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Re: Active SAR Kings Canyon: Help needed, overdue hiker

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  • Roleigh Martin
    Interesting thread at the Yose forum, with this posted email from the SEKI ranger, George. I forget his last name but I met him once at Charlotte Lake. Looks
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 4, 2011
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      Interesting thread at the Yose forum, with this posted email from the SEKI ranger, George. I forget his last name but I met him once at Charlotte Lake. Looks like they will have a policy on SPOT being issued next year.

       
       

      Sent to you by Roleigh Martin via Google Reader:

       
       



      You guys are all correct -- just got this from George, regarding what slowed down the lost hiker:

      The very brief summary I got (and I'm not in the park) was John realized he was way behind schedule and exited Piute Creek to Piute Pass (instead of over Muir to Bishop Pass as originally planned). On the way he met a packer who recognized him and went out with him (less sure about that).

      All of you familiar with the terrain know what an ambitious plan he had.

      This sort of SAR is becoming much more common -- people choosing long gnarly routes beyond their ability to keep that kind of pace or negotiate the terrain. Many seem to happen in the fall with shorter hiking days as well as bad weather keeping people storm-bound. Not sure of total story with Williams, but all of the above is suggested by outcome and his abilities.

      To John's credit, he had a date he planned to be out and a "come look for me" date where he thought he'd likely be in trouble if not out by then. He also had a specific itinerary left with a responsible party.

      Incidentally, on a not very related side-note: we're now getting a number of 'attempts to locate' from relatives or spouses of people hiking with SPOTs. If they don't send their daily "OK" signal, the relative calls the park and asks us to look for the person. As has been posted here, The SPOT has a very high signal failure rate and doesn't tell you for sure if a signal has been successfully sent (not 100% sure of last....). Probably have a policy on this next year -- e.g. if agency has no reason to suspect someone's injured, we don't look for them merely at the request of spouse etc.

      g.

       
       

      Things you can do from here:

       
       
    • Todd Sharp
      George's last name is Durkee. He has been at charlotte for a while.
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 4, 2011
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        George's last name is Durkee. He has been at charlotte for a while.


        From: Roleigh Martin <marti124@...>;
        To: John Muir Trail YahooGroups <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com>;
        Subject: [John Muir Trail] Re: Active SAR Kings Canyon: Help needed, overdue hiker
        Sent: Wed, Oct 5, 2011 1:07:50 AM

         

        Interesting thread at the Yose forum, with this posted email from the SEKI ranger, George. I forget his last name but I met him once at Charlotte Lake. Looks like they will have a policy on SPOT being issued next year.

         
         

        Sent to you by Roleigh Martin via Google Reader:

         
         



        You guys are all correct -- just got this from George, regarding what slowed down the lost hiker:

        The very brief summary I got (and I'm not in the park) was John realized he was way behind schedule and exited Piute Creek to Piute Pass (instead of over Muir to Bishop Pass as originally planned). On the way he met a packer who recognized him and went out with him (less sure about that).

        All of you familiar with the terrain know what an ambitious plan he had.

        This sort of SAR is becoming much more common -- people choosing long gnarly routes beyond their ability to keep that kind of pace or negotiate the terrain. Many seem to happen in the fall with shorter hiking days as well as bad weather keeping people storm-bound. Not sure of total story with Williams, but all of the above is suggested by outcome and his abilities.

        To John's credit, he had a date he planned to be out and a "come look for me" date where he thought he'd likely be in trouble if not out by then. He also had a specific itinerary left with a responsible party.

        Incidentally, on a not very related side-note: we're now getting a number of 'attempts to locate' from relatives or spouses of people hiking with SPOTs. If they don't send their daily "OK" signal, the relative calls the park and asks us to look for the person. As has been posted here, The SPOT has a very high signal failure rate and doesn't tell you for sure if a signal has been successfully sent (not 100% sure of last....). Probably have a policy on this next year -- e.g. if agency has no reason to suspect someone's injured, we don't look for them merely at the request of spouse etc.

        g.

         
         

        Things you can do from here:

         
         
      • John Ladd
        ... Re George s comments: I think we should again stress the need for Spot users (1) to read the directions on Spots more carefully to avoid failed OK s and
        Message 3 of 3 , Oct 4, 2011
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          On Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 6:07 PM, Roleigh Martin <marti124@...> wrote:
           
          ... 

          Incidentally, on a not very related side-note: we're now getting a number of 'attempts to locate' from relatives or spouses of people hiking with SPOTs. If they don't send their daily "OK" signal, the relative calls the park and asks us to look for the person. As has been posted here, The SPOT has a very high signal failure rate and doesn't tell you for sure if a signal has been successfully sent (not 100% sure of last....). Probably have a policy on this next year -- e.g. if agency has no reason to suspect someone's injured, we don't look for them merely at the request of spouse etc.


          Re George's comments:

          I think we should again stress the need for Spot users (1) to read the directions on Spots more carefully to avoid failed OK's and (2) to tell their homebound folks that the failure of an OK is NOT good evidence of a problem.  It seems from the feedback we get here that the most common causes of failure are

          1) people turning off the Spot too soon - it will turn itself off out of send mode only after making three attempts at sending an OK.  This redundancy is needed because the Spot can send a signal but the receiving satellite is too busy to receive it and because the system is one-way only the Spot on the ground doesn't know that the signals weren't received.  The three transmissions are a necessary redundancy and require the Spot to be left on for 20 minutes or more and until it's lights tell you that it is no longer trying to send the OK

          2) people not understanding how the flashing lights on the Spot indicate whether or not it has a "fix" on a location allowing it to transmit a message.  Lights flashing in an alternating fashion (rather than flashing together) indicate that it hasn't found itself.

          These things are NOT well explained on the materials you get when you take your Spot out of the box.  They are on the findmespot.com website but not exactly prominently placed there.  Looks like Spot is trying to make users believe that the system is idiot-proof and requires no care, but it definitely does require some care.

          John
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