That is a sad story, it is also sad if it is true that someone found the site and took his stuff without reporting it to someone. I have never thought about the Spot but now i'm rethinking that. The good thing is that even though I hunt alone my parents know where my general area will be but that doesn't help pin point my location.
On another side note even if you have no cell service if you continue to try 911 it will still usually hit a cell tower, you just will not have enough signal to make a call but the ping will help locte you. I'll have to ask the techs at work more but I do know that a cell phone without signal can help locate you still.
That's is sad indeed. His family will finally get closure.
I followed a thread on 14ers.com where people where searching for him in the Holy Cross area. There were witnesses that reported haven spoken with him and suspected he may not have been feeling well(altitude sickness). Nobody was sure if he had assured them that he was heading back down after a short break or not. Heres the thread if anyone is interested http://14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=27700
There could be other reason for the few pieces gear that are missing. When looking at the picture of his camp the first thing I notice is his boots. That's a big red flag. There are a lot of people that have never returned from trips into the forest/wilderness. If you stumble onto an abandoned camp like the one in the pic it needs to be reported.
So very sad. Even though I want to hunt as bad as the next guy I have decided that it is not worth the risk to go solo. Last years elk hunt got cut from 7 days down to 2 because my partner had to be home. Packing up and leaving when the elk are screaming is hard to do. When I think of my wife and two young boys it is always the right decision for me to be with a partner in the woods. Hiking a designated trail is a whole different animal than chasing elk all over a wilderness area.
My heart is sad for this mans family and how he must have felt in those last hours. Though I'm glad to read he was in the Lords hands!
I occasionally hunt alone and my wife got me a SPOT when they first came out...she makes sure it's in my gear. It makes her feel better and I feel better now that I've got to know it's capabilities- won't rely on it alone, still carry other safety gear but it's a nice option to have.
I don't hunt solo as much as I used to, but enjoy it occasionally. It is risky beyond a doubt.
Not sure if this is cool w/Rokslide or not. Of course delete if necessary. This system bypasses the 90$ yearly fee. I was researching the ResQLink device and found this. Go by myself 90% of the time and have been close to really screwing the pooch .....by being stupid and tired. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTUQOWhyYAs&feature=endscreen&NR=1
The ACR microfix is a pretty common option up this way and it is a PLB so no annual fee but you also can't send a "doing great" message to your wife with a PLB. Personally I just haul a sat phone and keep the various emergency numbers handy. After getting sick on a solo trip I have been much less enthusiastic about them. I will split up on a hunt and look over a different drainage but I am pretty much over the desire to wonder the back country alone for a week or more. IF I drew the right tag and couldn't find a partner then I would no doubt get after it alone again but I prefer not to.
Sad indeed. I'm judging a book by its cover but looking at his photo (judging him to be out of shape) and then hearing of his plans to solo summit a 14'er coming from Chicago makes me scratch my head.
Regardless, I do use a SPOT and it did save my bacon once. That said, I'm a little upset with SPOT at the moment. My device stopped working in Nov and after a couple of tries to replace batteries and then re-use, I called the customer service and the guy whom I barely could understand told me that since it was outside my warranty that I should just throw the SPOT 2 away and buy a new one, citing that it's too costly to repair them. Certainly not what I was hoping to hear.
In following the 14ers thread there had been several search parties(individual and SAR groups) looking for him. I think they even did aerial searches. Looking at the pic of his camp it looks like the tree cover is pretty minimal and his camp would have been seen from the air had they flown over it. The other thing is that the camp his stuff was found in looks to have been regularly used by others(not just a random spot in the woods). This all makes me think he was well outside of his intended route. These are all just my random thoughts with no evidence to back them up.
Heres a recent quote from his family on 14ers
"To all 14ers. I just received word this evening that the campsite of my son, James has been found. Search and Rescue is 100% sure it is his campsite from the description of the tent, backpack and clothing that was found. Few remains have been found of him. I don't know too many of the details and there will need to be DNA testing done for a positive ID. It is with a heavy heavy heart that I write this but at least there can be some closure in our lifes. God walk with all of you and keep you save in all your climbing trips.
James Nelson's mother."
Have you guys looked into renting a Sat phone? I believe that is what I am going to do this year, and it looks like it will be about $50 for a week. So that is another option if you don't want to pay the annual fee for the SPOT or DeLorme.