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Mt. Hood Beacon Basin


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Just wanted to let everyone know that the Avalanche training facility, called Beacon Basin and provided by BCA and The Mazamas, is fully operational and available for use.


Following is more info:
































The basin has been installed for a number of years but never really promoted so I'd love to see some use! Please remember not to dig! Just probe for the targets. Also remember to bring 6 C batteries and to take them with you when you leave- we don't want batteries left in the control box.


Comments or questions, please PM me.






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  • 3 weeks later...



The basin was in use yesterday by a Mazama class. from what I heard everything is working great, but because of the depth of the pack it's difficult to hit the targets even with the longest of probes. the targets ate about 1.5 to 2 feet off the ground and believe it or not theres 10-11 feet of snow in Govy right now!

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I used the Beacon Basin at Stevens recently and it was really great to practice several multiple burial scenarios and try different techniques.


I am really glad that there is something operational near home and plan on utilizing it in the near future.


Is there some fund or some way to help maintaint this so we have it available on an on-going basis?







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The basin was originally obtained by the Mazama ski mountaineering committee and for the last few years I've been the volunteer who put it out and semi-successfully maintained it. I never got around to publicizing it because we were experiencing intermittent technical difficulties which I think I got ironed out this year.


*side note* if anyone has problems with beacons not operating please post here or send a PM


I'm not sure what to tell you about donations, I'll have to check on that. If you're down near the Mazama offices (the old Mason lodge on stark - around 46th or so...) you could stop in and ask if theres a way to donate $ to the ski mountaineering committee.


For now just get up there and use it and give me feedback on improvements or whatever. I'd like to know what people think of access, usability etc...



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  • 10 months later...



Your post is very thorough and I hope to take advantage of all your hard work up there at the BeaconBasin.


Is the best access to the site through Summit ski area? or Mazama lodge. Also, this is sort of techie of me, but, do you have a GPS coordinate for somewhere at the site?




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I just listened to your phone message and then promptly deleted it, so since I don't have your number to call you I'm hoping you'll check back here.


It sounds like you went looking for the basin but the reason you coudln't find it is because it isn't there yet. I usually wait until theres a few feet of snow before placing the beacons and the plywood targets so that there will be something above ground level for users to hit with the probe. When I was last there a week ago (I'm in tahoe right now) there wasn't enough snow...


I'll be back in govy next week and will try to get things in place asap and will post here and on TAY once it's in.


As far as best access I think it's best to go through Mazama Lodge but you could also access from west leg road either the bottom or if you're coming down from T-Line. Once in the Mazama "meadow" look for a red pipe sticking out of the snow to skiers left near the top and thats where you'll find the control box.



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Hey Roger, That beacon basin is rad!! I spent several days in that place practicing my craft...



But, one time I was there, early in the morning, I got sort of chewed out by some Mazama instructor who apparently was teaching an Avy class. He was miffed that I tracked up the meadow and had probe marks all around where the beacons where located. He claimed that it made it too easy for his students to find the beacons.... :cry::rolleyes:


Is this a problem, or should I just ignore that guy in the future? I like having this resource at my, and more importantly my partners disposal, because, really, this is the only place I want to do this stuff. Ya know what I mean? I hate to be an intrusion, but the practice is valuable, and I would hate to be excluded.

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I could see there being a potental conflict if you were using the beacon basin while they were activly doing beacon searches with other beacons due to all the signals going out. But this could be used as a teaching aid to ignor the false signals. Other than that forget about it.


It is the instructors problem. He should go out and track the sh$t out of that area anyway prior to using the beacon basin. His problem would have occured during thier practice anyway unless they tracked the area up makig it hard to find the dug up spots. In the past when I was teaching up there I made false pits just for that reason.


FYI I am not the guy you ran into.


The beacon basin is for PUBLIC USE and WILL STAY that way. If this kind of conflict continues I will have a discussion with the parties involved and take care of it. By all means have your buddies use it when ever they need to brush up.


I also would like to thank Roger once again for taking the time and effort for putting the beacon basin out there for everybody to use.

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  • 1 month later...

As of yesterday the basin is installed. please wait until we get some snow to bury everything before tromping around up there. Hopefully the forecasts are correct and next week will take care of that.


I can't seem to edit the original post so here's some updated info:












and for those of you who were asking for GPS coordinates here's a new list of the beacons and their UTM coords (which I believe are GPS coords??)







Also, the orientation of the beacons is not as per the above chart. They are all set flat on the snow which I believe is a horizontal orientation. Sitting here writing I realize varying the orientation would be useful to some users and maybe I'll try and get that changed (any Mazama ski mountaineer instructors going up this w/e?), stay tuned for an update on that...





I had some questions from people who couldn't find the basin and in review of the pix in the original post I can't see how to give you better directions... check out the maps that show the lodge and environs, then go up there and walk up the hill and find it!!


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  • 1 month later...

Just heard from Hoodie after a session at the basin. He reports:


Burials are all about 1.4 meters which is even better practice.

It seemed like #6 wasn't working. I switched it on alone and never could pick up a signal. I could pick up all the others from the box when switched on one at a time.

Just an FYI. The other 10 are plenty to play with.


Stop in when you're in the 'hood

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  • 10 months later...

I just wanted to bump this thread and let it be known that thanks to Corvalis Mtn Resue the Mazama beacon basin is now operational.


Jerry buried the beacons in about 2 feet of snow and we had about 6-8 inches fall over the weekend so until we get more snow watch out for wires in the snow!


Remember to bring 6 C cell batteries and please don't leave them in the control box.


Oh yeah, this year Jerry positioned the beacons as they are listed on the powerpoint slides. (i.e. skewed, verticle, horizontal)


So get out there and practice

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  • 1 year later...

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