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Old 12-30-2009   #1
Edwards, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 139
Berthoud Pass rescue beacon issue

I'm going to paste in a request for help/info that is bouncing around some other internet sites. I saw it on Lou Dawson's WildSnow ( where it has started an interesting discussion.

Alpine Rescue Team needs your help – PLB false alerts in Berthoud Pass (Colorado) area
Over the past two weeks, the Alpine Rescue Team has been notified of three PLB activations in the Berthoud Pass (Colorado) area between Winter Park and the Jones Pass area. These PLB false alarms have occurred on three different dates, December 14, 23, and 24, and all involve the same PLB.
If anyone has recently started to use – or knows someone who has – a ACR PLB-300 Microfix (RescueFix) and visits the Berthoud Pass area, please contact the Alpine Rescue Team. You can send me a private message or call me directly. Right now there are no violations, penalties, laws broken, etc., however, we would like to talk with you so you can understand how your PLB works and does not work. If you don’t want to talk, at least keep your PLB turned off until you are in an actual life-threatening emergency.
Each detection of the PLB’s signal starts a cascade of rescuers beginning with the US Air Force, the Colorado State Search and Rescue Coordinator, the local sheriff, and finally the local mountain rescue team, which in these cases has been Alpine Rescue Team. Each false alarm requires significant effort and time by many people. On Christmas Eve, rescuers from three different mountain rescue teams spent the afternoon trying to directional find the intermittent signal.
You might be wondering why a PLB is so hard to pinpoint, especially if you have read any advertising or promotional materials about these devices. This unit is not registered so no simple phone call to the owner can be made to verify the alert. Also, this unit is being turned on and off and moved between activations, so the search area cannot be well defined giving a search area up to 10+ miles in radius. When used properly these new digital PLBs can usually be identified and located in minutes.
Again, if you have been in the Berthoud Pass area on these three dates and have an ACR PLB or know someone who has, please contact us via private message, or call Dale Atkins directly at 303.579.7292. There are no legal issues or laws broken; we very much would like to talk with you. As always the services of Alpine Rescue Team are free.

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Old 12-30-2009   #2
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
To the Alpine Rescue Team - Thanks for doing what you do, guys.

My guess is that it's a rank noob that bought a PRB, thinking it was a transceiver. Purely speculation, but it fits the pattern.

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Old 12-31-2009   #3
islandertek's Avatar
Rocky Mountain Hooliganz, Rocky Mountain High
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 364
Originally Posted by El Flaco View Post
To the Alpine Rescue Team - Thanks for doing what you do, guys.

I second El Flaco!! THANKS GUYS!!! A definite selfless act!!
Dream as if you'll live forever; Live as if you'll die today - James Dean
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Old 03-03-2010   #4
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
and he isn't even a "front ranger"

Rocky Mountain Rescue Group finds ignorant beacon owner who triggered false alarms - Boulder Daily Camera
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Old 03-03-2010   #5
bobbuilds's Avatar
x, x
Paddling Since: x
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,634
Originally Posted by catwoman View Post
see what happens, at least we knew what was going on.
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Old 03-05-2010   #6
Park City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 700
Missing fact

Friggin awesome. It must be so hard to be a first responder. So, was he a boarder or a skier? A fact that will allow us countless hours of ribbing of friends.
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Old 03-08-2010   #7
Deckers, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 56
My ACR beacon came with tape around it that said "do not activate this beacon unless loss of life or limb are immanent" I thought that made it pretty clear. They are are also supposed to be registered.
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Old 03-20-2010   #8
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Local, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Originally Posted by Canada View Post
So, was he a boarder or a skier? A fact that will allow us countless hours of ribbing of friends.
Yes! Was a a knuckledragger or a steeze queen? We shouldn't let this one die.

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