Getting WiCis-Sports on the mountain is simple - just follow these three easy steps!
Job Peak summit, 10,633 ft - Lake Tahoe on the upper left
Charge - your gear with a good solar panel
Connect - to the net via a satphone hotspot if you are seriously out in the boonies - otherwise, use 3G/4G!
Monitor - your vitals (heart rate, temperature, O2 saturation)
and then just share them!
For starters, make sure your equipment is charged. There are many solar panel manufacturers out there, but your three main issues, when you are backpacking or climbing will be: a) weight of the charger, b) how many watts (volts x amps) it can generate, and c) how many devices you can charge at once (we need two in our case).
The AspectSolar 39 Watt Solar Kit will keep data flowing to your Facebook followers and base camp with ease by charging their Energy Bar 100 in less than 8 hours. You can charge two devices at once with it, plus use its 12V to AC inverter to plug in a 110V device.
Get into the habit of charging on-the-go, and when you settle down in the afternoon, immediately place it facing the sun directly.
EnergyBar 39 Watt Solar Panel Kit from AspectSolar
Once you are charged up, you're ready to connect to the net. If you are a serious about the outdoors, you need a satellite phone, and Thuraya is the answer for you if you are trying to catch Kilian Jornet on a jaunt up to Everest base camp or beyond. (Thuraya is our preferred satellite phone partner in Europe, Africa, and Asia.)
The Thuraya can be used as a wifi hotspot for your smartphone and can transmit up to 15kb per second which is more than enough to share all your medical data every second. A continuous feed will last 9h for that summit attempt. Carry an extra battery for the descent (Mophie Powerstation) - which is always the most critical.
Thuraya Satphone and Samsung 6
Slap your devices on - it only takes a few seconds, and decide whether you want to continuously send data all day, or simply at certain time intervals. Your crucial decision will come from how much battery reserves you have, and how quickly you can recharge.
On-the-go, there are three vital signs that are excellent predictors of health and performance: Temperature, Heart Rate, and SpO2 (oxygen saturation of your hemoglobin).
Heart rate is one of the easiest parameters to measure and that is the reason why it is found so often in many health devices these days. It is most often measured by these devices on your wrist. The results here can be inaccurate since when one is walking or climbing, your arms are in constant movement. Sweat also seems to affect these devices, and data is often wrong. At WiCis-Sports we therefore prefer to measure the heart rate with a probe attached to your chest. We see less fluctuations, and sweat in fact improves contact and the sensor moves less than on your wrist.
The ideal body temperature that we would want to measure is core temperature. You can do that these days with bluetooth pills that you swallow. These send accurate data until you excrete them, clean them, and re-use them again. This is something that may not practical for all backpackers or climbers! Wrist measurements of body temperature are wildly inaccurate since temperature inevitably is "contaminated" by the outside temperature. The best current solution for an accurate measurement of body core temperature is a slap-on axillary or pelvic sensor. This is held on in place by tape or velcro, beneath your tight first layer. Due to it's location and your other clothing layers, core temperature is approximated, but most importantly, a trend can be followed.
As for measurement of SpO2 (oxygen saturation), reliable transcutaneous oxygen saturation monitors do not exist - yet. Bracelet pulse oximeters are not accurate at this point in time (2016). Trust us - an anesthesiologist works with us on this project. So don't expect to share this number continuously since wearing a "pulsox" at all times is awkward. But you can do that hourly, or even more often if you are concerned about your lungs or brain. Heart rate is a good indicator of oxygen consumption, and so is your temperature. So continuously following these two parameters will be incredibly useful to your medical team. Note that most pulse oximeters are not accurate at all below a saturation of 70%. So if you're down near such a number, all your doctor can say is that things are not looking good. Continuous monitoring of low saturations is neither useful nor accurate.
Remember, there are two ways to improve oxygenation to your important body tissues while at altitude. One is increasing the saturation of hemoglobin with oxygen (a mask connected to an O2 bottle) or practicing PEEP breathing (pressure breathing). But the trick most often forgotten is to decrease your oxygen consumption: Avoid shivering and try to keep your heart rate down.
The size of a quarter!
Heart Rate sensor on shirt
We find it moves less than on a chest strap!
Just share it!
Following a daily routine will enable you to effortlessly share your data with base camp or any follower in the world. Try these steps every day, and you will be on the radar of any internet connected device in the planet!
Actual screenshot from real time transmission from K2, July 2016
In the morning
- Activate temperature patch and place it near your axilla - tape it if you need to since sweat may loosen its stickiness
- Place heart rate monitor strap around your chest
- Dress normally and in layers
- Consider morning transmission to home or base camp of your daily vital signs
- Turn on sat phone and smartphone
- Start WiCis app on your smartphone and establish quick bluetooth connection to your devices
- Place pulse oximeter on your ring finger - this may be the best finger to use since it follows a straight line from your ulnar artery
- Send data for a couple of minutes
- Check your weather forecast (select Weather option on App and obtain a 4 day weather forecast - check weather for where you are, and where you plan to be!)
Start your trek or climb
- Depending on your battery status for all your devices, consider turning them off until lunchtime or some other time when you will pause
- If this is a critical day, leave all your devices ON, and continue with your climb
- Use solar panel (1.2 lbs) on your back to charge your smartphone and sat-phone while you backpack or climb
Take a pic with our app, and share your altitude or your GPS coordinates
- Transmit data to base camp or home and then turn devices off
- Consider stopping continuous data sharing if batteries are low until the evening
- Take a picture - consider sharing it to Facebook with your WiCis app
- Post to social with an update of where you are!
- Place your solar panel at a good angle for the sun and top-off as many devices as you can
- Transmit data to base camp or home and then turn devices off
- Check-out from Social with a last update with your lat/long, altitude and HR
- Consider continuous monitoring of temperature, heart rate, and oxygen saturation if suffering from Acute Mountain Sickness
- Sleep - make sure you are warm, since cold will push your O2-Hgb dissociation curve to the left (left shift) thus making it less capable of releasing O2 to your tissues. This is yet another example of why temperature monitoring is important while climbing. If you get cold, you will become more hypoxic!