“Give me a break dude....I can't help but being a smart a$$ when I read stuff like this....”
Given such excerpts from the post by Kerry Wilson, that doesn't sound like a serious attempt at opening a constructive dialogue on the potential merits of two-way communication when calling in a backcountry emergency, but for anyone else who is potentially interested in the subject:
1. Just read SAR call-outs for an area that has strong cell reception (http://www.stowemountainrescue.org/mission-log) and imagine how much more difficult the mission would have been if the SAR team knew only the device’s registration information and GPS position, and if the SAR team was not able to communicate any advice (e.g., whether a lost party can be guided to the correct trail) or reassurance as to ETA, etc.
2. Imagine how the incident report posted by Jeremy B. would have played out if the party could have described its difficulty and exact position via a two-texting exchange.
3. As for knowing whether the emergency is for the device owner or another party, I can think of many hypothetical examples. But personally, back in March 2013, had I been on my original timeline (delayed for dropping off our little daughter – a frequent source of all sorts of delays!), my itinerary would have put me exactly on schedule (inadvertently of course) to be the one to come across an avalanche fatality in an otherwise deserted ravine. As it happened, another solo traveler arrived there first, and happened to be a physician who legally pronounced the victim dead (and also somehow had cell reception there, although I haven’t before). Had it been me, with only my NSP OEC and WEMT, I’m not sure what I would have done, but triggering the SPOT I had at the time would have entailed hours of worry for my family (with the added irony that they knew I was there scouting out routes for teaching an avalanche safety course for the next couple days). Even aside from that, with inReach I would have been able to communicate exactly where I was (i.e., Huntington Ravine Fan) without worrying about any possible GPS glitch, exactly what entities should be contacted (i.e., USFS Mt W avalanche ctr plus Mtn Rescue Service & Appalach Mtn Club Pinkham Notch Vis Ctr) so that they didn’t first waste time contacting NH F&G (which uniquely hands off SAR responsibilities to the avy ctr during winter & spring for its forecast region), who was in trouble (i.e., avalanched solo climber, possibly already dead), and what resources I had (i.e., none other than my own).