The backcountry community is up in arms over concerns regarding the safety of the Pieps DSP Sport and DSP Pro avalanche beacons.
The beacons are accused of having a fault, whereby they run the risk of switching modes easily, potentially preventing them from emitting a signal in critical scenarios.
Cases of this happening have recently surfaced on social media, where riders wearing the beacons were trapped under avalanche debris, with beacons that switched into the wrong mode.
In a Facebook post, Bri Howard, wife of the late Corey Lynam, spoke out about the Pieps beacon Lynam was wearing at the time of his death.
“At the time of the accident, he was using the Pieps DSP avalanche beacon,” wrote Howard’s post.
“But in Corey’s accident, his beacon failed. Fellow backcountry skiers couldn’t locate him because of the fundamental design flaw which turned the beacon into the wrong mode during the avalanche.”
A similar instance was reported as having happened to professional skier, Nick McNutt, who was also caught in an avalanche while wearing the beacon after it had mistakenly switched modes.
“I was in disbelief that Nick’s transceiver had turned off,” wrote Christina Lusti on Instagram, a skier who was with McNutt at the time of the incident.
“The experience left me questioning the integrity of the Pieps DSP pro…Due to poor design the button wears out and no longer provides resistance allowing it to slide out of send mode.”
McNutt luckily survived the incident, and according to Lusti is now in contact with Black Diamond and Pieps, in hopes of recalling the product. According to her post, Howard also asked for a recall.
Though Pieps has not yet recalled the beacon, they responded to the matter via an Instagram post, where they state that the beacons have undergone extensive testing and exceed certification standards.
They further the message with a safety video, urging those with the product to inspect their beacons for cracks or other issues that may affect its ability to function properly.
“A beacon is a personal safety tool which must be properly used and maintained,” writes Pieps’s Instagram post.
“Any misuse may compromise its functionality.”
According to Jay Carter, owner of Fernie’s Guide’s Hut, the Guide’s Hut has not yet received this year’s order of Peips beacons.
“The (Pieps DSP Sport and Pro) we ordered this year haven’t arrived yet,” said Carter.
“I don’t know if our order is coming, or if we’re getting a different beacon at this point. We probably will not sell it until they’ve resolved the problem.”
In a follow up post on their Instagram, Pieps stated they are now offering upgrades to the latest generation of their avalanche transceivers.