One of the beauties of heading out into the mountains is without doubt finding a new trail. Maybe goat tracking your way up a new peak or simply just taking that road less travelled.
I know for myself quite often the best training days are those where I leave my objectives high in the sky and simply say ‘lets get out there and see where I end up’. No matter where you decide to explore new trails there is one tool definitely worth getting to know how to use when out of your depths… Suunto Find back.
It was about 4 years ago when I first had an ‘experience’ with the Find Back tool from Suunto (back than it was simply breadcrumb). I was on a crater looking plateau in the Aiguille Rouges, France just recce’n a trail that climbed around 2500m (kinda like the moon, for those of you who have been there?!?). As I summited in the late evening I was hit by a rolling thunder/snow storm and found I had very little concept on where I actually was.
Lots of big flat moon looking rocks with great exposures sheering back down a couple thousand meters to the valley. I had very minimal with me but one thing I did have was my Suunto. I knew it was time to actually work out how this feature worked.
Luckily for me, it was pretty simple.
On the new Suunto Spartan Ultra there is a quick menu option to get to what’s called Find back. This feature will guide you by both direction and distance directly back along the trail you came from. Now all though I am definitely one that enjoys wild experiences, it is well worth having the simple knowledge of how to activate this on your watch if the need arises.
From whatever recording mode you’re in, scroll across the screens until you get to the breadcrumb page (swipe or use middle button). From here scroll the page up to access the menu (or push bottom button). Here you’ll find ‘Your Location – Find Back – POIs – Routes.
Select Find Back.
That’s it. Now you will have both a direction arrow with a heading and also a distance to how far you have to travel in that direction. When your back to where you want to be simply bring the menu back up and change it back to ‘Breadcrumb’ setting. While navigating you can tap screen to either zoom in to 50m or 100m zoom.
Another interesting features worth noting on this menu is Your Location. If you ever find yourself in real trouble and in need to give someone your exact location co-ordinates… this is where you’ll find them.
I know to some people navigation can sound like a pretty technical subject but with this feature on the new Suunto Spartan Ultra, you can easily find your way back out of any adventure.
A couple of small notes. its always a good idea to tell someone the area you are thinking of exploring and when you expect to be back, pack necessary emergency gear (light, space blanket, food, water), ensure you have adequate battery levels on your watch and check that you have best settings on GPS accuracy. I would also recommend when exploring new terrain to use some kind of physical markings to remember your route back. Either rock carns, arrows on the trail with sticks or drawn in the dirt, snow markers or simply make sure you turn around and look back every now and then on the trail.
So get yourself out there and explore some new trails knowing – you’ll be able to get yourself back safely too.