Author Topic: Radio Call Saves SOTA Climber Following Fall  (Read 1442 times)

Offline Pete Jackson

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Radio Call Saves SOTA Climber Following Fall
« on: May 28, 2015, 08:03:20 pm »
http://www.arrl.org/news/radio-call-saves-sota-climber-following-fall

Quote
A Littleton, Colorado, radio amateur and mountaineer was happy to have his hand-held transceiver along on May 17 after he slipped and fell from an icy ledge in Berthoud Pass while snowshoeing. Summits On The Air (SOTA) enthusiast Brad Byland, WA6MM, said hes been climbing and mountaineering for many years now and never before came this close to a possible life-ending disaster.

I carry a HAM radio when leaving the parking lot in the Whites. It's programmed to hit the repeaters on Cannon, Mt Washington, Cranmore, and a few others.

With all the talk of the false security you get from SPOT devices, relying on cellphones that don't work, etc, I'm curious: do any of y'all carry a decent radio, 5 watts or more, when you head for the hills? 

It's no replacement for good judgement, preparation, and self-rescue skills. But, since I started carrying one, I've always, and I do mean always, been able to hear someone on the other end. I wouldn't leave other gear at home because I was carrying a good radio, but neither would I leave the radio home just to shave half a pound from my pack.

Just curious.
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Nemesis

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Re: Radio Call Saves SOTA Climber Following Fall
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2015, 10:02:14 pm »
I don't agree with his rescue call one bit.  He was unhurt and well equipped, but decided "meh, it's kinda shitty out here.  I'll get the boys mobilizing now so I don't have to spend a night shivering in a snow cave."   Punter

Offline JBro

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Re: Radio Call Saves SOTA Climber Following Fall
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2015, 11:48:02 pm »
I usually leave all communications devices in the car. My friends would kick me in the nuts if I started taking my cell phone or a radio (unless it was a boom box) into the hills.
Have a quiche, now, or maybe a tort.  You deserve it!
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Offline frik

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Re: Radio Call Saves SOTA Climber Following Fall
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2015, 09:09:59 am »
If i wanted all the convenience of modern communications, why would i leave the gym?

Offline Pete Jackson

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Re: Radio Call Saves SOTA Climber Following Fall
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2015, 02:14:12 pm »
I usually leave all communications devices in the car. My friends would kick me in the nuts if I started taking my cell phone or a radio (unless it was a boom box) into the hills.

I used to do the same. But I started being interested in SOTA awhile back, and it's kinda cool to make contact with Australia from a mountaintop while on a hike. Jury is out for me on the emergency implications. But seriously, your friends care what's in your pack enough to heckle you?

I don't agree with his rescue call one bit.  He was unhurt and well equipped, but decided "meh, it's kinda shitty out here.  I'll get the boys mobilizing now so I don't have to spend a night shivering in a snow cave."   Punter

I don't really know the details, but I get the sense he felt like he was in a situation he couldn't self-rescue from, even after the whiteout passed. I can't second guess that, but I suspect most of us on this forum look upon the rescue call itself with the hairy eyeball.

In my mind, though, that's not the question I can learn from: given that he'd evaluated his situation and determined he was going to call for help, he could have :

  • punched the button on a SPOT (and likely have triggered a rescue to inaccurate GPS coordinates)
  • tried to use a cellphone (which was unlikely to work, but if it did he'd have reached his family/friends, or a 911 dispatcher from who-knows-which-county) or
  • used a capable radio to reach people close to his situation not related to him, but who are often trained in emergency communications.

It doesn't seem like convincing people to leave all communications gear at home is ever going to be a thing. Nor will getting people to accept the high risk of shivering/losing toes and to self-rescue when possible. But it *does* seem like the overwhelming answer here is "Don't take any communications gear". That surprises me!

If i wanted all the convenience of modern communications, why would i leave the gym?

Well. I live in Rumney and do most of my climbing there, so you *might* argue that I haven't left. ;)

Thanks, everyone, for chiming in. Enlightening!

« Last Edit: May 29, 2015, 02:16:49 pm by Pete Jackson »
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Offline JBro

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Re: Radio Call Saves SOTA Climber Following Fall
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2015, 03:37:27 pm »
Pete they would only heckle me for bringing a phone or a SPOT or something like that. And for not bringing beer!

 
Have a quiche, now, or maybe a tort.  You deserve it!
-bristolpipe

I like to keep things simple, even if it's faaaken painful and miserable.
-Stoney Middleton

This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption.
-Friar Tuck

Offline Pete Jackson

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Re: Radio Call Saves SOTA Climber Following Fall
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2015, 02:03:23 pm »
Pete they would only heckle me for bringing a phone or a SPOT or something like that. And for not bringing beer!

:laugh:

Fair enough! I had a guy who used to give me a hard time for packing my small jetboil in to TR ice in the Flume Gorge. After 3 hours of standing around in that cold, shady, wet slot canyon....well. I was happy to have hot tea. :)

In any case, Mt Washington is worth 10 points in Summits on the Air, so I'm gonna keep packing my radio! :)
We came to climb, not to whine.

Offline pappy

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Re: Radio Call Saves SOTA Climber Following Fall
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2015, 09:53:13 am »
I used to tell my partners when we went climbing in Canada that if they brought their phone I would throw the effing thing off the mountain. Just seems to violate the commitment factor that is a big part of the sport for me.

Of course, now my phone is my camera, so I kinda gotta have it. I would hope I would be about dead before I would use it as a phone, but to quote Doug Scott quoting Haston, 'Ethics are like erections--they rise up but they always come down again.'
If you're gonna be stupid, you gotta be tough.

Offline strandman

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Re: Radio Call Saves SOTA Climber Following Fall
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2015, 06:22:10 pm »
As somewhat of a "local"..Berthoud pass has been having shit storm after shit storm recently.....If you go out in a shit storm, expect to get shit on.