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cell coverage (not because I like cell phones) and climbing areas in Colorado!!
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By Emily McKinney
From Madison, Wisconsin
Jan 25, 2014

Hey y'all!

I'm a climber and a sociology undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and I'm really interested in how cell phone use affects social interaction in public spaces. For my senior thesis, I would like to observe and survey a city/town of at least 20,000 people that has absolutely horrible cell phone coverage.

The idea would be to compare the social interactions I observe in an area with very poor cell phone coverage to the social interactions I observe in an area with average or good cell phone coverage, to see how cell phones affect behavior. However, I'm having difficulty locating a sizable town/city that has such poor coverage.

So, down to the REAL question… Are there any places in Colorado or that area that have at least 20,000 people but SUPER shitty cell coverage??

I would LOVE to be able to do my research next-door to the Rockies, so that I can climb on the side, so if any of you experience super crappy cell coverage in that area, please let me know!!! And if you want to let me know about all the good climbs in that area as well, that'd be awesome.

Emily


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By JJNS
Jan 25, 2014

I'm going to go with my gut and say this doesn't exist. A town of 20,000 people equals 20,000 phone bills in the eyes of the cell phone companies. These are the towns that come to mind. I selected these based on topography and not personal experience with my sprint coverage. I can only think of a couple climbing areas in Colorado that I couldn't get cell service while climbing.

Ouray- 1,014 population
Georgetown- 1, 023
Crested Butte- 1,503
Telluride- 2,291
Estes Park- 6,017
Steam Boat Springs- 12,029
Durango- 17,216

You should study climbers. Travel to different climbing areas and compare how climbers act in areas with cell service versus no cell service.


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By Emily McKinney
From Madison, Wisconsin
Jan 25, 2014

Hey Jason, thanks so much for the response!

Yeah, I know that it's going to be hard to find, especially in this day and age. I'll even settle for an area with spotty coverage and do my observation in parts where service isn't as great. And that's a really good idea, to focus on climbers; maybe I'll do a spin-off of my study to look into that! Or even just outdoorsy people in general. Usually people go outside to ESCAPE and see nature, so do they leave their cell phones behind as well?

If you can think of any other areas where you feel like your signal hasn't been that great, I'd greatly appreciate the advice!


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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Jan 25, 2014

Emily McKinney wrote:
For my senior thesis, I would like to observe and survey a city/town of at least 20,000 people that has absolutely horrible cell phone coverage.


Yeah, you'll need a time machine to make that happen. Or a plane ticket to, like, Algeria or something.

Anywhere in the US that lacks cell phone coverage in 2014 is going to be a tiny, remote backwater sort of place. This will make it difficult to isolate cell coverage as a controlling variable, since the overall backwardness of those places will obscure any effect that the cell coverage might have.

As Jason suggested, considering how climbers behave at climbing destinations with and without cell coverage might be an interesting experimental setup. Plus, it would be a great excuse to take a roadtrip to a bunch of great places.

Two crags that are fairly distant from cell coverage are Indian Creek and Rifle. IC is quite far from cell coverage...20-30 minutes drive. There is this one spot near one of the outhouses where you supposedly can get a signal, given the right atmospheric conditions (I've never been successful), and you see people wandering around there holding thier phones in the air, trying to get a signal. Its pretty funny. Rifle is about 15-20 minutes drive from a cell signal. No cell coverage in the park in J-Tree either (or, at least this was the case a few years ago). There are a lot more that I am forgetting. A lot of western US crags lack service, since they are in remote locations and many are down in little canyons that block out signal. You could then compare these areas to crags with cell coverage. Still, isolating the effects of cell coverage as a variable might be tricky, since every location has its own quirks to the climbing culture.

In my experience, yes-or-no on cell coverage doesn't make too big a difference. Having cell coverage makes logistics a bit simpler, since you can just roll in on Friday night and send you friends the "Where you at" text (Jason, the poster above has gotten more than his share of that exact message from me). Without cell coverage, you need to do a bit more advanced planning wrt meeting spots and times.


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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Jan 25, 2014

Alternatively, you could do a pretty interesting interview-based study, where you talk to people who have been climbing at one area for a long time, and can describe how things have changed pre-and post- cell service. Yosemite Valley would be perfect for this. You get great cell signal in there now, but this has only happened in around the last 10 (?) years. Plus, there is a lively culture of people who have been going there through that change, and can recall how things have shifted.


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By ChefMattThaner
From Lakewood, co
Jan 25, 2014
ducking ropes at Copper

You should Google government cell phone free zone. Pretty sure it is in Virginia/west Virginia. It is a large area that includes a few towns that are federally required to remain WiFi and cell phone service free. It has something to do with sensors the government uses to measure particular aspects of the communication spectrum. I hear it is like stepping back a couple decades when you enter this area. Not Colorado climbing but the new is close by.


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By Jonathan Petsch
From Chattanooga, TN
Jan 25, 2014

Not in colorado, but

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_National_Radio_Quiet_Zon>>>


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By ChefMattThaner
From Lakewood, co
Jan 26, 2014
ducking ropes at Copper

^^ yeah that place


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By wankel7
From Indiana
Jan 26, 2014

Seneca Rocks, WVA is near by and pretty awesome .

I have spent time in the area near the radio telescope and there is indeed not a lick of cell service.


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By Woodchuck ATC
Jan 26, 2014
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

Depends on the service I think. I see alot of cell use down at Miguels at the Red. But I have cheapo 'throwaway' phone by Virgin Mobile and their limited service ends waay back up on a hill on the Mountain Parkway coming into Stanton. Nothing ever down in the Gorge. Their national map shows very few states with coverage by them.
As for phones and climbers,,,any climber seen texting and phone playing at the climbs or while belaying should be BANISHED from the cliff for at least 3 days punishment. Really guys, climb!,,, and forget the dam phone for a day or two if you can.


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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Jan 26, 2014

Woodchuck ATC wrote:
As for phones and climbers,,,any climber seen texting and phone playing at the climbs or while belaying should be BANISHED from the cliff for at least 3 days punishment. Really guys, climb!,,, and forget the dam phone for a day or two if you can.


But then how are you supposed to update your 8a?


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By Darrell S Bruder
From Steamboat Springs
Jan 26, 2014

How about that town in Alaska in the old Northern Exposure television series? Steamboat has great cell phone coverage. As a matter of fact, no one here can start their cars without getting on the phone. Honestly, climbing is safer than driving. Computer service is excellent also. Why else would I be getting on this site to find someone to climb with?
The climbing is mediocre, though. Everything is mediocre here except for the 90 meter jump.
Why don't you talk to old people who didn't have cell phones and research their lives? A better research topic would be to discover the changes brought about by television.
Another topic might be the increased rescues our Search and Rescue has to perform because of cell phones. It seams they're out once a week because some flat lander skier, snowmobiler, hunter has gotten lost. The theory of natural selection no longer works with humans.


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By JJNS
Jan 26, 2014

One NIght in Ephraim, Ut. shitty cell service forced me to sleep in a Walmart parking lot. You should go to Ephraim, Ut. and observe people and their interactions.


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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Jan 27, 2014

JasonJNSmith wrote:
One NIght in Ephraim, Ut. shitty cell service forced me to sleep in a Walmart parking lot. You should go to Ephraim, Ut. and observe people and their interactions.


Sorry about that. I tried to leave you a message with directions, I swear!

But the OP should go to Ephraim.. I'm not sure what she'd learn about cell phones, but there would be some weird stuff to see either way.


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By Emily McKinney
From Madison, Wisconsin
Jan 27, 2014

wankel7 wrote:
Seneca Rocks, WVA is near by and pretty awesome . I have spent time in the area near the radio telescope and there is indeed not a lick of cell service.


Yeah, I looked into the area by the radio quiet zone but have found that the bigger towns in the area do have cell service anyway. wankel7, where were you near the radio telescope that you had no service?

I know this was a pretty big shot in the dark, but I thought I'd try anyway!

CheffMattThaner wrote:
You should Google government cell phone free zone. Pretty sure it is in Virginia/west Virginia. It is a large area that includes a few towns that are federally required to remain WiFi and cell phone service free. It has something to do with sensors the government uses to measure particular aspects of the communication spectrum. I hear it is like stepping back a couple decades when you enter this area. Not Colorado climbing but the new is close by.


CheffMattThaner, have you ever been in the quiet zone/know people who have? I'd really like to determine which areas in the NRQZ are ACTUALLY quiet, you know what I mean?


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By the schmuck
From Albuquerque, NM
Jan 27, 2014

October, 2012 I was in Paris, Arkansas, population about 3k, and there was no cell service other than Sprint (which is what most locals had). Our party had ATT, T-Mobile and Verizon, and we had to drive up a hill outside of town to get a signal strong enough to send texts. It is not exactly a large town, and due to Sprint not exactly cell free, but it is close.
Also, there is great sandstone trad climbing on the rim of Mt. Magazine, which is just above town, and easy airport access from Ft. Smith. Horseshoe Canyon and Dardenelle crag are not far away either.


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By Woodchuck ATC
Jan 27, 2014
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

From what I see and read about Everest Base camp, it's one of the best service wifi' sites on the globe, with pretty much dedicated satellites to just that area of the Himalaya due to the hundreds of visitors and climbers there each season, along with TV crews and news people too. Crazy we can't get service in supposedly first world' country like USA in our backwoods areas of the southeast or far reaches of northwest.


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By Matthias Holladay
From Durango, Colorado
Jan 27, 2014
Find these and enjoy some new routes!

Lots of areas here in Dgo don't get reception, but since I climb alone mostly, not sure I can help . . .


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By Brad White
Jan 27, 2014

You'll need to somehow take folks on an ATT plan out of your survey. I can tell you from personal experience that the coverage of ATT sucks in north Boulder. This is a city in excess of 100,000 people.


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By doligo
Jan 27, 2014
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style

There is a valley East of Berkley University, I forget its name, but you can see it from the campus. It sits in a narrow canyon and they don't have any reception. I bet they have at least 20K people living there. I'm pretty sure you can find places like that around the country.


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By Eric and Lucie
From Boulder, CO
Feb 14, 2014

Woodchuck ATC wrote:
As for phones and climbers,,,any climber seen texting and phone playing at the climbs or while belaying should be BANISHED from the cliff for at least 3 days punishment.


+1000!!


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