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Cell coverage around Bishop passes

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Cell coverage around Bishop passes

Postby arundodonax » Sat May 05, 2012 8:23 pm

Hi All,

Can anyone speak to the AT&T cell coverage on or near Bishop and Piute passes? How about in Aspendell? Spotty? Nothing? View of Owens Valley required kind of situation?

I need (well, want—not go-get-a-sat-phone critical) to have access to cell coverage for obligations and I'm hoping I can spend a few days in Humphries, then do the loop over the weekend and then Dusy a few days on the back end, heading up to the passes to do the cell thing.

Thanks!



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Re: Cell coverage around Bishop passes

Postby rlown » Sat May 05, 2012 9:11 pm

Had nothing at North Lake last Sept. Friend brought his droid with him up the hill over Piute. No bars on the way up.. You can count on less than zero over the pass into Humphreys.

What's the point anyway. You're hours away from making a difference in anything important at that point. I'm missing the point of "connected all the time", i guess.
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Re: Cell coverage around Bishop passes

Postby LMBSGV » Sun May 06, 2012 9:35 am

Our experience is that there is no coverage at Aspendell - we used the pay phone at the resort. On the climb to Bishop Pass, when you reach the top of the climb above Long Lake, there is a place where you have an overlook view of the Owens Valley. The phone worked fine there. Everywhere else, on the trail to Bishop Pass, it didn't. As Russ said, on the Piute Pass trail there is no coverage.
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Re: Cell coverage around Bishop passes

Postby markskor » Sun May 06, 2012 10:03 am

Never been a fan of carrying all the electronics -

Phones? Why, just ballast. Help too far away and at that, no coverage...thus never used. BTW, the only time carried was last season and wound up cracking the damn touchscreen.
Camera? Occasionally but for me a pain... and have broken a few screens there too...oops!
(Note to self: inside of a bearcan is not a good place to carry expensive electronics!)
Spot? Nope -
Music? Well yes, always enjoy a little Willie off my postage-stamp-sized IPod Shuffle.
GPS? Carried a Geko 301for years and used it twice...in the winter.
Steripen? Something about glass, water, and batteries.

I have enough trouble figuring out a headlamp.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Cell coverage around Bishop passes

Postby Hobbes » Sun May 06, 2012 10:56 am

markskor wrote:Never been a fan of carrying all the electronics.


I'm with you - every year, I take less and less. This year, I'm going completely dry - no more stove/fuel. I can make a perfect single cup of coffee and a semi-gourmet meal @ home. What's the point on the trail, when all I'm interested in doing is living the moment, whether walking and/or fishing? (Bear in mind I have a near SUL rig, so I am just literally walking.)

As for the need to be always connected, there are certain professions and/or points in a career that it really is imperative. I used to do a lot of biz travel, and while I wasn't personally guilty, I recall situations where people en route used plane phones for extended periods while trying to finish whatever they were doing.

If you're a decision maker and/or subject matter expert, it's surprising how much you can accomplish merely talking/walking people through whatever deal is being done. Personally, I can think of worse things than finalizing a deal while hunting some trout in backcountry lakes. :rock:
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Re: Cell coverage around Bishop passes

Postby rlown » Sun May 06, 2012 11:08 am

Hobbes wrote:As for the need to be always connected, there are certain professions and/or points in a career that it really is imperative. I used to do a lot of biz travel, and while I wasn't personally guilty, I recall situations where people en route used plane phones for extended periods while trying to finish whatever they were doing.

If you're a decision maker and/or subject matter expert, it's surprising how much you can accomplish merely talking/walking people through whatever deal is being done. Personally, I can think of worse things than finalizing a deal while hunting some trout in backcountry lakes. always connected, there are certain professions and/or points in a career that it really is imperative. I used to do a lot of biz travel, and while I wasn't personally guilty, I recall situations where people en route used plane phones for extended periods while trying to finish whatever they were doing.
:rock:


Actually, I'm in that kind of position, but even the EVP's and VP's take vacations and aren't available. You shouldn't feel guilty about a true vacation. That means no phone, well at least in the sierra (for me). If they want you to burn your vacation time to get it off the books, you should take it. You do everything you need to before you leave, and designate a delegate. Easier to fish when you don't have a phone on your ear bud. :D

If the phone is for personal comms during the trip, you're already screwed. How can you decompress carrying all the baggage of the days with you? For me, I cut the cord at the TH; sometimes before that. I don't want an aborted trip because something happened 5 hrs away that I can't fix anyway.
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Re: Cell coverage around Bishop passes

Postby arundodonax » Sun May 06, 2012 9:16 pm

It's a unique situation which requires phone communication. I had a feeling I'd get the haters. ;)

Thanks for the tips, though.

I am generally of the same mindset with regard to electronics, but at the end of the day: Wilderness + Phone > No Wilderness.
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Re: Cell coverage around Bishop passes

Postby TehipiteTom » Mon May 07, 2012 9:28 am

I pretty much agree with rlown, except that (happily) I don't have a cell phone at all. Never plan to, either.
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Re: Cell coverage around Bishop passes

Postby Fly Guy Dave » Mon May 07, 2012 11:29 am

I have to echo some of the sentiments by other posters here on cell phones, which are a double edged sword, at best. However, to answer your question, I have had four bars once when I was hiking Shepherd Pass, pretty far south of Bishop, but certainly AT&T was available. I often carry a cell, mostly to put my wife's mind "kind of"at ease, since I often backpack solo, so the idea that I at least MIGHT get a signal and I can call out, if necessary, helps her out. It was a nice thing to have that time on Shepherd, as there was a forest fire that had started, and it looked like it was at or near the trailhead, and I didn't want to be walking straight into trouble. The Inyo County Sheriff's Office told we where the fire was, about a mile north of the trailhead, so I was good to go.
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Re: Cell coverage around Bishop passes

Postby tim » Mon May 07, 2012 12:39 pm

There's quite good AT&T coverage in the Whitney area when you can see across the Owens Valley to the tower on Cerro Gordo peak (gives you decent coverage in Saline Valley as well), though Cottonwood Pass has no service. Further north I think there's a tower most of the way up the Sherwin Grade on 395 (at the viewpoint if I'm remembering correctly) so you would need a northern or northeastern exposure (e.g. hills south of the trail to Bishop Pass should have good coverage, possibly even as far as the north side of the Palisades, but I would assume Paiute Pass will be mostly blocked). Further north again you get into the Mammoth Mountain coverage area (e.g. San Joaquin river south of Devils Postpile) but that's probably not helpful for your hike.

Worth noting that celltowers on the flat (e.g. in Bishop) are less good at getting coverage up into the hills (antennas generally point slightly downwards so they provide coverage in the surrounding area). Mountaintop ones are usually much better at wide area coverage, so these three are some of the most helpful.

AT&T coverage in Owens Valley is 3G, because it was deployed quite recently after their Alltel acquisitions. In many places older GSM-only phones don't work. You can check the maps out on the AT&T website.
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