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Anybody else get to see this yesterday??
> > Hikers Tote Navigational
> > Phones;
> > Rescuers Pine for Simpler
> > Days
> > By ROSS KERBER
> > Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
> > For a hiking trip in New Hampshire's White
> > Mountains, Ari Pinski brought along the hottest
> > gear in trekking: a cellular phone and a
> > space-age navigation aid that takes its bearings
> > by satellite. Forest rangers wish he had brought
> > a map instead.
> > Mr. Pinski repeatedly checked in with rangers
> > on the cell phone to ask directions as he and a
> > friend climbed Mount Tripyramid. The satellite
> > global-positioning system, or GPS, worked just
> > fine, telling Mr. Pinski his latitude and
> > longitude. But that didn't stop the pair from
> > missing a turn in the woods. A satellite can't tell
> > you which path to take.
> > Lost Despite Everything
> > Although there was no emergency, "we finally
> > sent a crew because of frustration," says Lt.
> > David Hewitt of the state's Fish and Game
> > Department; he dispatched two volunteers to
> > guide the hikers down the mountain in a
> > pouring rain. Armed with the sophisticated
> > reckoning system, "I guess I didn't want to
> > admit that we were lost," says Mr. Pinski, a
> > 26-year-old electrical technician and self-styled
> > "gadget person" from Wynnewood, Pa.
> > Use of portable communications equipment is
> > booming on mountainsides and back-country
> > trails, as the gear gets lighter and cheaper.
> > Rangers say they started seeing a significant
> > number of GPS devices for the first time this
> > year, as the price of basic versions weighing
> > about 10 ounces dropped to around $200.
> > But as the wild fills up with wavelengths,
> > rescuers complain of unexpected side effects:
> > more nuisance calls and false alarms from
> > tenderfoots tenderfeet is second in the
> > dictionary toting the new devices. The problem
> > is especially bad in New Hampshire's White
> > Mountains, where cell-phone service is better --
> > and the peaks less fearsome -- than in
> > more-remote places out West.
> > "People take these jobbies up, but they have no
> > idea where they are," says Lt. Eric Stohl, a
> > New Hampshire Fish and Game officer who
> > patrols 6,288-foot Mount Washington, the
> > highest peak in the Northeast.
> > In one case last spring, says Lt. Stohl, a pair of
> > "very demanding" women in their 50s fretted
> > by cell phone that they couldn't make it a
> > mile-and-a-half to the end of a trail before
> > darkness was due to fall in four hours. They
> > asked to be carried down or have flashlights
> > brought to them. Lt. Stohl declined. Two hours
> > later, they were showering at the main lodge.
> > Calling Up the Guard
> > In response to annoyance calls, a form of
> > Yankee call-blocking is catching on: the
> > Randolph (N.H.) Mountain Club now prohibits
> > cell phones at its cabins on nearby Mount
> > Adams. Over the state line in Maine, Baxter
> > State Park also banned them after an incident in
> > which tired hikers tried to muster an Army
> > National Guard helicopter to fetch them from
> > the summit of Mount Katahdin.
> > Some nature lovers say cell-heads spoil the
> > wilderness experience. "You hear them say
> > things like, 'Honey, you wouldn't believe how
> > silent it is up here!' " says Jed Williamson, an
> > outdoors guide and past president of the
> > American Alpine Club. "It's as bad as if they
> > were standing there taking a leak in front of
> > everybody. They should just go behind a rock."
> > More worrisome, rescuers say, are techie
> > trekkers who take on too much trail. Last
> > January, Rick Mandia, of Cambridge, Mass.,
> > got a case of the shivers while camping
> > overnight near the summit of Mount Flume. He
> > and a companion couldn't light their portable
> > stove, and she was unable to warm him.
> > At 5:36 a.m., she phoned to ask emergency
> > dispatchers for advice. They passed her number
> > to Lt. Stohl, who, after 30 minutes of trying to
> > get through, finally reached the woman. He
> > agreed to send a rescue party and says he
> > suggested swaddling Mr. Mandia in a space
> > blanket, one of those silver-foil wraps often
> > seen on runners after marathons. She did, and it
> > worked.
> > Electronic Crutch
> > Maj. Ron Alie, the department's chief of law
> > enforcement, says the campers weren't familiar
> > enough with their own gear and counted too
> > much on the phone to see them through
> > trouble. "They crossed the line as to what they
> > could handle," he says.
> > Mr. Mandia, 28, disputes that and says he and
> > his friend brought the phone as an afterthought.
> > Hearing that help was on the way "helped my
> > morale a lot," he says. "You get to a point
> > where you're shivering uncontrollably and you
> > start to feel you might not get back." Bitten by
> > criticism, he says, he didn't pursue a proffered
> > cell-phone endorsement deal.
> > Other distress calls from hikers are more trivial.
> > Larry Nickey, the head of emergency services
> > in Olympic National Park, in Washington state,
> > says he was floored by the request for a
> > helicopter rescue he got from a hiker in July.
> > The man was a day behind schedule and
> > worried about missing a business meeting.
> > "I explained that helicopters aren't allowed
> > unless it's a real emergency," says Mr. Nickey,
> > who didn't get the man's name. Then the caller
> > offered to pay. When Mr. Nickey told him it
> > might cost him $1,500, the helicopter talk
> > stopped.
> > Expecting Quick Service
> > "People are just too programmed, with all the
> > cop shows on TV" and expect an immediate
> > response, says Holly Weber, an instructor at a
> > wilderness medical school in Conway, N.H.
> > Ms. Weber says that several times this past
> > summer, volunteers from the school hiked
> > hours to reach sprain victims cell-phoning for
> > help. "The attitude when we got to them" she
> > says, "was, 'What took you so long? I want a
> > helicopter here now.' "
> > For those who neglect to carry a compass and
> > map, cell phones aren't of much use when
> > batteries fail. In August, hiker Michael Rego, of
> > Hooksett, N.H., spent a night on Mount
> > Cushman after he lost power on his GPS unit
> > and his cell phone. The mapless Mr. Rego
> > walked out unharmed the next day after his cell
> > phone revived just long enough for him to reach
> > authorities for guidance. Mr. Rego declined to
> > comment, citing local newspaper accounts that
> > poked fun at him.
> > Even hikers whose motto is "Be Prepared"
> > sometimes dial for deliverance. Lt. Rick Estes
> > of the New Hampshire Fish and Game
> > Department says that in June, he got a call from
> > a Boy Scout troop seeking a rescue party. The
> > scoutmaster had hurt his wrist. After making
> > sure the scouts had a first-aid kit, Lt. Estes
> > says, he declined to send help: "When they said
> > he could walk, I suggested that unless he was
> > planning to walk out on his hands, we wouldn't
> > come for them."
I thought it would interest some ;)