Snow and Avalanche Center 2007 Avalanche News

Austrian Alpine Club advocates RECCO use in backcountry
Organization adds reflectors to standards list for avalanche safety gear

Innsbruck (Feb. 1, 2007)­ Since its founding in 1862 to promote mountaineering and support alpine culture, the Austrian Alpine Club has grown to become an influential and respected voice for skiers and climbers who frequent the Austrian Alps. With a membership of 300,000, an extensive network of high-mountain huts and a leading position as an educator in all alpine disciplines, the 145-year organization has earned considerable clout when it comes to avalanche safety.

So when the organization added RECCO to their standards list for off-piste safety gear at this season's Alpinforum on Nov. 4 in Innsbruck, it certified the value of the system for all skiers who venture into uncontrolled terrain. Peter Plattner, the mountain guide and rescue advisor responsible for developing the club's backcountry and off-piste standards, added RECCO reflectors to the safety gear list in response to last winter's successful live recoveries with the system in France, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany.

"One of my jobs at the Alpine Club is to set some standards and inform people what is state of the art, what the advantages are and what fits for each skier," Plattner says. "I think when you take a relaxed look at all this equipment~Kand we have so many possibilities at the moment~Kthe RECCO system is one piece everybody should use."

Due to its minimal cost, simple design and extensive use by rescue helicopters, Plattner sees the system as valuable for all types of skiers. "The biggest benefit - no matter backcountry or off-piste - you have the
system with you and don't even know it. You don't have to change batteries, you don't have to activate it, you just wear it in your boot or jacket or pants," Plattner says. "For on-piste skiers who never use a transceiver, RECCO is absolutely perfect and there is no discussion. So the point is, when you go into the backcountry, we say you need the transceiver, the shovel and the probe. Now we say it is possible that you will be located alive with RECCO."

Plattner emphasizes that rapid response from search teams - due to cell and satellite phone notification and helicopter travel - has made RECCO an effective first response tool for avalanche rescue. "The RECCO is another chance, especially when you look at how fast helicopters reach the accident site. When they are equipped with the RECCO detector, you really have a good chance that you will be found. So there are only arguments for using the RECCO system." He concludes, "So when I have to choose between two jackets and one has RECCO and one does not, I would choose the one with RECCO."

About RECCO® Avalanche Rescue System

RECCO® is an avalanche rescue system utilized by 500 organizations worldwide to assist in the efficient location of burials. RECCO® enables rapid directional pinpointing of a victim¹s precise location using harmonic radar. The two-part system consists of a RECCO® detector used by organized rescue groups, and RECCO® reflectors that are integrated into commercially available products. Although similar in search procedure to transceivers, the RECCO® system is not intended for companion rescue and works as a complement to transceiver use in the backcountry. More information about RECCO® can be found at

Log in for an Ad-free visit - Contributors can log in for advertising-free pages.
Avalanche Institute


HTML 4.01 Transitional Compliant - Validate