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RumiDude
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 9:09 am 
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The thread drift in the Vesper Peak missing hiker thread has maybe overpowered the original posting and so I have opened up this thread to continue any discussion about this subject here. Maybe it's not needed now and if so the Admins can kill this thread.

Anyway, add your thoughts to that discussion here.

Rumi

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"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
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RumiDude
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 9:20 am 
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From previous thread.

braincloud wrote:
The issue I have is saying that technology encourages less accountability. But I tend to raise an eyebrow at gross generalizations that aren't backed by data and facts. I'm sure we can all come up with an anecdote or two to support either side of the debate, but an anecdote does not a majority make.

I don't think anyone has studied this in any formal manner. I have read comments from State, sheriff departments, SAR supervisors, and other emergency personnel that reflects both sides of this argument.  I suppose everyone has their own take which seems logical at least to themselves. And the net effect might be a wash with some risking more and others becoming more conservative, though I doubt that is the case.

Rumi

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Cyclopath
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 10:11 am 
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I carry a ResQLink, properly registered.  It has no effect on my decision making.  I don't find the idea that people are eager to go break their leg because they can call for help and then spend the night in pain waiting for it to arrive to be very credible.

The battery in my PLB will expire soon, and I'm going to have to decide what to do about that.  The new inReach Mini is attractive for several reasons.  I like that I would be able to send and reply to messages with my watch.

I plan to do a lot of skiing this winter.  Lots of figuring out to do, but I feel like the stakes are higher in the winter, so I should probably carry something, and the bread-crumb feature could be very helpful.
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Yana
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 10:13 am 
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RumiDude wrote:
let me emphasize it is every hiker's responsibility to assure their own safe return to the trailhead. Yes, there are times when things happen which are totally out of control of the individual, despite their best efforts at safe travel in the backcountry. But most often incidents like this happen because of poor decisions and/or lack of skills. And that is where our emphasis should lie.

In my (admittedly limited) experience searching for and rescuing people, the vast majority of calls I have seen personally, the ones NOT initiated by SPOT, PLB, or inReach are far more likely to be correlated with one - or as is most often the case - a long series of poor choices that led to the situation. Most of these folks consider and approach hiking (usually hiking, occasionally some other outdoor thing) as a very casual activity: they have never thought about it going wrong or that they should prepare for such eventualities. So naturally, they don't have SPOTs, PLBs, or inReaches. The folks that do, *generally* speaking (there does seem to be a subset who carry such devices because their mother made them do it [I'm not joking]), are already well on their way with skills, experience, and appropriate gear to mitigate problems.

And why should our emphasis lie *just* on decision making/skills? Why not both? At the very least, it takes a long time to actually develop decent skills and good decision making (in some cases, people never get there). I just don't get why you think using/carrying the two are mutually exclusive.

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Yana
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 10:14 am 
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Cyclopath wrote:
I carry a ResQLink, properly registered.  It has no effect on my decision making.  I don't find the idea that people are eager to go break their leg because they can call for help and then spend the night in pain waiting for it to arrive to be very credible.

lol.gif  lol.gif  rotf.gif  rotf.gif

up.gif  up.gif

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DIYSteve
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 10:30 am 
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RumiDude wrote:
And the net effect might be a wash.  .  .  .

That would defy my experience, i.e., that people who take precautions tend to, well, take precautions. Everyone -- yes, everyone -- I know who carries a PLB, inReach or SPOT, also:
-- carries a map, compass and safety gear
-- thoroughly researches and plans their route
-- is more likely to wear a hard hat
-- is more likely to take precautions to avoid objective danger, e.g., heeds signs of avalanche risk
-- is more likely to stay on route
-- does NOT take on increased risk because they carry a sat communication device
-- as a group, compared to those who do not pack sat communication devices, are less likely to ever need SAR

Seriously, based on my experience, the claim that anyone ever took on extra risk because they happen to carry a PLB, inReach or SPOT is bunk. It's akin to saying that people are more likely to drive recklessly because their cars are equipped with seat belts and air bags.

As Yana notes, the trend is that SAR subjects are more likely to fail to take adequate precautions. People who carry sat communication devices are on the other end of the spectrum. Such devices are an extra layer of precaution, no more, no less.

The notion that every technological device spoils the wilderness experience is absurd. If you truly believe that, prove it by going into the mountains naked, barefoot and without compass, map and shelter.

If you allow a sat communication device to spoil your wilderness experience, that's your problem. Don't blame the technology that has saved the lives of many.
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RumiDude
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 10:46 am 
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DIYSteve wrote:
Seriously, based on my experience, the claim that anyone ever took on extra risk because they happen to carry a PLB, inReach or SPOT is bunk.

Cyclopath wrote:
I carry a ResQLink, properly registered.  It has no effect on my decision making.

... that you are consciously aware of.

We know that there is a lot that goes on under the hood so to speak in our decision making. It happens without our awareness, in the subconscious. There is an overwhelming amount of research and study that confirms the huge role the subconscious plays in our decision making.

Rumi

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DIYSteve
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 10:54 am 
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RumiDude wrote:
... that you are consciously aware of.

We know that there is a lot that goes on under the hood so to speak in our decision making.

So, you admit that your ostensibly bloated self-confidence skews your decision making? If, as it appears, you believe your mountain travel skills are so superior that a sat device would be mere dead weight, doesn't it necessarily follow that such overconfidence might manifest in taking undue risks?

It seems to me the guy who thinks "I don't need no stinking PLB because I'm so damn smart and talented" is likely to take on more risks per his own hubris.

FTR, my routes actually mellowed after I got a PLB. Throws a wrench in your theory, eh?
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RumiDude
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 10:57 am 
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DIYSteve wrote:
he notion that every technological device spoils the wilderness experience is absurd. If you truly believe that, prove it by going into the mountains naked, barefoot and without compass, map and shelter.

If you allow a sat communication device to spoil your wilderness experience, that's your problem. Don't blame the technology that has saved the lives of many.

I would only note that you also oppose bikes in the wilderness and prefer to drink directly from a stream of water without treatment. The former you claim spoils your wilderness experience and the latter because it enhances your wilderness experience. I claim the same with these electronic breadcrumb devices.

I have from the beginning claimed that my stance on this is purely personal and does not extend to other individual's personal choice.

Rumi

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DIYSteve
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 10:59 am 
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RumiDude wrote:
prefer to drink directly from a stream of water without treatment.

false attribution

RumiDude wrote:
The former you claim spoils your wilderness experience

false attribution

RumiDude wrote:
purely personal and does not extend to other individual's personal choice

Ah, I see. But my alleged (fabricated) personal views are directly relevant. Got it.

RumiDude wrote:
I claim the same with these electronic breadcrumb devices.

I have NEVER used my inReach as a breadcrumb device. NEVER. PLBs are NOT breadcrumb devices.
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ejain
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 11:11 am 
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DIYSteve wrote:
It's akin to saying that people are more likely to drive recklessly because their cars are equipped with seat belts and air bags.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_compensation.

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RumiDude
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 11:20 am 
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DIYSteve wrote:
RumiDude wrote:
prefer to drink directly from a stream of water without treatment.

false attribution

RumiDude wrote:
The former you claim spoils your wilderness experience

false attribution

Seriously, you deny this? OK

Rumi

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"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
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Cyclopath
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 11:25 am 
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When you tell other people they don't know what's going on inside their head, but you do, that's one of those times you should think first, and probably keep your mouth shut.
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Chief Joseph
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 11:29 am 
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To carry one or not to carry one is simply a personal choice. They have positives and negatives.
Pushing ones beliefs and opinions upon others is condescending and annoying. I won't carry one and I simply don't care if others do.

A friend of mine was using a gps to track his progress while hiking with a couple of others to a seekrit and off trail lake. He was mainly using the gps track so that his family members could follow his progress on FB and to be comforted as to his location and safety. The trip leader became became angry and actually changed the hike destination due to fear of public knowledge as to the seekrit lake destination. I know that sounds ridiculous, but my point is that new technological devices are not for everyone.

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Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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joker
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 11:31 am 
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Yeah sure we may make subtle changes in our decisions  that even we ourselves aren't aware of. So all we can do is try our  best to observe what is going on  our own heads and report back on it. With that in mind...

So far, since getting  my inReach (due to having realized  that  for  the past  few years  I've been doing more solo outings) I haven't been  choosing any risker outings than I was choosing before getting it. I still pause at some points and remind myself to take extra care due  to  risks of falls in exposed spots etc. If anything, I'm more  careful these days as I know I'm not getting any more coordinated or stronger as I age (the caution is certainly not caused by the acquisition of the inReach, but rather is coming  from at least one of the same motivators that caused me to get the device).

I would  not be surprised to hear that there are some people who get such  devices because they want to take on greater risk and thus want this as a backstop, but for me it's first about letting my wife know  there's no need to  worry (including when I'm merely way out of cell range while out van camping in places like UT), and  second just in  case that thing that I dearly hope to prevent occurs.


I've seen the same discussion with respect to avalanche safety gear, including avalanche beacons. And just as with these devices, I'm sure that there are some people who take on greater risk thanks to having a beacon and perhaps an airbag pack and/or an Avalung. But if you're out ski touring in terrain  where avalanches could conceivably occur, there's little question in my mind that having a shovel, probe, and beacon  is  just plain prudent, as is learning about and taking proactive steps  to try to avoid the mental "heuristic traps" that tend to raise one's risk level. I would not say the same about PLBs or inReach type devices (that it's just prudent to carry them period) but I think that otherwise the  dynamics are likely similar - i.e. that it's possible to let them lead you to  raise risk but that there are also strategies one can adopt to lower that likelihood.
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