HST Community      The GPS is not the territory

The GPS is not the territory | High Sierra Topix  

The GPS is not the territory

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!

Re: The GPS is not the territory

Postby rlown » Sat Oct 24, 2009 9:43 am

i found this site which shows some of the rescues in Yose: http://www.friendsofyosar.org/rescues/rescues.html

Some of it is interesting; Most are about climbing.



User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 6514
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:00 pm
Location: Petaluma, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: The GPS is not the territory

Postby Shawn » Sat Oct 24, 2009 10:38 am

This is how it appears on the NPS site "The Morning Report" for 10/20/09:

http://home.nps.gov/applications/mornin ... ortold.cfm
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (CA)
Search For Missing Backpackers Concludes Successfully

The search for three missing backpackers concluded successfully on the afternoon of Thursday, October 15th, when brothers Jacob and Jordan Zeman and Lanier Rogers were reunited with their families after being short-hauled off a ledge above the Roaring River in the Cedar Grove area. The three had begun an ambitious 65-mile hike on October 8th with the intention of walking out on October 12th. Family members contacted park staff at 10 p.m. on Monday when the group failed to return. An investigation into the incident began on Tuesday, although heavy rain and high-elevation snow hampered initial aerial and grounds search efforts. A hasty search was conducted as weather permitted on Wednesday, and additional resources were ordered for a full–scale search on Thursday. Approximately 50 searchers and two helicopters (including the park helicopter) were in the field or on their way to the search area when the three men was located. Rangers Jack Corrao and Debbie Brenchley conducted the short haul operation from Helicopter 552. Statements from the three men acquired after the incident indicated that they had not been able to complete the hike that they’d planned and began to backtrack in the middle of the trip. They became stranded after attempting to return to their vehicle via a treacherous cross country route through the Roaring River drainage. Kings Canyon district ranger Ned Kelleher was the incident commander. [Submitted by Adrienne Freeman, Acting Public Affairs Specialist]
User avatar
Shawn
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 928
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 8:56 pm
Location: Paso Robles, Ca
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: The GPS is not the territory

Postby SSSdave » Sat Oct 24, 2009 1:23 pm

Thanks Shawn,

Was pretty sure that was the group gdurkee was referring to. Had not seen the followup info in any news reports so was wondering what that had been about. An earlier news report said that they did not have required wilderness permits that caused the rescue effort to be too broadly scattered. Rather obvious they made some poor decisions. Anyone with Sierra topo map experience would not have attempted a route down Roaring River. Obviously that was the shortest route to the valley as the crow flies but there was a good reason no one has blasted a trail down through the steep zone. Generally foolish to descend unknown narrow granite gorges because glaciation often leaves bedrock with steep cliff-like steps and inner river gorges erode steep walled narrow sections.
User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2273
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 10:18 pm
Location: Silicon Valley
Experience: N/A

Re: The GPS is not the territory

Postby Shawn » Sat Oct 24, 2009 3:47 pm

Even though the blundering on their part is rather obvious, I almost wonder if they used a 100k map instead of a 7.5 view. The 7.5 map makes it r-e-a-l-l-y obvious their chosen route would be terribly wrong, while a 100k dilutes the view to an inexperienced map reader.

Either way, glad they made it out okay, thanks to a strong and speedy NPS rescue effort.
User avatar
Shawn
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 928
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 8:56 pm
Location: Paso Robles, Ca
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: The GPS is not the territory

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Oct 24, 2009 3:57 pm

rlown wrote:I'm hoping this isn't going to be another one of those threads on technology vs. just plain stupid. Let's face it, some aren't meant to be up there. They get at least 1 point for stupid by trying to throw a pack across a stream. There's nothing wrong with a GPS if intelligently used.

My reply was not intended to bash technology, given that advances in technology such as GPS are a key part of the research that I and many geoscientists do. The bottom line is that GPS gives you position, but a user needs to have the ability to read a topo map if they are to use the x-y position to safely navigate from point A to point B off trail. Fools such as those that were stuck in this story will get stuck in any era, but the concern among many, including me, is that existence of technology makes people think they can do things that they really shouldn't do. This is similar to giving non-swimming children flotation devices in various bodies of water. Kids end up going where they shouldn't (ie paddling into water that is over their head, should they lose hold of their flotation device) and get into trouble, so water safety professionals strongly discourage this. This is one of the first things one is taught as a lifeguard (I was a lifeguard and swim instructor many years ago). Of course this is no different than other backcountry safety issues, such as that involving folks that believe that "paint by numbers" climbing routes can substitute for climber's judgment and intelligent route finding.

GPS can certainly enhance one's navigational capabilities, but one needs to have basic map reading skills first, and must have topo map reading skills if one is to go off trail with one. I can think of plenty of times when a GPS would be helpful to me (were I to actually use one, which I don't for recreation), when navigating off trail in heavily wooded areas with poor lines of sight. I strongly believe in GPS for reproducible locations of geologic samples--I encourage all of my graduate students to use it.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
User avatar
giantbrookie
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 2717
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 9:22 am
Location: Fresno
Experience: N/A

Re: The GPS is not the territory

Postby gdurkee » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:59 pm

Glad that got into the public domain on Morning Reports. Paranoid that I am (in this only slightly post-Bush NPS) I don't want to give out information that is not yet public. The other cool thing (and maybe a first) is that these guys GPS'd their entire route, so we could look at exactly where they were -- literally every 20 seconds or so; decision points etc. You want to yell: "No, Aragorn, son of Arathorn, not the Paths of the Dead. Turn back!"

But, yes, everyone was OK. For as long as I've been doing this stuff, it's amazing what I learn from every search. Your tax dollars at work... .

g.

Oh PS: Shawn: Yes, I'm pretty sure they just had some sort of large scale map.
User avatar
gdurkee
Founding Member
 
Posts: 712
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 7:20 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: The GPS is not the territory

Postby maverick » Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:49 am

How many similiar incidents are we going to have to read about before people finally
realize that going to into the woods is not childs play?
George, I hope they are going to be charged for there rescue, and not SEKI eating
the cost!
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 9391
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 4:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: The GPS is not the territory

Postby rlown » Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:37 am

ok,

This is somewhat embarrassing, but i was prepared and didn't need a 10k rescue.

We did a hunting/backpacking trip in Trinity alps to Horseshoe/Ward Lks out of Swift creek in Late Sept. We looked at topo's, talked to DFG biologists about route/fish/game, planned the routes loaded it all into GPS and thought we had it all planned. Um, per the North Cascades thread, Trinity is steep! 7200' lakes; 7450' pass; 4000' starting point. We knew it would be steep, but it did surprise us from time to time. We had no problems getting to Horseshoe and Ward, but then after my "friend" shot a 300lb bear as far back as you could get above Ward Lk overlooking Horseshoe and on a 40 degree slope, we had to get it out.

Turned out, it added 3 days to the trip, and we had to go in a different route to get the bear. It was a route i studied beforehand, and thought i could "skirt" around the top of a ridge from a better trail. WRONG! :o

This turned into a 1 mile rock hop over a skree field of 5-10 ton boulders. Trinity rock is very nice in that area; almost like anti-slip surfaces. Keep in mind this was to get the Bear out, so our packs were empty except for water, filter and lunch. Even with my little "miscalc" on the terrain, we arrived only 14 mins late to the lake, but it did tire us out.

We trailed out over the pass behind ward and down the extremely steep kidd creek slope (i didn't want to do in the first place), with bear in packs.

So, even with the planning, i screwed us a bit. GPS was still comforting to know where the lake was as a reference, and then use good judgement in the best way to get there. For us, the key was to stay high enough and on plane with the level of the lake.

The GPS tracks were kind of scary to review later. Lack of planning would have screwed us more.
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 6514
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:00 pm
Location: Petaluma, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: The GPS is not the territory

Postby SSSdave » Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:48 pm

Shawn wrote:Even though the blundering on their part is rather obvious, I almost wonder if they used a 100k map instead of a 7.5 view. The 7.5 map makes it r-e-a-l-l-y obvious their chosen route would be terribly wrong, while a 100k dilutes the view to an inexperienced map reader.

Either way, glad they made it out okay, thanks to a strong and speedy NPS rescue effort.


Another issue is that there are lots of backpackers that infrequently use their 7.5m topographic maps even though they are buried down in their packs. And that includes quite alot of very experienced users I've met that tend to stay on trails. Even quite a lot of peakbaggers that tend to eyeball their peak routes by sight when nearby. It is mainly people who go offtrail that tend to learn how to use their topographic maps because not doing so is likely to quickly get a person into trouble or at a minimum they inefficiently waste alot of effort thus they learn from such mistakes. I'm pretty much at the opposite extreme as my folded topo map is usually in my hand or dangling from my chest in a clear map holder. Accordingly I have alot of mutilated maps due to lots of handling and refolding.
User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2273
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 10:18 pm
Location: Silicon Valley
Experience: N/A

Re: The GPS is not the territory

Postby BSquared » Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:57 am

Start with Map.jpg
You must register an account and login to view the files/photos attached to this post.
—B²
User avatar
BSquared
Founding Member
 
Posts: 879
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 2:31 pm
Location: Jericho, VT
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

PreviousNext

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Beantown, Google Adsense [Bot], Jason, maverick, Yahoo [Bot] and 16 guests