Like you needed another reason to carry a map... | High Sierra Topix  

Like you needed another reason to carry a map...

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Like you needed another reason to carry a map...

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Sat Aug 06, 2011 3:18 pm

Wonder is rock and water and the life that lives in-between.



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Re: Like you needed another reason to carry a map...

Postby bluefintu » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:46 pm

I was good at using a GPS on my boat. If someone gave me a Lat. - Lon. I would know where I was,and I would know where to go.(in my head) I've always carried a map since I was a kid. Still have some old ones.

I hiked out of Cottonwood Pass on last Friday, met some backpackers on the way to Cottonwood Lakes. They asked me how much futher to Cottonwood Lakes, I told them they were on the wrong trail, he showed me his map (the 8x11 from the ranger station) He was mad after I told him he was on the wrong trail. I showed him my map, he parked in the wrong parking lot and started on the wrong trail. I looked at my son, and he understood.
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Re: Like you needed another reason to carry a map...

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:24 am

Carrying a map without knowing how to use it is like carrying an ice axe without knowing how to use it and expecting to be able to self-arrest.

All maps are not created equal. I never go without 7.5-minute maps. Nowadays, I often print them from my TOPO program instead of taking the original USGS maps. One thing to be careful about- the original maps are still readable if wet- home printed maps on regular paper will become just a mess of ink if you get them wet. I do not know how many times I have met lost tourists trying to navigate off of the little maps you get free at park entrances!

You were very kind to get this guy on the right path.
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Re: Like you needed another reason to carry a map...

Postby oldranger » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:41 pm

I still can't figure a good reason for me to begin carrying a gps. Just paying attention to what is around me and a map works great. An altimeter/barometer 9(regularly adjusted at known elevations) gives an added measure of precision. GPS really doesn't do much for me unless I am in a deep dark forest on a cloudy day with little change in elevation--but then a gps might not work so well either. And I could never rely on a tool that requires batteries to get me where I want to go. Even carrying a compass in the Sierra is dead weight but I do it anyway. I do use my compass now and then in the Oregon Cascades.

Learning to read a map and paying attention to what is around you, and translating the map to the real ground is really the key to navigating around safely in the Sierra. If you depend on a GPS you'd better stick to trails.

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Re: Like you needed another reason to carry a map...

Postby rlown » Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:34 pm

So, a SPOT is a GPS (plus). Unfortunately, they don't just put a simple LED display on their device that shows simple Lat/Lon.. Then, you don't have to carry both.

Still, carry a map, in a ziplock if home printed..
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Re: Like you needed another reason to carry a map...

Postby markskor » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:32 pm

OldRanger writes: "I still can't figure a good reason for me to begin carrying a gps. Just paying attention to what is around me and a map works great."

As a fellow Old-timer, cannot agree more! When the GPS craze hit about 10 years ago, thought I had to have one...immediately ran out and bought the 301 Geko (spelling?). carried it for years. Only problem was, never used it. Other than 2 times, once in a whiteout (where I just hunkered down and waited it out - was nice to know where I was though), and another time coming X-country over Crabtree Pass, (where did not know where I was in relationship to the trail)...would have run into it if waited another 1/2 mile. Now I leave it at home.
IMHO, the maps are too small for elevation detail, and they do not give enough of the big picture. Can appreciate those who rely on them, but, IMHO, a good 7.5 map, a little study, and common sense does a better job for me.
YMMV.
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Re: Like you needed another reason to carry a map...

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:44 pm

I was given GPS back in 1995 when I had just started backpacking. I wasn't terribly impressed with it and since I stayed on trail almost exclusively, I never bothered to bring it. I couldn't justify the weight. Add in that I have a knack for geography and am very good at reading maps and navigating and I never thought I would need a GPS.

Then last year I had a trip in June and the trail was still under 4-5 feet of snow. Luckily, a friend had hiked the same trail a week earlier with his GPS. He called me on the way out, told me the situation and offered to drop off the GPS on his way down the hill. We followed his track a few days later and I am positive we would have been lost or at least wasted many, many hours without that hunk of technology. It really came through in that situation.

So, I waited for the Oregon 450 to go on sale and picked one up last fall. I've used it to measure my day hikes here in Auburn and on two backpacking trips. I'm sure I could have navigated in Emigrant without it, but it was handy in that I could check it periodically to ensure we were on the right track. Also, I was able to mark a safe river crossing for the loop back as well as mark potential campsites for future trips. Finally, I love to geek out on the data with my TOPO and Google Earth software when back at home.

We did carry 7.5 minute and Harrision maps and I had studied the route thoroughly beforehand. We referred to all of them when deciding routes. By no means would I rely on just a GPS when backpacking, but I am sold on it's usefulness.
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Re: Like you needed another reason to carry a map...

Postby quentinc » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:48 pm

Blufintu, that's a funny story. I often have people ask me for directions and then start arguing with me about them. Sort of like a Monty Python skit.

I'm always happy to see other people foregoing GPS too. Part of my reluctance is that I don't want the headache of figuring out how to use it (I'm sure there's a GPS app for my smartphone, but it was painful enough just figuring out how to make a phone call on the darn thing!). But I also hate the idea of bringing technology into the wilderness, and I've always been completely happy with just a map.
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Re: Like you needed another reason to carry a map...

Postby freestone » Thu Aug 11, 2011 5:56 am

Just another thing to turn on, but it won't. The battery is dead? Can't sync up? Out of range? Incompatible? Need to reformat? The diagnostic list goes on and on. Before you know it the day is done, and its too late to wet the line.
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Re: Like you needed another reason to carry a map...

Postby 87TT » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:13 pm

The native americans and mountain men did all right without GPS so I will too. When I am hunting or off fishing by myself, I try to tell my wife my general area and my eta to return. I have also told her to give me until the following day before reporting me missing as stuff happens and I do not want to waste resources. Most S&R members are volunteers, police or fire and have enough to do without looking for someone who is just late or unprepared. If I die in the mountains doing what I love so be it.
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Re: Like you needed another reason to carry a map...

Postby neil d » Thu Aug 18, 2011 3:57 pm

Funny to read all the curmudgeonly posts on this topic...turns out I'm a curmudgeon too! I bought one of the original eTrex Vista GPS units way back when, and aside from some geocaching circa 1998, it's been sitting in a gear box ever since. The printed map tells all. Although it's heresy to say so, I also agree that in most of the Sierra, a compass is superfluous.

I just wish it was easier to get my hands on 7.5' quads. In a former life I worked at the USGS in Menlo Park, and their map store had nearly every California/Nevada/Oregon topo in stock. Even the Berkeley REI had most of the popular ones back then. You just can't beat the detail of 40-foot contours.

Now I rely heavily on Harrison maps and the like, which are also quite good. I do love the waterproof, tear-proof materials.
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Re: Like you needed another reason to carry a map...

Postby ERIC » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:51 pm

The only real input I have to add to this discussion is, that a recreational GPS unit circa 1998 did not/is not going to provide you the level of accuracy that today's units do. Quite likely many of you already know this, but it's worth mention just the same.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_ ... ailability

There's also the issues of constant change in constellations (new birds, lost birds, etc.) and loss of firmware support to properly connect to current constellations that for older units usually affects accuracy or the ability to even fix.
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