You are here

Update: SPOT To The Rescue: Hiker With Broken Leg Summons Help With SPOT


There's another happy SPOT customer in the world today. A hiker who slid on a snowfield in Rocky Mountain National Park and broke his leg was able to summon rescuers with this pocket-sized emergency beacon.

Matt Martin, from Syracuse, Indiana, and a friend were camping near Lost Lake, which is nearly 10 miles in from the North Fork Trailhead, when he slipped on a snowfield and broke his leg, according to a park release.

Park rangers received a call from the International Emergency Response Coordination Center around 5 p.m. Wednesday with word that they they had received an emergency activation from a SPOT device in the park. Park rangers determined from the latitude and longitude coordinates that it had been activated near Lost Lake in the northeast section of the park, a park release said.

Shortly before 7 p.m. two rangers, including a medic, were taken by helicopter to the general area where the SPOT had been activated. The crew was able to see people on the ground needing assistance. At 7:15 p.m. park rangers reached the 27-year-old Mr. Martin, who had slid 30 yards on a snowfield to the west above Lost Lake and broke a leg, the park reported.

At 8:45 p.m. the patient and medic were flown back to a helispot in the park near Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and the man was taken by ambulance to Estes Park Medical Center. Due to nightfall, the other ranger and helicopter crew member will remain overnight at a backcountry patrol cabin in the northern part of the park. The 27-year-old man was
camping with another person who planned to stay overnight at their backcountry site.

Officially dubbed a "Satellite GPS Messenger," SPOT can be used to summon the authorities ASAP, track and store your movements, allow friends to follow you via Google Maps, and let those back home know that you could use a little assistance but that there's no emergency.



Are there any places where you can rent, as opposed to buy, one of these devices? To me it just seems so expensive, but something that might be worthwhile if I could rent one for a week long trip, etc...

Mike, I could lend you mine....;-)

I believe it has been discussed in some circles, but don't know if any rental programs have started.

Let me check around.

While it is a somewhat pricey investment, from my experience and seeing instances where it's properly used, it's money well spent.

Although it's not exactly cheap, it's not too bad. Under $150 for the 2nd generation unit and $100 for a year subscription seems pretty reasonable if you're going to be someplace where you might need lifesaving assistance. you think it will activate if I get eaten by a grizzly? Just kidding! I think I will have to put that on my wish list! I already got my "Go Girl!!
Connie Hopkins

Connie and Ray, I initially was hesitant when I heard about Spot, worrying a bit that folks who aren't experienced in backcountry travel would gain a false sense of security. But it is a dandy device and accidents do happen, even to the most-experienced.

While there are other PLB options out there, most are way more expensive and don't have some of the options -- such as sending an OK message to your friends and family, and the GPS tracking -- that Spot offers.

You can rent spot units from or


Yeah, actually. I rented one from them a couple of weeks ago with good results.

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide