Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Yesterday’s blog about the missing person in Yosemite had me thinking about ways to prevent this. We have no clue where this fellow went, but technology is available to find you if you are in the boonies and unable to call for help. (Either vocally or cell.) Personal locator devices make use of modern technology to provide a way to find lost souls. SPOT (Satellite POsitioning and Tracking), is one such gizmo. While there are a couple of competitors, SPOT offers the most cost effective way to increase your chances of being found. The “big deal” is that SPOT uses only satellites and GPS in their solution. No cell network used.  Once you have one of their devices, you activate it and off you go. Their second generation product, called the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger (or loosely “SPOT-2”), continues their solution in a smaller from factor. It’s smaller than a pack of cigarettes. (I know since I smoked in 5th grade for 2 months – didn’t inhale.) 3.7” x 2.6”

You can use 3 levels of notification. #1. I’m OK. It sends a pre-written text message or email to 10 contacts. #2. Soft help – To tell your contacts that maybe you have had enough and to  pick you up at the Visitor Center (pre-written message). The big one is #3. SOS/911. This will set a rescue in motion through a satellite link to GEOS, anInternational Emergency Response Center. GEOS then notifies the responsible authority of your longitude and latitude and need for a rescue. This saves SAR teams tons of time, resources and money since they are not looking for an overdue hiker somewhere in the tundra. False alarms are reduced in SPOT-2 thanks to a simple button cover. All the time your route can be visible on a website via a tracking function that records your progress. (Great for post event analysis.) This is a very high level summary. Go to the SPOT website <HERE> to learn more.  My question to you – would you consider buying or renting a SPOT for your backcountry treks in Yosemite or elsewhere? $150 retail and $99 annual basic service fee. Theyhave 100,000 uers and have 400 rescues in 2 years!
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Is she really going out with him? Well, there she is. Let’s ask her. Betty, is that Jimmy’s ring you’re wearing? Mm-hmm Gee, it must be great riding with him. Is he picking you up after school today? Uh-uh By the way, where’d you meet him? I met him at the candy store, he turned around and smiled at me – you get the picture? Yes, we see. That’s when I fell for the leader of the pack. – The Shangri-Las
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –


5 Responses to “SPOT”

  1. Dean Says:

    We ran into a JMT hiker with SPOT on the Cathedral Lakes trail. The Ranger with us asked him to explain and it is the speed of response that sold him – and also his wife wouldn’t let him go without it!

  2. mrhalfdome Says:

    Interesting that the Ranger was unaware of it.

    So, Dean, based on what you know so far, would you buy/rent one if you were going back country? The ability fo your spouse to see where you are seems like a good idea. (Just keep out of bars!)


  3. Dean Says:

    Oh the Ranger knew what it was…she just wanted the guy to explain it to us.

    I’d definately get one if I was out in the wilderness…I think anything us hikers can do to limit the danger for the rescue services is a good thing.

  4. Sofia Ahr Says:

    Great article, thank you for writing about this. You have a lot of really good articles here, thanks again! I really enjoy this hobby, my wife and I have been participating in it for awhile now. We are contemplating purchasing a Magellan RoadMate for our vehicle. Do you have any experience with this unit? Click here if you’d like to check out my site. Thanks again for a very informative site!

  5. mrhalfdome Says:

    Yes, I love magellan car GPS units. I now have the 1470T…Costco. VERY good. Get it!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: