overheadx2 wrote:Because SAR has to look for dumb ashes that use them poorly? How about the hours SAR spends looking for folks that didn't have them? I garranted more hours are spent scouring the sierras for people without emergency beacons than those with them. More importantly, the new models can text and let help know what the emergency is and how desperate it is.
I couldn't imagine being at miter basin or any other spot easily accessed by helicopter with an emergency with help is literally 1 hour away and not being able to contact them. I hate to think how many of the recent deaths in the sierras could have been averted by a simple push of a button or a text.
Probably not too many deaths could have been averted. If you fall off Whitney you're dead before anyone gets there.
I can guarantee that SAR has NOT looked for many who have gone missing in the Sierra. SAR will not look for you if there is no good information to start with - a point last seen, confirmation that you probably went into the wilderness, a permit, a campsite paid for near the trailhead, a car sitting for weeks, something. They will not look for you in a raging storm. They will not look for you at night - unless you are in Fresno County, which team searches at night. They will not look for you if the risk to the volunteers is too great. They MIGHT look after conditions have improved or more information is obtained. They will not charge you when they do look - but they are not medical personnel, and if such personnel are required you will be charged for that extra expense unless you went to the extra effort to get insurance that will. SAR isn't a magic bullet and we can't help you if the PLB doesn't send a good signal, or if it's broken.
Too many people don't do enough preventive steps. Lost people often have a GPS or SPOT they can't use.
The point being, still leave an itinerary and still take all other precautions that can be taken, and don't pretend that the PLB does anything useful in spite of the fact that it can be useful. Sometimes even a properly used one does nothing. All the rest is still needed - the itinerary, the precautions of not taking risks on the trail or pushing your limits, the wisdom to not "go anyway" if there is some medical issue likely to cause issues on the trail.... It should be used in addition to, not instead of. Which is the real point.... Too many people are ignorant of the rest of risk management steps and think the PLB/Spot will do the job.