August 29, 2010

New Patrol at Mount Greylock

The newest patrol in Western Massachusetts was officially recognized a few weeks ago. The Thunderbolt Ski Patrol will cover the Thunderbolt and other trails on Mt. Greylock and provide emergency care at the annual Thunderbolt Race on Mt. Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts. The Greylock trails are not served by ski lifts.

David Childs is the Patrol Representative. The patrol currently has 21 patrollers and three candidates.

For more information, visit the Western Massachusetts Region website and visit the patrol's website.


August 24, 2010

Technology causes Problems in the Backcountry

Visitors to the back country continue to create hazards to themselves and to rescuers by reliance on technology. The inappropriate use and abuse of cellphones, GPS units, and SPOT satellite messengers have led hikers into danger and caused unnecessary, expensive rescues.

A recent article in the New York Times discusses these issues through interviews with workers in our national parks. Some of the best quotes:

“Because of having that electronic device, people have an expectation that they can do something stupid and be rescued.”

“Every once in a while we get a call from someone who has gone to the top of a peak, the weather has turned and they are confused about how to get down and they want someone to personally escort them. … the answer is that you are up there for the night.”

“We have seen people who have solely relied on GPS technology but were not using common sense or maps and compasses, and it leads them astray."

Read Leslie Kaufman's article online.

Jim Whittaker wrote a related article three years ago.

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