A Cautionary Tale | High Sierra Topix  

A Cautionary Tale

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

A Cautionary Tale

Postby BSquared » Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:54 am

Over at the Whitney Portal Board there's a great cautionary tale about preparation, situational awareness, use of a SPOT, and knowing what'll happen when you call 911: http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=62981#Post62981. There's plenty to munch on over there, so probably no need to start a thread on it here; just thought I'd give those who don't regularly read that board a heads-up.
—B²



User avatar
BSquared
Founding Member
 
Posts: 871
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Jericho, VT
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

User avatar

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby balzaccom » Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:17 am

Good story! We were at about 8000 ft a few days earlier, and decided NOT to go any higher because the weather looked so threatening. I do try to remember that I am in the mountains to have fun and be on vacation!
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
User avatar
balzaccom
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1291
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:22 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby ndwoods » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:40 pm

Interesting read! I gotta tell you tho, that I chase down folks daily...hourly...minutely that "hit the spot" on their cell phones! ie...if you have a phone that doesn't close like those cell phones that fold close...it will hit 911 soooo easy! I work at 911, and I listen to people walking, in the bathroom, driving, yelling at their kids... riding the big dipper roller coaster-that gets me sitting up in my chair when I hear the screaming til I hear the cart on the rails in the background!:) If we hear anything that sounds like a domestic or someone in trouble we have to jump thru major hoops to get your phone pinged and get a GPS on it and also we get your home address etc and start cops to your house to make sure you are ok. Sometimes it takes hours or til the next day to finally connect with people to verify they are ok...major pain. Really, get those cells that close!:):):)
User avatar
ndwoods
Founding Member
 
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby Shawn » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:20 pm

It would be interesting to know how many times people have hit the 911 button on their SPOT unnecessarily. Of course we'll never know, but I bet it's more than we'd imagine.

Last year while exiting a trailhead on the east side, I spoke to a couple of SAR guys. They were telling me tales of people phoning SAR, not because someone had pushed 911 on their SPOT, but because the spouse/BF/GF or whoever had not received a simple "OK" for a period of time.
User avatar
Shawn
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 795
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 9:56 pm
Location: Paso Robles, Ca
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby rayfound » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:08 am

Wow... it seems like in all her ultralight-thru-hiker mentality, she was wholly unprepared for anything bad to happen. Both, in terms of materials, but also mentally. It sounds, from her account, like she had a couple incidents of anxiety and panicked.

Crazy story.
User avatar
rayfound
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 328
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:44 pm
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

User avatar

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby fishmonger » Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:10 pm

one word:

sandals!

I have a spot, but I also tell everyone at home that if it doesn't send anything not to panic - could be we dropped it in a river, etc - I am more afraid of false alarm than calling 911 at the wrong time.
User avatar
fishmonger
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 946
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Madison, WI
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby ndwoods » Thu Jun 11, 2009 3:57 pm

I actually did wear sandals one backpack a few years back. I have superwide feet and can't wear boots. One trip was all it took. They were wonderful of course crossing streams...til you got to the other side and got dust under your straps! The dust wore the skin right off of me....OW! I toyed with neoprene booties etc under them...never did find anything satisfactory.
User avatar
ndwoods
Founding Member
 
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby gdurkee » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:37 am

It would be interesting to know how many times people have hit the 911 button on their SPOT unnecessarily. Of course we'll never know, but I bet it's more than we'd imagine.


Surprising, very few. A guy from San Bernadino SO collected as much of CA SPOT alerts as he could find. Don't know the exact numbers but most were legit. All in Sequoia Kings last year (6) were legit.

This one was pretty interesting and much discussed in Sequoia Kings. I'm tempted to take her blog and go sentence by sentence on how many mistakes a person can make. I'd lead with wearing sandals while hiking in snow. Alas, no time, though I think it might be instructive for others tempted by super-lightweight and not much experience. She seems to blame it all on her lighter not working... .

Sort of a different discussion is how many people, when confronted with a series of mistakes that leads to either a SAR or a dangerous situation for themselves, seem to lack the introspection and/or honest self evaluation to try to correct those errors in the future. Quite possibly the process is more subtle and takes longer than I see in my experience, but when I've been at interviews of people we've rescued, there's rarely an admission that they would have done anything differently even when I grab their throat, squeeze and yell "you dumb cluck, didn't you see the anvil coming. Didn't you hear the "beep, beep"?!?" OK, I exaggerate, but that's often my experience.

I know that when I've messed up there's a pretty immediate -- within hours -- assessment. I once had the same cold dysfunctional hands that she did and added a pair of chemical hand warmers to my emergency bag. After getting moderately lost in a whiteout, I always carry much heavier cold weather gear even if the weather looks good. Also, ummm, a map (don't ask).

Well anyway, blather etc. Out the door. Everyone have a great & safe summer.

g.
User avatar
gdurkee
Founding Member
 
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 8:20 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby BSquared » Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:15 am

gdurkee wrote:...Out the door. Everyone have a great & safe summer.

g.


Hey, you too, George! Hope we meet up at Charlotte Lake on the 25th or 26th of July!
—B²
User avatar
BSquared
Founding Member
 
Posts: 871
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Jericho, VT
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

User avatar

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby asabat » Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:11 am

gdurkee wrote:I think it might be instructive for others tempted by super-lightweight and not much experience. She seems to blame it all on her lighter not working... .


Bullseye! Thanks, George. Too often I see a bashing of ultralight equipment when it's not the equipment that failed, it's the user. In her case, she had everything she needed (well, not sure about the sandals, or the nonfunctioning lighter). The tarp and sleeping bag should have been sufficient for someone with enough experience. But deteriorating conditions, lack of experience, and being totally alone can conspire to create a sense of panic.

There are a number of PCTers that have never backpacked until the day they leave the Mexican border heading north to Canada. Gee, sort of like many on the Whitney Trail...
User avatar
asabat
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:29 am
Location: http://www.4Jeffrey.Net
Experience: N/A

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby Cross Country » Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:23 pm

I agree whole heartedly. It seems to me that most or the PCTers and too many of the JMTers are missing a salient point. To truly enjoy oneself some signifigant degree of leisure is probably necessary.
Cross Country
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1119
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:16 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: A Cautionary Tale

Postby asabat » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:55 pm

Leisure is good, but if you want to hike the entire PCT you are in a race against winter storms in the Cascades. Many have to cut their hike short just 60 or 100 miles shy of the border because of blizzards.
User avatar
asabat
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:29 am
Location: http://www.4Jeffrey.Net
Experience: N/A

Next

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Ballpeen, playero1, Troutbuoy and 6 guests