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Thread: Personal Locator Beacons

  1. #1
    Senior Member Toe Cozy's Avatar
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    Personal Locator Beacons

    Well, I did a dumb thing. I told my mom about hiking off trail alone. She's never been real keen about any of my solo adventures in the woods (hiking, backpacking) but this really made her upset. She started talking about locator devices and that I should absolutely have one for that "what if" emergency, that she'd buy me one herself. I'm not saying she's wrong. If something drastic ever happened she'd be very right in fact. But I'm really resistant to this kind of thing. And it's one of those really expensive for the probably never, ever need it piece of gear. Is that just stupid and stubborn? I'd like to know if anyone here carries a personal locator beacon.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pig Pen's Avatar
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    I don't. I get that kind of thing from people also. My goal in life is not 100% safety at all times.

    Leave a smelly shirt in your car and they can use the scent dogs to find you.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mad Townie's Avatar
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    Would an avalanche beacon satisfy her? It's not a bad thing to carry in avvy country anyway, but I don't know the range of the things. My guess is probably not much.

    DougPaul?
    Mad Townie

    Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary. - H. D. Thoreau

    Easy trails, nice days and comfort are good, too. - M. Townie

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    I don't & I go about 50% of the time solo. If memory serves me correctly, a year or two ago there were a couple rescues in the ADK's of the same person who had one. if I remember correctly it was a paddler not a hiker or climber.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  5. #5
    Senior Member albee's Avatar
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    Does your mom know that you're a big girl now?

    If she gives you a hard time, remind her that it is only Vermont 'whackin... there's hardly any trees to get in the way!

    Or just don't tell her where or when you're going. What she doesn't know won't hurt her. As long as Chip knows your itinerary you should be all set. How would she react if you told her you were taking your shiny new PLB to climb a snowfield on Mount Hood?
    What is the meaning of life?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Rik's Avatar
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    I carry one everywhere I go.
    Safety is in the eye of the beholder

  7. #7
    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    If memory serves, there was a controversial use of a locator beacon in the ADKs not too long ago. Guy back on a canoe trip, got cold and wet and used the locator. I understand its on a military frequency and the military S&R mobilized to find his uncomfortable but not in dire straits.
    I guess they yanked him out of the woods. Apparently he left all his large gear, including a canoe that got frozen in situ. When he hiked back in, he realized that he couldn't get his now frozen canoe out, and hit the button again.

    Needless to say, the military and Rangers were less than pleased and the 2 incidents became the subject of whether he committed a crime in how the locator was used, and whether or who may prosecute or levy fines.

    I may not have all the details correct, but believe it might be close.
    A few morals to the story. Be sure you're in a real jam before using one, don't use as an equipment ferry, and the things really work.

  8. #8
    Senior Member rhihn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peakbagr
    If memory serves, there was a controversial use of a locator beacon in the ADKs not too long ago. Guy back on a canoe trip, got cold and wet and used the locator. I understand its on a military frequency and the military S&R mobilized to find his uncomfortable but not in dire straits.
    I guess they yanked him out of the woods. Apparently he left all his large gear, including a canoe that got frozen in situ. When he hiked back in, he realized that he couldn't get his now frozen canoe out, and hit the button again.

    Needless to say, the military and Rangers were less than pleased and the 2 incidents became the subject of whether he committed a crime in how the locator was used, and whether or who may prosecute or levy fines.

    I may not have all the details correct, but believe it might be close.
    A few morals to the story. Be sure you're in a real jam before using one, don't use as an equipment ferry, and the things really work.
    Long thread on beacons here:
    http://www.adkforum.com/showthread.php?t=5884

    More discussion here:
    http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-...ght/00205.html

    More info here:
    http://www.equipped.com/plb_first_use.htm
    Dick

  9. #9
    Senior Member Toe Cozy's Avatar
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    Yeah, I read the old posts about the dude who activated the locator twice. And yes, my mom knows I'm a big girl, albee...you clearly are forgetting that age (or size as you suggest) is irrelevant in a worried parent scenario. My mom imagines me either being attacked by crazy mean people in the woods (people? What? Where...I don't see any people out here in this blowdown, do you?) or more realistically injured and unable to get out on my own. Then she imagines her favorite person in the world (her words,not mine) dying a slow and pointless death cold and alone. You know, your typical mom nightmare of not being able to rescue her injured child. So, a PLB would be my mom's way of being "in my back pocket" to save me in an emergency. That's what she really wants to do.

    When I go home in a couple weeks, I'm sure we'll be chatting about my hiking and I'll probably take some quad maps with me to show my mom what kind of places I've been and that it's not as much the middle of nowhere as she's imagining. Then, in the future I just won't tell her what I'm up to. Problem solved. Sort of a solo off trail don't ask/don't tell policy. Works for me.

    And if she buys me one...I'll put it in my pack. It can't hurt.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  10. #10
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    This link is a bit dated in terms of price, but I think the pros and cons of these devices is well-described by the Gear Guy.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Pete_Hickey's Avatar
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    Looking at it from a risk/cost point of view (instead of a feelings based one) she'd be better off enrolling you in one of those movie stunt-man defensive/evasive driving courses.

    Insurance companies are great for keeping stats on what REAL risks in life are. Tell her to poke around some of their web sites to find the best bang for her buck.
    There's no place like 127.0.0.1

  12. #12
    Senior Member NewHampshire's Avatar
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    My concern....its yet another electronic device that has to rely on a battery/s. I would think leaving your intenerary with someone trustworthy, as well as a time where "if you don't hear from me by xxx, then start worrying." Plus the knowledge of basic survival can help. I keep this tiny 3 card set with a bunch of survival info on it inside my first aid kit. Pretty basic stuff that one really might not need the cards for. But it does give you something physical to look at and help keep you calm should one get into a "sticky situation."

    Brian
    Adopter: Wildcat Ridge Trail from Rt.16 to Wildcat "D". If you have any issues please contact me!

  13. #13
    Senior Member Toe Cozy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete_Hickey
    Looking at it from a risk/cost point of view (instead of a feelings based one) she'd be better off enrolling you in one of those movie stunt-man defensive/evasive driving courses.

    Oo oo! That sounds awesome! Where do I sign up? I'm looking for a career change...maybe I could work this into a new career...stunt driver extraordinaire. Pete, you always have such good ideas.

    As far as battery life is concerned, the specs on these things describe a 5 year battery life and 24hrs of battery use at -20F. According to my limited research today. But I hear ya about another electronic thingy dingy, New Hampshire.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Dugan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete_Hickey
    Insurance companies are great for keeping stats on what REAL risks in life are. Tell her to poke around some of their web sites to find the best bang for her buck.
    Better not... she'll never let you go to the bathroom alone again!

  15. #15
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    http://www.findmespot.com/
    Perhaps is will give me a choice between a "sleeping bag" and a "body bag".
    Last edited by Maddy; 10-16-2007 at 07:25 PM.

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