone up to it and see what it does. Get to know its buttons and quirks — because every beacon has their own unique “signature.” And these are things you want to know when you’re racing against life vs. death.
As a side note…. Regardless of your level of experience in the wild hinterland, avalanche safety falls in your hands every time. EVERY time you step into the backcountry, YOU assume the authority to call the shots. Even as a group, the hesitant voice of ONE person is enough veto power over the entire group who thinks otherwise. Your risk tolerance (ie, how much risk you’re willing to expose yourself to) might not be the same as your touring partner(s), but you should never feel pressured into terrain you are not comfortable with.
Ok… enough preaching. On a lighter note, does anyone else ever get selective dyslexia and read “beacon” as “bacon”? FYI — It’s good to do a bacon check before you go out on any tour. Heh heh…