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  1. #26
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    Our team gets call outs from all types of devices. A LOT of call outs.

    For the legit rescues ....

    An 'oh f*ck' SOS message gives coordinates and nothing more. What's the nature? Accidental activation? What are we getting in to? Every call for help is different, and situations usually change from initial activation to the time we get there.

    Our response to calls in general can range from 'info only - monitor the situation' to sending foot teams, to 'midnight deployment of the Blackhawk - longline hoist someone NOW' - and literally everything in between. Getting the appropriate info to rescuers gets the appropriate response. It also helps rescuers bring with them what they need (meds, pain management, specific splints, high angle gear, etc) - much preferred over going in blind.

    When it's an overdue report and the subject has an inReach, we can log in and see where they are, and if the unit is moving .. which can address the situation where someone is hurt and unable to activate SOS, and can also prevent us from deploying unnecessarily when someone forgets to send their daily 'I'm ok' message.

    Job1 is rescuer safety, and knowing all we can up front is key.

    Where we work .. usually no cell signal, VHF and 800 bands suck. Sat message comms are great. Back and forth with the subject/operations. Sometimes rescuers' only workable comms with Ops are their inReachs. Truth.

    Operations can log-in to accounts and see live-time location of the subject and responding rescuers when there are no other working comms. It's very cool.

    To my knowledge, none of our members carry anything other than an inReach. Personally or professionally.

    As a user, I like my inReach a lot. Share my routes. Wife can log in and stalk me. I can lob a text with updates or pickup requests. I can map my tracks for later viewing. Sync's with my phone if I want (for easier messaging, mapping, etc). Weather updates. Great battery life. I can pause my subscription or change access plans as needed.

    The only real down side is unit cost and the subscription - which is significant, but based on all the above .. totally worth it.

    but that's just my .02

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiddleOfNight View Post
    The only real down side is unit cost and the subscription - which is significant, but based on all the above .. totally worth it.
    It's quite significant if you want COST v BENEFIT

    Cheapest plan with the cheapest InReach is going to cost $1400+ over 7 years ($400 + $144/yr). It gives you tracking and 2way comms.

    ACR ResQLink GPS PLB is going to cost you $230 over 7 years. It's smaller, lighter, more reliable, and no subscription to remember to turn on/off. It also has a radio homing signal for localization if the GPS is skewed.

    Just replaced a McMurdo Fastfind 210 PLB (operated quickly and successfully in an emergency) with an ACR ResQLink GPS PLB. I have a Spot Connect that has been sitting idle for years because it costs $165+/yr to have activated. I don't carry my amateur HT either, although I should in-leui of the GMRS.

    If the In-Reach wasn't so pricey, I'd buy and subscribe. Being able to describe the need in a rescue is a huge plus. If I did more multidays out of service, the ancillary benefits would be larger: "have to hike out early pick me up at X Y coord at Z time".

    But $230 for PLB means a lot more people can afford it... and most people can do a lot more for their safety with 4oz of weight and $1200. $1200 will buy you a WFR, Avalanche 1, Avalanche 2, Wilderness Survival, and an Orienteering course at Colorado Mountain College if one has the time over those 7 years. It's just like the people wondering if they should buy an airbag first and get mentored by their buddies or spend money on an avalanche class first.

    tldr; First spend money on training and gear you need to avoid requiring rescue, then buy as much sat-beacon as you can afford: get the InReach if you can, if not get a PLB
    Last edited by Summit; 11-24-2017 at 02:15 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summit View Post
    It's quite significant if you want COST v BENEFIT

    Cheapest plan with the cheapest InReach is going to cost $1400+ over 7 years ($400 + $144/yr). It gives you tracking and 2way comms.
    200/year for a heavy outdoor user ain't much.
    given that a PLB is an all or nothing rescue button, the odds of an unnecessary SAR call out are higher.
    if you are billed for that call out, you'll blow through that $1400 instantly.
    if you are not billed, someone else fronts that money/time. It's not all about you. The benefit in your COST V BENEFIT "calculation" is self centered. Fuck that. When you're talking abut rescue devices, you need to consider the rescuers, too.

    As an example of un-necessary rescue- you roll your ankle in a scree field. You're not in danger, you have food/water/shelter but swelling/pain/slow walking speed adds 2 days/bivouacs to a long walk out. Is your SO going to call SAR when you are 24 hours late? Do you hit the PLB preemptively because you know they'll get called anyway and might as well give a location and wait?

    A very similar scenario just happened :
    The two climbers were just 150 feet from the summit, uninjured, a little cold from their night out (they did have an emergency bivy sack and warm coats), and were on route. So why the rescue we asked?

    When pressed with this question, they said they were climbing too slow based on their planned return time. They knew they would be unable to contact their safety contact (the person at home who would call for a rescue if overdue) by 6:30 a.m. the next day the time they had told their contact to activate a rescue if overdue. Because they knew a rescue was inevitable at this point, they determined they would save Search and Rescue (SAR) the problem of locating them by deploying their beacons so we would know exactly where they were.
    As mentioned in the article, the rescued party could have managed it better, and they did switch to inreach pretty quickly when they got home, but the point still stands. One button "come rescue me" functionality without the ability to communicate/verify/explain increases the odds of unnecessary "rescues". It shifts more of the burden/risk from you to those coming to get you. Being able to send a message saying "I'm in a bit of pain and uncomfortable, but I'll get myself out" allows you to take more responsibility for your decisions and actions.


    Quote Originally Posted by MiddleOfNight View Post
    Our team gets call outs from all types of devices. A LOT of call outs.

    When it's an overdue report and the subject has an inReach, we can log in and see where they are, and if the unit is moving .. which can address the situation where someone is hurt and unable to activate SOS,
    ...
    As a user, I like my inReach a lot. Share my routes. Wife can log in and stalk me.
    this is an under-appreciated aspect. Before I had an inreach tracking subscription, I would send occasional checkins manually (older spot) device. When I got home, it surprised me how often the location co-ordinates were inaccurate. Sometimes just a little bit, sometimes way off. For whatever reason - terrain/vegetation/satellite signal reflecting fuckery/who knows what, a single point reading is not definitive. A couple of those readings would have sent SAR into the wrong canyon. With tracking turned on, it provides a much more accurate picture of where you are. It is obvious when there is a reading that is anomalous. Even with the inreach, looking over a day's tracking can show 1 or 2 points that are obviously wrong, based on the rest of my days track and the speed at which I can move. But if a rescuer has only one point to go on, and it happens to be wrong and there is no 2-way communication to verify, good luck.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summit View Post
    It's quite significant if you want COST v BENEFIT

    Cheapest plan with the cheapest InReach is going to cost $1400+ over 7 years ($400 + $144/yr) ]
    Who calculates cost over a 7 yr period? jesus.

    And as a comparison of communication devices, A cell phone costs upwards of 100/m and 600 for the device...... a stat phone is closer to 1200 for the device and 70/month (with 10 min talk time) and upwards of 6$/min after that.. so is 20/m for text really that bad?
    "Its not the arrow, its the Indian" - M.Pinto

  5. #30
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    Obviously we can come up with rescue scenarios and cost analysis to justify our choice or preference. All devices have advantages and disadvantages, but taken as a whole I chose InReach, since it had the most advantages for my needs. I have never had a shit hit the fan moment in all my adventures, but have had a few trips were I got back way later then planned. InReach is the best choice for these situations, and yet is pretty damn good for hit the fan problems as well. Sure it is more expensive but way less then I spend on other gear, so it is easy to justify. The ability to communicate for me is key, and it wins hands down in that sector. I don't send a lot of messages, but all have gone through, so I am comfortable it will work when needed.

    I agree it is a constitutional right for Americans to be assholes...its just too bad that so many take the opportunity...
    iscariot

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by TG View Post
    200/year for a heavy outdoor user ain't much.
    given that a PLB is an all or nothing rescue button, the odds of an unnecessary SAR call out are higher.
    if you are billed for that call out, you'll blow through that $1400 instantly.
    if you are not billed, someone else fronts that money/time. It's not all about you. The benefit in your COST V BENEFIT "calculation" is self centered. Fuck that. When you're talking abut rescue devices, you need to consider the rescuers, too.
    Did you read my post?

    The cost vs benefit was aimed at preventing the need for rescue through being prepared instead of carrying a better gadget for calling for help!

    What is better use of money?
    A. In Reach
    B. PLB + Wilderness First Responder + Wilderness Survival class + smart med/repair/survival kit?

    As an example of un-necessary rescue- you roll your ankle in a scree field. You're not in danger, you have food/water/shelter but swelling/pain/slow walking speed adds 2 days/bivouacs to a long walk out. Is your SO going to call SAR when you are 24 hours late? Do you hit the PLB preemptively because you know they'll get called anyway and might as well give a location and wait?
    Required 2 overnights due to injury from a rolled ankle huh? Unnecessary rescue? I guess I go out on mostly unnecessary rescues.

    Sure you put in that nice little caveat about otherwise fully equipped. Well, 95%+ of the time people aren't prepared. Maybe they should take a wilderness survival class?

    You know what? If you want to spend 2 extra days hiking out 15 miles on a severe ankle through rough terrain while schlepping your backpacking pack, cool. But I'm not chewing you out if you call a rescue.
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmcrawfo View Post
    Who calculates cost over a 7 yr period? jesus.
    People who have budgets and think smart?

    Dentists can buy the In Reach and not think twice.

    Plenty of outdoorsy types have to analyze prioritize their spending...
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summit View Post
    People who have budgets and think smart?

    Dentists can buy the In Reach and not think twice.

    Plenty of outdoorsy types have to analyze prioritize their spending...
    fair, I still question the "benefit" weight that you give to this product in your cost benefit analysis... but hey, subjective analytics are always tricky. maybe more of a benefit to me, than to others.


    I didn't see the value in a comms gadget (PLB/Spot/Satphone) until I had kids.... I was always content with preparedness, planning and filing a route plan / expected return with someone... so when I decided to add a gadget to the mix, the value of two way communication was very high.

    different strokes for diff'rent folks.
    "Its not the arrow, its the Indian" - M.Pinto

  9. #34
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    I considered a Spot because I was familiar with them via a friend. I was shocked at how expensive the service is, plus it had some serious gaps in coverage that overlapped with some of my destinations (example: Southern Africa). Id be paying a ton of money for a paperweight.

    I ended up with a Resqlink PLB because it seemed like a good value, its small light and tough, the battery was not big a concern, and it seemed fairly idiot proof. I also prioritize rescue over communication. I always carry a local cellphone which is fine for my communication needs despite the obvious limitations.

    The In Reach seemed far far superior to the Spot. If I needed communication or tracking, this would be the obvious buy. I see absolutely no reason to buy a Spot. I might still carry a dedicated PLB though.

    Perhaps one of the professionals can clarify, but I was also under the impression a PLB is more of a direct path to help; signal->governing body ->SAR, where as the spot and Delorme are private service->figure out who to contact locally->request SAR. If the PLB is somehow counterintuitively a less efficient way to request help, Id love to hear it.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasGortex View Post
    Perhaps one of the professionals can clarify, but I was also under the impression a PLB is more of a direct path to help; signal->governing body ->SAR, where as the spot and Delorme are private service->figure out who to contact locally->request SAR.
    PLB:
    Name:  New_C-S_System_Overview.jpg
Views: 370
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    In the US the AFRCC is calling the local dispatch at the same time they are calling the contact numbers from the beacon registration ("This is CAPT So-and-So did you activate your beacon? Did your loved one? What were they headed off to do? Trail? Drainage? Gear? Medical history?"), calls are usually within mere minutes of activation. AFRCC will monitor beacon for updated coordinates and relay them (eg the SARSAT may pick up the signal within seconds localizing within a few kilometers but might not receive the GPS coordinates for a few minutes localizing within a hundred meters).

    These are professionals. The rescue centers that receive PLB signals are the same ones who get the beacon signals for a downed airliners or sinking ship.

    I was able to ask AFRCC for coordinates when the wife activated our PLB.

    ---

    I've seen SPOT take an hour (although that was a while ago). There isn't a reason I can think of why it needs to take longer for SPOT or InReach. I don't know if the slowdown is technical (how long it takes to get the signal to the SPOT or InReach rescue center) vs operational: how long it takes the rescue center to decide and act to contact the appropriate local rescue authorities.
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  11. #36
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    That sounds exactly like what Id like to happen if I hit the Oh Shit button.

  12. #37
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    I do not know how long the delay is with InReach, perhaps it is similar to a PLB... perhaps similar to SPOT? I dunno what would cause a delay (routing priority for a text message? sat locations vs transmit power?)

    Surely there are some satcomm nerds here who can expound on this...
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  13. #38
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    I don't know either but good way to waste some time. Google tells me Inreach uses Iridium satellite network...low earth orbiting satellite array. I would assume in mountainous areas you might have to wait a little while for satellite to move above you???

    "What differentiates the inReach from the functionality of a PLB and of a combination smartphone/PLB?

    The inReach and a PLB can both be used to signal for help in an emergency, using worldwide satellite coverage. The inReach relies on the Iridium network; a PLB, on the Cospas-Sarsat networ, using a very specific (406Mhz) frequency to broadcast messages."

    Here is the Wiki for Iridium.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irid..._constellation

    "As of mid-2016, Iridium has experienced in-orbit failures which cannot be corrected with in-orbit spare satellites, thus only 64 of the 66 satellites required for seamless global coverage are in operation. Therefore, service interruptions can be observed, especially around the equatorial region where the satellite footprints are most spread out and there is least overlap.[10]"


    Cospas-Sarsat wiki.


    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inte...rsat_Programme

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summit View Post
    tldr; First spend money on training and gear you need to avoid requiring rescue, then buy as much sat-beacon as you can afford: get the InReach if you can, if not get a PLB
    This. Absolutely nothing as important as being prepared.

    It seems like the more dialed and prepared and experienced people are, the more seriously bad things are when they're calling for help .. which leads me to my next point.

    Quote Originally Posted by TexasGortex View Post
    I was also under the impression a PLB is more of a direct path to help ... If the PLB is somehow counterintuitively a less efficient way to request help, Id love to hear it.
    It's efficient and intuitive to ping, sure.

    In my experience, a PLB activation will trigger some kind of response. Maybe a foot team walking in though.
    To justify (or get approved for) the true 'panic-button fly the helicopter NOW' missions, we need a confirmed need for the resource .. more than just a ping to a call center.

    When the call center notifies us, they literally just say 'we got an SOS activation at xx.xxxx, - yyy.yyyyy, the account holder is so and so, and here is their emergency contact info. Call us later with a disposition, bye.' which is just so little information it's painful. Whether it's an accidental or ... a .. 'non-emergent' activation, or a holy crap send the calvary type SOS .. they all ping the same.

    This very scenario happened with us this summer. get a PLB SOS, we started casually getting foot teams together for a morning walk. Second person notified via inReach and hit us with the details, and the bird flew right away night mission. they guy didn't die. Dramatic, but you see my point. Different activations get different responses.

    The reality is that people activate these things for the entire spectrum of emergencies. It's helpful for us (and for the subject) to be able to triage them.

    As an idea, if you know where you're going out .. save the number of the local SAR dispatch center into your inReach, then you can message directly to them - trust me that's fastest. Otherwise message friends and tell them to call for help is still pretty fast. Then you can message directly with the SAR IC or Ops and there is no 'telephone game' .. I've seen it work really well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Summit View Post
    I do not know how long the delay is with InReach, perhaps it is similar to a PLB... perhaps similar to SPOT?
    Longest I've seen is maybe 15 minutes. That's being in a steep chute up high, with high rock walls on both sides. Makes sense to me, had to wait for a satellite to go over. In this case the inReach was still the only thing that worked. No radio, no cell, no nothing else. Was no big deal.

    The cost of the unit did offend me. I saved up for it. and the cost of a subscription does suck. I don't take away from those points, at all. But for me, it was worth giving up some other things to have this 1 thing.

  15. #40
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    Dec 2004
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    Simi Valley, CA
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    Just got my SPOT service charge increase for 2018...$215 with tax. Give me a break, $150 was steep for their bare-bones service.

    Cancelled, time to get an InReach.
    Last edited by 1000-oaks; 02-10-2018 at 12:48 AM.

  16. #41
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    NEW MATH

    InReach Mini is going to cost $1234 over 6 years ($350 + $144/yr + $20 activation). It gives you tracking, weather, GPS waypoint synching and navigation, GPS phone app, and 2way comms via BT link to phone. 3.5oz

    InReach SE is going to cost $1284 over 6 years ($400 + $144/yr + $20 activation). It gives you tracking, weather, full GPS with maps, and in-device 2way comms. 7.5oz

    Spot X is going to cost $1134 over 6 years ($250 + $144/yr + $20 activation). It gives you tracking, weather, programmable waypoints, and 2way comms via built-in keyboard. 7oz

    ACR ResQLink or McMurdo Fasfind 220 GPS PLB is going to cost you $250 over 6 years. No subscription to remember to turn on/off. It also has a radio homing signal for localization. Only one message capable: SOS! 4.6oz

    --

    My updated thoughts:

    The new Spot X is a surefire standalone 2 way device and the lowest cost and the subscription is slightly more generous (free checkins and twice the messages for the same price, but messages are 40 characters each instead of 160 on the InReach, cheaper overages) even though the wizbang is slightly less (clunkier nav ability) and the Globalstar sat network has less coverage (particularly in northern AK and in NZ). Battery life is extremely good even if tracking is on. This device makes Spot a real competitor again!

    The new InReach Mini is an amazing device at 4oz! Obviously, the BT link and requiring an operational phone is a potential failure point for custom messaging, but it has a virtual keyboard as a backup (imagine using up/down buttons to scroll through the alphabet for each character of the message).

    ACR will release the SARLink soon. Color touchscreen. enables Iridium 2-way messaging and 406Mhz PLB capability including two separate batteries for redundancy. This means that even if you didn't pay up on your messaging subscription, the SOS PLB side will still work. Downside is that it is 12.6oz which is more than a PLB + a Spot X or InReach Mini! No pricing yet. Can they get it into a lighter package?

    I'm probably going to get a Mini.
    Last edited by Summit; 07-02-2018 at 12:37 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  17. #42
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    We have a ResQLink. I havent needed the two-way messaging yet, and the lack of subscription fees makes it so I actually use it, which I never really did with my SPOT I always felt like I wasnt doing anything hardcore enough to justify the subscription fee. Having it makes me feel safer, and I definitely worry less when Im out of town knowing that my wife has it.
    "Alpine rock and steep, deep powder are what I seek, and I will always find solace there." - Bean Bowers

    photos

  18. #43
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    Nov 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summit View Post
    NEW MATH* * *
    That's incomplete without calculating inReach Freedom Plan activated only for the months you need it.

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeezerSteve View Post
    That's incomplete without calculating inReach Freedom Plan activated only for the months you need it.
    I did continuous service and showed my work. We play outside of cell service every month. We don't want to find out what happens if you need the device and forgot to turn on service.

    Do you own math if it doesn't match your usage. There's 50 ways from Sunday to calculate it.
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  20. #45
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    Anyone reading this interested in a more or less free 2nd gen Spot?
    https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/...39#post5381939
    And I guess that I just don't know

  21. #46
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    My Mini arrived just in time for my PNW ski trip this past week.
    Although the oz differential vs my old DeLorme-era SE is kind of trivial, the Mini is absurdly small, even compared to ... well, compared to pretty much anything. Almost more like the size of a couple gel packets. A great option if you're just, say, going trail running almost naked, and want to put your emergency device in a small pocket of your tights or shorts.

    And if you have a compatible Garmin watch, the integration is pretty slick: I can send any of my three Preset Message with only a few button presses on my Garmin Fenix 5X!
    (Or an SOS.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Meadow Skipper View Post
    Anyone reading this interested in a more or less free 2nd gen Spot?
    https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/...39#post5381939
    Ditto -- I gave my ski partner my old SE, so his Spot 2.0 is available now, although the annual fee now gives the device a negative value whether new or used.
    (No activiation time remaining though, since his subscription was about to renew in several days.)
    For those stuck in the Northeast, check out the NE Rando Race Series and my avalanche course. (For other avalanche course providers anywhere, feel free to use any of my "homework" assignments for your own courses too.)

  22. #47
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    Yeah, the Mini is tiny. I could live with the shorter battery life cuz I don't track. But I can't justify paying $350 to drop 200g.

  23. #48
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    I am strong considering a mini. I would use it mostly for paragliding where the tracking is pretty important. Keep me updated with any more reviews.

  24. #49
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    Wasatch
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    My ACR was good piece of mind and the spot fees were kind of crazy. $60 a yr and I have the oh shit button. Works for me
    I need to go to Utah.
    Utah?
    Yeah, Utah. It's wedged in between Wyoming and Nevada. You've seen pictures of it, right?

    So after 15 years we finally made it to Utah.....


    Thanks BCSAR and POWMOW Ski Patrol for rescues

    8, 17, 13, 18, 16, 18, 20, 19, 16

    2018/2019 (24/32)

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan S. View Post
    And if you have a compatible Garmin watch, the integration is pretty slick: I can send any of my three Preset Message with only a few button presses on my Garmin Fenix 5X!
    Tell me about those watches... what makes them useful enough to drop $500 or $800 on one?
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

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