"If you want me just whistle. You know how to whistle don't you, Steve?"
― Lauren Becall
To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
Say what? Roll with it for a minute will ya :=)
If you are anything like me I suspect there is a time you or some one you care about could use a good whistle. Not the kind of whistle the typical Mountie or Mazama crew member has hanging around their neck or off a zipper. Well not until recently anyway. And not because you think it is one of the 10 essentials.
I am not even sure what the 10 essentials are these days. Never did know. And am guaranteed not to be carrying them at any given moment. Not a point pf pride, just a fact of a life out doors and my stubbornness I suspect.
But in places more remote than what Jerry is skiing above and generally doing it by myself I have to wonder (and do ) on occasion, "what if"?
Like what if you caught an edge and broke a leg or simply twisted a knee on those tech bindings? Or simply tweaked your back bad enough you couldn't get up easily or ski. Do that a patrolled ski area an it is likely bad enough. Do that one ridge over from the ski area on your favorite back country loop and you are likely fooked. I think about that kind of stuff these days. The big treed run off the north side of Crystal mid week. The place you never see anyone? Snag a crampon and take a tumble into the brush?
So I think about buying a sat phone a couple of times a year. Might, except I could go to Chamonix for a month or so for that kind of coin. I try to be conservative on my decision making in the back country and soloing. But face it, doing this chit by yourself, alone, isn't being very conservative.
Likely if you screw up while by yourself out climbing or skiing in the winter and you'll pay a hefty price.
But short of a sat phone or not going out at by yourself there are some limited options to get attention. I was introduced to something that makes a sense to me. A simple whistle. Not any whistle mind you but a whistle on steroids of sort.
"Whistles for Life" seem to be easy to use (if you can get it in your mouth and have the ability to blow it). Aint going to help you in a tree well. So don't ski trees by yourself. It won't help anyone find a body. But for what they cost and how much they weigh I think it worth the effort to clip one on your jacket while skiing most/all of the time.
I was given one riding down the gondola @ Crystal last week. My first thought was, "I want my wife skiing with one". If I had a daughter she would own a few of them. Not that I could talk her into using one if my wife is any example ;). But I would make it available. Worse things out there than simply BC skiing and climbing. Younger kids? Great thing for them to have simply to annoy you if nothing else. It gets my dog's attention easy enough!
The whistles come in 11 colors. My first one is lime green. $5.00 at REI in either color. Haven't looked into it yet but I might have these available through Cold Thistle as well. They will make and label them for anyone with a decent order. If I do make an order you can be sure they won't be orange :-) Good enough idea I think, that I'd be willing to put the Cold Thistle name on it. Let me know will you if you think it is something you or family members might use @ under $5.
Frankly? I'd rather look like a dork with a whistle than pass a chance for rescue and freeze to death within sight (but not ear shot) of help. Wouldn't be the first time that has happened or the last where a simple whistle could have made a difference. This is no simple whistle!