Mountain tracking, how it started.

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@SafetyMountain Tracking is an initiative of the Hikers Network.

It all started when one of the founding members of the Hikers Network (Anwaaz Bent), suggested that members “check in” with him, before heading out into the mountains.

This was for safety and other reasons:-

  • Initially, the primary reason for checking in, was to allow Anwaaz (who was the most active Wilderness Search And Rescue manager at the time), to know where members were in relation to a patient, in the event of a possible mountain rescue call. This was to provide assistance and other information relating to local conditions, should a member be in the nearby vicinity.

Anwaaz then realized the potential of expanding this:-

  • As a safety mechanism, should the member, or someone in his or her party require assistance.
  • This could also be used as a tool to render assistance to other hikers who they may come across.
  • For reporting any incident that may be of interest to the authorities.

Back then in 2010, Smart Phones were not that fashionable, so the system mainly relied on “dumb” phones, via SMS.

Then, when the Blackberry became a tool, members started using BBM and emails as a means of communicating with each other, in real time via the cellphone.

Of course, with the introduction of WhatsApp, the horizons widened and members could communicate far more easily, transferring all sorts of information in various formats.

Then another member, Tim Lundy, suggested to Anwaaz that we open up a service to the public, where selected members of the Hikers Network could form a team of trackers, to monitor this WhatsApp group.

From there it grew, with more and more members of the Hikers Network, as well as members of the public joining up for this safety initiative.

Over the years, thousands of outdoor users have been tracked while partaking in various disciplines, such as hiking, mountaineering, climbing, trail running, caving, kayaking and even boating. We have tracked people all over South Africa, and abroad using this means.

Quite a few incidents have already been dealt with by our trackers, including missing persons, injured hikers, as well as cases of erosion, fallen trees and wildfires too.

As they say, the rest is history, since this tracking service has grown to multiple WhatsApp groups including a “management” and an “incident” group.

For more information about this service which is provided by our dedicated volunteers, please click here.

Be out and be safe.

MW

 

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