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Advantages of a GPS in extreme mountain conditions

The use of a high-performance GPS has a greater impact when it comes to using it in extreme high mountain conditions.

Pre-planning your route

Planning a hike in the high mountains is not something to be taken lightly. Walking through certain mountainous passages has a great reward for the sight and the sensations that one experiences, but it also entails risks that a good preparation must mitigate.

First of all there is the advance planning. It is important to recognize the terrain well and anticipate problems that may arise. In this sense, tools such as Land allow you to visualize, analyze and, above all, mark not only the route you want to travel, but also the alternatives to take if the main route cannot be carried out. In the mountains, not everything is predictable: from landslides to small accidents, they can force you to make detours or change the itinerary. Plan B must be very present and taken into account before leaving.

GPS, your ideal adventure companion

Once on the road, the inseparable companion of the adventure will be the GPS. If the route is well laid out, it will be the tool that will set the pace for us to follow and will guide us along the planned path. A good mountain GPS must have a battery capacity close to 16 hours, not only to allow us to cross several days, but so that it does not fail us if something gets complicated and we need much more time to reach our destination. Especially if we guide a group with little experience, the pace may not be as expected; if at a low pace we are added one day by a sudden change in weather, fog or any other inclement weather usual in the mountains, a 5-hour excursion may end up requiring more than 10 hours … and it will not be precisely on that excursion in the one you want your GPS to run out of battery. Therefore, to the high mountains, with the batteries well charged!

Santiago Twose and TwoNav Cross GPS

Another of the very relevant aspects in demanding excursions is to have a cartography from a source of recognized prestige that allows us to see and understand where we are walking. Having the track of the planned route, the cartography does not seem important, and it is little, until we find ourselves in the need to modify our plans for any reason. Whether due to a change in weather or an incident in someone in the group, having to look for a source of water or shelter, the journey that does not require adjusting the route at some point of the day is rare. And that is when a good base cartography allows us to redraw a route safely based on what we see and not based on what we intuit there may be. Leaving a familiar route can be tricky depending on which area, but doing so without knowing what other terrain you are taking the group on can be considered reckless. Therefore, another of the safety keys in the high mountains is to have a GPS with the best cartography in the area. In this regard, if the GPS device also has a generous screen size and the possibility of a 3D vision, these changes of route will be adjusted more comfortably and will allow us to explain it well to the whole group.

“How much is left?” It is the question that always comes up, especially with children or less experienced people. In the mountain you cannot deceive the group or worse, not have this clear information, because a calculation error can make nightfall when there are still a few kilometers to reach the refuge or the intended destination. And that can be synonymous with accidents, despair and, in general, group problems. The data of times, distances, pending ascents, … are very relevant data that do not have to be detailed. It is not the same two kilometers spent on the edge of the sea, than having to climb 2,000 meters with a tired group, loaded with their backpacks, perhaps cold and eager to arrive. The data are very different in the mountains, and you have to know well what distance and ascent each member of the team can do and assess the breaks appropriately. At the end of the day, it’s about enjoying, not just getting there.

Finally, and for all these points to be carried out, the GPS device must be robust, shockproof, impact-resistant, or water-proof. And it is that in the mountain tripping over a stone and everything flying off is the least that can happen to you. For this reason, devices prepared for impacts, with rubber edges and with screens protected with Gorilla Glass or similar are highly recommended. We have all caught rain at one time or another, so a device with IP67 protection is the minimum so as not to risk running out of your device precisely in the middle of a storm.

As we all know, equipping yourself for the high mountains is not equipping yourself according to the forecast you will make, but equipping yourself in case we find conditions much worse than those anticipated. And it is precisely for these harshest conditions that high mountain GPS devices are designed, to be the companion to guide you through the most difficult moments.


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