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pcg
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PostSat Oct 27, 2018 10:53 pm 
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Nancyann wrote:
... She did not have a map and compass, just that phone app that all thru hikers use...

I find it hard to believe that people do this, but Im learning that its more and more common. This is the fatal mistake that the fellow hiking the Timberline Trail made this fall. Shes carrying 40# of gear, but has no map and compass??!! She may be tough as nails, but IMO this was bad judgement or ignorance on her part. Hopefully shell be fine.
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RumiDude
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PostSat Oct 27, 2018 11:06 pm 
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pcg wrote:
Nancyann wrote:
... She did not have a map and compass, just that phone app that all thru hikers use...

I find it hard to believe that people do this, but Im learning that its more and more common.

Even if she had Halfmile's maps, which are pretty good, they only follow the trail corridore. Most thru-hikers only know a few local names of places, just the mile marker. Hikers used to carry the guide books or at least the ripped up sections. In the guide book it would at least give the main bailout points. Thru-hikers now depend on Guthook's and Halfmile's apps almost exclusively. It's just the way it is. On discussion sites many people discourage use of paper maps and compass.

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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moonspots
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 9:08 am 
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RumiDude wrote:
pcg wrote:
Nancyann wrote:
... She did not have a map and compass, just that phone app that all thru hikers use...

I find it hard to believe that people do this, but Im learning that its more and more common.

...It's just the way it is. On discussion sites many people discourage use of paper maps and compass.

Rumi

Hmmm, That seems odd to me. I like more (and accurate) data available when I'm venturing into the relative unknown. Or at least keep the "retreat path" easily in sight and accessible.

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"Out, OUT you demons of Stupidity"! - St Dogbert, patron Saint of Technology
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RandyHiker
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 10:40 am 
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moonspots wrote:
Hmmm, That seems odd to me

Not really.  Consider the bulk and weight of paper maps.  A typical thru hiker will cover a 15 minute map in a day.  That adds up to a lot of maps.  Also in summer conditions navigation without a map isn't all that hard as the trail is pretty well marked.
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moonspots
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 10:53 am 
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RandyHiker wrote:
moonspots wrote:
Hmmm, That seems odd to me

Not really.  Consider the bulk and weight of paper maps.  A typical thru hiker will cover a 15 minute map in a day.  That adds up to a lot of maps.  Also in summer conditions navigation without a map isn't all that hard as the trail is pretty well marked.

Ok, good point(s) mentioned. But the crux of the problem here (as I see it), is "in summer". And maybe she'll be just fine, I have no idea. But maps (or perhaps preferentially) a guide book doesn't just quit due to batteries, firmware failure, etc. Anyway, from a (long) distance, that's what I think. Thank you for the experienced observation. A good opinion to consider if I ever set out on such a quest.

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RumiDude
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 11:08 am 
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Halfmile's maps are prety good. If you can print them out front-to-back then that minimizes the paper. I carried them in a gallon sized Ziploc and it worked well for me. The problem comes if you really have to navigate when the trail is covered with snow.  At those times you need the landscape features that might be off the map.

People that use the phone apps are gambling that there are no glitches in software and hardware. There was an instance of two hikers in the Sierra this year where one guy's apps would not launch. The other guy's battery was dangerously low. And then one of them injured his knee.  Oops! Of course they made it out OK and that fact justified in their minds that they were just fine with the apps and didn't need the maps.

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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zephyr
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aka friendly hiker
PostSun Oct 28, 2018 11:15 am 
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bk wrote:
Earlier on, halfway up the PCT, she had already dodged a couple of logistical, show-stopping bullets for this trip. (see 11:58 p.m. as referenced in the article link. Wow.) Is there a rule for how many close-calls one is allowed?

"Wow" is right.  That article (Thanks, bk.) about her quick side trip to Cuba to renew her visa is amazing.  She must have nerves of steel.    ~z
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ahughjass
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 11:22 am 
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moonspots wrote:
RandyHiker wrote:
moonspots wrote:
Hmmm, That seems odd to me

Not really.  Consider the bulk and weight of paper maps.  A typical thru hiker will cover a 15 minute map in a day.  That adds up to a lot of maps.  Also in summer conditions navigation without a map isn't all that hard as the trail is pretty well marked.

... But maps (or perhaps preferentially) a guide book doesn't just quit due to batteries, firmware failure, etc.

The Halfmile App is a barebones guidebook.  It has more than trail waypoints, but road access, resupplies, etc.  So, Halfmile is good, and it's nice that it says ".8 miles to Camp-xyz".  Also, if you go off-trail, the App tells you that you are, e.g., .25 miles East of the PCT.

Map and compass are good, and I bring them.  For map, I bring paper maps for overviews.  I also have detailed topos on my phone (thanks for the free OSMand+ APP!).  I have been a zombie walking at hour 10, and was glad to look at my Halfmile app and say ".5 miles to stream".

As far as the electronic failures, I could also respond with map and compass failures .. lost map when wind blew it out of my hands, getting wet and useless, etc.  A lost or broken compass, etc.

I have been an old-fart and scolded young'ns about their fancy pocket computers, with their fancy GPS, and not knowing how to use a map and compass.  But, with my $145 android phone (Moto E5 Play) with it's built-in compass, and replaceable battery, and over 64GB of memory (enuf for all my maps and audiobooks and then-some), I am a convert.

I also bring, when backpacking, my PLB, and my old phone, powered off, with all maps as a backup in a waterproof bag.  I find the electronics, with highly detailed TOPOs (blows away 7.5 min) to be all I need now.  I am a reluctant convert, but I also pay attention to exactly where I am, and what POI is next.

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RumiDude
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 11:48 am 
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ahughjass wrote:
As far as the electronic failures, I could also respond with map and compass failures .. lost map when wind blew it out of my hands, getting wet and useless, etc. A lost or broken compass, etc.

Yes that is true. But for the most part you are in control of those "failures", whereas with the electronic stuff it can often be entirely out of your control. If suddenly your app starts to get glitches or your battery begins to fail, or the charging port on the phone goes bad, all of which happen more often than we realize, it can be serious without a backup plan.

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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DIYSteve
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 2:04 pm 
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ahughjass wrote:
As far as the electronic failures, I could also respond with map and compass failures .. lost map when wind blew it out of my hands, getting wet and useless, etc. A lost or broken compass, etc.

dangerous false equivalency

ahughjass wrote:
I find the electronics, with highly detailed TOPOs (blows away 7.5 min)

Huh? The most detailed electronic maps use USGS 7.5' database
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Adohrn
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 2:12 pm 
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Agree its a good idea to have a map and compass.   I would like it if Guthook would incorporate a much wider corridor to their maps than they do.   Like it or not many thru hikers have ditched their map and compass .  This would make it feasible in an emergency situation snow,  fire ect.  to find a bail point.   This would be especially useful for the north cascades where every year people push the season. 

I think of Chris Fowler every once in awhile,  because I hiked that section just a couple of weeks before he disappeared.   One of the theories that made sense to me was in snow to bail down a logging road to lower territory as it would be much easier to follow.  I could easily see myself doing this.  Others have committed that those roads go nowhere for a very long time before connecting with anything that leads you out.  In this kind of situation Guthooks narrow corridor could potentially result in a desperate person expiring out there.  Not that this would have helped Chris as his phone which was his only navigational aid was having issues.
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Cyclopath
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 3:30 pm 
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RumiDude wrote:
Yes that is true. But for the most part you are in control of those "failures", whereas with the electronic stuff it can often be entirely out of your control. If suddenly your app starts to get glitches or your battery begins to fail, or the charging port on the phone goes bad, all of which happen more often than we realize, it can be serious without a backup plan.

Rumi

You're making it sound like electronics fail all the time in important ways.  In my experience Android phones are pretty stable.  So are Garmin watches.

Most people who use them carry a battery pack nowadays.  For $20 and 6 oz, you can charge your phone 20 times.  I have a small one to make sure my GPS watch has enough juice for a long trip.
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DIYSteve
seeking hygge



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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 3:40 pm 
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Electronic devices are significantly more prone to fail in prolonged wet stormy weather. I've had several electronic watches fail in wet conditions. Hundreds, probably thousands, of cell phones fail in wet weather each day.

Rumi did not say "all the time"

"Pretty stable" is the wrong standard when your life depends on it

Adohrn wrote:
I think of Chris [sic] Fowler every once in awhile.  .  .  . One of the theories that made sense to me was in snow to bail down a logging road to lower territory as it would be much easier to follow.

That is a manifestly plausible theory, especially so re PCT Section I, which is flanked by a tangle of logging roads. Logging road egress would have appeared on the applicable Trails Illustrated map. Weight weenies could take a scissors to each TI map, cutting off the margins E and W of the egress routes (to highways).
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Ski
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 4:48 pm 
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ahughjass wrote:
"...map and compass failures .. lost map when wind blew it out of my hands, getting wet and useless, etc.  A lost or broken compass, etc."

I've never lost a map. As for maps getting wet, they invented the Zip-Loc bag in 1968.

The little wire on my father's WWII vintage Army compass broke a few years ago, so it was only in service for about 60 or 70 years. The compass part of it still works just fine.

I've been carrying my late step-father's Silva "Ranger" for about 15 years now. I believe he carried it while cruising timber for about 20 years or so. Still works just fine.

So how the hell do you "break" a compass? Are you using it for a hammer? dizzy.gif

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Jeff
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 4:56 pm 
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It happens. This turned a 4 day trip into a two day trip. With that said, I would never give up a map and compass for a cell phone or gps.
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