Li’l Tiny Radios

Rusty recently wrote a comment about GMRS radios.  I thought other people might be curious about them as well so I’m copying my (brief) response here:


I always wondered if the ski patrol monitors any GRMS channels for emergencies.  I seem to recall that Mt. Baker’s ski patrol monitors Ch 9.11.    I know GRMS range is limited but it would provide another avenue for people to contact patrollers in case of emergency.


Corey Responds:

I don’t know a WHOLE lot about this (the initials are actually GMRS for General Mobile Radio Service) but I know they share some frequencies with FRS ("family") radios, though apparently can be of higher quality and cost a bit more. 

The "family" radios don’t work very well in our highly-angulated terrain.  We experimented with monitoring 9.11 a few years ago, and found it pretty ineffective, what with having to listen to kids screaming what kind of sandwich they wanted Mom to fix them for lunch and all.  Maybe people respect GMRS or 9.11 better these days–I haven’t checked.  For me, the amount of "nuisance" traffic was too distracting.


In any case, I like THIS plan better:  if you’re in trouble, find ANYBODY reliable on any channel, and ask them to notify Ski Patrol. 


Cell phones work many levels of magnitude better ’round these parts and proved invaluable in a couple of recent incidents over the ridge in Mt. Rainier National Park and over the other ridge on the east side of the Pacific Crest.  Plus, I’m told battery life and depletage (I made-up that word) are more reliable with cell phones than those little radios. 


Verizon transmits from BOTH Grubstake Peak and Gold Hills at Crystal Mountain.  AT&T from Grubstake Peak, and T-Mobile from either the Base Area or Gold Hills. 

Those with cell phones are encouraged to keep the Ski Patrol "Emergency Only" number, 360-663-3064, programmed in your phone, and keep it turned on if you’re separated from your companions!


I’ve never heard that reaching us is enough of a problem to warrant getting everyone to purchase new equipment.  But if I’m missing something, please let me know!

One thought on “Li’l Tiny Radios

  1. DWinston

    Your reasons for not probably placing a half-pipe and other amenities are thoughtless, considering many people want an big mountain alternative to SnoQ. Many people i’ve talked to dislike the lack of natural hits and a pipe, and travel to Baker and Stevens passing their local mountain out of “necessity.” My rider group is ranges from 27 to 45 in age, not exactly the urban park punks that you’d like to keep at a distance. Get with the program and boast ridership at crystal, without frightening the family-friendly rider base…be inclusive.
    Corey replies:
    Whatever. But please don’t be makin’ up stuff! I wouldn’t assume that any of us who live and work at Crystal prefer sketchy old guys to “urban park punks”, whatever that means.
    I think John’s point was that everyone–even people who love it downtown–may occassionally want refuge from the crowds, noise and fast pace of the City”. If you turn “the mountains” into an amusement park, you kinda lose that. Which doesn’t suggest there can never be a Park at Crystal, it’s just an explanation of why it hasn’t been a priority!


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