Avalanche beacons are useless if they’re not turned on.
Go ahead, roll your eyes, but it’s easy to forget to flip your switch, or to not realize that your batteries are dead until you’re already out the gate.
Because of that, Jackson-based media outlet Outerlocal.com, Backcountry Access, and others are teaming up to install transceiver checkpoints at prominent backcountry access points in the area. The “Are You Beeping” program will put in 12 checkpoints by January.
The idea came when Outerlocal founder Christian Beckwith went to turn his beacon off after a day of skiing Teewinot and realized he’d never turned it on in the first place.
“We had left the car at three or four in the morning,” Beckwith said. “Maybe it was the lack of sleep, or maybe it was the conversation about whether to bring a rope—but I simply forgot to turn my beacon on. The Are You Beeping program will help backcountry travelers avoid similar mistakes.”
Here’s how the checkpoints work: “Each checkpoint will feature a large sign that asks, “ARE YOU BEEPING?” The sign will instruct travelers to pass the checkpoint one at a time. Underneath the sign, a BCA Beacon Checker will check the presence of a transmit signal. A positive indication on the Checker—a green “O”—will confirm the presence of the signal. A red “X” will display if a transmit signal is not detected.”
Tonight, the program is being presented to the community, and according to Outer Local, the stations will start being installed next week with all 12 installed by the end of the year.
There will be:
- 7 at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
- 2 at Grand Targhee
- 1 at Grand Teton National Park and
- 2 on the Pass