Post edited 2:48 am – October 23, 2012 by PaulB
…best to plan ahead and know what ridge you need to be on to get a signal to the park wardens.
It's not just about being on the right ridge, it's also about knowing the right frequencies for any repeaters in the area and, in some cases, the privacy codes to access them. A little pre-trip rersearch can make the difference between contacting someone, or not.
One comment about the review, it mentions nothing about licensing. Technically, the VX-231 radio (as opposed to the user) must be licensed by Industry Canada to operate on specific commerical VHF frequencies. Practically speaking, if you're just using it to communicate within a group while out in the mountains, no one is going to care, but if you're in an area with lots of commercial radio traffic (e.g. a heli or cat skiing tenure) and you're interfering with their communications, someone may get upset. Again, it's best to get in touch with anyone you think you might want to communicate with ahead of time and find out if they will mind letting you use their frequencies (with the appropriate license).
Depending on where you are, an amateur (aka "HAM") VHF/UHF radio may be more useful than a commercial one. There are lots of amateur repeaters scattered around the country, and most are open to the public. Amateur radios are also much more user configurable (hundreds of channels, not just 16) than, and just as tough as, commercial radios. The catch is that you need an amateur radio license, but most people with any technical inclination can easily pass the multiple choice test with a relatively minor amount of studying.
Cyril Shokoples has a great emergency communications article on his website.