SPOT 911 for Rattlesnake Bite? | High Sierra Topix  

SPOT 911 for Rattlesnake Bite?

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!
User avatar

SPOT 911 for Rattlesnake Bite?

Postby ryanerb » Mon Feb 01, 2010 1:26 pm

Sad to say, but I'm a bit paranoid about getting a rattlesnake bite. Chances might be pretty slim, but in an area like the Forks of the Kern, or Tehipite, there are lots of em. My question is if you think it would be valid to hit the 911 button on the SPOT tracking device if I got bit? Everything I read said there isn't much you can do besides get to the hospital. If you are several miles from your car, and down 1000's of feet in a canyon, it seems fairly tough to get to your car, and out to a hospital. Would you say try to walk it out, or go ahead and get the air lift? Sadly, I would feel better about spending several days down in Tehipite knowing I had my spot and could 911 if I got bit. You may say 'just be careful, and you wont get bit, but sad thing is, I dont think you ever plan to get bit, I think it can happen just in unlucky/bad circumstances that you couldn't help.



User avatar
ryanerb
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 1:23 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: SPOT 911 for Rattlesnake Bite?

Postby rayfound » Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:14 pm

Its one of the things that I think about getting one for. More for socal local stuff than the sierras.

I think it would depend on the situation, but I would get myself to major trails first, watch for horse-packers, etc.. but I think emergency services could include rattlesnake bites.
User avatar
rayfound
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 328
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:44 pm
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

User avatar

Re: SPOT 911 for Rattlesnake Bite?

Postby Mike M. » Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:07 pm

I think without a doubt, this would qualify as an emergency where you would be justified in using your SPOT device.

I have mixed feelings about these emergency systems and do not use them myself. I willingly take the risk of beng out there alone without the likelihod of rescue if something bad happens. To me, it is part of the wilderness experience. That said, I am careful and decidedly risk adverse.

Tehipite Valley is an enchanting place, with lots of rattlers. You can minimize the risk of snake bites by wearing long pants when you are hiking. Levis, with their heavy denim and baggy legs, are a good choice; should you surprise a rattler and provoke a strike, the snake is likely to get hung up in the baggy denin of your trousers. Most snakebites happen when you are careless -- turning over a rock without looking, not paying attention where you walk, that sort of thing.

I wouldn't hesitate to trek to Tehipite -- just be alert and aware.

Mike
User avatar
Mike M.
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 475
Joined: Fri May 25, 2007 10:50 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: SPOT 911 for Rattlesnake Bite?

Postby rlown » Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:55 pm

If you're really concerned that you might hit that 911 button, you might consider their insurance plan outlined at: http://www.geosalliance.com/sar/ and read the fine print on exclusions. It doesn't seem that pricey.
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5358
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: SPOT 911 for Rattlesnake Bite?

Postby Buck Forester » Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:26 pm

Having been to Tehipite Valley several times, solo, I can attest to the number of rattlers. One time they were everywhere to be seen, one time I saw quite a few, and one time not so many. I have always gone in the late spring.

I don't think a SPOT would be necessary, although if I take my kids back in there while they're still young I might consider it. The nice thing about Tehipite is you know there's a lot of rattlers there so every step is made knowing this fact. It's always in your mind so you never really let your guard down. It's like hiking solo in grizzly country, you just keep extra aware. Leather hiking boots and thick gaiters, such as the OR Crocodiles, are good to have. If you feel safer with a SPOT, by all means bring it. And if you did happen to get bit and you know venom was injected, that's certainly a very serious medical condition because there's no way you're gonna hike out of that steep valley and all those miles to the trailhead with a serious snakebite.

But personally I think just being aware and careful, and having a set of trekking poles as you hike, is good enough. Personally, I really enjoy seeing the rattlers and I'm a little disappointed when I don't see very many.
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/page9/
User avatar
Buck Forester
Founding Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:38 pm
Location: Lincoln, CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: SPOT 911 for Rattlesnake Bite?

Postby gdurkee » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:38 pm

I also agree -- this would be a definite acceptable use to hit 911. The SPOT and PLB gizmos are getting a lot of discussion, of course. The problem is not having them, but knowing where and when to use them, as well as an understanding of what happens when you do hit the 911 button.

I've been working on a briefing page that I'll post for discussion at some point in the maybe near future. It also looks like Yosemite and Sequoia Kings may have a hand out to brief people who do carry these in the backcountry.

g.
User avatar
gdurkee
Founding Member
 
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 8:20 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: SPOT 911 for Rattlesnake Bite?

Postby oldranger » Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:13 pm

I've been thinking about the initial question since it was first asked. I have two comments.

1. If you get bit by a rattlesnake it is appropriate to use your Spot Locator and hit 9-1-1.

2. However if you would not go to Tehipite valley without one then I don't think you should go with one. Similarly people should not climb Mountains or do cross country routes they would not do otherwise because they look at the Spot Locator as a safety net. From my perspective a spot locator is to be used when you are doing an activity that is within your capability but an accident happens. It should not be used as an excuse to go beyond what is reasonable for your skill level and your ability to attend to possible hazards such as rattlesnakes. For me the spot is taken because that is the only way my wife will let me go out alone. My choice of where I go and the routes I take have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I have a Spot Locator. Perhaps that is because I have such a low fear threshold. :(

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
User avatar
oldranger
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2176
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:18 pm
Location: Bend, Oregon
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: SPOT 911 for Rattlesnake Bite?

Postby rayfound » Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:21 pm

I wholeheartedly agree. The assumption in the question as I read it, was that he was planning on going (or had experience going) to Tephite and FOTK - and was wondering if the SPOT would provide added safety to the already established trips (which is exactly the purpose).

I look at it like a water filter. It adds safety to water I was already willing to drink in the High Sierras. It does not mean I'm going to start drinking from the mudhole on the trail filled with horse feces.
User avatar
rayfound
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 328
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:44 pm
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

User avatar

Re: SPOT 911 for Rattlesnake Bite?

Postby ryanerb » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:21 am

Thanks for the input guys. I totally see your point about not going if i only feel safe with one. I had a scare last summer with a rattler as I was walking on a very skinny trail, and a rock was just to the left of the trail, and he was right under that rock, within 5" of my leg, and rattled as I walked by. I was alone that day, and hadn't seen any other people. I just figured it might be smart to at least come back with other people in the case I got bit, or at least with a spot. I have no right to climbing pants pass, as I don't do super great with heights, and found that out. (Beautiful though! http://static.panoramio.com/photos/orig ... 068347.jpg )

Anyways, I think given the correct precautions and awareness, the spot will just help me if it occurs. Heck, if I get bit and die down in tehipite, that'll be much better than dying on the 405 freeway in downtown LA in a car crash rollin over!
User avatar
ryanerb
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 1:23 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: SPOT 911 for Rattlesnake Bite?

Postby ndwoods » Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:24 pm

I work at 911...so straight from the horse's mouth...go for it! Good enuf reason to hit it!:)
User avatar
ndwoods
Founding Member
 
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Experience: N/A


Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests