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Re: [John Muir Trail] Backcountry safety this year

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  • Dittli-Goethals
    I ve got a friend that manages the TM Wilderness Permit office, I ll see what I can find out. JD Walk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trail see book here
    Message 1 of 26 , May 20, 2013
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      I've got a friend that manages the TM Wilderness Permit office, I'll see what I can find out.

      JD
      Walk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trail
      see book here

      On Mon, May 20, 2013 at 8:15 AM, Erica <xericamunsonx@...> wrote:
       

      Does anyone have any contacts to verify if the number of rangers in the backcountry of Yosemite are going to be cut? Could be good to know for sure...




      --
      John Dittli/Leslie Goethals
      John Dittli Photography
      www.johndittli.com
      760-934-3505 

      Walk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trail
      2010  IPPY Gold Medal Award Winner
    • John Ladd
      My thoughts on the NOLS instructor s comments. I ll respond with the original Spot in mind (the kind that cannot send customized messages) as that seems to be
      Message 2 of 26 , May 20, 2013
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        My thoughts on the NOLS instructor's comments. I'll respond with the original Spot in mind (the kind that cannot send customized messages) as that seems to be what she's talking about.

        1. Her largest warning was that people that carry SPOT devices tend to engage in riskier behavior, poorer judgment, and are less prepared for emergencies. They carry the SPOT thinking if they get into trouble they can press a button and a helicopter will appear and whisk them away (which is not what happens). She said the HIGH majority of all SPOT calls they receive are from people with inadequate backcountry skills, using gear improperly, or poor judgement. More people are going into the wilderness unprepared thinking someone else can just bail them out - and not taking responsibility to make sure they have adequate skills.

        True. Any safety device has the potential of causing overconfidence. 

        Most people needing rescue -- whether or not they use the Spot -- are those with inadequate skills, etc. That's why they need rescue -- the inadequate skills -- not the Spot. With or without Spots, most SAR involves people who made mistakes. So that point is kind of unpersuasive.

        But using a Spot responsibility requires you to act with as much judgment as you would have had without it. Agreed.
         

        2. There is no way for the patient to know if the signal was received - instead of looking to take action and perhaps find a way to evacuate on their own, find physical help, find a safer place to be, they assume help is coming and they can/should stay where they are because someone is on their way - and this may not be the case....especially based on where you are.

        Often it is the best thing to stay in place, especially if you get lost first and then injured. I suspect most people using the one-way-only Spot know that they don't know if they have communicated successfully and rather doubt that it would be much of a factor is the decision to stay put or try to self-evacuate. The Sot 911, if left activated, transmits your changing locations, so in some ways it makes it more feasible to move. If you move without the Spot, there is a danger that you will move into an area already "cleared" by prior searchers.

        3. (This one is the biggest bummer) - the SPOT calls aren't always taken seriously, as there are so many false alarms, people accidentally pressing the button, or requesting 911 help when it's far from needed. There is no 2-way communication, and is no way to communicate with a potential patient or someone with any information on what might be going on, and who they are looking for. Apparently, if you're on BLM land (not an issue for the JMT - but for those who might use these in these areas) this is particularly bad phenomenon of SPOT calls never being answered.

        That's not the experience I've seen. The SAR people sometimes moan and groan about Spot messages, but they respond. It's probably true that, confronted with 2 emergencies at the same time, one confirmed by Sat phone on a personal report, and one a possibly mistaken Spot 911, they'd attend to the Sat phone one first and the Spot next. Resouces are more strained on BLM land than in National Forest and National Park land, but still, the SAR people have an ethic of responding even when they strongly suspect false alarms.

        4. Service is not consistent

        True if she means 100% reliable. But other than in canyons, I've had good luck with it (well over 95% of my messages get through once I learned to use it correctly). The Spot 911 mode is more redundant than in OK mode, so it's likely better than you might expect from your record on OK messages.

        5. She had a big issue with how SPOT profited / the ethics behind their service.

        No comment. I wonder how much this ethical viewpoint affected her other comments.

        6. Overall total overkill for the JMT if you have common sense, and are well-prepared. You'll run into hikers all day long, there are consistent evacuation routes along the trail to send for help, there is even cell phone coverage on many high elevation parts of the trail.

        She's just wrong about cell phone service. But right about the rest. Spot is overkill on the JMT. Mostly it's useful to keep your family comfortable. The 911 capability is a nice extra. and more than you need on the JMT in summer. If nothing else, if you are hurt, someone else with a Spot will come along within an hour. And then their Spot will get you help.

        Overall, she assured, that the money spent on a 2-day Wilderness First Aid course ($250 in this case) is going to be WAY more beneficial than a SPOT device can ever be. (and I actually think I'm going to be 100% on-board with this statement - I wish this course was taught in high school to everyone!)

        I agree with this if the only reason to buy the Spot was the 911 feature. What makes it worth the mosey for me is the fact that my wife worries less. If you had only $250 to spend on safety, I'd spend it on self-education first, and only later on gear of any kind.

        If you're getting a spot to communicate with your friends on Facebook - thats fine if thats an important experience to you in the backcountry (rather than cutting the tie with technology), but best to rely on yourself in an emergency, than this device.

        I also agree here, though I don't use Spot with FB. For me, the Spot is mostly to communicate OK or progress information with family. The 911 capability is an extra, even if a far-from-optimum extra. Sat phone is clearly a better safety device, as Ned Tibbits has explained in postings here and on PCT-L.  But if a Spot is likely to lead to overconfidence (her point 1) and is safety overkill on a trip like a summer JMT (her point 6), a sat phone is still more problematic in these respects. 

        John Ladd
      • Roleigh Martin
        Interesting, I remember the year I chatted with a ranger at McClure Ranger station either 1-2 years after a JMT hiker s life was saved with a SPOT device. He
        Message 3 of 26 , May 20, 2013
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          Interesting, 

          I remember the year I chatted with a ranger at McClure Ranger station either 1-2 years after a JMT hiker's life was saved with a SPOT device.  He had an appendectomy attack on the trail, pressed the device, and the rangers were able to get him to a hospital within 12 hours.  The doctors told him he might have died had he not been operated on that soon.  

          The ranger said his supervisor told him and others that the SPOT emergency office communicated to the correct people in the Park faster than the government branch behind PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) signals.  The ranger said that his supervisor felt you were more likely to get rescued faster with a SPOT than a PLB.

          I too have found that following the SPOT manual instructions, looking for the right colors of blinking lights, and letting it do its transmission for 20 minutes in the evening, ensures nearly 100% a successful transmission.

          That individual whose life was saved actually updated either this list or the Sequoia Kings Canyon Hiking Yahoo Group (I forget which group the update was done).  Several years ago I remember that much.

          I have a SPOT and will be bringing it again.  The fact that I update the SPOT web site, you'd think that SPOT's computers would recognize in an emergency that I do this trail every summer, that the park service would be informed of that information if a rescue signal was depressed.  I'd hope such is conveyed.  That pretty much conveys to the park that the rescue involves trail-experienced hikers.

          When you press the SPOT signal, your equipment ID and GPS coordinates are transmitted (plus what button was depressed).  That equipment ID is associated with your trail-profile/contact information.  Everybody on the JMT hike with me is listed along with emergency contact information.

          Roleigh



          -------------------------------------------------
          Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
          _

        • dofdear aka Thumper
          Wow, talk about a person with a myopic view. I need to take exception; 1. People who own cars with air bags do not drive riskier than without. People who ride
          Message 4 of 26 , May 20, 2013
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            Wow, talk about a person with a myopic view.  I need to take exception;

             

            1. People who own cars with air bags do not drive riskier than without.  People who ride bicycles with helmets do not ride wilder just because they are wearing a helmet.  While I’m not a psychoanalyst I’ll bet just the opposite is true, that a person’s behavior is more conservative when they elect safety items, and not the other way around.  Additionally, people, in general, do not just walk into there local outfitter, buy a SPOT and head out to the backcountry just because they now have this magical devise.  Her stats are not based in fact.
            2. This technology has most always been one-way communication.  And if you do have an emergency it is usually best to stay put, with or without SPOT.  If you can continue then maybe you should not have hit the 911 button to begin with.
            3. Another item not based in fact.  The SPOT Company maintains a response center.  They triage every 911 signal they receive.  They contact the emergency POC on the account as well as local SAR authority in the area of the signal.  Usually this is the Sherriff.  If things are not take seriously it is at that level and not the SPOT response center.  I believe that the instruction (and maybe the post’s author) is misinformed on who gets the 911 SPOT signals.  It only goes to the SPOT response center and they then pass information.  And they, SPOT, does know who they are looking for, or at least who the SPOT is registered to.  Also, their website allows you to loan your device to someone else and that would have that information as well, assuming the owner took the time to maintain their own data. Facts are important.
            4. Service IS consistent!  The instructions are very explicit that you need a clear shot to the satellite.  All satellite technology has this limitation and SPOT is no different.  One time we rented a SAT phone and had problems if we were in canyons or the clear view was otherwise obstructed.  Even handheld GPS navigators have this issue.  So everyone please put you GPS units into storage.  Oh, and while on the subject, does it not make sense to know Map/Nav skills before jumping into a GPS unit?  But how many people skip that step and just buy the device.  The logical argument is that we should not advocate GPS.  Oh, and the batteries die.  The reality is we advocate both Map/Nav skills with GPS as augmentation.  Why can’t we do the same here, survival skills with SPOT or a PBL as augmentation. 
            5. Not sure how many non-profits are manufacturing and distributing consumer electronics.  Uniden makes telephones that have the capability to call 911.  So does Samsung, HTC, Blackberry and Apple to name a few.  ADT, the security service is a for profit company.  Not sure what her point is. People have the right to make a living and profit from their investments.  With out it we would not grow nor would we have the goods and services we enjoy as a society.
            6. Really, who is this instructor to judge?  There are people who hike the JMT all year round.  I take my SPOT when I hike a local mountain and have cell service and can see my house.  If I break a bone, hit my head, get bit by a rattlesnake or come across a stranded hiker be sure I’ll hit the 911 button as well as attempt a call out via cell phone.  Let’s face it the only purpose is not the 911 feature but let’s admit that if we want to communicate with the outside world, albeit one-way, the emergency feature is an added benefit and adds to your safety net.  He only purpose for a bandana is not to make a tourniquet.

             

            Having SPOT or any other PBL is optional and should be prioritized accordingly.  Once you have the right gear and training for the adventure you’re seeking then maybe a SPOT or PLB is an appropriate gear item.  In my experience most people get a SPOT to continue the communication with friends and family, thereby providing them with a level of comfort.  The emergency feature is an added benefit. But let’s face it when people do get in over their heads, not over your judgments of what they should be capable of, then it is better to call in for assistance then let a situation further digress.

             

            I had an experience once while walking on a sidewalk with my daughter.  A women lost control of her little boy who darted out into oncoming traffic.  I grabbed the boy and had some sharp words for the women.  My daughter later asked my why I behaved this way.  I told her I’d feel really bad if had done nothing and later found out that my inaction was a causal factor in the boy getting hurt.  My point is that this post is not inaction and it is actually discouraging people from making a decision that might be life saving.  Let people use their own judgment.  It is better to lay out pro and con information with fact based conclusions.

             

            But then I forget, opinions are like, ______, everybody has one!

             

            Thumper

             


            From: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com [mailto: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of Erica
            Sent: Monday, May 20, 2013 7:29 AM
            To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Backcountry safety this year - SPOT device advice

             

             

            ( this is just what the instructor told me based on her Search & Rescue experience....and this is totally 2nd hand information)

            1. Her largest warning was that people that carry SPOT devices tend to engage in riskier behavior, poorer judgment, and are less prepared for emergencies. They carry the SPOT thinking if they get into trouble they can press a button and a helicopter will appear and whisk them away (which is not what happens). She said the HIGH majority of all SPOT calls they receive are from people with inadequate backcountry skills, using gear improperly, or poor judgement. More people are going into the wilderness unprepared thinking someone else can just bail them out - and not taking responsibility to make sure they have adequate skills.

            2. There is no way for the patient to know if the signal was received - instead of looking to take action and perhaps find a way to evacuate on their own, find physical help, find a safer place to be, they assume help is coming and they can/should stay where they are because someone is on their way - and this may not be the case....especially based on where you are.

            3. (This one is the biggest bummer) - the SPOT calls aren't always taken seriously, as there are so many false alarms, people accidentally pressing the button, or requesting 911 help when it's far from needed. There is no 2-way communication, and is no way to communicate with a potential patient or someone with any information on what might be going on, and who they are looking for. Apparently, if you're on BLM land (not an issue for the JMT - but for those who might use these in these areas) this is particularly bad phenomenon of SPOT calls never being answered.

            4. Service is not consistent

            5. She had a big issue with how SPOT profited / the ethics behind their service.

            6. Overall total overkill for the JMT if you have common sense, and are well-prepared. You'll run into hikers all day long, there are consistent evacuation routes along the trail to send for help, there is even cell phone coverage on many high elevation parts of the trail.

            Overall, she assured, that the money spent on a 2-day Wilderness First Aid course ($250 in this case) is going to be WAY more beneficial than a SPOT device can ever be. (and I actually think I'm going to be 100% on-board with this statement - I wish this course was taught in high school to everyone!)

            If you're getting a spot to communicate with your friends on Facebook - thats fine if thats an important experience to you in the backcountry (rather than cutting the tie with technology), but best to rely on yourself in an emergency, than this device.

            Again - my disclaimer is that this is based on her experiences - not mine (which no doubt, reach so far beyond any knowledge I have on this subject!). So take this advice with that context :)

            --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Bill Heiser <bill@...> wrote:

            >
            > Did the instructor explain more about why she felt these devices were
            "a
            > waste of money"?
            >
            > Most would probably agree they shouldn't be "relied on", but
            they can
            > provide another option when one does need to communicate with the
            > outside world. It would be interesting to hear more about the
            > instructor's point of view on this.
            >
            >

          • Ned Tibbits
            Mountain Education’s training with two SAR groups in the local Lake Tahoe area (Douglas County Sheriff, NV, and El Dorado County Sheriff, CA), NOLS
            Message 5 of 26 , May 20, 2013
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              Mountain Education’s training with two SAR groups in the local Lake Tahoe area (Douglas County Sheriff, NV, and El Dorado County Sheriff, CA), NOLS Wilderness EMT, and the National Ski Patrol cause us to second the motions made by this “instructor” quoted!
               
              What do we have to add to the discussion?
               
              - Never rely on anything electronic in the backcountry. Always have a Plan B that can’t be taken away from you—meaning your personal level of training and experience regarding backcountry wisdom, what you can do for yourself when the s--- hits the fan. We carry a satellite phone, have used it many times to help evacuate people off the JMT/PCT, but do not rely on it as our end-all resort. Good, detailed topos and a knowledge of the escape routes off the trail are best.
               
              - Yes, there are other people out there who may know what to do to help you should injury or illness be your emergency, but their help may be hours out. Our typical SAR rescue takes about 12 hours to pull off, and that is within the short trail distances we have, here, in Tahoe.
               
               
               
              Ned Tibbits, Director
              Mountain Education
              www.mountaineducation.org
               
              From: Erica
              Sent: Monday, May 20, 2013 7:29 AM
              Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Backcountry safety this year - SPOT device advice
               
               

              ( this is just what the instructor told me based on her Search & Rescue experience....and this is totally 2nd hand information)

              1. Her largest warning was that people that carry SPOT devices tend to engage in riskier behavior, poorer judgment, and are less prepared for emergencies. They carry the SPOT thinking if they get into trouble they can press a button and a helicopter will appear and whisk them away (which is not what happens). She said the HIGH majority of all SPOT calls they receive are from people with inadequate backcountry skills, using gear improperly, or poor judgement. More people are going into the wilderness unprepared thinking someone else can just bail them out - and not taking responsibility to make sure they have adequate skills.

              2. There is no way for the patient to know if the signal was received - instead of looking to take action and perhaps find a way to evacuate on their own, find physical help, find a safer place to be, they assume help is coming and they can/should stay where they are because someone is on their way - and this may not be the case....especially based on where you are.

              3. (This one is the biggest bummer) - the SPOT calls aren't always taken seriously, as there are so many false alarms, people accidentally pressing the button, or requesting 911 help when it's far from needed. There is no 2-way communication, and is no way to communicate with a potential patient or someone with any information on what might be going on, and who they are looking for. Apparently, if you're on BLM land (not an issue for the JMT - but for those who might use these in these areas) this is particularly bad phenomenon of SPOT calls never being answered.

              4. Service is not consistent

              5. She had a big issue with how SPOT profited / the ethics behind their service.

              6. Overall total overkill for the JMT if you have common sense, and are well-prepared. You'll run into hikers all day long, there are consistent evacuation routes along the trail to send for help, there is even cell phone coverage on many high elevation parts of the trail.

              Overall, she assured, that the money spent on a 2-day Wilderness First Aid course ($250 in this case) is going to be WAY more beneficial than a SPOT device can ever be. (and I actually think I'm going to be 100% on-board with this statement - I wish this course was taught in high school to everyone!)

              If you're getting a spot to communicate with your friends on Facebook - thats fine if thats an important experience to you in the backcountry (rather than cutting the tie with technology), but best to rely on yourself in an emergency, than this device.

              Again - my disclaimer is that this is based on her experiences - not mine (which no doubt, reach so far beyond any knowledge I have on this subject!). So take this advice with that context :)

              --- In mailto:johnmuirtrail%40yahoogroups.com, Bill Heiser <bill@...> wrote:

              >
              > Did the instructor explain
              more about why she felt these devices were "a
              > waste of money"?
              >
              > Most would probably agree they shouldn't be "relied on", but they can
              > provide another option when one does need to communicate with the
              > outside world. It would be interesting to hear more about the
              >
              instructor's point of view on this.
              >
              >

            • ptoddf
              Great comments Roleigh. I ll consider SPOT again based on them. Sounds like it s been much improved since first introduced. Of course have to pay by the month
              Message 6 of 26 , May 20, 2013
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                Great comments Roleigh. I'll consider SPOT again based on them. Sounds like it's been much improved since first introduced. Of course have to pay by the month for SPOT, not a deal breaker for me, but PLB is free year round. And the group hiker listing ability on SPOT is a plus for you too.

                There have been numerous lives saved with PLB, such as snowmobile breakdowns in coldest Alaska. And life rafts in arctic waters. Not a long survival time without rescue there. The newest, smallest PLB's can fit into a shoulder strap pocket for immediate access if ever needed. I'll be sewing mine into the pocket, just rip out stitches if needed. It can stay there, part of the pack, with it's 5 year lithium battery. (Don't leave home without it.)

                I carry cell phone too, mostly because I don't want to leave it in car at trailhead. This works from some peaks and passes, not something I'd rely on primarily. Then it works for snapshots anyway.
              • Erica
                Thanks for adding your thoughts, Ned. Perhaps the advice could be better summed up as: - If you have $200 burning a hole in your pocket to be used to make you
                Message 7 of 26 , May 20, 2013
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                  Thanks for adding your thoughts, Ned.

                  Perhaps the advice could be better summed up as:

                  - If you have $200 burning a hole in your pocket to be used to make you safer in the backcountry - spend it on first aid/wilderness education before a spending it on a SPOT

                  - if you have more than $200 burning a hole in your pocket and don't feel your knowledge is enough - educate yourself, and then buy a SPOT. Seems to me you can't go wrong in this route? You then have the knowledge to manage and monitor a patient (or yourself!) in an emergency/evac situation (as Ned stated - this can be 12 hours...maybe even days in some areas) - and the SPOT can just be an additional backup tool.

                  If going into extremely remote wilderness areas, a satellite phone and/or a SPOT - likely are going to be a great backup tools...

                  --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Ned Tibbits" <ned@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Mountain Education’s training with two SAR groups in the local Lake Tahoe area (Douglas County Sheriff, NV, and El Dorado County Sheriff, CA), NOLS Wilderness EMT, and the National Ski Patrol cause us to second the motions made by this “instructor” quoted!
                  >
                  > What do we have to add to the discussion?
                  >
                  > - Never rely on anything electronic in the backcountry. Always have a Plan B that can’t be taken away from youâ€"meaning your personal level of training and experience regarding backcountry wisdom, what you can do for yourself when the s--- hits the fan. We carry a satellite phone, have used it many times to help evacuate people off the JMT/PCT, but do not rely on it as our end-all resort. Good, detailed topos and a knowledge of the escape routes off the trail are best.
                  >
                  > - Yes, there are other people out there who may know what to do to help you should injury or illness be your emergency, but their help may be hours out. Our typical SAR rescue takes about 12 hours to pull off, and that is within the short trail distances we have, here, in Tahoe.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Ned Tibbits, Director
                  > Mountain Education
                  > www.mountaineducation.org
                • sanfran_rwood
                  ... Sorry to day it (and you acknowledge you aren t a psychoanalyst), but the exact opposite is true. There is a known cognitive bias in the opposite
                  Message 8 of 26 , May 20, 2013
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                    --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "dofdear aka Thumper" <dofdear@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Wow, talk about a person with a myopic view. I need to take exception;
                    >
                    > 1. People who own cars with air bags do not drive riskier
                    > than without. People who ride bicycles with helmets do not
                    > ride wilder just because they are wearing a helmet. While
                    > I'm not a psychoanalyst I'll bet just the opposite is true,
                    > that a person's behavior is more conservative when they elect
                    > safety items, and not the other way around.

                    Sorry to day it (and you acknowledge you aren't a psychoanalyst), but the exact opposite is true. There is a known cognitive bias in the opposite direction: people increase their risk when they feel safer. This has been documented and studied very carefully. Both of your examples are among the most studied situations.

                    Take a look at the Wikipedia page on "Risk compensation" for an introduction: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_compensation -- there's plenty of cited research in the References and External Links section for further information.

                    I've made a hobby out of studying cognitive research for the past few years, so I'll add some commentary. It defies common sense, but much of human behavior defies commonsense -- otherwise people wouldn't smoke, and we wouldn't have an obesity epidemic. Evolution programmed our brains in some ways that was adaptive in paleolithic times, but isn't anymore. In a paleolithic community, where resources were scarce and competition for mates was fierce, it seems clear that risk homeostasis could provide a competitive advantage.

                    > ... Additionally,
                    > people, in general, do not just walk into there local outfitter,
                    > buy a SPOT and head out to the backcountry just because they
                    > now have this magical devise. Her stats are not based in fact.

                    I suspect few people do this, but I also suspect there are some, and this lack of foresight also means they're more likely to be the ones who end up causing problems. It's undoubtedly a small portion of a small population, but human foolishness is a spectrum of grays, not black and white. As the adage goes, nothing can be made foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
                    --
                    Richard
                  • Roleigh Martin
                    The posting I mention is in our archives here. Interesting story. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johnmuirtrail/message/3408 ... Visit my Google Profile (lots
                    Message 9 of 26 , May 20, 2013
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                      The posting I mention is in our archives here.  Interesting story.


                      -------------------------------------------------
                      Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
                      _



                      On Mon, May 20, 2013 at 11:52 AM, Roleigh Martin <roleigh@...> wrote:
                      Interesting, 

                      I remember the year I chatted with a ranger at McClure Ranger station either 1-2 years after a JMT hiker's life was saved with a SPOT device.  He had an appendectomy attack on the trail, pressed the device, and the rangers were able to get him to a hospital within 12 hours.  The doctors told him he might have died had he not been operated on that soon.  

                      The ranger said his supervisor told him and others that the SPOT emergency office communicated to the correct people in the Park faster than the government branch behind PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) signals.  The ranger said that his supervisor felt you were more likely to get rescued faster with a SPOT than a PLB.

                      I too have found that following the SPOT manual instructions, looking for the right colors of blinking lights, and letting it do its transmission for 20 minutes in the evening, ensures nearly 100% a successful transmission.

                      That individual whose life was saved actually updated either this list or the Sequoia Kings Canyon Hiking Yahoo Group (I forget which group the update was done).  Several years ago I remember that much.

                      I have a SPOT and will be bringing it again.  The fact that I update the SPOT web site, you'd think that SPOT's computers would recognize in an emergency that I do this trail every summer, that the park service would be informed of that information if a rescue signal was depressed.  I'd hope such is conveyed.  That pretty much conveys to the park that the rescue involves trail-experienced hikers.

                      When you press the SPOT signal, your equipment ID and GPS coordinates are transmitted (plus what button was depressed).  That equipment ID is associated with your trail-profile/contact information.  Everybody on the JMT hike with me is listed along with emergency contact information.

                      Roleigh



                      -------------------------------------------------
                      Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
                      _


                    • Darryl
                      My understanding from someone who does Ski Patrol near Mt Rainier is they give the user a false sense of security and as a result people take risks that they
                      Message 10 of 26 , May 20, 2013
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                        My understanding from someone who does Ski Patrol near Mt Rainier is they give the user a false sense of security and as a result people take risks that they many not normally take, because they think there will always be someone to "bail them out". I haven't read the rest of this thread, so this may have been explained already.

                        Darryl

                        --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Bill Heiser <bill@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Did the instructor explain more about why she felt these devices were "a
                        > waste of money"?
                        >
                        > Most would probably agree they shouldn't be "relied on", but they can
                        > provide another option when one does need to communicate with the
                        > outside world. It would be interesting to hear more about the
                        > instructor's point of view on this.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Erica wrote:
                        > >
                        > > [...]
                        > > Also, she talked at some length about SPOT devices - she strongly
                        > > advises against relying on them for emergency response. (and until I
                        > > took this course, I was going to bring one - but she talked me out of
                        > > wasting my money). So....just some food for thought before your trips!
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        >
                      • dofdear aka Thumper
                        Thanks Richard, I ll defer to your expertise. My overall point is we should be encouraging the right behaviors and not promulgating opinions that exclude
                        Message 11 of 26 , May 20, 2013
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                          Thanks Richard,

                           

                          I’ll defer to your expertise.  My overall point is we should be encouraging the right behaviors and not promulgating opinions that exclude tools because of someone’s perceptions or limited experience.  It is misleading and misguided. Anyone who wishes to go into the backcountry needs some level of survival training, with or without some electronic device.  The device may only serve to end a bad situation sooner than later.  But if it doesn’t, the hiker/backpacker still has a responsibility to themselves and others to be prepared.  I heard that somewhere.  Thanks again,

                           

                          Thumper 

                           


                          From: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com [mailto: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of sanfran_rwood
                          Sent: Monday, May 20, 2013 4:10 PM
                          To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Backcountry safety this year - SPOT device advice

                           

                           

                          --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "dofdear aka Thumper" <dofdear@...> wrote:

                          >
                          > Wow, talk about a person with a myopic view. I need to take exception;
                          >
                          > 1. People who own cars with air bags do not drive riskier
                          > than without. People who ride bicycles with helmets do not
                          > ride wilder just because they are wearing a helmet. While
                          > I'm not a psychoanalyst I'll bet just the opposite is true,
                          > that a person's behavior is more conservative when they elect
                          > safety items, and not the other way around.

                          Sorry to day it (and you acknowledge you aren't a psychoanalyst), but the exact opposite is true. There is a known cognitive bias in the opposite direction: people increase their risk when they feel safer. This has been documented and studied very carefully. Both of your examples are among the most studied situations.

                          Take a look at the Wikipedia page on "Risk compensation" for an introduction: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_compensation -- there's plenty of cited research in the References and External Links section for further information.

                          I've made a hobby out of studying cognitive research for the past few years, so I'll add some commentary. It defies common sense, but much of human behavior defies commonsense -- otherwise people wouldn't smoke, and we wouldn't have an obesity epidemic. Evolution programmed our brains in some ways that was adaptive in paleolithic times, but isn't anymore. In a paleolithic community, where resources were scarce and competition for mates was fierce, it seems clear that risk homeostasis could provide a competitive advantage.

                          > ... Additionally,
                          > people, in general, do not just walk into there local outfitter,
                          > buy a SPOT and head out to the backcountry just because they
                          > now have this magical devise. Her stats are not based in fact.

                          I suspect few people do this, but I also suspect there are some, and this lack of foresight also means they're more likely to be the ones who end up causing problems. It's undoubtedly a small portion of a small population, but human foolishness is a spectrum of grays, not black and white. As the adage goes, nothing can be made foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
                          --
                          Richard

                        • mojavemoon@pacbell.net
                          I realize this conversation is a little dated, but I now have a question about the Spot and thought this would be a good thread to post it in. My inclination
                          Message 12 of 26 , May 29, 2013
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                            I realize this conversation is a little dated, but I now have a question about the Spot and thought this would be a good thread to post it in. My inclination is not to use electronic devices while on the trail (for no ideological reasons, I am just not much of a gadget person) but my mom is INSISTING that I take the Spot. She is 87 years old and it is worth it for me to take it just to ease her mind. In fact, she went ahead and bought the Spot Connect. So, now my question is regarding the Spot Connect vs the Spot Satellite Messenger. I know the basic differences between two - mainly that the Spot uses a cell phone and can receive texts as well as send them - but just wondering if any of you have a preference or see any marked benefit of one over the other such as battery life, reliability, etc.

                            On another note, as part of my work I have to keep a current WFR certification. What always impresses me during the training is how many conditions cannot be treated in the backcountry and require immediate evacuation such as head trauma or various types of shock. So, I guess it is useful to have some form of satellite communication.

                            Thanks for sharing your opinions.



                            --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "John" <johndittli@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Great advice regardless of the sequester! WFR is a great curriculum and
                            > should be taken (and kept current) by anyone that spends significant
                            > time in the backcountry.
                            > BTW I'm not sure where the Yosemite instructor got her info regarding
                            > SEKI backcountry rangers, but it is inaccurate. I was just talking to
                            > the Kings Canyon Wilderness District Ranger last week and the SEKI crest
                            > (JMT), has the same number of backcountry rangers as it has had the last
                            > several seasons.
                            >
                            > JDWalk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trailsee book here
                            > <http://www.johndittli.com/>
                            >
                          • k2poohtri
                            I received a Spot Connect as a gift, thanks honey. After a few uses, I went and bought a Spot Messanger. The reason being, with the Spot Connect you have to
                            Message 13 of 26 , May 29, 2013
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                              I received a Spot Connect as a gift, thanks honey. After a few uses, I went and bought a Spot Messanger. The reason being, with the Spot Connect you have to have your IPhone, another piece technology/thing that needs charging which means a solar charger. I had problems paring the phone so there was an entire trip in which I wasn't able to send a Spotty, not a good situation for those expecting to be reviving notifications (I had a Sat phone as well so I slowly made phone calls to notify them of the malfunctioning Spotty).

                              I changed to the Messager because its only 1 device that doesn't require another piece of technology to work. It's simple... Turn it on, hit the "check-in" button and let it do it's thing while you are setting up camp.

                              Good luck...
                              Korina


                              --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "mojavemoon@..." <mojavemoon@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > I realize this conversation is a little dated, but I now have a question about the Spot and thought this would be a good thread to post it in. My inclination is not to use electronic devices while on the trail (for no ideological reasons, I am just not much of a gadget person) but my mom is INSISTING that I take the Spot. She is 87 years old and it is worth it for me to take it just to ease her mind. In fact, she went ahead and bought the Spot Connect. So, now my question is regarding the Spot Connect vs the Spot Satellite Messenger. I know the basic differences between two - mainly that the Spot uses a cell phone and can receive texts as well as send them - but just wondering if any of you have a preference or see any marked benefit of one over the other such as battery life, reliability, etc.
                              >
                              > On another note, as part of my work I have to keep a current WFR certification. What always impresses me during the training is how many conditions cannot be treated in the backcountry and require immediate evacuation such as head trauma or various types of shock. So, I guess it is useful to have some form of satellite communication.
                              >
                              > Thanks for sharing your opinions.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "John" <johndittli@> wrote:
                              > >
                              > > Great advice regardless of the sequester! WFR is a great curriculum and
                              > > should be taken (and kept current) by anyone that spends significant
                              > > time in the backcountry.
                              > > BTW I'm not sure where the Yosemite instructor got her info regarding
                              > > SEKI backcountry rangers, but it is inaccurate. I was just talking to
                              > > the Kings Canyon Wilderness District Ranger last week and the SEKI crest
                              > > (JMT), has the same number of backcountry rangers as it has had the last
                              > > several seasons.
                              > >
                              > > JDWalk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trailsee book here
                              > > <http://www.johndittli.com/>
                              > >
                              >
                            • Bill Heiser
                              The DeLorme inReach has this functionality plus the option of pairing it with an android or iPhone. Plus it allows two-way messaging when paired with a phone
                              Message 14 of 26 , May 29, 2013
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                                The DeLorme inReach has this functionality plus the option of pairing it with an android or iPhone. Plus it allows two-way messaging when paired with a phone (and there is a new model that does this stand-alone). 

                                It's another (more functional) option. 


                                Sent from my iPhone

                                On May 29, 2013, at 12:07 PM, "k2poohtri" <k2pooh15@...> wrote:

                                 

                                I received a Spot Connect as a gift, thanks honey. After a few uses, I went and bought a Spot Messanger. The reason being, with the Spot Connect you have to have your IPhone, another piece technology/thing that needs charging which means a solar charger. I had problems paring the phone so there was an entire trip in which I wasn't able to send a Spotty, not a good situation for those expecting to be reviving notifications (I had a Sat phone as well so I slowly made phone calls to notify them of the malfunctioning Spotty).

                                I changed to the Messager because its only 1 device that doesn't require another piece of technology to work. It's simple... Turn it on, hit the "check-in" button and let it do it's thing while you are setting up camp.

                                Good luck...
                                Korina

                                --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "mojavemoon@..." <mojavemoon@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > I realize this conversation is a little dated, but I now have a question about the Spot and thought this would be a good thread to post it in. My inclination is not to use electronic devices while on the trail (for no ideological reasons, I am just not much of a gadget person) but my mom is INSISTING that I take the Spot. She is 87 years old and it is worth it for me to take it just to ease her mind. In fact, she went ahead and bought the Spot Connect. So, now my question is regarding the Spot Connect vs the Spot Satellite Messenger. I know the basic differences between two - mainly that the Spot uses a cell phone and can receive texts as well as send them - but just wondering if any of you have a preference or see any marked benefit of one over the other such as battery life, reliability, etc.
                                >
                                > On another note, as part of my work I have to keep a current WFR certification. What always impresses me during the training is how many conditions cannot be treated in the backcountry and require immediate evacuation such as head trauma or various types of shock. So, I guess it is useful to have some form of satellite communication.
                                >
                                > Thanks for sharing your opinions.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "John" <johndittli@> wrote:
                                > >
                                > > Great advice regardless of the sequester! WFR is a great curriculum and
                                > > should be taken (and kept current) by anyone that spends significant
                                > > time in the backcountry.
                                > > BTW I'm not sure where the Yosemite instructor got her info regarding
                                > > SEKI backcountry rangers, but it is inaccurate. I was just talking to
                                > > the Kings Canyon Wilderness District Ranger last week and the SEKI crest
                                > > (JMT), has the same number of backcountry rangers as it has had the last
                                > > several seasons.
                                > >
                                > > JDWalk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trailsee book here
                                > > <http://www.johndittli.com/>
                                > >
                                >

                              • John Ladd
                                I m a fan of simplicity where possible and have found the Spot Satellite Messenger adequate for reassuring family and I think it would be adequate for 911
                                Message 15 of 26 , May 29, 2013
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                                  I'm a fan of simplicity where possible and have found the Spot Satellite Messenger adequate for reassuring family and I think it would be adequate for 911 calls. 

                                  John Curran Ladd
                                  1616 Castro Street
                                  San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
                                  415-648-9279


                                  On Wed, May 29, 2013 at 11:08 AM, mojavemoon@... <mojavemoon@...> wrote:
                                   

                                  I realize this conversation is a little dated, but I now have a question about the Spot and thought this would be a good thread to post it in. My inclination is not to use electronic devices while on the trail (for no ideological reasons, I am just not much of a gadget person) but my mom is INSISTING that I take the Spot. She is 87 years old and it is worth it for me to take it just to ease her mind. In fact, she went ahead and bought the Spot Connect. So, now my question is regarding the Spot Connect vs the Spot Satellite Messenger. I know the basic differences between two - mainly that the Spot uses a cell phone and can receive texts as well as send them - but just wondering if any of you have a preference or see any marked benefit of one over the other such as battery life, reliability, etc.

                                  On another note, as part of my work I have to keep a current WFR certification. What always impresses me during the training is how many conditions cannot be treated in the backcountry and require immediate evacuation such as head trauma or various types of shock. So, I guess it is useful to have some form of satellite communication.

                                  Thanks for sharing your opinions.


                                  --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "John" <johndittli@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Great advice regardless of the sequester! WFR is a great curriculum and
                                  > should be taken (and kept current) by anyone that spends significant
                                  > time in the backcountry.
                                  > BTW I'm not sure where the Yosemite instructor got her info regarding
                                  > SEKI backcountry rangers, but it is inaccurate. I was just talking to
                                  > the Kings Canyon Wilderness District Ranger last week and the SEKI crest
                                  > (JMT), has the same number of backcountry rangers as it has had the last
                                  > several seasons.
                                  >
                                  > JDWalk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trailsee book here
                                  > <http://www.johndittli.com/>
                                  >


                                • jtrolka
                                  Using the SPOT transponder on my solo hike last year reassured many family and friends, but definitely let them know that it doesn t always get through 100% of
                                  Message 16 of 26 , May 29, 2013
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                                    Using the SPOT transponder on my solo hike last year reassured many family and friends, but definitely let them know that it doesn't always get through 100% of the time. Using it according to the specifications gets you well into the 90% reliability realm, but one day neither of my messages got through, and though I had no knowledge of this at the time, it apparently lead to a little discomfort around the home. Rectified in the morning when the next days message got through.

                                    --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "mojavemoon@..." <mojavemoon@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > I realize this conversation is a little dated, but I now have a question about the Spot and thought this would be a good thread to post it in. My inclination is not to use electronic devices while on the trail (for no ideological reasons, I am just not much of a gadget person) but my mom is INSISTING that I take the Spot. She is 87 years old and it is worth it for me to take it just to ease her mind. In fact, she went ahead and bought the Spot Connect. So, now my question is regarding the Spot Connect vs the Spot Satellite Messenger. I know the basic differences between two - mainly that the Spot uses a cell phone and can receive texts as well as send them - but just wondering if any of you have a preference or see any marked benefit of one over the other such as battery life, reliability, etc.
                                    >
                                    > On another note, as part of my work I have to keep a current WFR certification. What always impresses me during the training is how many conditions cannot be treated in the backcountry and require immediate evacuation such as head trauma or various types of shock. So, I guess it is useful to have some form of satellite communication.
                                    >
                                    > Thanks for sharing your opinions.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "John" <johndittli@> wrote:
                                    > >
                                    > > Great advice regardless of the sequester! WFR is a great curriculum and
                                    > > should be taken (and kept current) by anyone that spends significant
                                    > > time in the backcountry.
                                    > > BTW I'm not sure where the Yosemite instructor got her info regarding
                                    > > SEKI backcountry rangers, but it is inaccurate. I was just talking to
                                    > > the Kings Canyon Wilderness District Ranger last week and the SEKI crest
                                    > > (JMT), has the same number of backcountry rangers as it has had the last
                                    > > several seasons.
                                    > >
                                    > > JDWalk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trailsee book here
                                    > > <http://www.johndittli.com/>
                                    > >
                                    >
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