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Re: [John Muir Trail] Pedometers

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  • John Ladd
    I think that an altimeter is even better than a GPS for the JMT. Less weight, less battery consumption, less complicated electronics to fail after you fall
    Message 1 of 9 , Jul 31, 2009
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      I think that an altimeter is even better than a GPS for the JMT. Less
      weight, less battery consumption, less complicated electronics to fail after
      you fall into a stream.

      You do have to learn how to use it. You reset it at every known elevation
      point and you carry a cheat sheet which will give the mileage and elevation
      of each of the Wenk waypoints (see the files area of this site for Word and
      Excel versions). Since the JMT is a series of gradual uphills and
      downhills, an altimeter with a map (or such a list of the waypoints) will
      always tell you where you are with a fair degree of accuracy.

      We are usually hiking in weather that is considerably warmer than a watch
      altimeter "assumes" (they are better designed for skiers than hikers).
      Since warm air weighs less than cold air, any given elevation gain is
      underestimated, and elevation declines are overestimated. Thus you will
      almost always reach a pass at a lower indicated elevation then the actual
      By the time you reach the next valley, the process is exactly reversed. I
      consider this a bit of a blessing. I am often pleasantly pleased to reach a
      pass at 12k when my altimeter is still indicating I have another 200 feet to
      gain.

      And you can buy a very good altimeter for the price of a poor GPS.

      Altimeters work well as long as you have predictable elevation changes and a
      list of waypoints. The list is better than a map because 80 ft contours (or
      even 40) don't let you recalibrate the altimeter very accurately.

      They are NO help in the Florida Everglades, but great in the Sierras.

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


      On Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 8:53 PM, Matt Ruby <mattruby@...> wrote:

      >
      >
      > I don't recommend the extra weight, but if you are really worried about
      > location/distances, buy a gps. Better yet work on your map reading skills,
      > with the amount of water on the JMT (for use as markers and handrails), it
      > makes it quite easy to pinpoint ones exact location. Enjoy your hike.
      > Matt
      >
      >
      > --- On Wed, 7/22/09, karpanilove <karpanilove@...<karpanilove%40yahoo.com>>
      > wrote:
      >
      > From: karpanilove <karpanilove@... <karpanilove%40yahoo.com>>
      >
      > Subject: [John Muir Trail] Pedometers
      > To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com <johnmuirtrail%40yahoogroups.com>
      > Date: Wednesday, July 22, 2009, 2:10 PM
      >
      >
      >
      > Does anyone find it helpful to use pedometers on the JMT? Having never
      > hiked it before and still getting used to sensing distance traveled, I am
      > not all that confident that I might find myself not reaching my destinations
      > before dark and not knowing how far there is to go. Are they useful, or just
      > extra weight?
      >
      > And, is there a pedometer that could be recommended? I have four I have
      > acquired over the last two years that are not dependable.
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >


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