If you have a cell phone and can make contact with the outside world, describe your position and your route of travel as best you can. Request help, then STAY PUT - unless there is a trail or other major feature that you can see from your current location. Start your trip with a fully charged battery and treat your phone as emergency equipment; don't waste your battery.
Realize when you request a rescue, it could take a long time - several hours - before rescuers reach you. This is not like calling the police in a city. Most often search-and-rescue teams, while very professional, are all-volunteer units of private individuals who sacrifice their time to come to the aid of strangers. Be patient, and be appreciative of their service.
Make use of your 10 Essentials
. Use your fire starter to ignite a manageable blaze. A smoky one is visible even in the day.
Position yourself in a clear area, away from trees, so you will be easily visible from the air. Laying out a brightly colored item, such as your pack or anything that is a contrast from the surrounding environment, is also a sound approach.
If you are going to spend the night, do not camp close to rushing water. Its sound might obscure the voice of rescuers calling out to you.
Always observe your surroundings at any stage of a trip. A topographic map tells you a lot, but even a topo using 40-foot contour lines may not show you a 30-foot cliff. Keep track of noteworthy physical landmarks. How will you be able to spot them on your return? Sometimes just turn around during a hike and take note of how the terrain looks from a reverse perspective. Always anticipate the course of your return trip.
If you use markers on your trip, always remove them during your return leg. Otherwise your old markers could confuse other travelers.
This clinics was borrowed from the REI website
Advisers to this clinic:
Rick Hood, director of Navigation Northwest (www.hoodcs.com), a search-and-rescue education service.
Bob and Mike Burns, authors of Wilderness Navigation: Finding Your Way Using Map, Compass, Altimeter and GPS (The Mountaineers).