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  • Weather alerts, cell service

    Good morning,
    I have been eyeing some fancy hiking watches that offer storm alerts. It got me thinking and wondering about what folks do to let them know about the weather prior to a hike. I know that things can change quickly on a Mountaintop. As Canadians, our cell phone plans are supposed to connect us to AT&T Towers when in the states. When we were staying at Marcy Dam, we had no cell phone service, and thus no updates as to changes in the weather. In fact, we have a tough time getting signal even in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake.

    Do most of you Americans get service when you're in the backcountry? We don't need to be checking Facebook or talking on the phone or anything, but checking the weather seems wise. Perhaps I am overly cautious but I also like to send an outline of my route and an expected return time off to a contact. Are you guys able to access the Weather, Service? Are there other tricks that you use?

    thanks!
    Josh

  • #2
    I get service on the summits so that's when I connect up and get the weather
    Leave No Trace! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXO1uY0MvmQ
    ThereAndBack http://www.hikesafe.com/

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    • #3
      Weather radios work just about everywhere. Sometimes you have to listen for a while to get the information you are looking for. Most GRMS radios (walkie talkies) have weather receivers built in, and they are very inexpensive.

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      • #4
        AT&T customer here. I get "perfect" coverage in and immediately around LP, but the Loj/Marcy Dam is a dead zone for me. Once I'm up around 3k feet or higher, cell service comes back again and I get it more or less everywhere from that point on. Some locations aren't as good as others but I don't recall ever being on or near a summit where I didn't have service.

        Two things that help with connectivity overall are keeping your iMessages turned off while in the back country if you're an iPhone user, and keeping your device on airplane mode with location services off unless you're actively using the device. When you take you device out of airplane mode it may immediately say "no service," but give it a couple of minutes. It should pick up a signal.

        I saw an Instagram add last night for a global hotspot kickerstarter. I can't recall the name of the device to save my life but it was a small "pod" specifically designed for mountaineering and other back country activities. It claimed to provide users with full texting and calling ability as well as a handful of other abilities. IIRC plans started at $15USD/mo. This probably isn't too helpful since I can't recall the company's name, but there's probably a lot more who offer similar services.
        My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mbowler View Post
          Weather radios work just about everywhere. Sometimes you have to listen for a while to get the information you are looking for. Most GRMS radios (walkie talkies) have weather receivers built in, and they are very inexpensive.
          Echoing this. They are cheap and simple, also:

          https://www.google.com/shopping/prod...T0MAL4Q8wIIyAM

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          • #6
            I figured I should add to this with a couple other strategies:
            - Learn to read the weather yourself. Generally what is important on a multi-day trip is what the weather is doing now and in the next few hours, which is usually pretty easy to read if you can see the sky. A barometric altimeter gives you a good indication of what is going on while you sleep.
            - For mountain trips from a remote base camp we have often obtained weather updates from an outside support person/crew via satellite phone (works anywhere on the planet), or two-way radio.

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