We are living in an amazing age. Technology continues to evolve at an astounding rate, and our methods of communications, even from remote places, has turned the planet into one giant global neighborhood. The ability to share our adventures, even while in the field, has changed our perception of exploration, as we are now able to stay in constant contact with explorers that are pushing the boundaries of what we thought was possible. Now days, it seems strange when an expedition sets off without having some form of communications back to the world, which is what makes a blog like this one possible.
Yesterday, Explorers Web posted a story written by Seth Wolpin, a climber who recently summited Everest. In the article, Seth discusses the various communications tools that are now available to mountaineers on their expedition and gives some great information on what he used during his climb.
As we all know, Everest received a major upgrade this year with the inclusion of 3G cell service that, when working, actually reached all the way to the summit. The cell tower for the service was built in Gorak Shep, and powered by solar panels, and when early season clouds covered the region, the tower wasn’t functional for much of the time. Thankfully, good old semi-reliable satellite phone service still operated when necessary.
Seth’s article is both practical and functional as he lays out the tools that he used on his expedition. He discusses options for both voice and data, and applies it to use in cell phones, sat phones, laptops, and more. He shares tips on pre-paid services, texting, sending e-mail, and setting up a data connection on a computer. If you’re a tech oriented person, a lot of this will likely seem like old hat, but if you’re not as technologically adept, you’ll probably learn quite a bit, and much of this can be applied to your next adventure in the field as well.
In the future, I suspect data connections will continue to get faster and more reliable, and we’ll probably see those connections become the primary method of communications from Everest Base Camp and beyond. Who would have thought even a few year ago that a device like the SPOT Connect would allow us to use our smartphones to send texts and other data from just about anywhere on the planet. Expedition communications gear is really evolving quickly, and it is changing the nature of extreme adventures along with it.
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