Recently we had a case where a male and his girlfriend walked up Bungalow Spur to Federation Hut (near Mt. Feathertop) – no map, basic hiking gear, smart phone and compass. Once at federation Hut the lad photographed the 50000:1 map of the area that was on the wall and decided to change his intended route home by trying to find the head of Champion Spur (off the Razorback) using the photo of the map as his reference.
Once along the razorback he headed west off the main walking tack to try and find Champion Spur (that commences about 1km from the main walking track). He became disorientated (totally lost) and started to get into thick regrowth and scrub – he and his girlfriend dumped their packs and decided to walk back to a high point to re-orientate themselves. This wasn’t successful and then they couldn’t find their packs, it was getting dark and worry started to set in. Contact was made with police and the initiation of locating them commenced.
Technology has advanced in leaps and bounds and there are some great bits of kit available that can be utilised by adventurers and emergency services alike. In this case (as he had a smart phone) he was requested to download the Emergency + app (free app, which displays your position via visual location on google maps as well as displaying the Lat. And Long. Coordinates) – these were subsequently relayed to police who pinpointed their location and subsequently initiated responders to locate them. As an adjunct his position placed him several hundred metres south of the head of Champion Spur and he was asked (since he had a compass) to head due north for a couple of hundred metres and then re-check his position – he asked me ‘how do you find north on a compass’!! - enough said…they were both subsequently found safe and well ...
This is an example of being totally unprepared, not having the right gear and not knowing how to use basic equipment. This example could have had a totally different outcome if the weather and conditions had not been so conducive.
Message here is to be properly prepared, have basic equipment including a map and compass and most importantly know how to use them. Also equip yourself with technology aids that can assist (no problems even being your initial ‘go to’ source for navigation) but always have a fall-back position with a map and compass.
Bright Police Station
Acting HUME Region Emergency Management Inspector