Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Bad benightings


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drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Bad benightings on 08/22/2012 01:18:06 MDT Print View

If I got to the point where I was too cold to keep hiking, and it was too windy for my tent to stay pitched without something breaking, then I'd pin it down and crawl in with my sleeping bag. Ideally I'd have some extra trash bags that I could use as a vapor barrier so I don't went out my sleeping gear as much from sweat condensation. When the wind relents, the tent would get pitched. The vapor barrier would stay in place to help dry out the bag and might get used to dry out other clothing too.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Bad benightings on 08/22/2012 03:11:03 MDT Print View

If you can't pitch your shelter because is too windy you have the wrong shelter and or are in the wrong place...
That is why although I am perfectly capable of setting up a 5'x8' 3oz (whatever) tarp I don't bother with that in the bush.
As far as I am concerned those shelters are the perfect solution for when you don't need a shelter.
But yes at worst your tent is a large bivvy, you just have to know how...

Franco
BTW my comment was based on this :
It’s too windy to pitch the tent
that does imply you have a tent, so nothing to do with day hikes...

Edited by Franco on 08/30/2012 19:32:28 MDT.

Craig Marriner
(ScribeStroller)

Locale: Central Plateau
Re: Re Re Re Rephrasing the question on 08/23/2012 03:54:52 MDT Print View

Yeah Luke, most of the tragedys indeed involve the inexperienced. And the huts can be a double edged sword: you can travel lighter and have a fine safe base to spend the night, but for a lot of hikers, when they don't make the hut, they don't have the wild camping skills or equipment to get them through.

Craig Marriner
(ScribeStroller)

Locale: Central Plateau
Re: Superior judgment on 08/23/2012 03:59:59 MDT Print View

Inpressive, counter-productive and pompous!

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Superior judgment on 08/23/2012 04:53:27 MDT Print View

> Inpressive, counter-productive and pompous!

I do not agree. And I have known cases where pilots who did not pay attention to that died.

I recall some years back when I was doing a lot of winter mountaineering back East (White Mountains) virtually all of the accidents were due to people, often inexperienced, using poor judgment. Really disturbed the rest of us, because that kind of bad behavior is what gets the authorities to put in restrictive regulations.

There is nothing heroic about surviving a situation you should never have gotten yourself (and worse yet others) into in the first place.

One of the tenets of ultralight backpacking is that you have the knowledge and judgment to safely replace equipment you would otherwise have to carry. In the case you hypothesized to begin with my first reaction was that it is rare to get injured to the point of immobility and absent that it is poor judgment to get yourself into the situation you described.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
day hikes on 08/23/2012 06:36:03 MDT Print View

Day hiking i carry a blizzard bag. That should get me through the night. Backpacking i dont believe i would end up in that situation but tbe answer would be to stake down the corners of the tarp or tent and a single pole or myself as the pole turning the tent into a bothy bag

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Superior judgment on 08/23/2012 09:48:46 MDT Print View

if climbing has taught me anything is that even the the best most experience people in the world can screw up ...

when yr cold, tired, hungry, in the dark/rain/wind, a few thousand feet up ... no one is immune

if you think you are and that itll never happen to you ... think again ... just like the "safe" driver who has never been in an accident YET, you can reduce the odds, but bad things do happen to good people ...

you dont want to live in fear ... but outright denial is even worse ...

Craig Marriner
(ScribeStroller)

Locale: Central Plateau
Re: Re: Re: Re: Superior judgment on 08/23/2012 14:10:31 MDT Print View

Exactly. Freak storm; lanslide; avalanche; injury, the list is lengthy. Never say never.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Bad benightings on 08/23/2012 18:00:30 MDT Print View

experience people in the world can screw up ...

Indeed they do.
Very stupid decisions are taken by very experienced and prepared people, just happens that something else has gone wrong.
In a way that is what STOP (Sit,Think,Observe,Plan) tries to prevent.
I add make a hot cup of tea to that as mostly we do stupid things when cold and or wet...
Franco

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Bad benightings on 08/23/2012 18:27:54 MDT Print View

I quite agree that freak things can happen. As one poster said, it would be foolish to deny that bad things can happen to you. I have had discussions with my (very experienced) nephew about how Stuff Happens, and leaving yourself no margin may be unwise.

OTOH you need to keep in mind that you can (and some would say should) conduct yourself to reduce that risk to a very low level. I just assert that unforeseeable serious problems are far rarer than some believe. Some of the more common causes of problems are:

*) Under equipped -- be that knowledge or physical equipment

*) Bad judgment -- be that inexperienced, or just too tired and making a mistake

*) Deliberate decision -- some peaks cannot be climbed without significant risk of getting injured or killed (rockfall, avalanche, etc) -- you have to decide whether or not climbing that peak is worth taking that risk

For example, one poster mentioned avalanches. I would assert that it is extremely rare for someone with good avalanche knowledge and awareness to get caught by one without realizing that conditions were risky and having deliberately decided to take that risk. It can happen, just as unforeseeable rockfall can happen -- but neither is common.

ROB WHELAN
(THREEPOINT)
Re: Bad benightings on 08/23/2012 21:00:07 MDT Print View

Posts like this are a good thing in my opinion - gets people thinking. I enjoy thinking through what I would do in different situations.

It's probably especially relevant to Ultralighters given one of the most basic tenets is to pack only what you need...... but can you ever really know with 100% certainty what you need???

I check the weather and research the areas I am visiting and pack what I know will most likely be sufficient for what I will most likely experience....

But freak storms happen...so do falls, broken bones, animal attacks....

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Re: Bad benightings on 08/24/2012 06:27:58 MDT Print View

you need to keep in mind that you can (and some would say should) conduct yourself to reduce that risk to a very low level

Follow that argument to it's logical conclusion and you would never get out of bed.
The fact is that doing anything involves risk. You may educate yourself, you may acquire experience and you may manage the risk, but you will never eliminate it. Shit does happen, even to the most experienced.

So, the OP's question is very relevant. Think hard about about how your equipment would function and how you would survive if everything goes pear shaped. Even spend a night simulating a survival situation - your gear may not keep you as warm as you might think in an exposed location.

(I personally knew 3 well equiped guys who died in one night, and the sole survivor)

Craig Marriner
(ScribeStroller)

Locale: Central Plateau
Re: Re: Re: Bad benightings on 08/24/2012 07:55:22 MDT Print View

Stuart, was that on the Scottish munros? Hellishly dangerous places to get benighted; regularly claim lives. Must have been the most harrowing of nights for all concerned.

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Re: Re: Re: Bad benightings on 08/24/2012 08:13:34 MDT Print View

Yes, in the Cairngorms, some time ago now. They were heading for a hut in winter, couldn't find it (dark, blizzard), tried to put up their tent but it was ripped to shreds in the gale, forced to walk out but only one made it. Subsequently the hut (and a few others in the area) were removed, the authorities thought that would avoid a repeat.

Edit to add link: http://www.hwumc.co.uk/public/view/27

Edited by Scunnered on 08/24/2012 08:17:16 MDT.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re Hut to hut on 08/24/2012 08:13:46 MDT Print View

There was a bad example of depending on huts in the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland years ago.
A school teacher and a party of kids were trying to find a shelter marked on the map during a blizzard. The teacher didn't realise that the shelter was buried under 20 feet of snow. Sadly, they all died.
The authorities decided to remove most of the shelters in the Cairngorms after that incident. It was giving a false sense of security to inexperienced folk.
You should know how to survive without shelters.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Snap! on 08/24/2012 08:15:54 MDT Print View

Spooky timing Stuart.

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Snap! on 08/24/2012 08:20:53 MDT Print View

Different incident but similarly sad outcome

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re re Snap on 08/24/2012 08:26:25 MDT Print View

I was meaning this incident.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/22/newsid_2549000/2549021.stm

Craig Marriner
(ScribeStroller)

Locale: Central Plateau
Re: Re re Snap on 08/24/2012 09:41:05 MDT Print View

So how DO you survive without shelter?

Obviously a snow cave if there's enough of it around. But what if there isn't?

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re re re Snap on 08/24/2012 10:00:12 MDT Print View

Here in Scotland, my first aim would to be get out of the wind. Wet and windy = dead. Look for natural shelter, or create a windbreak using rocks or similar. I always carry waterproofs, so i would put on every layer of clothing i was carrying under my waterproofs. I always have some form of shelter, either a tent, or a bothy bag if on a day hike, so using that, i would be confident of surviving the night. I would be carrying a sleeping bag if backpacking, or suitable insulating clothing and a Blizzard Bag if on a day hike.