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hiker caught in last week's snowstorm

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hiker caught in last week's snowstorm

Postby SSSdave » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:55 pm

Example of just what not to do in October as recently discussed on other threads. With weather resources today there is no reason people ought get caught so...if they take time to prepare. Predictable one will continue to find such stories in the news each fall when such storms hit.

http://friendsofyosar.org/rescues/rescues.html



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Re: hiker caught in last week's snowstorm

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:22 am

I'm sorry, the weatherman is still not always on track. If I waited til the NOAA site gave me the all clear in October, I'd never go hiking til next summer.

He made some mistakes, clearly - I don't think I would go alone, or really high elevation, when the forecast starts to trend that direction, and I take a lot of care to keep at least the insulative gear dry - but he also did some things right, like not going over the pass anyway, leaving signs in the snow, having an escape route. I wonder why he did not turn around - but perhaps he had set up his car at an exit point and been dropped off.

Judging from the many backpackers I encountered on the Mist Trail on Monday as they were coming down ... he was most assuredly not the only person out there, or the only one in snow. A large group with cheap sleeping bags and cheap tents strapped on their external frames said they were out there a week and got snowed on, too. But I doubt they were as high or in as much snow.
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Re: hiker caught in last week's snowstorm

Postby rlown » Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:57 am

he didn't really do anything wrong. There's not enough info in the SAR report to conclude that. I think we have all been caught in weather.. Not sure i'd want to pay for that helo ride out..

Personally, I tell my wife not to bother calling until two days after i'm due out.. I don't want a search for me, because after 2 days, i'm either out after some sort of delay, or then it's a recovery issue. I tend to not go alone.

you do what you do and go prepared..

not sure why he went towards McCabe.. kinda sucks (my opinion).

AT, lay off the external frame pack.. I love it.. :D
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Re: hiker caught in last week's snowstorm

Postby SSSdave » Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:15 pm

If one reads the NWS forecast discussions, that storm was forecast as a possibility before he even left. As has been noted on the other thread, if one backpacks during October, they ought to pay careful attention to forecasts especially when going out for more than a day or two and bring appropriate gear. Last year we had the big storm during the second week of October that was also well forecast. After that storm news stories came in of groups caught out in the storm and recall one person in the Tahoe zone was a fatality.
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Re: hiker caught in last week's snowstorm

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:03 pm

rlown wrote:he didn't really do anything wrong. There's not enough info in the SAR report to conclude that. I think we have all been caught in weather.. Not sure i'd want to pay for that helo ride out..

Personally, I tell my wife not to bother calling until two days after i'm due out.. I don't want a search for me, because after 2 days, i'm either out after some sort of delay, or then it's a recovery issue. I tend to not go alone.

you do what you do and go prepared..

not sure why he went towards McCabe.. kinda sucks (my opinion).

AT, lay off the external frame pack.. I love it.. :D


I don't have a problem with the external frames... just the cheap sleeping bags. :D Saw one guy who couldn't get his monster bag in the pack, he carried it on his arm - hope there were no stream crossings or rain storms in his future! You know, I saw a whole wall of external frames yesterday at the local outfitter? I bet hunters love 'em.

I don't know what the "lost" guy checked, and neither does the reporter, but I don't think he was entirely unprepared - he made it okay and would have likely walked on out on his own if SAR hadn't shown up. I'm sure he was making it out of the backcountry on his own, maybe wishing he had more food but surviving - not an unusual thing, we were called out on a couple of searches only to be sent home again before we even got dropped off by the heli. Hikers get delayed for reasons other than weather, too, nothing strange about it.

And the weather does turn. It's happened to me this year. I check the NOAA site religiously, two days later a backcountry ranger says oh, snow might be falling... uh huh. It's better than it used to be, but it's not perfect yet. It's just a good thing I have a good layering system.
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Re: hiker caught in last week's snowstorm

Postby rlown » Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:32 pm

AlmostThere wrote: I bet hunters love 'em.

I don't know what the "lost" guy checked, and neither does the reporter, but I don't think he was entirely unprepared - he made it okay and would have likely walked on out on his own if SAR hadn't shown up. I'm sure he was making it out of the backcountry on his own, maybe wishing he had more food but surviving - not an unusual thing, we were called out on a couple of searches only to be sent home again before we even got dropped off by the heli. Hikers get delayed for reasons other than weather, too, nothing strange about it.

And the weather does turn. It's happened to me this year. I check the NOAA site religiously, two days later a backcountry ranger says oh, snow might be falling... uh huh. It's better than it used to be, but it's not perfect yet. It's just a good thing I have a good layering system.


Hunters do love'em (external frames). I too check the weather, but, things change. Looks like we have a bit of a trough coming through this weekend.. should make it interesting.. still going..
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Re: hiker caught in last week's snowstorm

Postby oldranger » Wed Oct 13, 2010 5:00 pm

I think the only problem with the hikers decision making was heading for high passes rather than escaping to Tuolumne Meadows.

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Re: hiker caught in last week's snowstorm

Postby maverick » Wed Oct 13, 2010 5:21 pm

Have a safe one Rlown!
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Re: hiker caught in last week's snowstorm

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:38 pm

Regarding bailing out to Tuolumne, I think if you start at Virginia Lake, you have "head for the passes" (at least one to get to the head of Virginia Canyon) to get to Tuolumne Meadow. I agree with previous posts - if I were to stay home in every "chance" of weather in October, I would never go out. He did make it out on his own OK. I too, add a day to my estimated time when I come out, so my family does not panic and send in the rescue crew.
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Re: hiker caught in last week's snowstorm

Postby bheiser1 » Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:47 pm

AlmostThere wrote:
rlown wrote:I don't have a problem with the external frames... just the cheap sleeping bags. :D Saw one guy who couldn't get his monster bag in the pack, he carried it on his arm - hope there were no stream crossings or rain storms in his future! You know, I saw a whole wall of external frames yesterday at the local outfitter? I bet hunters love 'em.


Just reading between the lines ... it sounds like you infer those who use external frame packs (the way you mentioned them along with the "cheap sleeping bags") are inexperienced (or something).

I'm not arguing with, or criticizing, your comment ... but really am curious about your comment.

I've been using a Kelty D4 frame pack since I was a kid (long ago). I'm not defensive of it, but just haven't been able to convince myself to make the switch. I've been debating an internal frame pack, but have held off because of issues such as the increased back-sweat... and that it adds weight (the ones I'd be interested in are heavier than my D4).

So I'm curious about the your view of frame packs, and why only "hunters" would like them :)

Enquiring minds want to know :)
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Re: hiker caught in last week's snowstorm

Postby mokelumnekid » Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:06 pm

Why does this have to happen? I'm so cowardly- I usually bring the whole kit-n-caboodle year round. That's why when you good people have intense debates about how light one can go, I'm like- gulp- if I tell ya what I bring you'll laugh me otta here! But in the end it is about taking responsibility for one's self.

Point being that I've had my sorry butt whupped by weather in the Cascades, Winds, Andes, Alps, etc. so many times- I bring it all. The four season tent, rain suit, umbrella, elephant gun and even a canary in a cage! In August! Sure old gramps here can't move fast, but no matter what, I'm usually snug as a bug. \:D/
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Re: hiker caught in last week's snowstorm

Postby Herm » Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:27 pm

mokelumnekid;
I too tend to bring the whole arsenal, whether out for two nights or a week. Although I do not own a 4 season tent, I always carry a 3 season tent, and rain gear, and extra warm clothes, and extra food, and plenty of fuel, and ........ you get the idea. Speed and distance records will not be set by this guy.
I have run into adverse weather a few times in the Sierra, but never been in any real danger, because if necessary, I would be able to hunker down for at least a few days, to wait out the weather. And in the end, I am usually quite comfortable, although somewhat heavy in my pack weight. But it is always better to plan for the worst and hope for the best, rather than assuming that everything will be alright.
Make use of all the forecasting tools available, and plan appropriately.
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