Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Deciding Between the New Barryvox S and Barryvox Transcievers: Which Beacon Should I Get?

Since Mammut has two brand new transceivers available this October, this post will try to help people decide which is best for them, and at the end I'll provide some guidance specifically for professional organizations who operate a fleet of transceivers.  We've also covered the basic functions and what's new about the beacons already HERE (link), and will continue to go into detail on various functions and features to help people get familiar with the new beacons throughout this fall and winter.  Anyone who has specific questions that aren't answered, please let us know in the comments so we can edit to clarify or include the info you need in a future post.
The Barryvox S offers enhanced performance that benefits all users, regardless of their experience.  It also offers additional function for anyone who will practice an Alternate Search Strategy such as micro strips.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Is it winter yet? UIAA unveils new Standard for avalanche shovels

It's September, and last week it hit 24-degrees F on the summit of Mt Washington here in New England, so despite fires raging across the Western US and Canada and tropical storms across the Southeastern US, winter can't be far away.  Here at Mammut North American HQ we're busy putting the final finishing touches on our plans for the new Barryvox and Barryvox S avalanche transceivers, which will begin shipping early in October, and we have a number of informational posts tee'd up so people can get up to speed on these new beacons, as well as on our usual general interest-topics and events calendar for the season.  If you are interested in keeping up to date this winter and haven't subscribed to this blog, please do so on the right margin below the "tags"--we promise to keep the spam to an absolute minimum!

This is just a dude with a broken shovel.  It's annoying when you can't dig out your driveway to get to work, it's quite a different thing if your shovel were to break in an emergency.  The new standard should give users information to help ensure the equipment they are using is worthy in a rescue.
Speaking of general interest topics, the UIAA, The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation, has recently unveiled a new Standard for avalanche rescue shovels.  The new standard, UIAA 156 (link), sets parameters for the size, geometry and strength that an avalanche shovel must meet in order to pass the testing, and has been in the works for quite some time.  Previous to this Standard there was no industry-wide standard for shovels so users had no independent verification of what was deemed to be an acceptable rescue tool.

Friday, March 3, 2017

New Mammut Barryvox and BarryvoxS avalanche beacons for Fall 2017

The proverbial cat is out of the bag on our new avalanche transceivers, so here is some information for people who have questions about the new beacons or about Mammut's continuing warranty & service for their existing Pulse or Element beacons.  This post has background info and details on the new beacons, as well as a timeline for availability, info for warranty during the transition, and some info for operators utilizing our fleet management tools.

First, a little history:  Barry, the fabled Swiss avalanche rescue dog (link), is the namesake of the Mammut Barryvox beacons—Vox means voice, so BARRYVOX means “Barry’s Voice”, or “the sound of rescue on the way”. Because of this we like to say the Barryvox has been at the forefront of avalanche rescue from the rescue dog, to the very first avalanche beacon technology, and now to the new Barryvox S and Barryvox avalanche transceivers, which will be new in October of 2017.  
The new BarryvoxS avalanche beacon, available Fall 2017, utilizes dynamic screen icons such as the rescuer running down the avalanche path shown here during the signal-search, in order to visually cue a rescuer throughout the search.  Extensive usability testing during development allowed us to find the most intuitive-to-follow icons, as well as help to alleviate some common searching errors.

The existing Pulse Barryvox and Element Barryvox beacons will be replaced by these new beacons and, since we are out for this winter will no longer be available.  Mammut will continue to provide warranty and after-sales service for the Pulse and Element as we have in the past.  Any owners or fleet operators with concerns about this, please read the "Fleet Operators & fleet management tools" section at the bottom of this post and then if you want give us a call at North American HQ at (800) 451-5127, or if you're outside the US and Canada at the Barryvox Service Center in your country (link).

OVERVIEW
The basic functions of both the Pulse and Element are intact in the new beacons, but we dramatically improved the simplicity, ease of use and the performance of both.  Both are 3-antenna beacons with a marking function, and the new development was focused on three main priorities:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Northeast and California Backcountry Events

Northeasterners, fear not--we haven't forgotten about you! Mammut reps will be attending a few backcountry ski/board and snow safety events this winter and spring in the Northeast region.  Most offer clinics, practice and a chance to check out gear--it isn't as easy to find quality info and equipment selection in the Northeast as it is in other areas, so if you have questions or want to see the gear firsthand, this is a great opportunity to check out some of the coolest backcountry in the East, along with the latest backcountry travel and safety equipment.  If you're interested in checking out a new beacon or pack, or have questions about backcountry safety or equipment for us, stop by and say hi!

NOTICE:  Unfortunately, the 2017 Mountaineer Adirondack Backcountry Ski Festival (link) in Keene Valley, NY has been CANCELLED due to the unseasonably warm weather making for no-go conditions on many of the event venues.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Are Avalanche Airbags Effective in the Eastern US and Canada?

Here at Mammut we sometimes get contacted about what our stance is on avalanche airbags in the Northeastern US and Quebec, Canada.  The topic came up again recently, so I put this together to give people the relevant information to judge for themselves.  I also wanted to hear from some experts on the subject and see what thoughts they had. It's turned out to be a bit lengthy, hopefully some of you find this helpful because we think the conclusions are valid anywhere, not just the East.

First, some of you may be thinking that "Eastern avalanche terrain" is an oxymoron, and herein lies some of the issue.  Many Eastern skiers spend much of their time in areas that simply aren't avalanche-prone, and because of this it's completely normal for many backcountry skiers to not carry any avalanche rescue equipment.  But, as Frank Carus, the acting Lead Snow Ranger for the Mount Washington Avalanche Center (link) points out:   "We have plenty of places where you can get buried".
The North Face of Gothics in New York's Adirondacks is a popular spring ice and snow climbing route, but occasionally holds enough snow to get skied, or to avalanche.

The Northeastern US and Quebec are both speckled with terrain that has become popular with skiers and riders, areas that in some cases are remarkably similar to the Rockies and the West that is more typically associated with avalanche terrain.  Every couple years there are avalanche accidents (link), including fatalities (link), across the region to prove this point.
One issue that Carus and others wrestle with is the perception among some people--even those who are aware of Eastern avalanches--that even though the East has them, that "Eastern avalanches are different".

Monday, December 5, 2016

Batteries for Pulse Barrvyox & Element Barryvox

One of the questions we get frequently is about which batteries to use in Pulse Barryvox and Element Barryvox beacons.  Originally, Mammut recommended using Duracell Ultra batteries.  We made this recommendation because those specific batteries were widely available globally, were of reasonably good quality and exhibited acid leakage less than others, and seemed to be consistent in battery life from lot to lot.  However, several things have happened:
This image shows 2, AAA LR03 alkaline batteries with different-shaped negative terminals.  It's OK if the wrapper is flush with the negative terminal, the problem is if the terminal is recessed BELOW the wrapper.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Refilling airbag cylinders with the Hill MK4 high pressure hand pump

It’s official!  Many of our customers asked about whether it was OK to use a high-pressure air pump to refill our airbag cylinders. Of course you can still have your cylinder refilled at most dive shops and many paintball shops, but if your travels take you to locations where refill is difficult or if your schedule is tight this could be a hassle. After testing, Mammut is recommending the Hill MK4 air pump to refill our airbag cylinders in such circumstances. 

The Hill MK4 high pressure hand pump can be used to refill Mammut airbag cartridges

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Mammut airbag cylinders available in Japan!

Mammut airbag cylinders are now available in Japan!  The Mammut carbon cylinder, a lightweight version that is also available in Europe, has recently been certified by the Japanese government and will be sold and can be rented in Japan for visiting riders.  This is great news for anyone who wants to visit this destination with their Mammut airbag.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mammut's Light Removable Airbag 3.0--the one-pack lightweight backcountry quiver

With the interest around our new much lighter and smaller 3.0 avalanche airbag system, interest in our light weight pack styles has increased.  In particular, because the new 3.0 system packs are so much smaller and so much lighter than before, the Light Removable Airbag, a 30l pack designed for backcountry skiing and riding, has received some extra attention, and with that have come questions about what features it has.  For anyone looking for info, here's a detailed look at this particular pack.

The Light Removable Airbag 3.0, here in use by split-boarder and Mammut product Manager Micha Vollmer in the Swiss alps, is as good a one-pack quiver as we have for lightweight  backcountry tours.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

New Mammut Airbag 3.0 System and Packs: A complete rundown

The leaves are just starting to turn color here and the first snowfalls have landed in the high country!  With that in mind, I wanted to put some information together on our new Airbag 3.0 as people start looking toward the winter season.  Mammut will begin delivering the new Airbag 3.0 system and backpacks to retailers during late September and early October of 2016.  In addition to being much lighter weight and more compact, the new airbags contain several improvements over the previous versions.  Now that a couple of sneak-peek product reviews have been published some people have had questions on exactly what the differences are compared to the previous version, and I want to answer those questions that have come up and provide some more detailed info.  If you've been shopping for a new airbag or are following the technology, this article is for you!

 
The new Mammut Airbag 3.0 system is much lighter & smaller and has numerous other improvements