Telluride Mountain Club: Promotes BCA Link Radios in Backcountry

Telluride Mountain Club: Promotes BCA Link Radios in Backcountry

In an effort to increase backcountry safety protocols, the Telluride Mountain Club promotes the use of Backcountry Access Link Radios.

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Over the past 20 years, Telluride Mountain Club (TMtC) has been fighting to keep access open to Bear Creek, some of Telluride’s most pristine and accessible backcountry terrain. Last season, the Gold Hill backcountry gates atop Telluride Ski Resort re-opened to the pubic after being closed for nearly five years, thanks largely in part to TMtC’s ongoing efforts.

In an effort to keep Bear Creek’s backcountry users safe and access open for the foreseeable future, the TMtC has initiated a program to promote and streamline the use of radios in this backcountry terrain and others. The program has been set up to increase effective communication in backcountry terrain and put in place important backcountry protocols. TMtC has teamed up with Jagged Edge Mountain Gear and Backcountry Access (BCA) to offer BCA Link Radios at 30 percent off to Telluride Mountain Club members.

The use of consumer quality radios will provide a way to prevent accidents where communication failure may have been a contributing factor in the past. Communication can be between group members, but also among different groups utilizing the same terrain.

Below are examples of good radio use:

  • Communicating when a group is dropping into a line or area
  • Discuss possible hazards with groups in front of, or behind, your own
  • Report on snowpack conditions and/or avalanche event information
  • Relay information that could negatively affect others
  • In the case of emergency, provide clear communication between parties and professionals

Matt Steen, local snow safety professional, brought the idea of personal radio use in backcountry terrain to TMtC and Jagged Edge Mountain Gear this fall.

“There are codes of conduct and backcountry protocols that have been overlooked in the past in Bear Creek (and other backcountry areas),” said Steen. “A ‘get in, get out’ mentality is poor policy for consequential terrain. The hope is that a change in communication practices through personal radio use will allow backcountry areas to be safer and easier to enjoy.”

Information regarding the program will be updated on and throughout the winter. Channel 4-4 has been set as the Bear Creek channel to start the season and channel 4-0 is being used by skiers in Ophir, CO. TMtC encourages feedback on the program and suggestions to improve what has been implemented (what is working, and what is not working).

“We hope this program will encourage all backcountry users to take responsibility for their own safety through clear communication over a common radio channel,” said TMtC Vice President, Josh Borof. “We hope to see the Bear Creek gates open long into the future, and this is a first good step to ensure that.”

About Telluride Mountain Club

Originally conceived as an avalanche-education organization in 1985, the Telluride Mountain Club (TMtC) evolved towards access advocacy and promoting responsible, safe backcountry travel and recreation. For those that enjoy hiking, backcountry touring, climbing and/or exploring the San Juan Mountains, we encourage our alpine community to join TMtC to build a stronger, better and more cohesive group. For more information, visit

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