Woman dies after going missing on Mount Whitney trail

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mort
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Woman dies after going missing on Mount Whitney trail

Post by mort » Tue Nov 10, 2020 6:07 pm

Started hiking Thursday, found Saturday.
https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/11/10/ ... ney-trail/
So sad.








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rlown
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Re: Woman dies after going missing on Mount Whitney trail

Post by rlown » Fri Nov 13, 2020 12:00 pm

Sounds like a bad decision all around. Tank top and leggings in November? No backup strategy. Everyone knows that bad weather hampers search efforts.

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Re: Woman dies after going missing on Mount Whitney trail

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:21 pm

Tank top and tights sounds like a trail runner, not a hiker. The newspaper always uses the term "hiker". I suspect she was just going to do a somewhat short run up the trail and return and started out in good weather, probably slipped on ice and fell. It did not say if she died of hypothermia or the injuries sustained as a result of the fall. Could have been that clothing would not have helped the ultimate outcome. Sad that she left two young children.

Nevertheless, doing anything on a trail at 10,000 feet+ in November without any extra clothing is asking for trouble. I have met several trail runners dressed the same (or even less- in shorts) with nothing more than a hip belt with water and trail bar. Met one on Clouds Rest, early season, snow on the trail, and she got a really bad bloody nose and became very chilled in just the time she stopped to deal with the bleeding. We loaned her our jackets until she could move again. Depending solely on heat generated while running is never a sure bet, any season.

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Re: Woman dies after going missing on Mount Whitney trail

Post by ironmike » Fri Nov 13, 2020 10:10 pm

rlown wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 12:00 pm
Sounds like a bad decision all around. Tank top and leggings in November? No backup strategy. Everyone knows that bad weather hampers search efforts.
Your empathy is impressive

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Re: Woman dies after going missing on Mount Whitney trail

Post by CAMERONM » Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:01 am

Unfortunately I think that the speed and ease which which runners pass through landscapes leads many runners to believe that they can just run back out like they do at the local park, and just they don't think about severe injuries. Despite the incomplete story, it is likely that even the most easily carried supplemental warm clothing like a 8 oz puffy might have saved her, not to mention of course a PLB. Hopefully, published stories like this can save other lives.

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Re: Woman dies after going missing on Mount Whitney trail

Post by balzaccom » Sat Nov 14, 2020 6:10 pm

She fell: "Bravo was discovered at the bottom of a steep rocky slope next to the trail; she apparently had fallen about 100 feet."

Not so much a question of being prepared as being alone. And a trail runner who is only expecting to be out a couple of hours...
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Re: Woman dies after going missing on Mount Whitney trail

Post by TurboHike » Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:02 am

This is a very sad outcome, but it is definitely a question of being unprepared IMO. She went hiking in November at high elevation, in a tank top. She slipped and fell, and then she crawled under a fallen tree for shelter. Since she had the ability to crawl, one would assume that she could have pressed an SOS button on a PLB. If she had taken a down puffy, she could have covered up with it, or maybe even put it on. A small daypack with a few essentials could have saved her life.

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Re: Woman dies after going missing on Mount Whitney trail

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:32 pm

We are all speculating at this point. I am not sure a light puffy jacket would have mattered that much. Falling 100 feet on a steep rocky slope could easily cause life-threatening injuries. We still do not know if she died of hypothermia or injuries. Falls often produce internal bleeding, that would allow one to crawl under a log yet if left untreated, kill them in a day or two. Having a PLB is a more important, in my opinion, if going solo. Also, unless you do a lot of late season hiking/running, you may not be aware that ice lingers on the trail in shady places all day or that there is often ice under a thin layer of snow. Like most tragic accidents, it looked like a series of mistakes and/or lack of knowledge, perhaps where each mistake on its own would not have resulted in death.

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Re: Woman dies after going missing on Mount Whitney trail

Post by SweetSierra » Mon Nov 16, 2020 4:37 am

It's such a sad story, particularly for her two young children left behind. It reminded me of the young female runner not long ago who went for a long run in the Grand Canyon and thought she had enough water. But she ran out and was high above the Colorado river. She curled up under the shade of a bush where she died. She probably didn't realize how warm the inner Grand Canyon can be, how much water she needed (understandable if she carried an amount that usually got her through a run) and that there was no room for error. The woman on the Mt. Whitney trail would likely have survived if not (as WD said) for an unfortunate series of errors.

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Re: Woman dies after going missing on Mount Whitney trail

Post by JosiahSpurr » Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:40 pm

mort wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 6:07 pm
Started hiking Thursday, found Saturday.
They took her to Lancaster? Not Ridgecrest? That's a difference of about 60 miles, and there's a billboard that says there's a "state of the art" facility "out here?!?!" in Ridgecrest. *

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