This story has been developing over the past few days, though I first heard hints of problems with certain Backcountry Access Tracker 2s in the ShoutBox in the right sidebar of this blog nearly 2 month ago. (To see the comment, in the ShoutBox, scroll down, hit “Next”, scroll down and hit “Next” again.) At first, I brushed it off as user error, or as a comment from someone who makes mountains out of mole hills, (much like the stuff you may have read about the Ortovox 3+), but when I heard about Jackson Hole Ski Patrol having problems with their Tracker 2s and that JHMR had sent back nearly 100 Tracker2s and pulled all BCA Tracker 2 units off their retail shelves, I began wonder if it was more than just unsubstantiated comments.
“Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) has recently been made aware of potential problems with Backcountry Access’ (BCA) Tracker 2 avalanche beacons. As a result, and effective Saturday January 8th2011, JHMR has ceased sale and rental of the original Tracker 2 beacons, until we are confident that BCA has resolved the problems affecting these units.”, stated Zahan Billamoria, Communications Manager of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
It’s hard to say what is really going on with the Tracker 2, since I’m sure many people out there are probably happily using their beacons every day. But, since I learned about all this situation, I’ve heard people (mainly patrollers) have had their beacon make beeping sounds when the Tracker 2 was in the “OFF” position, randomly show decimal points in the display screen and just stop working all together in the middle of the day.
In an email to BCA VP Bruce Edgerly, he responds, “We’re still trying to determine why this issue is so concentrated on the Jackson fleet and basically nowhere else. We replaced their fleet as a precautionary measure, not as part of an overall recall. However, if we find that there’s reason to believe the issue is more widespread, then we’ll move forward with one.”
It is yet to be seen if BCA will institute a full product recall of the Tracker2, but I’m sure more will come of this after they do some testing on the 100 or so returned beacons from JHMR. In the meantime, if you are concerned with your Tracker 2, you can send it back to BCA for a free software update, or just visit the BCA Blog for more information.