Ski mountaineers in the Tatras can use new warning system against avalanches

The PIEPS Checkpoint is a world-famous board according to which ski mountaineers can assess avalanches through avalanche transceivers.

A new avalanche beacon checkpoint was established in Hrebienok in the High Tatras.A new avalanche beacon checkpoint was established in Hrebienok in the High Tatras. (Source: TASR)

Ski mountaineers in the Tatras can now use a new system that should inform them about an avalanche threat.

PIEPS Checkpoint is a world-famous board according to which ski mountaineers can assess avalanches through avalanche transceivers. It allows people to check whether their own transceivers are working correctly or that they need fixing, which could cost them their lives in the case of an avalanche threat.

The Tatras will be offering four check points including Hrebienok, Popradské Pleso, Štrbské Pleso and Žiarska Chata.

The civic association responsible for this new system is known as Spoznávajme Tatry (Getting to know the Tatras) from Tatranská Lomnica. The project was supported by Slovak electrical companies, Intersport Galfy, and the Mountain Rescue Service (HZS), according to the Vysoké Tatry Region website.

How does it work?

The ski mountaineer comes with his/her avalanche transceiver to the board and pushes the CHECK button. One of three lights will light up and announce the result of the diagnostics:

RED: STOP - the avalanche transceiver is malfunctioning (low battery, damage, etc.).

ORANGE: the control panel cannot evaluate the received signal. Somebody may be too close and the frequencies are getting mixed up (the other person must stand five meters away from the board) / if there is nobody else with you, the technology you are using might be too old.

GREEN: everything is okay, you may continue.

The aluminum boards are charged by solar panels and places in locations where most people go into free terrain and where the risk of casualties is the greatest.

The avalanche transceiver is able to find a person buried in snow in time. The transceiver has to be fully charged and functioning.

The Spoznávajme Tatry Association hopes that this will improve safety and lower the number of casualties in the mountains.

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