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Survival / Lost, what would you do?

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Re: Survival / Lost, what would you do?

Postby Jimr » Sat May 21, 2016 5:44 pm

Many of us who have been doing this for awhile take precautions regarding what is packed and who is notified of what according to our level of comfort. Some of us get complacent. Some of us remain diligent. We get comfortable in our approach. I think this is a good exercise in, at least, mentally walking out of our comfort zone and playing a bit of what if. We may decide to re-evaluate our preparation or not. At least we are thinking and working our emergency situational skills to keep them fresh so if an issue arises, we don't have to revert to rusty skill sets. I, for one, tend to go fairly under-prepared for injury on day hikes. Something I think I will reassess. While you cannot carry enough to be prepared for anything, you can assess how you are prepared for the most likely. An joint injury or bleeding injury are two of the more likely scenarios that could get very serious. You may be on a day hike with others in your group doing something else. Come end of the day and into the evening, they get worried because you have not returned. They can do nothing until morning. The ability to stabilize and survive a night or two seems essential.
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Re: Survival / Lost, what would you do?

Postby rlown » Sat May 21, 2016 6:00 pm

I'll fly with that, Jimr.

before starting your backpacking career:

    1) Take basic first aid courses. Advanced would be better, even some of the wilderness courses offered.
    2) Take basic orienteering courses. Know your navigation skills. DO NOT RELY ON ELECTRONICS. take a map, and leave a map with your route marked with proposed campsites on the map in your vehicle and with a trusted individual.
    3) Pick the right gear based on your needs. Lots of information on this site (Bags, stoves, Packs, boots, clothes, tents, etc) Make sure you know how to use it before you head out!!
    4) Check the weather before you go!! A LOT!
    5) Practice on trail first on short trips, and then branch out a bit offtrail after you are comfortable with trail. Humphreys basin is an example of a forgiving area)
    6) Make sure you have your meds and if with a party, they know where your drugs are kept and what your ailments are so they respond appropriately in case you really need them. If in a group, know some medical history. Mav's reference to the "weakest link" comes to mind.
    7) FILE A PLANNED ITINERARY with a trusted person and leave one in your vehicle.
    8) On the Itinerary, make sure there's a drop-dead "call the sheriff" date if not contacted.
    9) If you have an issue like an ankle or you're lost, don't panic. assess, take action, plan.

Feel free to add to that. Note that not everyone lost read this site.
Last edited by rlown on Sat May 21, 2016 7:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Survival / Lost, what would you do?

Postby maverick » Sat May 21, 2016 6:51 pm

Good points about first aid, we had a "backpaking preparedness" thread a while back, bringing important points to the forefront occasionally can only be a good thing. Some may never take a first aid or a wilderness first aid class, but being informed on the basic's not only could help you in the backcountry, but also in your home environment. Refreshing your first aid knowledge is paramount, you should find someone to practice on and with, book knowledge alone is not enough, you have to physically these pratice these techniques, you cannot pull out a first aid book when time is of the essence when either your or someone else's life depends on it!
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 maverick » Sat May 21, 2016 7:14 pm

Russ wrote:
before starting your backpacking career:

1) Take basic first aid courses. Advanced would be better, even some of the wilderness courses offered.
2) Take basic orienteering courses. Know your navigation skills. DO NOT RELY ON ELECTRONICS. take a map, and leave a map with your route marked with proposed campsites on the map in your vehicle and with a trusted individual.
3) Pick the right gear based on your needs. Lots of information on this site (Bags, stoves, Packs, boots, clothes, tents, etc) Make sure you know how to use it before you head out!!
4) Practice on trail first on short trips, and then branch out a bit offtrail after you are comfortable with trail. Humphreys basin is an example of a forgiving area)
5) Make sure you have your meds and if with a party, they know where your drugs are kept and what your ailments are so they respond appropriately in case you really need them. If in a group, know some medical history. Mav's reference to the "weakest link" comes to mind.
6) FILE A PLANNED ITINERARY with a trusted person and leave one in your vehicle.
7) On the Itinerary, make sure there's a drop-dead "call the sheriff" date if not contacted.
8) If you have an issue like an ankle or you're lost, don't panic. assess, take action, plan,


Great points Russ, and hopefuuly other will add their input, opinons, and questions, and not be silent participants.

Would also add to what is listed above here, that one should train to be in top physical condition, one's life may depend on it. Backpacking can be a grueling sport, endurance is tested, just as it is any other endurance sport (cycling, or long disrance running), try going over any of the Big 4 Stair Climbers on the eastern side of the Sierra in a day. Being in great physical condition not only could help you survive, but also makes the enjoyment of backpacking so, so much better, and will help you continue into your 70's and far beyond. :nod:

Not relying on elecronics alone is very important, they all rely on batteries, which is their weak link, as is their satellite contection, in some cases. Learn how to navigate by map alone, use the terrain, the Sierra gives us numerous landmarks, which makes navigation easier, compared to desert environments. Learn how to use a compass, you should also know how figure out your travel direction, using moss on the northern side of trees, sunrise and sunset direction, north star (Polaris) at night, and spider webs usually show up on the southern side of trees, to name just a few indicators.
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 rlown » Sat May 21, 2016 7:21 pm

I liked AT's stick comment about orienteering. That guy lost at Loch Leven. The shadow was right there on his stove, and you could see the shadow, as well as where the sun sets: West. Plus, I've been there.. You can hear the trains. Just say'in. Only in a storm does it become more difficult, unless you know which direction the storm is coming from.

Adding "Check the weather" before you go to my list, and you have to know how to read weather on longer trips. As I carry a fishing rod, and have recipes for stuff like chipmunks, pretty sure I could survive until "rescued."
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Re: Survival / Lost, what would you do?

Postby Gazelle » Sat May 21, 2016 8:20 pm

I will add that I am very prepared for a day hike or backpack trip usually off trail and alone, have taken wilderness first aid, an EMT course (just for fun), can orientate myself quite well (I think built in) mostly because 25 plus years ago I fell 60 feet on a side hike while on a private raft trip in the Grand canyon 10 days in of a 21 day trip, after commercial trips had ended. I knew I had broken my ankle at the least but no compound fractures and made it through the shock. Wrong or right I finished the trip with drift wood for crutches and a splint. Needless to say I now have a fused ankle and go very prepared for all trips! Just saying you need to know your own body and skills and with other people their skills also. I do take a delorme inreach (fully charged) everywhere and leave itinerary unfortunately not always for small day hikes but my pack has fire starter, compass, paper maps not just of the hike but of the whole area in case you have to go out a different way and an emergency blanket.
The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before. Albert Einstein
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Re: Survival / Lost, what would you do?

Postby Jimr » Sat May 21, 2016 8:22 pm

Sit down and have some lunch for 45 minutes and note the postion and travel of the sun as you lunch. N will become evident. I didn't want to say it on that thread.


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Re: Survival / Lost, what would you do?

Postby maverick » Sun May 22, 2016 6:09 am

Leaving an itinerary for all outdoor activities is a must, going for a day hike, trail run, or mountain biking can quickly turn into a fight for survival, especially if no one knows about your intentions.

Make sure you try to follow the itinerary you left, you should not make any major detours of any sort, if you fall and seriously injury yourself, SAR will have a difficult time finding you, if at all.

Take every outdoor activity as serious as you do a multi-day backpacking trip, be prepared for any emergency you may encounter, take a phone, first aid kit, fire starter, head lamp, emergency blanket, map, whistle, pancho, water purifer, food, and extra layer of clothing, at least. Sure it adds weight, but is your life not worth a little added weight?

Reconn the area your intending to hike in, know where all the water sources, access roads, popular trails are located before heading out, also have an emergency route and plan drawn up, don't just wing it or worse, refusing to believe it could happen to you.

Be aware of your surroundings, don't just hike, observe landmarks, blazes, and anything that else that could be used for orienting. One important thing many people do not do, which is key, is to turn around occasionally and make note of their environment, lay of the land, because if you don't you will miss a lot of key references that could have helped you in getting your bearings on the way back if you get lost.
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 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.

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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