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#30380 - 03/16/13 10:19 PM Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1020
Loc: NorCal
I searched for this app and nothing came back on this forum. Maybe this app is new news. Thought the developer would have posted about it here already, I probably missed it somehow. It uses phone GPS and downloaded maps combined with Google Maps Interface. Looks like it might be a cool tool for the mountaineers route, but the main trail is so obvious. They're working on a full JMT version which would seem to be more useful.

Mt Whitney Guide Smartphone App

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#30381 - 03/16/13 10:31 PM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: SierraNevada]
NoUglyOneYet Offline


Registered: 02/09/13
Posts: 66
Loc: San Diego, California
Looks pretty neat! Now if they could just come up with a way for my smartphone's battery to last the whole hike... :)

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#30383 - 03/16/13 10:49 PM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: SierraNevada]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6831
Loc: Fresno, CA
This thread is the first I've seen it. It looks brand new.

Maybe the developer will join and discuss it.

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#30399 - 03/18/13 09:27 AM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: Steve C]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
How much is Doug charging for a map these days? This is a trail that has how many people on it daily...200+. If you can't figure out how to get to the top and back without a map...you are in deep bandini. Also, if your phone is utilizing the GPS, it will chew up battery life big time. My guess is if you are on the trail 16 hours, your phone will have discharged totally well before you ordering your cheeseburger and fries at the WPS.

I read an article recently that stated SAR teams are rescuing more and more people who are utilizing their phone or tablet's GPS to navigate the wilderness.

I don't see the utility of this product.

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#30403 - 03/18/13 11:14 AM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: wbtravis]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
Great: another reason for people to look at a little screen in front of them for hours instead of, oh, I dunno: looking up and using their brains to keep themselves out of trouble.

No thanks.
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#30408 - 03/18/13 05:44 PM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: MooseTracks]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1020
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: MooseTracks
Great: another reason for people to look at a little screen in front of them for hours instead of, oh, I dunno: looking up and using their brains to keep themselves out of trouble.

No thanks.

I hear ya Laura, but I recall you writing about an iPhone app GPS Pal or something like that. I'm thinking this app in the JMT version might be a good one this summer since I'll have my Android for an emergency anyway. I use a map and watch (compass & altimeter) 99.9% of the time, but GPS can still be a comforting reality check sometimes.

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#30410 - 03/18/13 07:19 PM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: SierraNevada]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
The app I used (and since discarded) was a backup for my GPS during training sessions, not something I relied upon for minute-by-minute, find my ass on a trail so I can find out how much further I have to go.

Again, this one looks like it's for people who want to be hand-fed.

Buy a map. Learn how to use it. Ask questions. Pick your head up and look away from the little screen.

And then call the dude that walked off the trail while texting a few years back.
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#30411 - 03/18/13 08:09 PM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: wbtravis]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1020
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
Also, if your phone is utilizing the GPS, it will chew up battery life big time. My guess is if you are on the trail 16 hours, your phone will have discharged totally well before you ordering your cheeseburger and fries at the WPS.

I don't see the utility of this product.

I don't see the utility of this app either for the Main Trail, unless you were in a whiteout. I can't imagine anyone staring at a screen during their climb, but just having it on the phone they are carrying anyway might give someone comfort. The JMT app may have some appeal to me as an interesting add to my Android. Wouldn't substitute it for a real map though.

Regarding battery life, here's a good gadget to know about.
A $30 (Amazon) 4 ounce Lithium-ion battery pack with USB output, can charge your phone about 3 times or your iPod several times. Looks like a good solution to keep the iPod going up all those JMT passes. I only turn on my phone maybe once a day if I have reception, or if I were to need the GPS.

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#30414 - 03/19/13 08:58 AM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: MooseTracks]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: MooseTracks
Buy a map. Learn how to use it. Ask questions. Pick your head up and look away from the little screen.


Now, now, now, Laura. That would be asking way too stinking much.

I take noobs out every winter, get them up the trail a bit and ask but one question. Show me where you are on your map? Some have a map and compass, some have a GPS but almost all can't find their rear end, let alone their position on a map.

Like taking Diamox without finding out if they have a problem with elevation and renting crampons and ice axe to go up the chute without skills, people want an easy way to the top.

Easy is great, I like easy, the course of least resistance and all that but when white out comes rolling in or my trekking poles start singing...it's nice knowing what to do without consulting my iPhone 5.

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#30424 - 03/20/13 07:21 AM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: wbtravis]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
Originally Posted By: wbtravis

Now, now, now, Laura. That would be asking way too stinking much.



Yup. I'm horribly demanding. wink

If there was anything I learned from my friend's fall last year on the MR, it was to really take a look at with whom you are going out to play. You may be "just" walking a trail, but would you trust that person with your life?

5P's and all that.

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#30425 - 03/20/13 08:25 AM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: MooseTracks]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: MooseTracks


Yup. I'm horribly demanding. wink

If there was anything I learned from my friend's fall last year on the MR, it was to really take a look at with whom you are going out to play. You may be "just" walking a trail, but would you trust that person with your life?

5P's and all that.



This is slightly off topic...so bear with me.

Over the next few months people will start figuring out they need to couple up to get into shape to walk the MMWT in under 18 hours. Many will flock to various and sundry meetup.com groups.

I take people via the meetup process and tell the noobs is you have to research the organizer to make sure that person's style meets yours. If you are new to the wilderness you do not need to be going out with 15 individuals masquerading as a group, if you are a total noob. You are out not only to get into shape but to learn.

There are plenty of organizers in the meetup universe I would not go the wine and cheese outing, let alone winter trip with 30 of his nearest and dearest many of whom can't self arrest friends up Baldy Bowl in the middle of winter or close to 40 up the Vivian Creek Trail to Mt. San Gorgonio during the three season. There is a term we use for the aforementioned, meetupf.....s.

I, too, have witnessed a climbing accident first hand and it has affected who I choose as partners, the size of groups I go out with and where I go on my own.

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#30429 - 03/20/13 10:07 AM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: wbtravis]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 926
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Bill, here is a quote to follow up that

In no other pursuit is the best or the worst in a man brought out as in mountaineering. An old friend of civilisation may be a useless companion on a mountain.
Frank Smythe, The Kanchenjunga Adventure, page 165

Sierra, I am not a gadget guy, but I did rent a sat phone a few times when up high. They have flexible solar recharger panels, about maybe 6 X8 inches, that you can strap on the top of your pack. Don't know the charge rate, esp if one has a high capacity lithium, but surely they must have those for all the other devices people "must have". As an aside, in the scout troop we confiscated devices kids brought. They knew the risk up front. Never got them back. Tough love.

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#30506 - 03/23/13 10:11 PM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: Harvey Lankford]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1020
Loc: NorCal
Harvey, I'm a fan of solar power, but I think the Lith-Ion pack makes better sense in terms of weight and reliability for most thru hikers or people wanting to recharge camera gear or Apple products. Seems like the expensive air charges for a sat phone would naturally limit the talk time, therefore the power consumption. To really utilize a solar charger, I think you'd have to talk a lot or leave it on standby waiting for a call. For someone like myself just listening to tunes climbing the big passes, a AA powered mp3 player is my choice. I rarely even turn on my Android, but I might use it a little more if I download that app and add waypoints for the best campsites, bear boxes, and other info.

I bet you scored some cool gadgets from those scouts. smile

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#30509 - 03/23/13 11:06 PM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: SierraNevada]
QITNL Offline


Registered: 03/03/11
Posts: 22
Loc: CA
Disclaimer: it's not a dedicated Whitney app (though you can download 3 maps for its trails), it's iPhone only & I'm not betting the bank on it... but a real handy app is Maplets, $3 from the Apple Store.

http://mobilemaplets.com/

It's a must-have as far as I'm concerned, really useful. You have to spend a little time downloading the maps - I have maybe 1000 in mine for the state of California. It covers USFS & NPS maps, state & county park maps, ski resort maps, public transportation & bike routes, street maps, etc. I don't leave home without it - I've got the map in my pocket if I pass by something I want to explore.

Topo Maps is also useful, $8, very simple.

http://topomapsapp.com/

Mountain Project has an interesting app. I haven't used it too much but it looks like I'd better getting downloading pronto. Apple and Android.

http://www.mountainproject.com/mobileApps

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#30520 - 03/24/13 12:14 PM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: Steve C]
Alice Bodnar Offline


Registered: 03/24/13
Posts: 6
Loc: California
Hello -- I am the developer of the Mt. Whitney Guide app for Android. It will be available for iPhone shortly.

My main business is developing apps for long distance trails, but I thought some people might enjoy an app for the Mt. Whitney Trail. I can understand the criticism that I read (I hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail last year, so I can relate to annoyance with "real world" gadgetry in the trail world). My idea with this app is that some people might find it helpful for these reasons:

(1) first timers who would like a pre-view before arriving (the app has photos and descriptions of over 40 waypoints along the trail),

(2) hikers who are nervous that they are not on the trail, particularly during parts of the year when the snow hasn't melted (depending on the year, this can be a significant issue, especially if you are not familiar with the trail), and

(3) hikers who simply want to see where they are on the trail while taking a break.

I hope that the app is useful and I would love any feedback. For the JMT hikers out there, we will release the JMT version in the coming months. We already have a line of apps for the PCT called "Guthook's Guides" for iPhone. They were introduced last year and very popular on the trail. A new version is coming out in the coming days and the Android version will be rolled out in the next month or two.

Happy hiking!
--Alice
P.S. just won a lottery spot for the Whitney Trail in June - so excited to get back out there!

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#30527 - 03/24/13 02:09 PM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: Alice Bodnar]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1020
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Alice Bodnar
I can understand the criticism that I read (I hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail last year, so I can relate to annoyance with "real world" gadgetry in the trail world).

I don't see why it would bother someone to watch someone else use any handheld device anywhere, as long as the sound is off. This is the 21st century after all. My perception is that phone etiquette has improved a lot in the last decade since they became ubiquitous. Loud ring tones at inappropriate venues and blabbing in public seems to have decreased significantly. From what I see, it's turned into a party foul akin to a loud fart, eliciting hostility from people happy to dole it out. Maybe I'm just hangin in a more mature crowd, but I've noticed a positive adaptation. Of course there will always be some morons who enjoy annoying others and the phone is just the easiest way. There's been plenty of banter on forums about loud mouths shouting into their phone on the top of Mt Whitney, but not so much lately. Not sure if people are getting used to it or if people are learning to be more respectful. Hopefully, it's the latter.

It may take more highly publicized Darwin award stories and other mishaps for people to get the message, but I'm hopeful people will learn to consider a GPS on a phone or a dedicated GPS to be a backup convenience, not a substitute for a map and the knowledge to use it. Any GPS course should start with map and compass skills and then tie in the GPS skills. I consider myself an expert at this with lots of off trail cross country hiking, engineering training and career experience, and professional licensing (all California Civil Engineers have to pass a surveying exam to get registered). Despite all that, if someone blindfolded me and dropped me onto a high mountain pass with peaks and valleys in all directions, it would take a lot of time to establish which pass I was on. Throw in snow and fog and it's damn near impossible. The point is, it's much easier to "stay found" than to find where you are. Learning to maintain situational awareness and paying attention is as important as technical skills. And if you've dropped the ball for whatever reason, a GPS will save a lot of time getting you moving in the right direction again, as long as the device didn't get soaked, dropped, lost, or ran out of batteries.

I almost forgot, nice job with the phone apps Alice, and congrats for completing the PCT! Enjoy your Whitney climb.

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#30534 - 03/24/13 05:09 PM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: Alice Bodnar]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 489
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Hi Alice,
Thanks for posting.
Your app does look interesting. I think it will most likely have the greatest appeal to the new hiker(s), unfamiliar with the trail. Of course this may be the largest demographic, so for you a good thing smile . I guess your pictures, and progress reports will give them comfort as they make their way up the trail. For those who have hiked it previously I doubt it will be used or needed (unless they make the hike in the winter and I guess this is a small number of people). They know that the main trail would be difficult to get lost on in summer, so except as a convenient mechanism to keep track of their progress I'm not sure it will be used. The more experienced hikers/mountaineers may spurn the use of these new fangled gadgets. Perhaps similar to the time when calculators were not allowed in school. You just got to do it by hand. Not saying that map reading and route finding skills are not good to have. Just not needed for the main trail of Mt. Whitney (in the summer).
Lots of other day hikes you could do. What other hikes are you considering?
Regards,
John

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#30544 - 03/24/13 09:33 PM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: John Sims]
Alice Bodnar Offline


Registered: 03/24/13
Posts: 6
Loc: California
Thanks for the comments SierraNevada and John. As far as what other day hike trails I'm considering working on, I don't have any current plans -- mainly I'm working on long trails. I'm all ears if you have suggestions.

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#30578 - 03/26/13 08:02 AM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: Alice Bodnar]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Alice,

This is kind of what I thought the app was. This is kind of a Whitney Portal Store map for the early 21st century. Good enough to let you know where you are but not for serious navigation, which is what I used my map for the first time up the trail 16 years ago.

What you learn quickly here, you don't need a just follow the herd. In 6 to 9 hours most in proper shape will be standing on the summit.

Good luck with your endeavor.

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#30739 - 04/03/13 07:46 AM Re: Mt Whitney Guide - Smartphone App [Re: Alice Bodnar]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 489
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Originally Posted By: Alice Bodnar
Thanks for the comments SierraNevada and John. As far as what other day hike trails I'm considering working on, I don't have any current plans -- mainly I'm working on long trails. I'm all ears if you have suggestions.


Hi Alice. In answer to your question about other hikes to consider for your application. I suggest checking out the "TTUSDHYMD Nominations Summary" link. It lists what several of the members feel are the best hikes in the USA.
I believe that GPS will continue to become ubiquitous, and that applications like yours will become much more commonplace. I'm not sure what the profile of your typical user is, or will be, but you should also consider more "routes" as time passes. I differentiate "routes" vs. "trails", as the routes are not as easily followed, and the opportunity for getting lost is higher. So you would do "trails" for the new/novice hiker, and "routes" for the more experienced hiker that might want the assistance with route finding. Much of the information you would need is already available. Many GPX routes to be found on the web, including pictures. Your application simply saves the user doing some of the research, and eliminates the need for them to download GPX routes, and load onto their mobile devices.
Regards,
John


Edited by Steve C (06/17/13 03:11 PM)

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