@geeves, and another argument that map and compass are useless. If they had an offline GPS app on their phone, they would have known exactly where they where, and how far away from the track end they were, and there was no chance of them being lost.
> authorities don't call them out for incorrect use of a beacon. its happening more and more.
A minor point but this wasn't a PLB activation, even though they carried one. They called 111 and spoke to someone. Based on the available information that person decided a SAR callout was appropriate.
I'd wager people good at using a map and compass, as part of wider navigation skills, would be capable of knowing reasonably accurately where they are at any given time, even with low visibility. They're definitely not useless. Just different tools that provide another way to get information about the world around you.
The main advantage a GPS device is that it simply tells you where you are, without you having to know what you're doing, in a way that's relatively easy for most people to understand without much learning.
All devices can fail. Some more easily than others.
I love the gps I have. I can read a map, use a compass. I have a pretty good inbuilt compass. Can work out features and can usually work out my altitude pretty well from experience. But I don't get the gps bashing. It's a bloody good tool. Just know how to use the other tools too.
So they were told it would take them 10 hours and after 11 hours they rang 111. It would have taken them at least another hour to do the 4 km to the road end, I conject. Definitely pushing the limits with 1 head torch amongst them. I always take a head torch on a day trip. Especially with a DoC prediction of finishing the walk at 5pm. And there needs to be sufficient shelter to manage an injury/and or hypothermia until rescue on any day trip.
Everytime I read of some bright spark on this site thinking they don't need to carry shelter when on a tramp, I never hesitate to reiterate this point of the need to carry adequate shelter until evacuation. Carrying fire-making means is always a good idea too e.g. lighter and something like a candle stub or bike rubber.
I went up a local hill a few years ago and it clagged in with mist. As I wandered on my own on untracked terrain, intentionally separated from Frank, towards the high point i.e. the summit where I hoped a some faint trail would lead me to a wider track, I thought I could have been more prepared for a possible night out. Luckily there was a faint trail down to the bigger track and a shelter where I waited for Frank to join me from his own wee adventure.
This post has been edited by the author on 15 May 2018 at 22:32.
Having read the Herald article, I'm relaxed about the sequence of events in the total context.
Way better they called 111 and let someone know what was going on, than blunder on into darkness and an unplanned, ill-equipped night out, with potentially more serious consequences.
Sure they could have been more cautious about undertaking a 10 hour walk into an unknown track at this time of year, but then again I don't see that as anything more than a minor misjudgment, and certainly nothing to get upset about.
In my experience one small mistake can fairly quickly degenerate unless you act firmly to get things back under control. Overall I say good on them for swallowing their pride and calling 111 when they realised the day wasn't going to plan.
This post has been edited by the author on 16 May 2018 at 03:13.
Sorry @Gaiters. I didn't mean to suggest that GPSs aren't awesome. Obviously they are. I was more taking exception to the suggestion that maps and compasses are useless.
More generally though, I try to see navigation as a skill rather than one or more devices or tools.
This post has been edited by the author on 16 May 2018 at 14:38.
electronic devices are more falable than map and compass.
they can die, batteries run flat easily... then they are just so much junk,
then you need a map and compass and know how to use them....
thats the other issue with electronic devices, often people who rely solely on them either dont know how to use or loose the skill they have around using a map and compass.
The other thing with map&compass is that to use them you need to pay close attention to landmarks, topography. So even if they fail (eg you lose the map in a wind gust) you retain a mental map of all the landmarks on the route in.
Whereas with a gps you retain the memory of an arrow on a screen.