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Use of Terms and Search Phases in an Avalanche Search with Transceivers

11 Oct 2008

Avalanche rescue

1. A clear structure of the search phases:

  • improves the understanding of an efficient search.

  • allows for a concise scaling within the search.

  • facilitates the use of a unified set of terms for the individual search phases that is independent of the means of the search.


2. A unified nomenclature using technically correct terms:

  • reduces misunderstandings and erroneous interpretation between different language groups and language regions.
  • enhances the intuitive understanding for the practical activities associated with every search phase.

  • links means of searching and search technology to a specific search phase.

  • provides a qualitative description for the search accuracy and so eliminates false expectations concerning the accuracy of the search, in order to encourage the carrying and use of avalanche probes.


  1. Five sequential search phases shall be used. The sequence of the phases is mandatory.

  2. The means of search may be different for the individual phases.

  3. The naming of the five phases shall reflect the relative accuracy of the search phase and provide an intuitive understanding of the practical activity.

    A: Clue search: 
    Accident to start of tranceiver search

    B: Signal search: 
    No signal to receiving the first signal

    C: Coarse serach: 
    First Signal to immediate vicinity of search target.
    Concise definition for electronic means of search: First signal to the point where the amplitude of the signal in the vicinity of the search target decreases in all directions for the first time.

    D: Fine search:
    Searching the immediate vicinity to the first use of a probe.

    E: Pinpointing:
    First use of a probe to first probe hit.

  4. For texts about avalanches, the wording from the glossary published on this website.