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#214791 - 01/12/11 01:31 PM Usefullness of a signalmirror in the mountains
Tjin Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1749
Is a signalmirror usefull if you are above the snowline? I think it would be ineffective due to all the reflecting light from the white surfaces, but i'm not sure. I however do not know of any alpine climbers carrying a signal mirror...
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#214793 - 01/12/11 01:54 PM Re: Usefullness of a signalmirror in the mountains [Re: Tjin]
TeacherRO Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2396
Its the flash that attracts attention - Besides they are so small and light. I'd carry one.

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#214795 - 01/12/11 02:25 PM Re: Usefullness of a signalmirror in the mountains [Re: Tjin]
Tjin Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1749
i'm just not sure if the flash would attract attention, since everything is flashy in mountains.

I'm trying to shave off weight of mine equipment and every gram counts. So i'm really critical on everything i carry and it's usefullness.
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#214797 - 01/12/11 02:41 PM Re: Usefullness of a signalmirror in the mountains [Re: Tjin]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6743
Loc: southern Cal
I have used a signal mirror with great success in high snow conditions. The polycarbonate mirrors are less than two oz; if you carry a compass that contains a mirror, that mirror can function for signaling. While it cannot be aimed as easily as a dedicated mirror, it will serve.

It is the flash that counts....
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#214799 - 01/12/11 02:54 PM Re: Usefullness of a signalmirror in the mountains [Re: Tjin]
JerryFountain Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 418
Loc: St. Petersburg, Florida
I have seen signal mirrors from the air and used them many times in all sorts of snow conditions - High alpine in the Rockies, Tundra in Alaska and Canada and Glaciers in Alaska and the Antarctic. They were commonly used for aircraft to find the field parties before lightweight radio's. I am sure that they still work as well today. They are much lighter than a radio.

Respectfully,

Jerry

p.s. I still carry one in the field and let the pilots know that if they don't hear from me to look for it - it is my primary backup.


Edited by JerryFountain (01/13/11 01:57 AM)

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#214817 - 01/12/11 07:28 PM Re: Usefullness of a signalmirror in the mountains [Re: JerryFountain]
Ann Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/04/11
Posts: 42
Loc: Western Washington
Ah, this thread is an example of why I like this forum. People ask reasonable questions and receive good answers. Good info to have in your back pocket.

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#214823 - 01/12/11 09:27 PM Re: Usefullness of a signalmirror in the mountains [Re: Tjin]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 857
Loc: Colorado
The white light reflecting from snow is glare and more diffuse than that small piece of the sun you are aiming at the observer.


Plus the persistance of the flashes at the observer, even as he moves around, will show them that it's not a natural phenomenon.

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#214862 - 01/13/11 04:08 AM Re: Usefullness of a signalmirror in the mountains [Re: hikermor]
Crookedknife Offline
Stranger

Registered: 06/15/10
Posts: 24
Loc: Washington
Originally Posted By: hikermor
...if you carry a compass that contains a mirror, that mirror can function for signaling.


I do the same thing. For my hiking pack, I like to keep things light & simple, so I now designate the mirror on my compass as my signal mirror & camp mirror. I've found you can aim it by holding the mirror up near your face & tracking the reflection with an outstretched hand.
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"Let us climb a mountain, hanging on by low scragged limbs." - Roger Zelanzany

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#214874 - 01/13/11 02:05 PM Re: Usefullness of a signalmirror in the mountains [Re: Crookedknife]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3048
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Crookedknife
I do the same thing. For my hiking pack, I like to keep things light & simple, so I now designate the mirror on my compass as my signal mirror & camp mirror. I've found you can aim it by holding the mirror up near your face & tracking the reflection with an outstretched hand.


Keep in mind that it's much harder to use a mirror in this fashion if one of your arms is injured,

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#214875 - 01/13/11 04:09 PM Re: Usefullness of a signalmirror in the mountains [Re: chaosmagnet]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6743
Loc: southern Cal
Perfectly true, the compass mirror is a makeshift, but it is way better than nothing. As Rafowell pointed out in an earlier post, an AMK mirror weighs about an ounce - not much of a weight penalty.

Thinking about the general question, I believe there is one environment where a signal mirror might be less effective - at sea or a similar body of water, at least for other vessels at your level. This is because it is fairly common at sea to experience "mirror flashes" from other vessels. With this in mind, aim several flashes in succession at an intended target - that would be unusual and should get attention.
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