Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Pre Season Safety Check

Temperatures are dropping and snow is starting to fall in the hills-- it is time to start checking your safety equipment to make sure things are in proper working order. So, let's remind ourselves what we should be looking for when we take our avalanche safety equipment out of storage.


  • A general inspection should be performed on all beacons. Hopefully the batteries were removed at the end of the season. When putting new batteries in, make sure there is no alkaline battery corrosion, which will present as a white, powdery substance.

Alkaline corrosion can be very dangerous. Even if the beacon appears to be performing adequately, any piece of electronics that has alkaline corrosion on the battery terminals is suspect and should be returned to the manufacturer for inspection. Do not simply brush the terminals off and ignore. The electronics could be damaged and may not be reliable.
Remember, alkaline batteries have a tendency to swell and explode. Only use high quality Duracell Batteries. We like the Pro Cell and the Quantum. Avoid generic batteries, never use rechargeable batteries, and if you want to avoid the risk of alkaline corrosion altogether, use LITHIUM batteries (PULSE and Barryvox S only). Read more about batteries and best practices here.

  • Next, inspect the housing of the beacon. Make sure the screen is intact, the switch is in proper working order. Turn it on, watch the beacon perform its' Self-Check. Once completed it will read "Self Check OK".
  • Check the Firmware. Mammut regularly updates beacon FW in order to continually improve the platform. For 2019/20 Barryvox and Barryvox S users should be on BarryHeart 3.2 Firmware
  • Mammut recommends Diagnostic Testing every 3 years. If you go to the Maintenance tab under settings, you can see when your next Test is due. Ideally, this is performed in the off season, so it is not too late if your unit is due. Diagnostic Testing is the best way to ensure that your beacon is is proper working order. If you do not have access to Diagnostic Testing...
  • Use Group Check. 
  • When done properly Group Check acts as a Range Check as well. Group Check Tech Tips
  • If you have a Barryvox S, you can utilize Pro Check to ensure that other units are operating within the international norms regarding Frequency, Pulse, and Period. Pro Check Tech Tips
  • If you are working with older units that do not have Group Check, or Pro Check, use standard Function and Range Checks to tests for abnormalities.

Airbags typically do not get deployed frequently, so in theory there is little that can go wrong. Nonetheless, use this down time before your season is in swing to inspect your equipment. Your general inspection should include:
  • Check you canisters pressure. The arrow on the pressure gauge should be in the green. 
  • Remove the canister and DRY FIRE your system. Find your Trigger Tool. This tool is used to perform a "dry-fire" of your trigger system (without canister attached) so that you can ensure that your airbag is in proper working order. Screw the Trigger Tool into the venturi (where the canister goes) and pull the trigger. You should here a fairly loud CLICK. You know know the trigger mechanism is in working order.
  • Inspect the connection point between the balloon and the venturi. Instructions Here
  • Inspect the Trigger Cable is installed properly. Instructions Here.
  • Once these checks have been completed, we recommend that you deploy your airbag once a year, so if you have a filling station nearby, go ahead and get this out of the way for the season. This will also give you an opportunity to practice re-packing the balloon.

Shovels and Probes require very little maintenance, but go ahead and take the time to deploy both to make sure they are working properly.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Barryvox S and Barryvox Firmware Upgrade - BarryHeart 3.2

Mammut develops and improves our products continuously. This also applies to our avalanche safety equipment and the leading Barryvox avalanche transceiver. Our key focus is reliability, functionality, and intuitive operation because simple, easy operation is essential when every second counts.

The Barryvox avalanche transceivers have been tested extensively and their operation is tailored to the needs of real emergencies. Based on user feedback, BarryHeart firmware upgrades are available now for both Barryvox and BarryvoxS devices.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Call for Inspection of Airbag Systems 3.0

SAFETY FIRST: Mammut asks customers to check that the airbag balloon is correctly attached to the airbag inflation system.

Product safety and quality are the number one priority for Mammut. For this reason, Mammut is asking customers who own Generation 3.0 Mammut avalanche airbags to check whether the airbag balloon is correctly attached to the airbag inflation system in order to ensure that their avalanche safety equipment functions correctly.

All customers who own a Generation 3.0 avalanche airbag from the Winter 16/17, Winter 17/18 or Winter 18/19 seasons (neon-orange colored deployment handle),including Mammut airbags in packs manufactured by Highmark by Snowpulse or other brands utilizing 3.0 airbag systems, are requested to check them according to the following instructions or to contact Mammut Customer Service. Avalanche airbags from previous seasons (2.0 system or earlier with red deployment handle) are not affected.

It is easy to identify whether the airbag is attached correctly (see the inspection instructions HERE link). If the airbag balloon is not properly attached to the airbag inflation system, in some cases the airbag may lose volume too quickly after deployment. As a result, the airbag’s functionality may be impaired in the event of burial by an avalanche.

If you identify that the airbag balloon is attached incorrectly, the affected airbag system should no longer be used and must be returned immediately to Mammut Customer Service to be replaced. In the event of any queries, Mammut Customer Service will be happy to help.

Thank you for reacting to this call for inspection - Safety First!

You can contact Mammut customer service at:

+49 8334 36 20 301 

+41 62 769 82 59 

USA & Canada
+1 800 451 5127

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Note on Use of the Supplementary Pro Check Feature in the Barryvox S

The supplementary “Pro Check” feature is an extension of the Barryvox S standard Group Check available only when the "Pro Search" function is activated.

Instructions for activating the Pro Check function are in the Barryvox S Extended Reference Guide (link).

This new feature is intended for guides and advanced users who want to see additional details of each transmitter within their group, as a tool to identify when the parameters of one transmitted signal might cause searching problems such as a higher incidence of signal overlap within the group. It is not a feature most rescuers should use every day and it is not considered a “critical check” like the standard Group Check feature. Specific guidance may be found on our previous blog post, HERE (link)

Recent reports indicate the Pro Check feature sometimes gives erroneous “out of tolerance” readings with some Backcountry Access (BCA) Avalanche Transceivers.

About The Supplementary “Pro Check" Feature in the Barryvox S

To best understand how to use Pro Check some background is helpful. All avalanche transceivers worldwide adhere to the same legal standard, or “norm”. This norm ensures compatibility between all transceivers worldwide, thus every transceiver is able to search for others and to be found by others, independently of the transceiver brand and model. Although all manufacturers operate under the same standard, there are still many older transceivers in use and every manufacturer applies slightly different transmit parameters within the legal framework.  Rescuers should be aware that each different signal within the norm parameters will always work with other transceivers. Some differences between individual signals, in particular in pulse rate, is even an advantage in multiple burial situations as it reduces the likelihood of persistent signal overlap. At the same time, each different signal can create different scenarios when in combination with various other beacons—many of the questions we get can be traced to such issues, so we want to provide people with a tool to see what may be driving the way their beacon interacts with other beacons.

The three parameters you'll see tested in Pro Check are defined by the international norm for avalanche transceivers as shown in Figure 1. 

Figure 1:  Transmitter parameters ETSI 300718 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Barryvox S Review by Kel Rossiter of Adventure Spirit Guides

For several years, I had been using the Barryvox Pulse.  I carried that beacon in the field for over 175 days and I used it for literally days of practicing single and multiple burial rescue scenarios.  I was impressed all around.  When I heard that the Barryvox S was coming out, I looked forward to updating my beacon set-up and seeing what improvements Mammut had lined up.

 In Fall of 2017 I started using the new Barryvox S, and I’ve now got a full season+ under my belt with it.  Below, I'll set the scene with my experiences with the original Barryvox Pulse, and then I'll describe that transition to the Barryvox S.  Bottom line, while officially the “S” stands for “Smart”, in my book it stands for “Solid.”