I’m not usually the type of person that likes to rely on devices for survival. The reason for that is simple, I’m a fighter, a man of nature, and I know that I only have myself to count on when confronted to a dangerous situation. Having been in the field of solo exploration for over 20 years, I have come to learn to sail across oceans, climb to the summit of mountains, and survive in the most extreme conditions without ever relying on a device to bring me back home to my family.
I first heard of the inReach when preparing for an expedition that would bring me by car from my home in Switzerland, across 13 countries, into Pakistan where I would then attempt to summit the mountain of my dreams: K2. The idea of remaining constantly connected via satellite for the rest of the world to follow my every footstep made me quite skeptical. I might be a modern day explorer, but when climbing a mountain, I tend to favour old school techniques (no oxygen, no ropes, no high altitude porters). The inReach however wouldn’t assist me to the top of a summit the way a rope or oxygen would, it would simply remain in arms reach if ever my climbing partners and I were to encounter a dangerous situation.
By automatically sending out my position every 10 minutes, the inReach faithfully and accurately tracked my progress. Directly connected to my Facebook page, my family, friends and followers would know when I was moving forward, backwards or remaining in the same position. At the end of every day, I would then use my inReach to send out my daily update. (For example: “Close to camp 3 at 6800m.”) Every message was accompanied by a link that showed my live GPS position as well as my previous ones on a satellite map. If an emergency ever did occur, all I had to do is press on the inReach’s SOS button and a long lasting and interactive signal would be sent out directly to a rescue team to come save me.
Although we never made it to the summit of K2, the inReach allowed me to share my story in real time in ways that I have never done in my history of solo exploration. The inReach is a life insurance. It is the tool that increases my chances of making it back home to my family if ever I do encounter danger along my journeys. It is a revolutionised way for an adventurer, mountaineer, or sailor to stay in touch with loved ones anywhere and at anytime, a real must-have for any outdoor enthusiast to ensure that one’s fears never overtake one’s dreams.