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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday, Sunday March 30th at Weir Canyon my friend crashed, was unconscious and bleeding. Luckily he was air evac'd and he will recover. Today he is doing well. But I only got the name of one of the MTBers, John, that helped us and one hiker that is also a mtn bkr named Gary and his family and even his dog :) Thank you guys SO much for assistance and staying with him once he was conscious and talking, so I could ride out and direct the emergency personnel to him. Thank you for giving him a coat and water and helping him to walk far enough out to get to the helicopter. I saw the helicopter land and I am pretty sure it would have been a delay to find us down further in the canyon and maybe they wouldn't even have been able to land that close.

I have had Wilderness First Aid training (much more in depth than regular FA classes) and I am positive I couldn't have done it without that training. I encourage everyone to take that course. Priceless. Hopefully I will never ever have to use it again!!

I do have questions though for those that have experienced this. We were not able to get cell signal in the canyon and two people went uphill in opposite directions to call 911 (successful, but time wasted to climb up the hill and left me alone with patient). We were SO close to houses too, so I really was surprised (stressed!!!) Regardless, they made it in time, but there was also a big delay in describing where we were located. One biker mentioned (and I was under a lot of stress, taking care of my friend so my memory may be wrong) that he tried to "sent a pin" or send a "ping" (???) to 911 and they said 911 can't accept texts or emails. I think he was trying to give a GPS location. I ride alone sometimes and considered getting the Spot or something similar, but I haven't done much research on it. Does anyone have that and would it have been effective to give them our location? I knew exactly where we were but due to the stress, I could NOT recall the street names, and again that is why I am SO thankful for everyone who helped with calling and communicating with 911 while I tried to get him to respond, etc.

Ultimately, he is expected to recover but it would really have been nice to see those firefighters a lot sooner. I don't know that I have ever been so happy and relieved to see a bunch of strangers in yellow coats before :) Thank you Anaheim Fire and Police and I did manage to get Officer Robert Lopez' name as he ran in the mile or so to help.
 

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Sorry to hear but glad it worked out for your friend.

Never, ever expect that you can rely on a cell phone, especially in the canyons. Transition towers generally can transmit though, around, or over smaller objects (think line of sight) but once you start into terrain, you rapidly loose connectivity. The "ping" you speak of is a setting within your phone that allows 911 to locate the phone if it is able to communicate with a cell tower. If you are in a bad area, you will not be able to transmit/receive that ping. Valleys are a very good example of a dead zone for cell reception. Even from carrier to carrier, the coverage will vary greatly.

There was the case of the mushroomed hikers that got lost in the Santa Ana mountains last year and found out that their trustworthy cell phones were of no use. More recently the solo rider who was caught unprepared in the rains and cold weather of a few weeks back. He did not survive the ordeal. Lots of information/discussion about some of the different types of locators. http://forums.mtbr.com/passion/mountain-biker-froze-death-sad-story-901998-2.html

The best thing you can do is exactly what you did. Get multiple people involved and keep communicating until the situation is resolved. Everyone needs to have a "just in case" plan. Most will never use it but you will be happy if you do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you bankerboy. I knew we couldn't rely on signal, but at the moment when I was there alone and SO close to houses....and my phone didn't work.....it did NOT feel good. Very scary.

Again, I am just really happy it was a SUPER busy trail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, that link is a lot of trash talking of the SAR. I didn't keep weeding through it to find useful info, but I will keep trying.

We were not unprepared, I had first aid and have Wilderness First Aid training, I had a tube, tools, water, food, etc and we were doing a 4.5 mile loop a few times, not a big deal. We were a MILE in and couldn't get signal or for 911 dispatch to locate us quickly. We gave them the trailhead cross streets and the trail name. It is just unfortunate that they cannot locate trail names (I googled it and the flag is almost exactly where we were). This was the official trail name too, not the Strava segment. I guess I am just trying to see what could have improved response time (exact GPS location....does a Garmin give you that? I only have an old running garmin and Strava). In the end, he will be ok and he was evac'd in under an hour, but it just SEEMED like forever.

For the record, the police and fire were outstanding. I just wanted to know if anyone has used any of the other rescue services like Spot.
 

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Start on or about pg 6 of that post. Sorry about that. I forgot the first bunch of pages were as you said.
 

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I think most GPS devices and GPS-equipped phones will display your actual coordinates, but you may have to dig into the menus to find it. I have an old Garmin Forerunner 305 and a Blackberry Bold, and I can find the GPS coordinates on both with a bit of effort. Might be a good idea to figure out how to find the coordinates on your own phone or device - ahead of time before you're in a stressful emergency situation.

As for Spot and similar devices, they should work regardless of location as long as you have a fairly clear view of the sky so they can connect to the satellites. I've been thinking about getting the DeLorme InReach - more expensive than the Spot but gives you 2-way communication so you can get confirmation that your message got through. They also seem to have more flexible subscription plans than Spot.
 

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FWIW, today I got my REI dividend and ordered a Resqlink. It is about twice the price of the SPOT, but there is no subscription fee. Also, it is monitored by the government SAR services, not private ones like SPOT. I've read some seriously negative things about SPOT, including poor customer service, questionable signal reception, and even more questionable responses. I'll do without being able to text friends and family (which SPOT can do), in favor of knowing that if I hit he button, the Army, Navy and Air Force will come for me.
 

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Such a shame it took so long but happy the rider is ok. We were riding down Deer in Santiago Oaks at the same time and the helicopter kept buzzing over us. It even left at one point and came back. We were thinking it was low on fuel. We did finally see it go over to Weir Cyn when we were atop Barham Ridge. It clearly found the rider as it left like a bat of hell and didn't come back.
 

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One of our riders rode to the flag when the copter was circling over us. He asked some fire dept guys what was going on. They said it was a downed cyclist but they didn't know where the rider was and didn't know your names making it difficult to call you out for them and other volunteers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Also, just as an update. I just happened to glance at my phone history and I called 911 at 9:42am and I was talking to another friend by 10:33am, so it was actually a lot less than an hour. It just does not seem like that when you have someone unconscious and bleeding.
 

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What do you mean by your rider rode to the flag, and that they didn't know our names.....????
Before descending Deer, one of our riders rode up to the flag where there was a fire truck and two firefighters standing. He rode up to find out how we could help as we were about to go down Deer. He said that the firefighters notified him about a downed cyclist but they didn't know the name of the rider or where he crashed at (thus the helicopter flying over different areas of Irvine Regional, Santiago Oaks, and Weir Canyon).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Oh, that is weird. We told them Weir Canyon and that we were on Weir Canyon trail and the cross streets that where we parked and were about a mile from..... It was the best sound ever when I heard them, but until the firefighters got there, they didn't come close to us.....
 

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I think most GPS devices and GPS-equipped phones will display your actual coordinates, but you may have to dig into the menus to find it.
Here's an example. I have an old Garmine Edge 305. Hit the "mode" button until you see the "settings" page. Select "Navigation". Select "Mark location" to display coordinates.

Glad your friend's OK. I often ride alone and things like this are always on my mind.
 
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