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Changes Backpacking Habits

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Re: Changes Backpacking Habits

Postby rlown » Sat Jun 01, 2013 4:53 pm

maverick wrote:
Markskor wrote:
Yes, someone eventually might inquire (maybe here from HST)


I will Mark. ;)


I might inquire, but at the same time, i'm pretty sure you're in your happy place.



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Re: Changes Backpacking Habits

Postby artrock23 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:47 am

This is a really good thread with a lot of useful dialogue. :thumbsup:

As an avid outdoorsman (along with mountaineering, I also surf and ride mountain bikes), i've considered the wisdom of using a 'Spot' device. The majority of my Sierra trips are done solo, and plans always include cross-country travel with at least one peak ascent, often with snow/ice.

Mountaineering involves varying degrees of risk and daring; these are inherent to the sport. I accept these risks; indeed, they are part of the attraction for me, personally. I've found that although accidents and unforseen circumstances may occur, they can be greatly minimized by proper training, good equipment, and most of all good judgement. This is why I spend much of my free time on websites like this, read books, research new equipment, do Winter training hikes in the local mountains, and (soon) take climbing classes. But to me, good judgement is perhaps the most important skill (or trait) the alpinist must possess. I've turned back short of my objective, more than once, due to unsafe conditions. As Dirty Harry once said "A man's got to know his limitations".

Having a Spot device makes sense. To be honest, I haven't made up my mind about it yet, but it's possible I may add one in the near future.
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Re: Changes Backpacking Habits

Postby rlown » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:57 pm

artrock,

You said you accept it. does your family?

Russ
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Re: Changes Backpacking Habits

Postby freestone » Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:12 pm

I have to change my soloist backpacking habits. I'm punching into my mid sixties, so I have to uh... "act my age". The Spot is not on my short term list because I just spent a bunch of money on a new sleeping bag and tent. If I become disabled, I will at least be warm and dry. Also, my family is not about to sign off on some devise with a panic button.

Safety for me (and the fam) is in going with other people, not devises. So I will probably look for advertisements on group trips such as REI, and the "partners wanted" section of Backpacker.com Forum. I think Outfitters are missing the mark by targeting just young novices, not realizing there is a large pool of retirees coming on board with time, expertise, and money.

If I do go solo again, I will give a VERY detailed itinerary on the Wilderness permit that could even include coordinates rather than names since most places I go to don't even have names!

At the very least, I won't be so damn hard to find should I become incapacitated.
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Re: Changes Backpacking Habits

Postby artrock23 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:21 pm

rlown wrote:artrock,

You said you accept it. does your family?

Russ


I'm single, with no kids. If married with children, i'm sure it would be a different matter!

My parents are used to my somewhat 'risky' activities. I've been this way my entire life. When younger, let's just say I took many foolhardy chances for years with the lifestyle I led and leave it at that. They know that I have a heightened sense of self-preservation, and do not give up when it comes to survival. Having said that (and to answer your question), i'd imagine they'd rest a bit easier knowing I had a locating device. Point taken. ;)
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Re: Changes Backpacking Habits

Postby rlown » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:03 pm

Thought I'd add this little tidbit to the mix. This isn't exactly backpacking, but.

My friend Ken decided to not go backpacking with me but instead go on a stellar mountain bike ride. He and his other friends went to downieville. Ken got near the river and was a bit tired and he stopped. His front wheel was close to the edge and then he just rolled over the edge.

Anyway, he didn't have a PLB or a spot, and after his 25' fall with bike into the river, he couldn't press it anyway. Neck fracture.

His friends were behind him on the trail, and found him, stabilized him and went for help. This youtube video shows the beginning of the recovery.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6fLiWjmZK4

He worked hard to get back to a normal life. Driving again even. But.. Friends. not a device.

Another friend (Had dinner with him on Thursday). He and his motorcycle rider partners were on a trip down near king city, err central valley. one guy put his bike down and broke his leg. They had a spot device. pushed the 911 (yes, they have the logs of this).. it got pushed through 5 different orgs before it landed, and THEY DIDN'T DISPATCH!.

One guy took off on his bike back to the nearest fire dept to get paramedics out there.

Just saying..

Russ
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Re: Changes Backpacking Habits

Postby fishhunter » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:08 pm

I've used SPOT for many years now and consider it essential safety gear. Using the SPOT cast allows family / friends to track progress against trail plan, and you can even use the "help" (not 911) button if needed to signal slower pace or change of plan. One thing I learned though...the SPOT should stay within the confines of the pack/day pack (it'll shoot through the fabric) as I had it come off the belt while navigating between lakes and had to frantically search for it so that my wife didn't think I was stuck on a steep cliff! Had we not been able to locate it would have caused a trip abort and we were 30 miles in.

I did rent a SAT phone last year for a long haul / off trail trip. Aside from the additional cost I also found it detracted from the experience of getting away in to the back country, even though we used it very minimally.
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Re: Changes Backpacking Habits

Postby rlown » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:28 pm

fishhunter wrote: as I had it come off the belt while navigating between lakes and had to frantically search for it so that my wife didn't think I was stuck on a steep cliff! Had we not been able to locate it would have caused a trip abort and we were 30 miles in..


how connected does one have to be? are you out there because you like it or because someone allows you to be out there on a leash?

there was more to say, but i won't elaborate.
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Re: Changes Backpacking Habits

Postby oldranger » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:48 am

Russ,

Relying on Friends in the frontcountry is one thing but in the backcountry while certainly helpful could have limited benefits if people suffered injuries similar to your friends. Friends plus a communication device is, to me, the best alternative if survivability of a serious injury is your primary concern. Of course the best alternative is to avoid accidents, as Artrock23 wrote
good judgement is perhaps the most important skill (or trait) the alpinist must possess. I've turned back short of my objective, more than once, due to unsafe conditions. As Dirty Harry once said "A man's got to know his limitations".


Going solo is something I am not ready to give up so Artrock23's point is always on my mind, the spot is for my family and searchers--I know there are situations that it will not do me any good--just as friends will not always guarantee safety and survivability. If safety and survivability is your concern then friends and a device increase the odds of surviving over just friends or just a communications device.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Changes Backpacking Habits

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:21 am

markskor wrote:
AlmostThere wrote:Because that's the mandate... Someone will know where you went and eventually someone calls.

Mandate for what?.


All civil servants have sworn an oath and are expected to uphold it. SAR volunteers are civil servants. We respond, we complete assignments, we make no judgment and we do our best to return the missing to their families. Whether anyone agrees or disagrees with this is immaterial.

We fully expect subjects to have their own agendas. There is a lot of information on how to plan a search for various kinds of people... The unwilling or evasive subject among them. Of course, if we show up and the subject does not want rescue, we leave. But we cannot know what anyone would want so we search.

Sent from my HTC Glacier using Tapatalk 2
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Re: Changes Backpacking Habits

Postby Jimr » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:25 am

I think we are all aware that nothing is fail proof and nothing is 100% guaranteed to get yur ass outa there alive and there are many scenarios where this type of device is of little or no help. That does not negate the fact that there are many scenarios where this type of device could be a tremendous help. If one chooses to consider it an aid in addition to their first aid kit (BTW, the above applies to a first aid kit as well, but most of us carry some sort of kit without a second thought) or a leash around their neck that prevents them from enjoying their freedom, that's their personal view.

For me, I think a GPS is more of a leash than some sort of emergency signaling device. Not that it has no value, but it tends, for many, to replace more traditional navigational skills with a "tell me where to go" device instead of a tool to be used along with traditional skills. As I write this, I realize the same argument may be made for a SPOT. Nothing can be relied upon 100%, so nothing should be relied upon 100%. Unfortunately, we tend to be in love with our electronics, by and large, a little too much. They may be very useful tools, but let them not become a crutch.
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