Getting out of the Woods...- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Getting out of the Woods...

    So I sit here with a broken rib and fractured wrist from a crash coming down Trace Ridge alone the other day. I was ripping along pretty fast, but in control, when I clipped a sapling on my left and went flying. I knew instantly whilst flying through the air that it wasn't going to end well.

    Luckily (with a lot of pain) I was able to push my bike down the rest of the way and get out but obviously it could have been much worse. There were a lot of people out that day and I am sure I would have been found eventually if not able to move myself but I am often riding alone and remote out there so need to get smarter and fix this.

    So, what do you all do for worst case scenario out there when alone? I have Sprint cell service which is spotty out there. Is Verizon the only choice for cell service? Does anyone carry a Rescue locator (i.e. Inreach, etc.) If so, what system do you use and would you recommend?

    Thanks for your help

  2. #2
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    That sux...glad you got out. I'm not getting any younger (58) and as we get older we have fewer buddies to ride with. As a result, I've been riding alone more the last couple of years. As with anything, the more you do it the more likely sh*t can happen...I just went OTB on a night ride a month ago and separated my shoulder. For solo rides I make sure to tell someone where I'm going and let them know when I get back to truck.
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  3. #3
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    I have Verizon, and my reception is super spotty just about everywhere on the forest that's not up high.

    When I am alone, first of all, I dial way back on the "let er rip" spectrum. I also choose the trail(s) I ride in such a way that it limits the encouragement to push it too hard. I also make sure that at least my wife knows where I'll be and how long I intend to be out.

    I'm personally not a big fan of the locators that require subscription services for the most part. Garmin's Inreach is frankly too big, IMO. Even the SPOT with its better size just isn't great if you REALLY have to count on it. Far too many stories of problems because the device didn't work right.

    I prefer a legit personal locator beacon. Haven't bought one yet, but probably will. Some offer some messaging capabilities. I'm not sure I'll go that far, but you can't beat a real PLB for getting rescue assistance when you need it and can at least push a button.

    https://www.rei.com/c/personal-locat...beacons&page=1

    Another thing to keep in mind is that with most phones, you can compose and "send" a text message and the phone will send it as soon as it gets the tiniest reception. Even if it's not enough for data or for an actual call. A text message doesn't take much.

  4. #4
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    When soloing in the backcountry always tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Never deviate from that plan. If you plan to ride Trace don’t go do Laurel Mtn without telling someone. That should be the golden rule of going solo.

    Ride a bit more cautious when solo. I always ride at 50% on the downhills and sketchy bits when solo. Gives me a good reason to push harder on the climbs haha. That won’t prevent accidents but it helps.

    Always carry a few “emergency” supplies... lighter/matches, emergency blanket, water filter, food, first-aid/pain pills, whistle, etc. If you get hurt and can’t walk out you’ll need supplies to stay put until help arrives.

    Learn some basic first aid and survival strategies. Making fire, stopping blood flow on a bad cut, making a splint, making shelter, staying put when lost/hurt... Everyone should know the basics.

    If you feel like you need one of those emergency beacons go for it.

    The best thing though is to ride with people. It’s safer and way more fun!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    When soloing in the backcountry always tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Never deviate from that plan. If you plan to ride Trace don’t go do Laurel Mtn without telling someone. That should be the golden rule of going solo.

    Ride a bit more cautious when solo. I always ride at 50% on the downhills and sketchy bits when solo. Gives me a good reason to push harder on the climbs haha. That won’t prevent accidents but it helps.

    Always carry a few “emergency” supplies... lighter/matches, emergency blanket, water filter, food, first-aid/pain pills, whistle, etc. If you get hurt and can’t walk out you’ll need supplies to stay put until help arrives.

    Learn some basic first aid and survival strategies. Making fire, stopping blood flow on a bad cut, making a splint, making shelter, staying put when lost/hurt... Everyone should know the basics.

    If you feel like you need one of those emergency beacons go for it.

    The best thing though is to ride with people. It’s safer and way more fun!
    Thanks and I do let my wife know where I am going.

    As far as holding back I really try to be mindful of that and put it to practice. I probably was going about 60% of normal speed and well in control. Really just didn't even register the damn sapling that clipped my bars. One of those weird things that probably couldn't be avoided, I don't know.

    I often pack pretty light when doing a quick after work ride, in this case: up wash/spencer gap then down trace as I am limited for time. Definitely could have used an ace wrap and some advil.

    As for riding with others, I moved here less than a year ago, work full time and have 2 kids so that has not been easy to do. Believe me I am all for meeting friends and riding with others but that is pretty difficult to do so I am primarily solo out there if I want to enjoy our trails, especially during the week.

    I appreciate your recommendations for sure.

    @ Harold:
    That ACR tracker seems like a good idea to have. Even if family knows where you are, they may not take any action for hours and one could be bleeding out in the woods and need more immediate help. That thing could save the day. looking into it thank you.

  6. #6
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    I'll hold the "don't go full send" comments because like you're describing, I too have detonated and broken myself (collar bone last June) riding very conservatively. Shoot I was even on a very easy trail in dupont. Sh!t happens no matter if you're 10% or 110% on the send-o-meter.

    My way to handle this is just making sure my wife knows two things at all times.
    -My riding buddies and has their numbers
    -What loop I am riding

    If I don't make it home, I am banking on her calling a local riding buddy and between them, coming to find me. I always carry my phone, FA kit (with pain killers and an ace bandage, amongst other thing). I recently starting carrying the ace bandage....it's bulky but worth it for me. Lots of ways to use that one.

    I also always carry a backup light. It's a small pen light but given today's tech, you can find bright lights that weigh nothing and stash away small.

    Sorry to hear this man. Good luck on a recovery and hope you can shred again soon! Is there any way to describe where on the trail you were? I know it pretty well. Was it a freak sapling clip or is this a repeat offender sapling?

  7. #7
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    I have had both a SPOT and InReach.

    I like the SPOT because it works out of cell range and is smaller profile, but that's about it. It's easier to carry, but it's hard to gauge how well it would work if you ever had to hit SOS and you can't send 2 way messages. It's cheaper, also.

    I prefer the InReach, though. I don't feel like it's too big to carry, although it is pretty large, I'm able to fit it into a hip pack without too much trouble. I also like that it has 2 way messaging and uses Iridium, which is a pretty well established satellite phone network with coverage almost everywhere in the world. I can also experiment a little easier with how well it works in the woods by sending messages back and forth to my wife, which has also been helpful in non-emergency circumstances. We came up on a stranded car this past summer and I was able to message my wife to call the ranger station for help with specific instructions. It's also nice if you have an emergency, you can tell them what is going on and more specifics on where you are.

    All that said, coverage isn't gonna be as much of an issue as a clear line of sight to the sky will be. I've found that sending messages can be inconsistent with both if you have any tree cover or it's cloudy. If you are truly incapacitated trailside, it doesn't help much if you have to move around to get a signal. That said, if you have someone else stick it on themselves and ride/walk for help, the message(s) will get there eventually. Just don't expect instant messages to go out wherever you are from either.

    It's also worth noting that PLBs and satellite messengers are very different. The PLB is a single purpose device that sends out a stronger signal along with multiple signals, both satellite and traditional radio frequencies. They also aren't subscription based. The satellite messengers are multiuse but not as good for JUST emergencies.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lithified View Post
    I'll hold the "don't go full send" comments because like you're describing, I too have detonated and broken myself (collar bone last June) riding very conservatively. Shoot I was even on a very easy trail in dupont. Sh!t happens no matter if you're 10% or 110% on the send-o-meter.

    My way to handle this is just making sure my wife knows two things at all times.
    -My riding buddies and has their numbers
    -What loop I am riding

    If I don't make it home, I am banking on her calling a local riding buddy and between them, coming to find me. I always carry my phone, FA kit (with pain killers and an ace bandage, amongst other thing). I recently starting carrying the ace bandage....it's bulky but worth it for me. Lots of ways to use that one.

    I also always carry a backup light. It's a small pen light but given today's tech, you can find bright lights that weigh nothing and stash away small.

    Sorry to hear this man. Good luck on a recovery and hope you can shred again soon! Is there any way to describe where on the trail you were? I know it pretty well. Was it a freak sapling clip or is this a repeat offender sapling?
    Thanks for the condolences man, it really sucks being on the shelf especially at the beginning of some good weather.

    So the spot was maybe half way down where the "new" line goes up on a left bank/shelf and avoids the old washout to the right. While drifting back down off of that bank is where I clipped the sapling. Spun my bars and went superman down the trail into some rocky chunk. The whole spot is pretty straight, not real steep and not at all technical.

    You know the story: it happened quick, I was on the ground rolling in pain, going WTF just happened?

  9. #9
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    I travel and ride alone a lot. My favourite 17 hour drive is to Brevard and your exquisite riding and hospitality. I follow all the suggestions above except that my wife is not familiar with the area so I text her my route and call her on return. My "buddies" that she is to call are the gang at the Hub, hopefully they will direct someone to the correct area. At 60, I don't ride as recklessly as I used to but still enjoy tech, and the consequences are in the back of my mind.

    But I was thinking....Last year I lost my phone (IPhone) a golf course, in the woods (no comments please!) and with "Find my phone" I was able to use satellite to zero right in on it. I guess if my wife or a buddie had my info they'd be able to do the same if I was prostrate in the woods with my phone on my body! She'd still have to find me (if she wanted) but at least she could send coordinates. I think I'll set her up!
    Isn't there other apps like 'find my friends'? which kinda scares me but she knows I spend too much time at the breweries anyway!

  10. #10
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    On top of the normal first aid stuff most people carry and the items that banjo listed I always carry Wound Seal, which is very small light and easy to use. If you haven't used it, it's a chemical cauterizer that is really good at stopping heavy bleeding. There have been a few times where I've eaten it and been bleeding heavy with large gashes and the wound seal stopped bleeding over an area that I didn't have enough bandage to cover. Now if you have to use it, it HURTS like @$#&!!!!! Because you're cauterizing an open wound and can lead you to scar a bit worse, but better than bleeding out in the middle of the woods. Everytime I've used it I have had flashbacks of Predator screaming in the jungle when he puts the powder on his injury after Arnold lays into him. Pretty spot on how it feels lol

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pryde1 View Post
    Thanks for the condolences man, it really sucks being on the shelf especially at the beginning of some good weather.

    So the spot was maybe half way down where the "new" line goes up on a left bank/shelf and avoids the old washout to the right. While drifting back down off of that bank is where I clipped the sapling. Spun my bars and went superman down the trail into some rocky chunk. The whole spot is pretty straight, not real steep and not at all technical.

    You know the story: it happened quick, I was on the ground rolling in pain, going WTF just happened?
    I know exactly where you are talking about. That spot is on our list of places to check out on the trail for some maintenance this year. And ya dude I know that story all too well. You're instantly like "no way that didn't just happen...where is my rewind button. Can I rewind about 30 seconds?"

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lithified View Post
    I know exactly where you are talking about. That spot is on our list of places to check out on the trail for some maintenance this year. And ya dude I know that story all too well. You're instantly like "no way that didn't just happen...where is my rewind button. Can I rewind about 30 seconds?"
    It is one of those sh!t happens things really. I have been through there many many times without issue and then all the sudden there is a sapling appearing out of thin air to take me out

    The good news is that I am an occupational therapist and can rehab my wrist when it's time. As for the rib, just gotta tough it out until it heals.

    At any rate I appreciate the great input from everyone. It is a good discussion to have and may make the difference for one of us some day out there.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lithified View Post
    I'll hold the "don't go full send" comments because like you're describing, I too have detonated and broken myself (collar bone last June) riding very conservatively. Shoot I was even on a very easy trail in dupont. Sh!t happens no matter if you're 10% or 110% on the send-o-meter.

    This is true, but speed and aggressiveness definitely contribute to potential injury severity. There's always the chance of the freak incident that puts you in the hospital from eating it in the parking lot or on a sidewalk, and momentary lapses of judgement that cause problems.

    Dropping speed and riding more conservatively simply reduce risk, not eliminate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Can2pir View Post
    But I was thinking....Last year I lost my phone (IPhone) a golf course, in the woods (no comments please!) and with "Find my phone" I was able to use satellite to zero right in on it. I guess if my wife or a buddie had my info they'd be able to do the same if I was prostrate in the woods with my phone on my body! She'd still have to find me (if she wanted) but at least she could send coordinates. I think I'll set her up!
    Isn't there other apps like 'find my friends'? which kinda scares me but she knows I spend too much time at the breweries anyway!
    There are other apps that do similar things. But DO NOT count on something like this working in Pisgah. I don't care what cell phone you have, you won't get 100% signal reliability out there. It's super spotty. SPOT and InReach can do this with a subscription, but they're also not 100% reliable. More reliable than phone alone, however.

    The ICEdot system is a really cool concept that's worth discussing in this thread. The only problem (especially in Pisgah) with it is its reliance on using a cell phone to get out emergency messages. All the stuff we've been talking about so far assumes that you're actually able to push a button to get a SOS out. ICEdot works to fill a gap here by getting out a message when you cannot.

    ICEdot | ICEdot Crash Sensor

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    This is true, but speed and aggressiveness definitely contribute to potential injury severity. There's always the chance of the freak incident that puts you in the hospital from eating it in the parking lot or on a sidewalk, and momentary lapses of judgement that cause problems.

    Dropping speed and riding more conservatively simply reduce risk, not eliminate it.



    There are other apps that do similar things. But DO NOT count on something like this working in Pisgah. I don't care what cell phone you have, you won't get 100% signal reliability out there. It's super spotty. SPOT and InReach can do this with a subscription, but they're also not 100% reliable. More reliable than phone alone, however.

    The ICEdot system is a really cool concept that's worth discussing in this thread. The only problem (especially in Pisgah) with it is its reliance on using a cell phone to get out emergency messages. All the stuff we've been talking about so far assumes that you're actually able to push a button to get a SOS out. ICEdot works to fill a gap here by getting out a message when you cannot.

    ICEdot | ICEdot Crash Sensor
    My phone works on satellite for location when I'm out cell service...but yes I agree I always carry a paper map and compass

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by wytemike21 View Post
    My phone works on satellite for location when I'm out cell service...but yes I agree I always carry a paper map and compass

    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
    Where did that comment come from? The discussion is about sending emergency messages.

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    I think wyte's comment refers to my reference use of Find My Phone, it and ...Friends app use satellite to locate the phone not cell service so it could be quite useful if you've set up a 'searcher'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Can2pir View Post
    I think wyte's comment refers to my reference use of Find My Phone, it and ...Friends app use satellite to locate the phone not cell service so it could be quite useful if you've set up a 'searcher'.
    Hmmm, hang on. I am admittedly iPhone turbo-ignorant. But I understand that yes, apple and androids will tag your GPS position even in airplane mode. This is how I can run phone based Strava in airplane mode. Ok that is out of the way.

    The problem is that no way does Apple's find my phone feature work in an area devoid of cell signal - right? Or am I missing something. You eat it on Squirrel gap somewhere, yeah YOU know where you are because your GPS is running....but someone trying to ping your phone has no idea where you are. A phone with no cell signal can't talk out to the world...lol....

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Can2pir View Post
    I think wyte's comment refers to my reference use of Find My Phone, it and ...Friends app use satellite to locate the phone not cell service so it could be quite useful if you've set up a 'searcher'.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lithified View Post
    Hmmm, hang on. I am admittedly iPhone turbo-ignorant. But I understand that yes, apple and androids will tag your GPS position even in airplane mode. This is how I can run phone based Strava in airplane mode. Ok that is out of the way.

    The problem is that no way does Apple's find my phone feature work in an area devoid of cell signal - right? Or am I missing something. You eat it on Squirrel gap somewhere, yeah YOU know where you are because your GPS is running....but someone trying to ping your phone has no idea where you are. A phone with no cell signal can't talk out to the world...lol....
    yeah, exactly my point. Just because your phone tells YOU where you are, doesn't mean it can necessarily tell anyone else. Requires 2 entirely different communications networks with totally different constraints on their functionality. No matter what, sending ANYTHING requires cell tower connectivity. While you've got a better chance of getting out a text message than a phone call, something like "find my phone" requires a data connection, which is a whole other ballgame and if you rely on that sort of system out in Pisgah, you're gonna be SOL.

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    Good point guys. Too good to be true, I guess. Time to send out the hounds!!!

    Anyway, good post OP, always a good reminder. Get better!

  20. #20
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    IF the app on the phone uses SMS to send the coords to something, they CAN work where there's no *data* service as plain old SMS is a different network service than the data service, and in fact can get out sometimes when voice calls can't. I'm not aware of any service doing that but it's technically feasible.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bear View Post
    IF the app on the phone uses SMS to send the coords to something, they CAN work where there's no *data* service as plain old SMS is a different network service than the data service, and in fact can get out sometimes when voice calls can't. I'm not aware of any service doing that but it's technically feasible.
    Sure, that method is more practical, but that's not what Find My Phone does.

    There ARE apps that do this.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/d....gps2sms&hl=en

    It looks like the ICEdot app sends out notifications via SMS, also (I did not see this information on the ICEdot website earlier).

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...a.icedot&hl=en

  22. #22
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    If you are worried about being lost/injured and communicating your best bet for something that doesn't require a subscription is a registered ACR PLB. I have a floating one for my boat that I carry on me if riding solo in areas that aren't heavily traveled. It's about the size of an old Nokia phone.

    Its hard to get truly lost in most places you're riding in WNC.
    Last edited by Acme54321; 03-01-2018 at 01:33 PM.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acme54321 View Post
    Its hard to get truly lost in most places you're riding in WNC.
    It is surprisingly easy to get yourself lost when you aren't thinking straight. Can happen in a very small area. I've seen it happen. Hell, had it happen to me.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    It is surprisingly easy to get yourself lost when you aren't thinking straight. Can happen in a very small area. I've seen it happen. Hell, had it happen to me.
    Pisgah proper can be "out there" but not really. I admittedly have a great sense of direction, but still, with some common sense you can always get out unless you cross the parkway or something. Maybe not where you intended to but you'll get out.

    Now some other areas up there that aren't as heavily used yeah, you could get pretty lost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Acme54321 View Post
    Pisgah proper can be "out there" but not really. I admittedly have a great sense of direction, but still, with some common sense you can always get out unless you cross the parkway or something. Maybe not where you intended to but you'll get out.

    Now some other areas up there that aren't as heavily used yeah, you could get pretty lost.
    You are missing my point entirely.

    Poor sense of direction, injury, lack of sleep, major mental stress, lots of thing can result in someone losing eprspective. Even with a great sense of direction. Someone can get lost on a few acres if they are sufficiently messed up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Acme54321 View Post
    If you are worried about being lost/injured and communicating your best bet for something that doesn't require a subscription is a registered ACR PLB. I have a floating one for my boat that I carry on me if riding solo in areas that aren't heavily traveled. It's about the size of an old Nokia phone.

    Its hard to get truly lost in most places you're riding in WNC.
    Nope never said anything about getting lost, just getting out if you really get physically [email protected] up while out there riding solo. Agreed that PLB looks like a good option if things are really dire.

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