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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:30 am 
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Location: St. Croix Falls, WI
I definitely like option HFT supplied. I've had a SPOT since 06' and I've never had to use the help, or 911. Don't rely on any device to get your ass out of trouble. If you don't possess the initial skill sets, orienteering, map reading, avy knowledge, 1st aid, Wilderness Survival.... then you really should'nt be in the BC. The SPOT for me is merely away for my wife to have a sense of comfort when I'm gone, and to call for help if the worst case scenario hits, and I can't rescue myself.

Safe Travels, meng :doobie:

Russman, you're such a ladies man.. you should just have "lady" cahces along your routes... that way you can back track to your lost sugar muffin, and get some lovin's when you run out :thumpsup:

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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:46 pm 
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Location: New Castle, Colorado
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So don't just think you buy a device and it's instant insurance. Your response is going to be very dependent on your location, the rescue resources available to your local teams, and their decision making protocols.


Realistically, I am hoping that my PLB and CORSA card, are insurance. because:

My wife and I usually travel in the backcountry with no other partners. There is no way she is going to haul me out of the BC alone.

Our best bet is that we move out of the avalanche (danger) zone and set up camp (or get back to the hut), when we need a rescue. I think it is best to be in a safe location and stabilize the victim.

Sure we prepare and practice for self-rescue and work on maintain requisite backcountry skills. but I have my doubts we could safely get out in one piece using a K2 splitboard / Brooks Range rescue sled setup. Probably fall into every tree well on the way down the trail!

Perhaps there should be a thread here on Self-Rescue preparedness.

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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:47 pm 
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Location: New Castle, Colorado
Edited for double post. "My Bad"

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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:57 pm 
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SPLITRIPPIN wrote:

Russman, you're such a ladies man.. you should just have "lady" cahces along your routes... that way you can back track to your lost sugar muffin, and get some lovin's when you run out :thumpsup:



You know it buddy!!

Hahahahahahahhahahahaha

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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:08 am 
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Location: The Magic City
SchralphMacchio wrote:
And, the only reason I know so much about this shit because I had lung surgery in 2010 and there was some fear for repeat spontaneous pneumothorax in the future ... not good to happen way deep in the field, so I had to figure out how to work out appropriate emergency evac plans for myself (and partners) ...


IMO, reasons like this (medical exceptions) are pretty much the only valid reason for routinely carrying one of these things around the BC. Pretty slippery slope involving the lives of SAR, mindset of the user, etc... though I do carry a cell phone (even if I'm out of range 95-100% of the time on a tour). Maybe that makes my opinion invalid.

& Powder_Rider, practice that shit! Take a day this early season and you'll learn a lot by actually trying it out. I guarantee it can be done!

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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:40 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:41 pm
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA
I've used a SPOT for a few years. Though it helps, it definitely has its own issues. The basic problem is that the communication with the Globalstar satellite system is NOT bi-directional (there's a thread on ttips somewhere that goes into more detail on this). So, even though it may indicate that it sent the message, that does NOT necessarily mean that it got to the satellite, and hence to the recipient. All it means is that it thinks it can communicate with the satellite, and it did everything on its end to send the message, but there is no confirmation back from the satellite. Well if that's the case, then how do you know it will work for the 911 case? The difference is that in the 911 case, it just sends the message many more times, and more often, so it's a lot more likely to get through.

So the bottom line is that it's still a lot better than nothing, and it's pretty dependable for real 911 emergencies, but you shouldn't really depending on it for notifying folks that there's NOT an emergency. I've had it happen to me several times where an "I'm OK, just checking in" message never made it through, even though the unit indicated it did go through. The worst case was once when I was in an area that actually had cell coverage and a complete open sky view (on Bloody mountain on the eastside), and yet the Spot OK message failed to go through. Breadbox on this forum used it on a trans-Sierra traverse, and was using it to notify folks back home that he was OK, and some of the messages didn't get through and people back home freaked and called the rangers.

I still use it because it's better than nothing if you understand its limitations, and hell half the time I'm solo anyway. I believe some of the other PLB units do have actual 2-way communication verification, and I'm sure all kinds of better tools will be coming along in the near future.


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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:15 pm 
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Location: Oakland, CA
nickstayner wrote:
SchralphMacchio wrote:
And, the only reason I know so much about this shit because I had lung surgery in 2010 and there was some fear for repeat spontaneous pneumothorax in the future ...


IMO, reasons like this (medical exceptions) are pretty much the only valid reason for routinely carrying one of these things around the BC. Pretty slippery slope involving the lives of SAR, mindset of the user, etc...


Definitely a slippery slope. If I knew I were a bomb waiting to go off, would it be responsible to get back into the BC with an emergency signaling device thinking that SAR could save me?

What if our group made some effort for disaster planning, but still knew that there was a real probability of a medical incident that we knew we could not sufficiently deal with on our own? Would that be responsible?

I know what you are saying Nick, and I'm not disagreeing with you, just using it as a basis for discussion.

Powder_Rider wrote:
Realistically, I am hoping that my PLB and CORSA card, are insurance. because ... There is no way [my wife] is going to haul me out of the BC alone.


My word choice wasn't clear enough. I should have said, a "primary measure of preparedness." You are absolutely right that in that situation, your wife could not carry you out in technical terrain. And if I pneumo in the field and go into tension pneumothorax, not a single one of my touring partners is trained on the proper procedure to save my life.

Notifying SAR, and asking them to endager themselves to assist with a rescue, is a secondary measure to deal with things that were beyond reason to anticipate. My original point was that it's also beyond reason to expect that pressing a little button will get a bird automatically dispatched to our location inside of an hour and everything will be happy. Plan to survive the night because you never know.

I think we all agree that the primary level of preparedness needs to be commensurate with the level of commitment for any given objective. How many things need to go right to get it done safely, and how badly do you want to go home in one piece at the end of the trip? If we are committing ourselves to situations where it is reasonable to anticipate an immobilizing injury based on how we are moving through terrain (pointing bony 45* lines vs. hippie turns on low angle slopes), then we probably ought to be able to deal with those ourselves, with the proper resources/team/training/support etc.



And just to clarify my situation, I didn't go back out until my lung CT scans were clear, meaning the probability of a repeat spontaneous pneumo is extremely low. I make sure my partners are informed of any of my medical conditions (and vice versa), and I tend to do more committing trips with WFA/WFR/experienced partners. That said, the situation made me realize that there are some crazy things that can happen, beyond our expectation, and extra hope for survival is worth a few hundred bucks.


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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:52 am 
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Location: The Magic City
SchralphMacchio wrote:
Definitely a slippery slope. If I knew I were a bomb waiting to go off, would it be responsible to get back into the BC with an emergency signaling device thinking that SAR could save me?

What if our group made some effort for disaster planning, but still knew that there was a real probability of a medical incident that we knew we could not sufficiently deal with on our own? Would that be responsible?

I know what you are saying Nick, and I'm not disagreeing with you, just using it as a basis for discussion.

I think the answers to your posed questions are totally personal and I hope you didn't think I was trying to criticize you for riding in the BC! I know I would ride with you. I was also just throwing my opinion out into the mix for discussion purposes. Spontaneous pneumothorax is terrifying. Have not actually seen it yet but remember learning about it in my EMT course...

The PLB is a classic enabler. On the one hand, they allow for a last vestige of hope of rescue in a true medical emergency for the responsible, like Schralph said. But on the other, skiers/climbers/etc... who are predisposed to press a button to save their asses now have their dream tool, which is scary because they probably don't think in those terms and purchase the device with the best of intentions.

I've been hearing more and more about people in the mountains using a PLB and/or cell phone to get themselves out of a situation with numerous simple solutions for self-rescue. Here's a couple good examples (both climbing but fully applicable). Both situations had truly simple solutions:

Bogus Wolf's Head rescue in the Wind River Range: http://mountainproject.com/v/wolfs-head-accident---aug-1819/107757959__7#a_107762864

Climbers headed towards the Black Ice Couloir on the Grand "opt out": http://www.nps.gov/grte/parknews/news-release-11-89.htm

I also worry that looking at these things like "insurance policies" will have the unintended consequences of making users less likely to learn self-rescue techniques, wilderness first aid, or, at worst, lead to more reckless decisionmaking.

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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:11 am 
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nickstayner wrote:
I hope you didn't think I was trying to criticize you for riding in the BC!


I was saying you weren't being critical enough!

If I have life-threatening allergies, diabetes, a dislocating joint, etc, I'm saying a PLB alone isn't good enough, because then I'm not doing right by myself and my partners. My partners have to know what they are committing themselves to and vice versa ... and we shouldn't be afraid to be critical of that.


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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:13 pm 
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Posts: 114
Location: Seattle
Someone in this thread mentioned a use of the SPOT that is kinda scary. They were using it as intended which is to send little updates to recipients back at home when it went offline for awhile and the family panicked and called SAR. Batteries died, or the user lost it into the river, who knows, but obsessing over the two way constant communication, even with a sat phone is not a good idea. There are way too many reasons that a user may not "check in" on some long trip.

Long ago I commented on the McMurdo PLB on this thread and advocate it because it does one thing only, and does it extremely well. It calls for help in the most dire of circumstances. I witnessed it's use once first hand and can tell you that having the confidence as a user that the thing is actually working is priceless. I would not want to be waiting at an accident site with a SPOT in my hand.

Again, the SPOT is cool for sending updates as you hike the PCT, or bike across the country sending updates to your Facebook page and whatnot, but as an emergency device you can do better, and it's not smart to try and combine the two. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:31 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:18 pm
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Location: New Castle, Colorado
Quote:
The PLB is a classic enabler. On the one hand, they allow for a last vestige of hope of rescue in a true medical emergency for the responsible, like Schralph said. But on the other, skiers/climbers/etc... who are predisposed to press a button to save their asses now have their dream tool, which is scary because they probably don't think in those terms and purchase the device with the best of intentions


Quote:
I also worry that looking at these things like "insurance policies" will have the unintended consequences of making users less likely to learn self-rescue techniques, wilderness first aid, or, at worst, lead to more reckless decision-making


For my wife and I we talk about a plan of what if this happens (aka a real emergency)... before each trip. Meaning we thought about, learned, and practice self-rescue techniques, wilderness first aid. Obviously if we can self-rescue, we will. We even carry a rescue sled and first aid kit.

I got my wife the K2 splitboard (has the rescue sled holes) and I have the rescue sled and K2 rescue shovel. They reason I purchased these items is to make it a easy to assemble the rescue sled, so my partner and I can quickly get out of the danger zone, and if possible self rescue.

I have tried using a pulk on some trails and roads in the Colorado backcountry on some hut trips. I can tell that with two people it was a daunting task to pull the sled (pulk ) past every tree well along the trail. {So sold the pulk, and lighten or gear selection.} So I if I am the injured person. my wife is going to have a very difficult time to drag me out of the BC. Really it is about making good decisions and continue making good decisions in an emergency situation. First is the caregiver(s)-safe, second is the injured party stabilized and safe to move? From there the more decisions.

One of those decisions is the PLB. So for me, I am likely to use the PLB in a real emergency that involves trauma.

Example 1) On a one hut trip, a party had to ski 8 miles just to contact the Sheriffs / office and mountain rescue, for an a injured party that had a broken leg. Injured party was involved in an avalanche. The ski out to emergency contact took 4 to 6 hours. Mountain Rescue arrived the next morning.

Example 2) Victim is in an avalanche, and self-rescues only to discover later, he had internal bleeding and nearly died at the trail-head parking lot!

So consider that the time it will take to be rescued and get needed medical care!

In contrast, my wife and I have a had to bivouac on Valentines night, as we were in a white-out, broken gear issue and lost (only a mile and a half away from the hut). Even though we could have continued. I could see that our decision making process was starting to turn toward bad decisions. So better to stop, get warm and safe for the night, than continue on, as we were prepared to do so. Not the most romantic Valentines night, but one we remember. Ironically Example 1; happened on that Valentines trip.

So in the case of trauma, call for help!

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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:01 pm 
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Location: Montana
I have been a spot subscriber for 3 or 4 years now. Primary benefits for me are:

1. Sweetie Pie Anxiety Reducer - on multi night winter tours my wife likes getting an OK throughout the day.

2. Logistics coordinator - I have pre-trip defined exit point options where I have successfully leveraged the "help" feature to notify pickup people (kudos to my SP here...) that we are coming out a night early on a multi day point to point.

I won't get into the banter about "enablement" because the thread is full of good points. I find it a nice safety feature in the event of an emergency situation that warrants it.

One word to note...I have had a couple times where an OK message did not get received by the intended destinations. Working in telecom for 14 years I am familiar with the protocols and technology that enable these devices to work end to end. I am sure it's a combination of things...technical as well as user (seems to occur more often post day tour, back at a yurt and a few cocktails...festival!).

I have started to take a photo of my spot each time I hit OK. I then match them up back home via date/time stamps on exif data and messages. It hasn't failed since... :?

Some personal advice for users...get the unit warm prior to powering on for long battery life. Let it sit for a few minutes powered on to receive satellites before you hit OK. Keep it face up and leave it alone until the OK-light-dance is done.

Tight lines and tight coils...

VG


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 Post subject: Re: SPOT Locators - YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:11 pm 
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Posts: 1176
Location: Denver
So I returned my inReach. Had a complete signal loss on the inReach second day into my trip two weeks ago. I did not try and troubleshoot it after the trip other than replacing with fresh batteries and restarting (still no signal). I logged into my Delorme account and noticed there was a firmware upgrade (would not know about firmware without logging in often and before each trip). This may fix the issue, but it already lost me on dependability. Add this to problems with the GPS saving tracks and my distaste for the Delorme mapping software (awful) it went back to the store.

Im leaning towards the ACR resQlink PLB. Sending email messages to the wifey was nice, but I'd rather have a bomber emergency only device for last option scenarios. The Arc PLB has a battery that cant be charged with a 5 year shelf life. You can still send 60 test messages or 12 email alerts (with annual subscription service) before you have to send the device in for a new battery ($100). The unit costs around $280. So that would allow for 1 check per month for 5 years. Or if you wanted to send an email (like if you were running behind but not in trouble) you could send 2 per year before having to replace the battery.

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