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9129SPOT story (long)

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  • John
    Jun 13, 2010
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      I thought I would share a story about SPOT that I was involved with this spring. I'll try and make it short.

      A very experienced friend was on a 12 day ski trip. On previous trips he had no "outside" communication so his wife and sons never really worried while he was away on his extended solo strips (out of site out of mind?).

      This year he went with another person that had a SPOT. Now I'm not familiar with how the various systems work so forgive my ignorance, but this is how it was explained to me.

      They decided to send out a location signal daily so that family could track there progress. About half way into their trip I get a call from my friends wife; "we haven't received a signal in a day, what do we do".

      The last signal had shown that they had turned around and headed back.

      So this puts me in a bit of a spot (pun intended). There had been significant new snow, so I figured they had turned around due to the fact they were making poor progress. Looking at the terrain I could see that they were below tree line and out of what I could see as avy terrain. But what IS the call? I suggest waiting to see if a signal comes in the following day. That day, still no signal. Now wife and children are quite alarmed.

      I still feel confident that there is nothing serious but what if there is? Not a great position to be in. Fortunately the third night they come out and call.

      Apparently they WERE pushing the "location button?" daily and had no idea the signal wasn't going out. User error or device error? Don't know, except it had been working for half the trip.

      Moral of the story, up to you to figure out. But if your loved ones are going to be worried to the point of calling a rescue when they DON'T get a signal, you may want to keep the thing off until you REALLY need it, then hope it works.

      JD
      Walk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trail
      www.johndittli.com
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