Avalanche Transceiver Training Park at Glencoe Mountain
The transceiver park at Glencoe Mountain Resort opened on 8th January 2011 by legendary Scottish mountaineer and rescuer Hamish MacInnes; providing an opportunity to practice using avalanche transceivers in a safe environment.
Anatom Ltd collaborated with Glencoe Mountain, Glencoe Ski Patrol (BASP) and the Scottish Mountain Safety Group to help provide the original wired system. However in 2015 the park saw an overhaul; switching to wireless beacons. This was only made possible by the public support and investment from money raised at the Mountain Safety lectures in the Clachaig Inn.
Having the ability to practice using transceivers, probes and shovels can undoubtedly save lives; being able to familiarise yourself with the equipment and confidently use it quickly means that in real life situations where every second counts you're more likely to find the casualty faster.
The Avalanche Transceiver Training Park at Glencoe features 8 wireless permanently buried beacons. The beacons are buried in up to 4m of snow, and since they're wireless and permanently buried there are no footprints or clues to know where to dig, providing a difficult and realistic search for an avalanche victim.
Search scenarios can be altered on the control panel for different locations as well as changing it from a single victim to multiple, there's even a mannequin buried with a beacon so that it replicates excavating a real victim.
Each of the beacons also have a RECCO reflector inside for mountain rescue and ski patrol to practise with. RECCO is a standard search tool used by ski resorts and mountain rescue, often carried on a helicopter. The RECCO detectors send out a search signal which is bounced back by RECCO reflectors worn by skiers, snowboarders and other mountaineer's. RECCO donated a RECCO detector to the park at Glencoe which is not only a valuable aid for practice but is also a necessary tool for real life situations at the resort.
Anyone involved in winter mountain activities can now have this fantastic opportunity to develop their avalanche search and rescue techniques which in turn will help to raise avalanche awareness and ensure people have the right gear and know how to use it.
If you are interested in avalanche awareness, transceiver training or equipment, then Davy and Fiona Gunn run www.crankitupgear.com in Glencoe who specialise in Avalanche Safety Training and Off Piste Safety Equipment and have a wealth of local knowledge and
avalanche safety experience.
"Having the avalanche recovery tools such as transceiver, shovel and probe is essential but only the first step. It's equally important to learn how to interpret an area avalanche forecast so that before a mountain trip you can make wise pre trip and on mountain decisions. Individuals and groups need regular avalanche rescue and recovery practice. Locating then digging someone out quickly and effectively takes practice and this is where training parks such as this one can make you a better companion and more effective life saver if it all goes wrong" - Davy Gunn
The training park is free to use, although donations to assist with its upkeep will be gladly received. The system stays out all winter and is open daily from 10am - 3pm, Keith Hill who helps to maintain the park (Ski Patroller at Glencoe) is there to offer advice, should you need it. Please just make sure you check in with Ski Patrol at Glencoe Mountain before using the park.