Let people know (where you're going)

Questions and reports related to Sierra Nevada current and forecast conditions, as well as general precautions and safety information. Trail conditions, fire/smoke reports, mosquito reports, weather and snow conditions, stream crossing information, and more.
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rlown
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Re: Let people know

Post by rlown » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:40 pm

AlmostThere wrote: The last known GPS coordinates? well, yes, if you also provide what geodetic datum you're using! If you're giving out coordinates using NAD27 CONUS and the SAR team getting the coordinates uses WGS 84, we could end up being quite a distance away from the actual location and never know it. We had some snowmobilers give us coordinates of a set of tracks they thought belonged to a lost snowshoer - we luckily thought to double check what their GPS was set to, and found they were using WGS 84 ("what's that mean??" they asked) and reset it to get accurate coordinates! Fresno SAR uses NAD27, which is what Tom Harrison and other commercially made maps (some older FS maps are WGS) use. You might want to check the GPS unit you use to be sure it's the same as your map, too, if you use both.

Actually, Yosemite has good cell service in Tuolumne Meadows campground. I know this because I was called out for a search at 2 am while staying there last year! Also you'll get service on many of the high points around Yosemite Valley (we had signal on Devil's Dance Floor, Half Dome, and Glacier Point) and in Curry Village. I had a couple bars over at the Lodge. You could always use WD's method of dropping a postcard in the mail, too. The post office isn't far from the Yosemite valley wilderness center, and at Tuolumne Meadows it's at the store. And there's a pay phone at the market in Yosemite Village, and there's a web kiosk at Degnan's Deli to dash off an overpriced email from a web account.

I know what you mean - I like to play trailhead bingo too! But when I go by myself these days I'm especially careful about leaving instructions, especially once I started SAR. They give out this humiliating award for SAR volunteers who need to be SAR'ed, you see....

(I didn't know what a geodetic datum was until I did some research prepping for training the newbies - it's astounding to me how complex maps can really be, how many different reference methods there are, and how much I never knew about these things... still not sure how it all works but at least now I know it's important to know what you're using, so you can inform others.)
Most use WGS 84 if they have a GPS. My Rhino came with that setting as the default. Why the NAD27 choice if most don't buy new maps? The conversion should be close if not spot on between the two, or 60+ given the choices. (well, about 10 for the continental US).. Garmin SW allows you to change between them all, so I would assume SAR knows how to do that as well.

only place my ATT cell picks up well is near the stables at TM..








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rlown
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Re: Let people know (where you're going)

Post by rlown » Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:28 pm

There's another aspect here that was lightly touched on.. Communications. My group regularly carries "walkie-talkies". According to some rangers on this forum, those public channels are not monitored. Why not in a rescue scenario? I understand the line-of-sight issue, but still, you'd think you'd monitor for that, esp if you think you're close to a lost hiker (assuming of course, they carry a comm device). Cell phones for the most part don't work off-trail or even on-trail.

Our group is always on 5.1.. That is synch'd and tested before we leave the trail-head.

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Re: Let people know (where you're going)

Post by mattherrington » Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:36 pm

I've always had a hard time communicating to my wife any last minute changes. I can't blame her, she's not interested and I'm never late. Because I know the day is coming what I've done lately is use a template I've built (attached) to run out a couple of secnarios ahead of time in terms of route, nightly locations, etc. Then when I call her from the trailhead I reminder her what day to call if I'm not back and tell her option "C" or whatever.

It's also exceptionally helpful (personally) as I historically accidentally plan a monster day or two because I pack distance and elevation into the same day. I really have to look at it all on paper to plan it out well. That and planning out the route is half the fun for me. Plug in the basic data and it'll give you gain loss, time, and avg elevation profile. Template and instructions in the first tab, and a sample HST trip in the second. If you like it make it your own!

Cheers.
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AlmostThere
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Re: Let people know (where you're going)

Post by AlmostThere » Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:24 pm

rlown wrote:There's another aspect here that was lightly touched on.. Communications. My group regularly carries "walkie-talkies". According to some rangers on this forum, those public channels are not monitored. Why not in a rescue scenario? I understand the line-of-sight issue, but still, you'd think you'd monitor for that, esp if you think you're close to a lost hiker (assuming of course, they carry a comm device). Cell phones for the most part don't work off-trail or even on-trail.

Our group is always on 5.1.. That is synch'd and tested before we leave the trail-head.
I couldn't answer that, other than to point out that all our radios are UHF bricks such as the sheriff deputies use.

FRS radios we have used in our hiking group are pathetic - get on the other side of a ridge and you can't receive anything. The focus/energy is probably considered best spent on the actual search and less on the long shot of finding a group who carries radios, has not run out of battery and has them on and transmitting.

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whrdafamI?
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Re: Let people know (where you're going)

Post by whrdafamI? » Sat Jul 16, 2011 6:51 pm

I always carry Moto Rola "Talkabout" radios. My experience with them is that the first ones they came out with were the best. Model 250 and 280. The new ones have more bells and whistles and don't work for beans. Just MHO.
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rlown
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Re: Let people know (where you're going)

Post by rlown » Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:32 pm

AT,

Any chance you can point us to SAR documentation? Probably best to know exactly how they think to plan an extraction/search. I know the coast guard publishes theirs for mariners.

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AlmostThere
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Re: Let people know (where you're going)

Post by AlmostThere » Sun Jul 17, 2011 8:59 am

rlown wrote:AT,

Any chance you can point us to SAR documentation? Probably best to know exactly how they think to plan an extraction/search. I know the coast guard publishes theirs for mariners.
Not sure how much that would help. They all seem to be somewhat different in their approach - there are manuals on how to run Incident Command, how to implement things, but the actual searches are approached with different attitudes and the reasoning of different people.

There are lots of books about SAR - here's one on SAR fundamentals. http://books.google.com/books?id=JWNcKs ... &q&f=false" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

PS on the radios - if in the information you leave behind you mention that you have a ham radio, FRS radio, sat phone, etc - you can bet we'd be trying to use it to talk to you.

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Mike McGuire
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Re: Let people know (where you're going)

Post by Mike McGuire » Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:22 am

rlown wrote:There's another aspect here that was lightly touched on.. Communications. My group regularly carries "walkie-talkies"...
In this vein, a simple cheap low tech thing worth carrying is a good loud whistle. You can blow one for a lot longer than you can yell, and be heard further.

Mike

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rlown
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Re: Let people know (where you're going)

Post by rlown » Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:39 pm

Seems like it'd be nice if the wilderness permit form had all those fields that you mention on it, and one could enter them, regardless of starting point. I only asked about SAR approaches because if someone might be looking for my party, I'd like to know what their general approach might be. I could better position my team, unless dead of course..

When I show up for my permit, they only want my name, and where am I staying each day. And sometimes, those are way off..

two cents, for what it's worth.

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Re: Let people know (where you're going)

Post by wildrose » Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:08 pm

I went to a seminar (Search and Rescue 101) last night in my local REI (Saratoga REI). The guy who gave the talk is from Bay Area Mountain Rescue. http://www.bamru.org/bamruinfo.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.
I was surprised that all the SAR people in his group are volunteers and they spent a lots of their own time and money to pay for training and participating in the SAR operations.

He did say, as far as he knows, no SAR charges people for being rescued, and that includes Yosemite SAR program. They only want to charge people if the person being rescued refuse to get out of the wilderness with them. One time that a family reported a group were missing and they went and found the group. But the group were having a good time, they just forgot to tell their family. So the group wanted to stay in the wilderness. He got really upset, and telling them after the SAR had 2 helios and dozens of people searching for them for many hours, they'd have to come out with SAR or they needed to foot the bill of that operation. So those people came out with him. :-)

He's advices:
Know your limit, prepared, leave note to people about where you go when to plan to come back. If lost or hurt, stay calm, stay warm, stay dry and stay put. Don't hesitate for asking help.

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