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Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

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Inreach and other PLBs

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Offline Reece

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Inreach and other PLBs
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2019, 08:01:02 AM »
Iím good with ďreal.Ē You may not always want to call the air force...really.
Just because you have the option of texting a worried loved one doesnít mean you have to hike with your iPhone in your face.

No one communicator is right for everyone.

https://www.outdoorproject.com/gear/sos-activating-scary-sos-button-my-garmin-inreach

https://www.goldenstateofminds.com/blog-1/2018/6/14/sos-personal-locator-beacons-versus-satellite-messengers



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« Last Edit: August 11, 2019, 08:49:48 AM by Reece »

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Offline Lissa

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Re: Inreach and other PLBs
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2019, 12:22:51 PM »
$330 + service plan is expensive, though not too much more than the base price of the McMurdo when I bought mine.

But itís way, waaaay, WAAAAAAY cheaper than an extended stay in the hospital... or a funeral.

Let's be real though.  That's not what an InReach does.  All of that extra money won't prevent accidents, it's just for people to send texts in the wilderness.  Personally, I go to the wilderness to be away from things like texting, so it was an easy choice for me: a one-time purchase of a PLB.  If I get into serious trouble, the USAF gets a satellite signal and the rescue teams are alerted.  No monthly fees required.

It wonít prevent accidents, it can just make it more resource efficient to respond to them.  Even if the ďaccidentĒ is just a hiker falling behind schedule - the ability to notify family / rangers that youíre fine just slow can prevent an SAR operation in the first place.  And I routinely read stories from SAR about their appreciation for the 2 way texting capability during rescues. Personally I like the idea that, Iíd case of accident or emergency, I can provide SAR with the information they need to efficiently and effectively manage the most resource appropriate rescue.

When hiking with mine I very rarely send free form texts. Just the preset ones that basically say ďallís wellĒ when I stop moving for the day. For me, assuaging the fear of my family at home is a small price to pay to be able to get out there solo. And should I get in trouble, I like knowing that I can tell SAR exactly what condition Iím in / what help I need.

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Offline ghysdulkc

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Re: Inreach and other PLBs
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2019, 10:58:11 AM »
I bought an inReach after hearing about an injured climber in Mt Rainier NP using one after a bad fall. She activated the SOS button and within 15 min a helicopter was overhead looking for her and the Rangers were texting her the whole time.
I love my inReach, I take it with me anytime I might lose cell service, even short road trips into the hill country. Having your truck break down in the summer on a small ranch road with no cell service would suck but the inReach solves that with its sat texting function.
My question, if anyone knows, what would happen if you pushed the SOS button on an inReach in the backcountry of big bend. How quickly would the local SAR/authorities be notified and mobilized and who would respond first? Iím guessing not as quickly as it was at Mt Rainier but I donít know.
It's amazing how quickly the human body deteriorates when you sit around indoors.

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Offline Ranger Tim

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Re: Inreach and other PLBs
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2019, 04:06:07 PM »
I'll be fielding the InReach Mini starting this fall to assist with field communications in the backcountry at BBRSP.
"The greatest happiness possible to man ... is to become civilized, to know the pageant of the past, to love the beautiful,... and then, retaining animal instincts and appetites, to live in the wilderness"
- J. Frank Dobie

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Offline presidio

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Re: Inreach and other PLBs
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2019, 04:36:42 PM »
My question, if anyone knows, what would happen if you pushed the SOS button on an inReach in the backcountry of big bend. How quickly would the local SAR/authorities be notified and mobilized and who would respond first? Iím guessing not as quickly as it was at Mt Rainier but I donít know.

The notification would be as fast as Mt Ranier (or anywhere else)...as soon as the first available satellite was in view. That would be instantaneous to perhaps several minutes depending upon the positioning of the satellite constellation at that time. Ground to satellite time does not depend at all upon where you are (barring polar regions, where coverage may or may not exist). As long as you have a clear view of the sky (and are not in some slot canyon), the only variable would be where the satellites are in their orbits.

The response certainly would be slower. Ranier is a lot closer to major urban resources.

Who would show up first? Well, that would depend upon where you were, what your situation was and how hard it would be to get to you.

Undoubtedly, within a mile or three of any of the roads, the NPS would almost certainly be first on scene. In some remote place like far out on Mesa de Anguila, a Border Patrol helicopter or other aerial resource probably would be first.
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<  presidio  >
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline Jalco

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Re: Inreach and other PLBs
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2019, 07:09:24 PM »
Any thoughts on portable ham radios?  My son just purchased one (Yaseau FT-60R) for his hiking adventures.

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: Inreach and other PLBs
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2019, 09:57:41 PM »
Any thoughts on portable ham radios?  My son just purchased one (Yaseau FT-60R) for his hiking adventures.
I kind of like that idea!

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Offline Solo

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Re: Inreach and other PLBs
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2019, 01:30:26 AM »
It wonít prevent accidents, it can just make it more resource efficient to respond to them.  Even if the ďaccidentĒ is just a hiker falling behind schedule - the ability to notify family / rangers that youíre fine just slow can prevent an SAR operation in the first place.  And I routinely read stories from SAR about their appreciation for the 2 way texting capability during rescues. Personally I like the idea that, Iíd case of accident or emergency, I can provide SAR with the information they need to efficiently and effectively manage the most resource appropriate rescue.

All of that may be true, but personally, I would never spend hundreds of dollars for it.  I'm not attacking text-capable locators, but this is my reasoning:  Add up the number of months you plan to hike for the foreseeable future and the monthly cost of an InReach... ouch.  A PLB gets me out of serious trouble, and for anything less, I get myself out.  I've never believed for a moment that notifying loved ones or registering a hike would get help moving when it could do any good.  I simply don't need to notify anyone until I'm finished hiking.  In fact, many of my outings are unknown to anyone, which is a benefit of my lifestyle that others don't have.  I still carry my cellphone because, well, it's 2019 and it's a decent "multi-tool", so in many cases I can get to emergency cell coverage for a less serious emergency.  The number of times I can ever expect to need the texting function is far outweighed by the cost and hassle of a data plan.  I know there are others like me, so this is merely a recommendation to those people who are self-reliant, safe, and simple.  When the costs become reasonable, I'll get an InReach, but I don't expect it to happen in a for-profit environment.  Hopefully one day the government will expand the SOS beacon system to allow some form of communication.
'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view, and robes the mountain in its azure hue.  -Thomas Campbell

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Offline Hang10er

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Re: Inreach and other PLBs
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2019, 06:47:45 AM »

My question, if anyone knows, what would happen if you pushed the SOS button on an inReach in the backcountry of big bend. How quickly would the local SAR/authorities be notified and mobilized and who would respond first? Iím guessing not as quickly as it was at Mt Rainier but I donít know.

To get a good answer to your question, read "Death In Big Bend".  Like someone just mentioned on a thread, it details what the park does when a SAR call comes in.  It details how they start depending on the season, area, time of day.  It talks about the behind the scenes stuff like searching the victim's car, talking to family back home about their skills and equipment, gathering all the info they can. 

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Offline Lissa

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Re: Inreach and other PLBs
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2019, 07:12:29 AM »
Solo - in your case that makes sense.  As someone who still has kids at home, the idea that I could go away unnoticed for more than *maybe* a workday is kinda mind boggling for me 😎

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Offline backpacker56

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Re: Inreach and other PLBs
« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2019, 09:36:52 AM »
I can understand saying, ďI wonít spend that kind of money and effort on that particular technology; Iíll just have to take my chances and hope Iíll never need it.Ē  Each person must make his own decision in such matters. 

But I donít understand the idea that I am somehow immune to trouble because I am one of the self-reliant and safe, whereas people who need rescuing are somehow incompetent or reckless. 

I can identify with the desire to celebrate freedom and spontaneity and self-reliance by just vanishing into the wilderness for a few days without telling anyone.  Goodness knows Iíve done it, but at this point, on mature reflection, it seems foolish.  I'm thinking of Aaron Ralston.  At the very least, it would impose needless hardship on those tasked with SAR. 

I fully expect the for-profit environment to result in the best products at the best prices, as with most goods and services we enjoy daily.  If the government provides it ďfreeĒ, it just means the few will enjoy benefits that others are compelled to pay for, and it will probably cost twice as much and work half as well as it ought. 
"Ah, sure, I'm a gnawed old bone now, but say, don't you guys think the spirit's gone!"

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Offline miatarchy04

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Re: Inreach and other PLBs
« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2019, 03:41:43 PM »
I'll be hiking the OML in November with my son. I will be carrying an InReach Explorer that I'll buy between now and then. I don't consider the OML to be high risk hiking, and I do consider $400 plus to be a large expense. And I'll be doing it with my son which is unusual for me because I usually hike solo. But my wife is concerned about a man my age on extended hikes (I'm 67) and she insists that I have some means of calling for help if I need it.  So, to ease her mind, I'm going to expend the money.

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: Inreach and other PLBs
« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2019, 07:12:44 PM »


But I donít understand the idea that I am somehow immune to trouble because I am one of the self-reliant and safe, whereas people who need rescuing are somehow incompetent or reckless.

Bingo. Me either.

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: Inreach and other PLBs
« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2019, 07:15:08 PM »
Does anyone have any thing to say about this?

It obviously doesn't have the fancy stuff that inreach has, but this price is nice.

Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger - Orange https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C8S8S4W/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_Oi1uDb1QQ4MZ4

One year service is $100 bucks. Not too bad...


https://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=130


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Offline GaryF

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Re: Inreach and other PLBs
« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2019, 08:59:01 PM »
I was doing some analysis on Spot vs iNReach a couple of years ago, and here is what I came up with:

Spot - less reliable because of the Satellite network it relies upon
Spot - can only send one or two preconfigured messages
Spot - Does not receive messages, no confirmation that your texts or SOS were received
Cost - the iNReach  would actually be cheaper (Device cost and plan costs combined) over a ~3 year period if you only activate it for a month or two each year.

That said, my data may now be old, and  I havenít looked at the Spot X Messenger that came out last year, which seems to be more comparable to the iNReach in terms of capabilities.

 


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