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Survival / Lost, what would you do?

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Re: Survival / Lost, what would you do?

Postby rlown » Sun May 22, 2016 6:50 am

I would modify your statement to "try and follow your itinerary." It's not always possible.



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Re: Survival / Lost, what would you do?

Postby maverick » Sun May 22, 2016 7:21 am

I would modify your statement to "try and follow your itinerary." It's not always possible.


You are right Russ, it is not always possible, done.
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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Re: Survival / Lost, what would you do?

Postby markskor » Sun May 22, 2016 8:26 am

Quite familiar with mother Mav's constant "Leave a Detailed Itinerary with Someone" mantra repeatedly being preached here...appreciate its value (to some) too, however, for me...got old long ago. I wonder how many others here are becoming somewhat offended too.

Once again the hiking season beckons - many here (a large % of our members) are Sierra pros - preferring to venture into the wilderness Sierra, often solo, frequently hiking without a fixed itinerary. These seasoned Sierra old-timers know well the best-made plans often change while on the trail or off...wouldn't have it any other way.
Yes, I am a guilty. No, I have nobody at home to leave any plans with, and anyway, usually away from home for a month or more...many impromptu trips done before and after too. Who/where do you suggest I/we leave the itinerary with Mav? BTW, I come into Yosemite by YARTS bus - no car - living out of a backpack. Yes, I realize there are assumed risks to backpacking, but I accept these - gladly.

You can play all the "what if" risk games you want but... no way to cover all possible scenarios. Perhaps, let's instead assume that many here are Sierra pros - cool-headed and knowledgeable . Maybe better to realize this and respond accordingly instead of talking down to and treating us as if you were the only experienced one here and we are completely clueless.
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Re: Survival / Lost, what would you do?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun May 22, 2016 9:16 am

I think a lot of noobs never post.

Nor do they spend quality time researching. I was an over-researching noob, and perhaps the suffering I did in spite of that taught me more than my research -- one of the problems with all of it is that the things I did not research tended to be the things that happened. I never get lost, but I have over or under estimated -- fuel, myself, others -- to the detriment of the trip.

I do think the things that we stick to the internet come up in google searches, and are viewed more than responded to.

A seasoned solo hiker I know who rarely visits internet forums leaves her itinerary on the dash of her car. I've arrived at a trailhead, seen the car, looked at the dash, and knew I would see her on my own route, perhaps, depending on the amount of time she was spending fishing somewhere.... she doesn't even leave it with her husband, who is not at all versed in backpacking culture or the park/forest rangers, or sheriff's, being from another country, so her compromise is the dashboard, where some ranger with a slim jim can get it. She could drop me an email where her car will be and for how long but she doesn't. We all accept our risks, consciously or not.

I'll never view stuff like this as talking down to veterans -- it's never going to be the case that every post is targeting every reader, and I'd hope that any post that comes across as condescending could subsequently be recognized as "not for me" instead of personalized. HST is a resource I see linked to on facebook and other forums all the time -- you have much more publicity than you think you do. There should be something for everyone. And it is often the case that "veteran" (that is a subjective term, and people who have gone backpacking twice lay claim to it as often as someone who goes every month) hikers are not always so well informed as veteran hikers.

Had I had someone to play what if games with -- I might never have hiked six miles to my car sobbing, so dehydrated that I was not thinking at all rationally, passing stream after stream without drinking, driving home that way, and suffering miserably. I would have stopped and drank the unfiltered water slowly, in sips, sat by the stream for an hour or two, took a nap, taken care of myself, instead of taking what I now know to be a huge risk that could easily end badly. I was solo. I was a noob. It was bad, and I repeat the story often because it lets noobs know a bit of something important, that could keep them from using some of my taxes to send out helicopters looking for them. Let the money be spent looking for the randomly-broken leg, instead of something so preventable.
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Re: Survival / Lost, what would you do?

Postby maverick » Sun May 22, 2016 9:41 am

Maybe better to realize this and respond accordingly instead of talking down to and treating us as if you were the only experienced one here and we are completely clueless.


Sorry you feel this way Mark, in no way are my intentions to talk down to anyone, my apologies to anyone who may have been offended and has taken my thread as such here on HST.

My intentions here are only to keep safety at the forefront at the beginning of our new backpacking season and to remind members, especially those who may be embarking into the wilderness for the first time, about refreshing the basic's to survival.


Perhaps, let's instead assume that many here are Sierra pros - cool-headed and knowledgeable.


You can go ahead assume that Mark, personally I won't do that until someone has somewhat reasonably shown otherwise.


I wonder how many others here are becoming somewhat offended too
.

Would be interested too, those of you who are experienced and long time members, who do not care for reminders about refreshing our first aid skills, rethinking our approaches in case of survival, or helping our less experienced members with some of our wisdom that we have gained through our own trials and tribulations, can easily disregard my posts conerning these subject matters.
Personally my hope is that more of you "experienced members" will chime in, seeing and understanding the importance of this and other threads like it. :)


EIther way, I will continue to be a "soapbox" for safety as long as I continue to read about parents thinking that their son had exited the wilderness, only realizing a week later that he never did, which was the case of Michael Meyers, a 25 year old UCLA student back in Nov 2015. Sorry, I just can't turn the other way and say "well I'm experienced and that ain't happening to me".

:soapbox:
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Survival / Lost, what would you do?

Postby Jimr » Sun May 22, 2016 11:19 am

Turning around often to know what the return looks like, absolutely! We talked about out and back trips and the fact that reversing your steps is a whole new view of the scenery. Almost to the point that it feels like new ground.


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Re: Survival / Lost, what would you do?

Postby tomba » Sun May 22, 2016 2:21 pm

Here is a realistic scary scenario for me.

Nine day solo trip late September. On day 3, on a cross country route, you stashed away the pack at 11,000' and climbed a class 2 peak. On the way down, you broke your leg. It is late afternoon. You have SPOT, but, unknown to you, it can't summon help. You have a sun hat, a warm hat, gloves, nylon shirt, thin fleece jacket, down jacket, zip-off pants, belt, adjustable trekking poles, camera, smart phone (no signal), signal mirror. No food or water. No rain gear. There is food and 1L of water in the pack that you left behind. Nobody will visit this remote area until the next year. Nobody will be looking for you until day 10 or 11, after you are more than one day overdue, per instructions left with the family. You left with the family the most likely rough route and several rough options. The peak was unplanned, not in any of the optional routes. The pack is mostly hidden, hard to find for rescuers. You are 2 days and one or two passes away from any trailhead. To reach any trail you would have to cross a difficult terrain.

I would try to stabilize my leg with sections of trekking poles and belt, trying not to cut off blood circulation. I would also send SOS from SPOT, unsure whether it works.

The first priority would be to stay warm and dry. If it rains I would be in big trouble. Typically in such area there are no places to hide from rain. Down jacket would become almost useless when wet. Even if I had my rain jacket, it would be impossible to keep all of me dry. Would poncho be better in such case?

Even if it doesn't rain it would be a very cold night, but, I hope, it would be survivable.

The next priority would be water. I hope I would be able to crawl to my pack. It could take perhaps 2 or 3 days. If the days are sunny, windless, and hot I would have to minimize sweating. Perhaps crawl at night? I could occasionally use the phone as a flashlight. If there is an obstacle I can't crawl around my situation would be dire.

When it's sunny, from time to time I would scan the horizon with the signal mirror. Also signal any visible areas where there might be people, and approaching airplanes. A series of 3 flashes, repeated a few times.

When I get to the pack I would ration the 1L water, and keep crawling with the pack to some water. I would also ration the remaining food. After getting to water, I would stay put.

After a few days it would become apparent that SPOT didn't work. Starting with day 11, every 2 hours on the hour during waking hours I would turn on the phone for 5-10 minutes, with airplane mode off. I wouldn't keep it on all the time, in order to conserve power. I don't know whether rescuers have equipment to track cell phone signal.

The most vulnerable time for me seems to be when I am separated from the pack that has my rain shelter, sleeping bag, and water. There is only so much stuff that I can take with me in my pockets, hanging from my belt, and tied around my waist. It would help if I took with me the rain fly, more warm clothes, and 0.5L water bottle. What's a good way to pack that without adding much weight? A separate day pack would be too heavy. Perhaps a stuff sack with some straps sewn in? Any ideas? Another option is to have the main pack with removable hip belt and removable aluminum stays (e.g., Zimmer Packs).

Is poncho a better emergency protection than a rain jacket?

Anything else to prepare?
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Re: Survival / Lost, what would you do?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun May 22, 2016 2:43 pm

If you are significantly off route, what will likely find you first is a helicopter, so think about things that increase visibility from the air -- very bright colored or reflective things. Nothing like a laser pointer -- you'll get in big trouble if that gets in a pilot's eyes! A red rain poncho would be perfect. Throw it out in a wide open spot and find something contrasting -- some nice black duct tape, white rocks -- to SOS with. Flash the signal mirror if you see the chopper. They may leave, but it won't be because they didn't see you necessarily -- they can't always land where you are. The key is to look like you want help -- I was told about one search where the chopper was taking team members out in twos, and passing back and forth over a meadow with a tent in it -- on one trip they decided to land and ask if the guy had seen the lost guys, and it turned out he was one of them. He wasn't even waving at the chopper. It may have been he wasn't aware of which kind of chopper it was, but that is beside the point -- all choppers have radios, and if it's out there, it's likely he knows there is a search going even if it is a military or private model.

Lighting yourself a fire is appropriate in a survival situation. Might not have much fuel up high, but if you can get anything going if you hear aircraft -- the lower flying prop kind, mind you -- it's worth a go.

A couple of contractor bags, the 10mm heavy kind, weighs very little and rolls up into the bottom of even my fanny pack. Big enough to bivy in, or use as a small tarp.

Tomba's scenario is reminiscent of a lone peakbagger search -- I think it was Norman Clyde Peak. They were looking for an overdue peakbagger, found his crampons down slope, found him dead up in the rocks. He had been climbing alone and they figured from the head lamp he was working back down in the dark. And on the way back to the drop point, one of my friends dropped his sunglasses under the edge of a snowfield, and with an improvised trekking pole-duct tape rig got his sunglasses, plus a very old human bone. Don't think we ever heard back from whatever DNA testing was done, and I'll never hear since I left the SAR team, but it was a sobering story.

I've never heard of a SAR team getting any kind of coordinate from a cell phone. I've seen it mentioned in news reports for searches outside the Sierra, though, so assume it is possible and some of the jurisdictions must have less red tape than we do, or something....
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Re: Survival / Lost, what would you do?

Postby Jimr » Sun May 22, 2016 5:52 pm

AlmostThere wrote:If you are significantly off route, what will likely find you first is a helicopter, so think about things that increase visibility from the air -- very bright colored or reflective things.....


I learned a big lesson there when I was in Tehipite Valley. I used white rocks against dark rock background to make a big "X" on the ground. When the helicoptor passed by, I was waving my red shirt. He didn't see either. When the Sheriff's did arrive and I told him about the helicoptor, he told me the pilot didn't see us. He saw my ground cloth under my tent. A big, blue painters tarp and said that would have been a good thing to use. Think big! A good argument for a brightly colored footprint or white for a palette and duct tape a big "X".
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Re: Survival / Lost, what would you do?

Postby sambieni » Mon May 23, 2016 12:08 pm

maverick wrote:
My intentions here are only to keep safety at the forefront at the beginning of our new backpacking season and to remind members, especially those who may be embarking into the wilderness for the first time, about refreshing the basic's to survival.

...
Would be interested too, those of you who are experienced and long time members, who do not care for reminders about refreshing our first aid skills, rethinking our approaches in case of survival, or helping our less experienced members with some of our wisdom that we have gained through our own trials and tribulations, can easily disregard my posts conerning these subject matters.
Personally my hope is that more of you "experienced members" will chime in, seeing and understanding the importance of this and other threads like it. :)

EIther way, I will continue to be a "soapbox" for safety as long as I continue to read about parents thinking that their son had exited the wilderness, only realizing a week later that he never did, which was the case of Michael Meyers, a 25 year old UCLA student back in Nov 2015. Sorry, I just can't turn the other way and say "well I'm experienced and that ain't happening to me".

:soapbox:


Appreciate the thread. As someone with more limited backcountry experience, it is helpful to learn from other folks' experiences. I commend the effort to coax folks to think about potential scenarios a/o share their own experiences. It is already helpful to me as I think of 1-2 more things to throw into my pack - backcountry or day.

One thing curious about - why do you recommend back country shelter/blanket? If you're trekking, I would assume you would have a pack w a tent/tarp and sleeping bag already. Why the extra item? Seems superfluous. I could see the need in a daypack where you're intending to return after a few hours.
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