Got some responses on my series on wilderness safety as well as some feedback on the latest venture in the San Juans.
Bill Becquart says one thing he doesn’t leave without is his SPOT device. It’s not cheap — up to $149 for the unit, plus about $136 a year for usage. But it serves somewhat like an EPIRB on seagoing ships, those emergency locator devices that help rescuers find vessels and their crews in distress. SPOT allows search and rescue crews to find you, gives you a $100,000 insurance policy to pay for a helicopter rescue and allows you to send messages to loved ones, Bill says. That same service also sends a Google Maps message to them showing where you are.
Sounds like a heck of a way NOT to get lost.
Trent Riley just got back from doing Grays Peak and Torreys Peak in the Front Range of Colorado. He said he also plans to try some much harder mountains, including Longs Peak, Capitol Peak and Little Bear Peak. Trent also asked if I planned to do all 54 of Colorado’s 14ers, the name given to mountains that are 14,000 feet or higher.
At this time, I’d have to say no. There are some that are beyond my skill level right now, and I just don’t get up into the high country enough to improve my skills, conditioning and comfort with exposure to the point where I could tackle them all. But I’ll never say never. Each year, I try to do something harder than the year before. This year was no exception.
In any case, there’s plenty of cool places here in Oklahoma that I really need to explore. Perhaps those trips will prepare me for the more gnarly ascents Trent’s talking about.
Best of luck to Trent as he tackles Longs, Capitol and Little Bear. I want to hear all about it when you’ve bagged ‘em!
Thanks again to everyone who left comments on the Mount Yale series. It’s a pretty personal story, but my hope is that people will read stuff like that and take the utmost care before they try any wilderness experience, whether it be close to home or in some other, far-flung locale.
One interesting note from last week’s trip. It has to do with backpacking. So I’m loading up my pack for the four-mile hike out. I have to find somewhere to stow an extra banana. I stash it in a pocked on the outside of my pack.
Bad move. Though not all that heavy, it was enough to unbalance my pack and give my back fits. When we stopped to readjust our packs a bit, I snarfed the banana. Problem solved. The hike out was some of the easiest four miles I’ve ever done. Lesson learned: Even a small amount of weight that unbalances a pack can cause a lot of discomfort and even back pain.
Going to start focusing on stuff here in Oklahoma this fall and winter. Prime hiking, climbing and camping weather is at hand! Stay tuned, folks.