Smart Probe

Make avalanche rescues faster—and increase survival odds—with this high-tech tool

Oct 15, 2007
Outside Magazine
Smart Probe

Picture this: Your buddy was buried by an avalanche, your beacon has helped you zero in on his general location in minutes, your probe hits something solid, and you frantically dig up … a tree stump. This winter, Ortovox unveils a smarter-than-average avalanche probe tip that takes some of the guesswork out of digging for avy victims. The Intelligent Probe includes a transceiver that audibly alerts you when it's close to a beacon—and your buddy.

Twist the lower portion of the probe tip to turn the system on. An internal receiver picks up the victim's transceiver signal when the probe tip is within 20 inches of his beacon. That short distance will help you dig out the right end of the buried victim first (i.e., the breathing end).

The Intelligent Probe is compatible with all standard-frequency receivers. The beacon's signal is processed and sent to a speaker, which emits a series of beeps. The beeping is constant once the probe is within range of a beacon. (It doesn't get stronger or weaker like a beacon signal.)

The 18.5-inch tip adds just four ounces thanks to a carbon-fiber shaft, and it packs into the same small bundle as the rest of the probe. Two AAA batteries—which you insert into the probe tip's shaft by unscrewing the aluminum point—are insulated so you don't lose power in freezing temps.

The Intelligent Probe tip ($85) screws onto compatible Ortovox probes. You can choose from three models, but our favorite is the
Carbon Pro 240+, which is both strong and light (weighs only 9.1 ounces; $89) and assembles in a flash.

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