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Old 11-24-2010, 11:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Avy gear decisions....

I'm starting to out together my list of gear that I'll be purchasing for this season and hope to get a little input from the knowledgable minds here. I apologize if these are pretty newb questions, but I just want to make sure I have the rich gear for what I need.

So I'm basically looking for the essentials: beacon, shovel, and probe. I've contemplated just buying the BCA combo pack that I've seen a few places and saving some cash. But sometimes that isn't the best idea, right?

So first question regarding the shovel. I've noticed that some shovels have just a t-handle, while others have a d-shaped handle. What would either be better for? Is it mainly just user preference? What other important features should be looked at when buying a shovel?

I've noticed that carbon fiber probes are recommended because of their deflection resistance, so I've got that in mind while looking for probes. In terms of length, what should I be looking for? I'll mainly be traveling into the backcountry here in Washington State and a bit up in BC, if that makes any difference.

As for beacon, I really have no idea of what to look for. The cheapest option is the low end BCA beacon, but how well does it perform? Is there a better option that still cost effective?
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Shovel, make sure it's a metal shovel. I prefer the T handles as they are easier to stash in your pack and work just fine.

Probe, 300 cm probe is what you are going to want to get. If you run into a burial situation out there, there is a good chance it's going to be deep. A guy was rescued a few years ago at Baker due to the fact that a 300 cm probe just barely stuck him.

Beacon. I have my preferences but here is the rule of thumb. First off get a digital beacon. They are way better than analog beacons. Second, when getting that digital beacon get one that is a 3 antenna model. Pieps DSP, Ortovox S1, Ortovox 3+, Ortovox D3, Mammut Pulse, BCA Tracker 2 are all three antenna beacons. They all have their quirks and do some things better than others, but all will do their job adequately when called upon. You just need to practice with them.
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Old 11-24-2010, 02:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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While a 2 antenna system like the BCA Tracker DTS or Ortovox D2 will work, a 3 antenna is much better. Evo and Backcountry have the BCA Tracker 2 on sale for around 20% off right now. I just picked it up.

Def want a metal shovel. Some have ovalized or rectangular handles for strength and faster deployment. Some extend longer if you want that. Sounds like a T handle is better than a D-handle, and I wouldn't want a directional one like on the Ortovox Beast, in case I want to switch hands. For a probe, longer is better. That's what she said. Since the difference in price is so small, I went with a 300cm. Seems like most are in the 240-260cm range, while you even see some short 200cm ones.
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Old 11-26-2010, 04:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Ok here's whats on my list so far...

-BCA Tracker 2 beacon
-Black Diamond Quickdraw Guide Probe 300
-Black Diamond Transfer 7 shovel

Any input on these items? Black Diamond seems to have a pretty good reputation for quality products.
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I waited too long and missed the sale prices on the beacon and shovel!

BUT I have my stuff on the way!

-BCA Tracker 2 beacon
-BCA SR3 300cm probe
-Black Diamond Transfer 3 shovel
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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the shovels with a saw handle in them are rad.. comes in handy from time to time when tromping around the backcountry
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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+1 for the tracker 2. its what i use and what ski patrol uses here. i also have a black diamond shovel and the thing seems invincible.
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Old 01-08-2011, 04:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't have one but I really want an ice/snow saw which would come in very handy for digging pits,, making cheese wedges, igloo building, etc. BD makes one that clicks into their flick lock poles that I'm coveting on.
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I have those poles I'm gonna look into that....
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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a d-handle shovel works a lot better if you use mitts
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