TRADITIONAL MOUNTAINEERING ™
FREE BASIC TO ADVANCED ALPINE MOUNTAIN CLIMBING INSTRUCTION
Home | Information | Photos | Calendar | News | Seminars | Experiences | Questions | Updates | Books | Conditions | Links | Search
Search this site!
TraditionalMountaineering is founded on the
premise that "He who knows naught, knows not that he knows naught", that hiking
the hills and summitting peaks have dangers that are hidden to the un-informed
and that these inherent risks can be in part identified and mitigated by
information, training, understanding of interesting gear and knowledge gained
through the experiences of others.
Many folks learned to navigate with map and compass as children from their parents or from the Scouts. There have been many changes in the last few years. The advent of the accurate $99.00 GPS receiver is just one innovation.
Navigation starts with knowing where you are in relation to somewhere else. Navigation starts with a map. It does little good to know which way is generally North, when you do not know what is North of you.
The USGS Quad (topographic) map series charts the Continental United States. There are more than 1,900 Quad maps covering Oregon at the detailed scale of 1:24,000. One quad map covers most of the summer hiking in the Three Sisters Wilderness: the South Sister Quadrangle.
You need to be able to communicate the location of points on the map other than by pointing to a spot. The easiest way to do this is by naming coordinates on a grid (say, the intersection of Highway 20 and 27th Street in Bend). One such grid is the Public Land Survey Grid providing metes and bounds to identify ownership of plots of land. However, this grid is not referenced by any GPS. Another is the Latitude and Longitude Grid used by Lewis and Clark, by sailors and by pilots.
The most useful grid in modern land navigation is the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) Grid. The UTM Grid is imprinted (or can be user completed with pencil and yardstick) on all USGS Quad (topo) Maps, enabling one to pinpoint and communicate easily (by cell phone), a location accurate to a few yards. Any GPS receiver will provide your location in UTM Coordinates, of little use if you do not have a map imprinted with the UTM Grid.
Maps are based on geographic North. Compass needles point to Magnetic North. The modern handheld baseplate compass has an adjustable declination feature that does away with mental calculations to correct the Magnetic compass bearing to a True bearing for use on maps. The Suunto M3D Leader Compass has this feature.
The magnetic declination in Bend is now 15 degrees, growing smaller by one degree every few years. One degree off in a mile is 90 feet. If you do not take the difference between Magnetic North and True North into consideration, you could be off one quarter of a mile for each mile you walk. Walk 10 miles without adjusting and you would be 2.5 miles off. Do not even give your old compass to your children.
The modern clear plastic base plate compass also acts as a protractor on the map.
You need to be able to find or draw bearings on the map from one place to another. Read our eleven page handout on using map, compass and GPS together. Take a class! .
GPS receivers sold after the year 2002, can simultaneously receive and process up to 12 satellite signals. They are accurate to 4.3 meters. They are often spot on. They can provide “distance to go” to a waypoint in feet for the last tenth of a mile, distance traveled and much, much more.
I use the Garmin eTrex Venture HC that shows topo maps in color and good details. You need not buy a more costly GPS with electronic compass and altimeter. All of the Garmin eTrex models are equally accurate regardless of price.
Map, Compass and GPS should be programmed to work together. Start with a USGS Quad (topo) map of your area of interest. If necessary, add the UTM Grid in pencil using the blue tick marks. Next, adjust the Suunto M3D Baseplate Compass to correct the magnetic declination and read in True not Magnetic bearings. Then, change the “set-up” of your GPS to provide True bearings and UTM coordinates using the Datum of your map, NAD 27 for our USGS Quad (topo) maps. If you do not match the GPS Datum to the Map, you may be off up to a couple of hundred yards.
--Robert Speik, Instructor. Call 541-385-0445 or email email@example.com
Copyright© 2002-2015 by Robert Speik. All Rights Reserved.
Read more . . .
Backcountry Navigation FAQ
SPOT Satellite Messenger "PLB" reviewed and recommended
Why is the GSM digital cell phone best for backcountry and mountaineering?
FREE Clinic on Real Survival Strategies and Staying Found with Map, Compass and GPS together
What do you carry in your winter day and summit pack?
Why are "Snow Caves" dangerous?
Why are "Space Blankets" dangerous?
Why are "Emergency Kits" dangerous?
How can you avoid Hypothermia?
What is a PLB?
How accurate is the inexpensive hand-held GPS today?
What are some good Central Oregon Geocaches?
What is the Public Land Survey Grid? pdf
What is the UTM Grid? six pdf pages
Which GPS do you like?
Which Compass do you like?
How do you use your map, compass and GPS together, in a nut shell?
How can I learn to use my map, compass and GPS?
Do you have map, compass and GPS seminar notes? six pdf pages
Lost and found
Lessons learned from the latest lost Mt. Hood climbers
HB2509 mandates electronic locator beacons on Mt. Hood - climbers' views
Oregon HB 2509 as approved on March 28, 2007
Three hikers and a dog rescued on Mt. Hood
Motorist stuck in snow on backcountry Road 18, phones 911 for rescue
Snow stranded Utah couple leave car and die from hypothermia
What really happened to the three climbers on Mt. Hood?
Two climbers become lost descending Mt. Hood
Missing California family found, dad dies from exposure and hypothermia
Missing man survives two weeks trapped in snow-covered car
Missing snowmobile riders found, Roger Rouse dies from hypothermia
Lost snowmobile riders found, one deceased from hypothermia
Longacre Expeditions teen group rescued from the snowdrifts above Todd Lake
Lost climber hikes 6.5 miles from South Sister Trail to Elk Lake
Hiking couple lost three nights in San Jacinto Wilderness find abandoned gear
Expert skier lost five days in North Cascades without Essentials, map and compass
Climber disappears on the steep snow slopes of Mount McLaughlin
Hiker lost five days in freezing weather on Mount Hood
Professor and son elude search and rescue volunteers
Found person becomes lost and eludes rescuers for five days
Teens, lost on South Sister, use cell phone with Search and Rescue
Lost man walks 27 miles to the highway from Elk Lake Oregon
Snowboarder Found After Week in Wilderness
Searchers rescue hiker at Smith Rock, find lost climbers on North Sister
Girl found in Lane County after becoming lost on hiking trip
Search and rescue finds young girls lost from family group
Portland athlete lost on Mt. Hood
Rescues after the recent snows
Novice couple lost in the woods
Search called off for missing climber Corwin Osborn
Broken Top remains confirmed as missing climber
OSU hike on Ollalie Trail: Lost, no map, compass GPS or Ten Essential Systems
Map, Compass and GPS
Map, compass and GPS navigation training Noodle in The Badlands
BLM guidelines for Geocaching on public lands
Geocaching on Federal Forest Lands
OpEd - Geocaching should not be banned in the Badlands
Winter hiking in The Badlands WSA just east of Bend
Searching for the perfect gift
Geocaching: What's the cache?
Geocaching into the Canyon of the Deschutes
Can you catch the geocache?
Z21 covers Geocaching
Tour The Badlands with ONDA
The art of not getting lost
Geocaching: the thrill of the hunt!
GPS in the news
A GPS and other outdoor gadgets make prized gifts
Wanna play? Maps show you the way
Cooking the "navigation noodle"