Heart rate monitor and avalanche beacons

  • Creator
  • #60827

    At Uphill Athlete you have (I presume) primarily mountain athletes as customers, readers, listeners etc. At the same time you are quite adamant that people use heart rate monitor chest straps rather than rely on a watch with wrist based heart rate monitoring.
    Do you have any knowledge about or experience with interference from heart rate monitors affecting avalanche transceivers? (Either in send or search mode?)

    I started using a HRM chest strap this past summer, but now that ski season has started again this has become a potential issue.

    I would also like to thank you for the information available in the book, on the website and in the podcast.

Posted In: Ski Mountaineering

  • Participant
    Mariner_9 on #60869

    AvCan had a blog post on transceiver interference: https://avalanche.ca/blogs/mitigating-avalanche-transceiver-interference

    Advice from a guide on an avalanche training course I took last year is simply not to wear a HRM while ski touring.

    If you want an idea of your HR while touring, my suggestion would be to wear a HRM while doing a tour in terrain with minimal avalanche risk (simple terrain, low angle, no overhead hazard, etc.) and then use the readings as a proxy for other tours.

    Mariner_9 on #60873

    BeaconReviews also has a section on interference: https://beaconreviews.com/interference.php

    Aaron on #60881

    For ski touring with a transciever I have adopted NOT wearing one, and simply using my experience with HR monitors to estimate time in zone and use a spreadsheet with a combination of Training Peaks TSS estimation guides for zones 1-5 and Uphill Athlete fudge factors (weight, vertical). Works pretty darn well, to the point where I have gotten tire of using HR monitors, especially in the winter when static and dry air gives me too many false readings.

    NE Rando Race Series on #61038

    I wrote that Beacon Reviews piece.
    In summary, all sorts of devices can interfering with your searching beacon as a rescuer. However, even just a relatively small amount of spacing solves that problem. So keep your beacon a bit away from your body (i.e., not right up against your chest), and you’ll be fine.
    As for interfering with your transmitting beacon as a victim, the only failure I’ve been able to induce was packing a bunch of energy gel packets around a beacon — which was a very disturbing result! (The company eventually confirmed that the packets included an innner metal foil layer.) So for an HRM, I wouldn’t worry about it … although would be easy to test to confirm.

    Anonymous on #63576

    On a similar note, I remember reading a Mammut study several years ago that interference was an issue when other devices were within 20 cm of the transceiver. The recommendation was to keep them 50 cm away when the transceiver is in use.

    But of course, being immobilized in white concrete may reduce one’s range of options.

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