originally posted by: ignorant_ape
a reply to: intrptr
... - and its only a matter of time before such utter inneptitude kills someone
Only a matter of time????? Ummmm....
I grew up in mountains of Wyoming and was involved in SAR while there, and I can tell you stories of many dozens of people who succumbed to the
elements from just such lack of skills. I also participated in Orienteering activities as a hobby for many years. Map and compass skills are
critical to success. I actually prefer map and compass over a GPS because it causes one to understand all the nuances of the terrain between them and
their objective, something which can be easily overlooked with modern GPS's. Now days I do carry a GPS, but it's really only my backup.
Whenever I spend time out in the mountains it always amazes me how 'at risk' people and even entire families are when they come to these places so
unprepared for a seemingly "fun" vacation / outing. You can spot them from a long way off. All their new shiny gear, fresh from the REI store down
the mountain in town, and they think they're ready for anything. You can only try to help so many, and many of them even resent any attempt at
guidance. Nope, they "got this!" in all the best 'Bushcraft' bravado they can muster. It's scary sometimes, especially when I see folks with little
kids heading out like that. All it's going to take is just a tiny excursion off-trail, maybe to fetch a wayward kid, and a light dusting of snow
(which can and does happen any time of year) and they're hopelessly turned around. As the sun wanes, shadows change and temp start to drop, that
"fun" vacation can turn into a horror show in less than a couple hours.
The ones I get the biggest kick out of are the really uppity and defensive folks who emphatically defend their 'alpine' prowess by proudly producing a
compass (but no map). "Okey-dokey...suit yourself!" Oh, the stories I could tell are nearly endless. Always fun to send those folks off with the
"Okay well, not really too many bears out this year, so no worries there..." (and then over my shoulder as I walk off) "...but keep an eye out for the
cougars, lots of cubs out this year!" Look back a few hundred yards down the trail and they're stopped, dead in their tracks, scanning the trees!
I can remember a time when even I got pretty badly turned around once, and I knew what I was doing too. It's not a matter of "if", but rather "when"
you will get lost at some point in the wild. Sure, I wasn't turned around for long, but it was long enough to get my attention. There were no trails
where I was and yes it was dusk and snowing heavily. I was in heavy timber on a mountainside. Finding my way had two solutions, the 'easy' way and
the 'hard' way. The easy way was finding my original path, and the hard way was down the mountain to a river and back up the river into the valley
where camp was (several miles out of my way). And I doubted myself the entire way back (the short way). Lesson learned.
At any rate...nice link, OP! Those maps (some of them anyway) can actually be loaded into a GPS, which is really helpful.