PDA

View Full Version : cell coverage?


jeremyjoslin
10-14-2008, 08:59 AM
I'm planning on trying to cover as much ground as possible in 6 days come the second week of November.

My initial plans are to do about 48 miles (Piseco to Route 28/30 near Blue Mt.), but I'm wondering if I should plan more (maybe going to Rt. 28N near Long Lake) instead.

We are experienced hikers and will have full loads.

My thoughts are to plan for the longer hike, and have the shorter hike as a bail-out option. If we decide to bail, I'm wondering if AT&T coverage is available to call for pickup.

Any thoughts on coverage there, as well as overall game plan? (Never done NPT but have done 26 high peaks and several other "50 mile" hikes out West.

colden46
10-14-2008, 09:46 AM
What area are you looking for coverage? I believe cell coverage is available in the vicinity of where the trail crosses 28/30 near Lake Durant. From there south to Piseco I would plan on zero coverage whatsoever.

As for your plans, I did the N-P that time of year, a few years back. Be prepared for anything, including significant snowfall. Between the time you leave Piseco and the time you emerge at Cedar River Flow, you will be completely on your own. I didn't see anyone during those three days, and the last person to sign in at West Lake was a couple weeks before, as I recall.

On the other hand, the stretch from McCane's to Lake Durant was quite busy with hunters, so don't expect to get a lean-to.

Buster Bear
10-14-2008, 09:49 AM
There was cell coverage at the Piseco trailhead (town garage) last year.

redhawk
10-14-2008, 04:25 PM
There was cell coverage at the Piseco trailhead (town garage) last year.

That's a crap shoot. It's at the very edge of the cell sevice from Speculator so I wouldn't count on it. Figure on no coverage from Benson to Long Lake with the exception of some areas around Blue Mountain.

Oddly enough I had no coverage along Long lake except at Plumleys, but not right at the lean-to. had to walk about 20 feet NW to the shore and had four bars.

There is coverage at the Averyvile trailhead.

Hawk

DSettahr
10-14-2008, 05:07 PM
The only cell company to even consider in the Adirondacks is Verizon. None of the other companies come even close to providing their level of coverage in the area.

You can get cell coverage (Verizon) between Piseco and Fall Stream, thanks to the new tower on Oak Mountain. You won't be able to get it anywhere else in the West Canada Lakes, unless you hike 3-4 miles South from Cedar Lakes to the Sled Harbor/Pillsbury Mountain trailhead. Cell coverage is available at the height of land 1.5 miles north of the trailhead.

adktyler
10-14-2008, 05:21 PM
The only cell company to even consider in the Adirondacks is Verizon. None of the other companies come even close to providing their level of coverage in the area.

You can get cell coverage (Verizon) between Piseco and Fall Stream, thanks to the new tower on Oak Mountain. You won't be able to get it anywhere else in the West Canada Lakes, unless you hike 3-4 miles South from Cedar Lakes to the Sled Harbor/Pillsbury Mountain trailhead. Cell coverage is available at the height of land 1.5 miles north of the trailhead.

I completely agree. Though sometimes Sprint almost comes close, because they operate on the same frequency as emergency personnel. But overall, Verizon blows everyone else out of the water.

uberTurtle
10-14-2008, 05:56 PM
Had good coverage at Plumley's, as well, down by the water. From 28 (Long Lake) South, I wouldn't expect much. I was planning on coverage at the 28/30 (Blue Mountain Lake) crossing, but had nothing. After walking into Blue Mountain Lake and knocking on a very understanding woman's door at 2200, I was able to borrow a phone and also find out that Verizon has no coverage in Blue Mountain Lake. Might have changed in the past year, but you never know.

jeremyjoslin
10-14-2008, 07:11 PM
My apologies:

I've corrected my cross-road references in my first post. I'm wondering about At&T coverage near Blue Mountain Lake (Rt 28/30) as bail-out option. Otherwise, we'll go on to the 28N crossing (Long Lake Village) and call for pick up from there.

Thanks for all the input so far.

I hate the thought of lugging a tent, only to use an empty LT every night.

Bill I.
10-14-2008, 07:26 PM
...I'm wondering about At&T coverage near Blue Mountain Lake (Rt 28/30) as bail-out option...

I've gotten AT&T coverage in Piseco, at the Pillsbury Mountain TH, and from NY 28 at the Blue Mountain TH above the museum. In the past I have not gotten much coverage in Blue Mountain Lake village or even Long Lake.

Not that I've ever complained.

timetohike
10-14-2008, 07:29 PM
Verizon does have better coverage in the Adirondacks because it has more towers. But you don't have to be a verizon customer to use them, you just have to have a CDMA phone and a carrier that has a roaming agreement with verizon.

GSM phones can't roam on a CDMA network. If you don't already have verizon service, then Tracfone sells a CDMA phone for $10 at walmart and radio shack.

I think the CDMA tracfones roam on the verizon network. Buy the phone and a $20 card. You get 30 days and something like 30 or 40 minutes, which will be more than enough to serve your needs.

There was a time when you could only buy a CDMA Tracfone in places like the 518 area code where there was no GSM netwook because it cost tracfone a lot more for the time on the CDMA networks (sprint and verizon) then it cost to buy the GSM network time. I bought one at the radio shack in Saranac a year ago but I've seen them being sold in Walmarts in Syracuse and Buffalo recently.

When you sign up for a number just tell them you'll be using it in Saranac Lake and you'll get the 518 area code. It doesn't matter because you same the same per minute price for long distance and local calls.

redhawk
10-14-2008, 07:38 PM
When you sign up for a number just tell them you'll be using it in Saranac Lake and you'll get the 518 area code. It doesn't matter because you same the same per minute price for long distance and local calls.

Depending on the phone. Some of the newer trackphones have "single rate" and double minutes which means that there are no "roaming" charges. So it makes no different what zip code the phone is listed in.

And the tracphone is what i am basing my coverage on, and it is using Verizon up here.

Hawk

hydronaut
10-15-2008, 07:42 AM
I thru hiked the trail at the end of August and had cell coverage with AT&T as much if not more so than my buddy who had Verizon. The Moose pond lean to was the only place he had service and I didn't. I know that I had service at the foot of the blue ridge and he didn't.

jeremyjoslin
10-15-2008, 08:06 PM
Thanks Wildriver- just what I was wondering.

Anyone else have comments on suggested mileage over 6 days?

cadmonkey
10-15-2008, 11:38 PM
Are you guys serious? YOU GUYS ARE OUTTA CONTROL! You all carry cell phones on hikes? What ever happened to "getting away from it all"? WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE CELL PHONES CAME OUT?:confused:

Bill I.
10-15-2008, 11:52 PM
Are you guys serious? YOU GUYS ARE OUTTA CONTROL! You all carry cell phones on hikes? What ever happened to "getting away from it all"? WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE CELL PHONES CAME OUT?:confused:

Mine stays in the car 99.9% of the time while I'm in the backcountry.

The one exception was when I was job hunting last spring. I had a free day to enjoy a hike, but I didn't want to miss a potentially important phone call. So I enjoyed the best of both worlds and climbed Pillsbury Mountain, where I knew I'd be within range of the tower in Speculator.

Tuchov
10-16-2008, 02:03 AM
Are you guys serious? YOU GUYS ARE OUTTA CONTROL! You all carry cell phones on hikes? What ever happened to "getting away from it all"? WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE CELL PHONES CAME OUT?:confused:

I'm too young to have lived in a time before [personal] long-distance transportation and cellular communications. Therefore, as long as I've been driving I've had access to a cell phone, so there was never really a time before cell phones came out where I needed a personal communication device.

Without going into the aspects of my personal life; there are certain people that I'm responsible for as I'm the closest relative in the state (even when in the Adirondacks). The phone usually stays off while hiking, but I do turn it on periodically for a few minutes when taking a break.

Why do you need to know that? You don't... but don't be so quick to paint everyone who brings a cell phone into the Adirondacks with the same brush. They have their reasons for bringing it, just like others have a reason for leaving it.

pico23
10-16-2008, 02:16 AM
The irony of the Adirondacks is the cell coverage is absolutely amazing compared to VT or NH. We have Verizon, and over the last few years, if I forget to turn my phone off when entering the park (yeah, I take getting away seriously), it rarely goes dead, and often brings in both calls, and text messages/emails. Now when I'm skipping out on work I have to make sure I turn it off, othewise, my day will be ruined with a bad email from the boss while driving (I leave it in the car 99% of the time while in the woods).

Why I call this an irony is that there is so much made of Adirondack cell coverage because of the deaths on the Northway, it's been a hotly contested issue, and yet, I all too often now have cell coverage in the Adirondacks, but in a state like Vermont (which I do love, but don't agree with the environmentalist stereotype it is given), where every single mountain summit is developed with some sort of man made contraption (including radio and cell towers, ski resorts, roads, and even wind mills), I have serious trouble picking up any signal at all.

In some ways, I'm beginning to love Vermont even more because of this.

Anyway, back in 2000 I hiked the NPT, and took a phone because I was hiking solo, and my wife was driving 5 hours to pick me up, back then it was totally useless on the trail, or almost anywhere but Lake Placid (the only place I intended to use it). 2008 is way different and if you take a GSM and CDMA phone I am confident you will get service somewhere on the trail or the road! The new digital signals are much stronger and if you can get a digital signal you can often send a text message at the very least.

redhawk
10-16-2008, 11:41 AM
Are you guys serious? YOU GUYS ARE OUTTA CONTROL! You all carry cell phones on hikes? What ever happened to "getting away from it all"? WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE CELL PHONES CAME OUT?:confused:

Me before cell phones came out? I hiked thousands of miles, and I hiked 2700 miles continuously after they came out. Didn't carry one, then. Wish I had, because i got real sick in the middle of nowhere, thought I was going to die, but I didn't. In hindsight, I am now glad that I survived and finished.

BUT

I am a firm believer in having every tool available for survival. So i do carry my cell phone, which is turned off, unless i need it and am fortunate enough to have coverage if i do need it. Why not carry it?

Having said that, it should be understood that assuming that you have a cell phone with you, will ensure rescue if necessary is not sound thinking.

Being able to contact family or friends when one comes out gives them some assurance. And in my case, I often have to be able to contact shuttle clients while waiting at the trailhead.

So, there are lots of reason to carry a cellphone. There are also lots of reasons not to USE a cellphone in the woods, (to get away from it all, being one) but it doesn't mean you can't carry it.

I used to teach survival classes, and some of the most important lessons were how to be found if you were lost or injured. Now out of curiosity, don't you think it's much smarter to use a cell phone if service is available then to make a fire or spread out gear?

I don't know about you, but myself, I love "to get away from it all", but if I'm lost or injured I sure as hell want "it all" to come and save my A$$.

Hawk

jeremyjoslin
10-16-2008, 11:43 AM
I don't want to turn this into a "why do you bring a cell phone" post, but others are right. Just as I thought I explained why I am bringing a cell phone (to let my ride know when I'm ready- or if I needed to change meeting place), others have their reasons as well.

I'm sure no one who is on this forum is going to be caught hiking down the trail with a bluetooth headset on yelling over cell phone. Drop it. We get point, and it's not worth it here.

Finally,

As a wilderness medicine doctor, I believe a cell phone is your most important piece of first aid equipment.

jeremyjoslin
10-16-2008, 11:45 AM
wow. Redhawk and I posted the same answer at the same time.

Weird.

cadmonkey
10-16-2008, 01:39 PM
Hey, you know, you guys gave some great reasons. Maybe, I'll have to re-think my ways. I work in NYC and getting up to the Dacks is heaven for me. Getting away from the digital world is a real pleasure. I always see people glued to their cells and I just figure I wouldn't do that. Anyway, didn't mean to sound as if it was the end of the world for carrying one.

jeremyjoslin
10-16-2008, 01:44 PM
I work in NYC and getting up to the Dacks is heaven for me.

No problem. Now that you explain what you were thinking, it makes sense. Most people who visit the ADK regularly (as opposed to a quick visit from NYC/NJ) don't have those issues. Just realize that there are different demographics visiting the park, and here you're just preaching to the choir (which honestly gets old).

We all want to get away- you're right on.

cadmonkey
10-16-2008, 08:46 PM
It's all good. Just be aware, my brother, regardless of where I'm from that if you were in trouble in the wilderness that I'd stay with you till help came by or I'd carry you out myself. Of course, your cell phone can come too.