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Will Your Cell Phone Save You In The Wilderness?

Updated on December 17, 2012

Do you count on your cell phone to save you in the event of an emergency? Many people like to know that their cell phone is there in case of an emergency, but is it actually putting you in more danger?

Every year millions of hikers, backpackers and climbers head into the back country all across the world. Most of them carefully plan their trip. They plan details ahead, such as where they are going, how long they will be gone, what provisions they need to bring and what kind of weather to expect. They then tell a responsible party where they are going to be and for how long so that person can notify authorities if they don't return in time.


Cell phone companies are always working to improve cell phone coverage and reception. As a result you can get a cell phone signal in more and more areas of back country than ever before. This can be a literal lifesaver in the event of an emergency such as a broken bone. But does this actually provide a false sense of security?

Mt. Rainier in Washington State is known as a beautiful mountain that can be deadly when the conditions aren't right. Most of the climbers that summit Mt. Rainier each year have thoroughly planned and executed their trip up the mountain. Yet every year park rangers are forced to rescue hikers that thought they could climb the mountain with little or no preparation or fore thought. Once the climb became more difficult than they realized they used their cell phones to call in rescue. Thousands of dollars worth of rescue effort that didn't need to be used had the person not gotten themselves into a situation that they couldn't handle.

Cell phones can be an excellent tool for summoning help in the event of a car accident, injury or other emergency. But don't make the mistake of getting yourself into a dangerous situation just because you have that phone available to call for help. Prepare first, and use the phone as a last resort.

While you're outside check out some of my other ideas about what to do:

Trolling with Lead Core Line

Geocaching with a Smartphone


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