Experienced wilderness backpacker Nate Freund never imagined he would need to activate his Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) when he set out on his hiking trip in the San Bernardino Mountains. But it didn’t stop him from bringing it with him – a smart pre-planning decision that may have saved his life.
The 27 year old outdoorsman was hiking alone near Mount Baldy last week when he became disoriented after being exposed to snow and fog nearly 8,000 feet up in the mountain. He decided to activate his PLB. The device sends a distress signal via satellite that is received by rescue workers. The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center received his signal and forwarded the coordinates to the local sheriff who sent out crews. Freund was found after a five hour search the next day.
Personal Locator Beacons are being sold by several outdoor equipment and GPS companies. They are also starting to be available for rental. They are a definite good idea for anyone who may be hiking alone or want to have a secure rescue plan should danger strike unexpectedly.
For more on hiking safety, read “Hiking Safety and Precautions for the Winter”