GPS: What do you use, and why?

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woodsxc

 
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by woodsxc » Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:29 am

goldenhopper wrote:
Dingus Milktoast wrote:I don't even bother with a compass. I barely bother with beta. (the ole BBB).

Has nothing to do with being a tough guy. It has everything to do with 'not needing one.'

If I were in a big mountain whiteout I'd surely want one and most likely need one.

But for day in and day out?

GPS takes away the very thing I seek. It kills the part of peak bagging I most enjoy - the uncertainty, the exploration, the 'finding my own way.'

I have no problem with e-gadgets in the back country. I carry iPod frequently, avi transciever, headlamps that are in every sense 'advanced electronics', yada yada yada.

As a principle I think the complete mapping of every point in the whole world is a dreadful thought.

But I own one for the car haha.

DMT


Well said DMT. It's not at all about being a tough guy, it's about having fun. So if using GPS is fun for you, then you woosies should feel free electro-navigate your way all day long. :wink: :lol:


I think the word is "wussies"

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rhyang

 
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by rhyang » Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:33 am

Heh, the guy who says he finds snow-camping 'miserable' is calling me a 'woosie' :lol: :lol: :lol: :wink:

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CClaude

 
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by CClaude » Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:10 pm

rhyang wrote:
goldenhopper wrote:
woodsxc wrote:
The Chief wrote:GP WHAAAT??????

Learn your map & compass and become proficient at it. It will most certainly save your ass one day.


+1. Absolutely right Chief.

Save yourself some green too. Get a topo map, look over it before you leave, do a little bit of research, and you'll be fine.


+2

IMO the idea of using an electronic device to navigate seems contrary to the whole point of being in the wilderness.


For a long time I thought as you did. If you spend most of your time in the eastern sierra or southern california (and really most of the sierra) a GPS is mostly unnecessary. The terrain is usually open and landmarks easily sighted.

Mostly I set my waypoints and forget about them until I'm back home, plotting them on a map for later use.

But if you spend most of your time in the eastern sierra and / or southern california, then you probably don't know what the term 'thick forest' really means :) And then there are folks who just enjoy getting themselves lost .. hey, whatever floats your boat :P

And if you've ever spent time wandering up desert canyons, going into drainages, out of drainages, .. hey, which drainage are we in again ? Is this map correct ? Nope, it sure isn't .. then you know what I'm talking about. It's a more critical situation to know where you are and how to get out when there isn't any water except what you are carrying on your back and you can't see any landmarks. For map & compass navigation in those situations you really have to be careful.


I'm with Rhyang on this one. In the Sierras who even needs a compass. I usually just get by with a good map and you can triangulate off of terrain. On a couple of climbs I've been on recently, the approaches involve going up the only feasible path which is a drainage which is a decent slot which impedes a lot of your view and the brush impedes whats left in many areas (mainly the entrance to the second drainage where the last climb I did was in).

For this I use a Garmin Vista Hcx. I've used tthem in whiteouts also and I have to say it is nice (when you can't see more then 30 or 40 ft).

But I agree with the Chief that don't become over-reliant on technology and stop using your brain.

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by neghafi » Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:28 pm

Image

I use my cellphone (Nokia N78) which has a gps embedded. my cellphone is my camera too :wink:

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MoapaPk

 
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by MoapaPk » Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:54 pm

The Chief wrote:
Get in with one of these comp's and you might just learn something, MoapaPk. You'd be surprised at what one can do with a map and compass in ANY environment, in any weather condition and a in any location.

Go back and read the thread Chief. I mapped with an actually sighting compass for real, as part of my job, and have navigated thriough 8 whiteouts by map and compass. After reading your implication that one can triangulate without sighting distant objects, I now know why the military uses GPS so much.

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asmrz

 
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by asmrz » Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:10 pm

I would like to address this note to the 19 year old CanadianSteve who started this post.

As you might have already experienced in the mountains, knowledge is everything. There is nothing wrong with GPS, but there is something hugely wrong with not really knowing (thoroughly) how to use a map and a compass. Map and compass forces you to read the land, so learn how to read the map and apply it to the terrain. If you aspire to years of mountain travel, mountaineering, expeditions, and outings in the middle of nowhere, take my word for it, learn how to use map and compass really well and go from there.

You might have already done so, in which case get the best GPS for your money and you'll have done all you can for this part of your outdoor education.

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Diego Sahagún

 
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by Diego Sahagún » Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:41 pm

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MtnHermit

 
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by MtnHermit » Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:51 pm

MoapaPk wrote:
The Chief wrote:Get in with one of these comp's and you might just learn something, MoapaPk. You'd be surprised at what one can do with a map and compass in ANY environment, in any weather condition and a in any location.

Go back and read the thread Chief. I mapped with an actually sighting compass for real, as part of my job, and have navigated thriough 8 whiteouts by map and compass. After reading your implication that one can triangulate without sighting distant objects, I now know why the military uses GPS so much.
The primary reason for the satellite array is military, not civilian, we just benefit. Let's have The Chief explain how he'd put a Hellfire Missile within 30' of a target with a magnetic compass?

Just because one can still navigate with 15th Century technology doesn't mean you have to or want to.

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radson

 
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by radson » Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:28 pm

I thought the whole point was that it can be used as a replacement.

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MoapaPk

 
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by MoapaPk » Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:41 pm

Sorry for dipping into snide, but I get a bit tired of the hidden implication that if you use a GPS, you must not know how to use a compass. As I've pointed out before in this thread, I always carry a backup compass, and really, really, really do know how to use it. I know its limitations intimately.

GPS units are appearing in the military in many places beside smart bombs.

I have a vivid memory of navigating through a whiteout on Santa Fe Baldy, purely by compass, in Feb 1983. 18" of snow fell while we were climbing, and there were occasionally very strong gusts. The ridge took several dog legs, and the leader had lost count; at one point he started to go right; I took out the compass and map and decided we would be going at least 160 degrees the wrong way. The map was flapping in the wind uncotrollably, and I was having a hard time leveling the compass; the needle swung by up to 30 degrees. I had a hard time convincing the leader, because he couldn't actually see the map and compass, beacuse every surface got covered with snow in the time it took to explain.

I never even hinted that a GPS is a substitute for a knowledge of map and compass, or knowledge and good sense in general; indeed I've said that most people who use aGPS probably don't know what they are doing. I've just shot at some of the wilder claims about the evils of GPS, and the wonders of compass.

If people feel it is so damn important not to spoil the wilderness experience with something hi-tech or artificial, than let them leave the cams and chocks at home.

I learned to map with a compass, plane table and alidade. No one uses that crap anymore; virtually all surveying is done by differential or multi-frequency GPS.

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rhyang

 
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by rhyang » Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:53 pm

goldenhopper wrote:If technology is so superior to traditional methods, why backpack or climb at all? Taking a Helicopter to a peak or backcountry area would be far easier and faster. Again as I said earlier, where do we draw the line? The increased risk and lack of creature comforts are part of the fun.


I look forward to when you actually start climbing .. your arguments against chalk, sticky rubber, cams and kernmantle ropes will spice up SP quite a bit :twisted:

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The Chief

 
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by The Chief » Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:10 pm

My point is not against the GPS. It is that of late, too many folks are creating this tech synthetic generalization and belief that all they need is a cell phone and a GPS and everything will be just fine when they venture out into "No Man's Land".

Far too many of the common sense rules and practices are being replaced with a mindset that expects technology to do all the basic thinking for them. So when shit hits the fan due to the lack of one's basic knowledge/experience of general survival skills, folks immediately call 911 on their cell phone expecting the SAR folks to come and save the day.

Part of the "Ten Essentials" is having a map and compass for the area one intends to play in and the proper know how to use them.

Oh my bad, I forgot, the concept of the "Ten Essentials", having them on ones person and knowing how to appropriately use them, no longer exists.

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woodsxc

 
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by woodsxc » Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:14 pm

MtnHermit wrote:
MoapaPk wrote:
The Chief wrote:Get in with one of these comp's and you might just learn something, MoapaPk. You'd be surprised at what one can do with a map and compass in ANY environment, in any weather condition and a in any location.

Go back and read the thread Chief. I mapped with an actually sighting compass for real, as part of my job, and have navigated thriough 8 whiteouts by map and compass. After reading your implication that one can triangulate without sighting distant objects, I now know why the military uses GPS so much.
The primary reason for the satellite array is military, not civilian, we just benefit. Let's have The Chief explain how he'd put a Hellfire Missile within 30' of a target with a magnetic compass?

Just because one can still navigate with 15th Century technology doesn't mean you have to or want to.


We count and write using technology older than that...Should we invent a new language based on smells instead of using Arabic numerals and English?

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by geojag » Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:55 pm

There are some people you could drop off in the middle of nowhere and they could walk directly to thier house, and then there are people that can't find thier way out of a doorway. If you are navigationally challenged, admit it and learn to use compass/map/GPS, whatever you need to make it home. If you are prone to get lost and dislike navigation, take plenty of food and water because you may be out there for a while.
GPS is good if you experience poor visability or are in an area without good maps available (or you simply didn't take time to get a map).
I almost always have a GPS with me, a cheapy Garmin Etrex. I have a GPS60C that I never use. At work, a GPS enables me to record a location quicker and probably greater accuracy than marking in on a 1:24,000 topo.
I kind of understand the arguement about not wanting GPSs in wilderness areas, but if that is the line you chose you probably shouldn't have your battery operated camera out there either.

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