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Was this too light???
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Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Was this too light??? on 03/19/2007 07:31:32 MDT Print View

Hope I'm not double posting, if so please let me know.

Were these skiers too light? Any thoughts/coments?


paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Was this too light??? on 03/19/2007 08:58:27 MDT Print View

Nothing substantive, only that the article has either the names, the ages, or the IDs of the two in the pic backwards (or, perhaps the pic was printed backwards?).

>>"Kristian Årsland, age 27, and Aslak Bråtveit, age 55"

yet in the pic the older fellow is on the left and ID'd as Kristian Årsland. the younger individual is on the right and ID'd as Aslak Bråtveit. Was the photo printed backwards, or captioned incorrectly? BTW, where's the younger fella's hat? Those Scandanavians must be tough folk to go hatless.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Was this too light??? on 03/19/2007 09:53:23 MDT Print View

I think it is obvious now it was too light. They were not prepared to biviouac in the worst conditions they could be expected to face; which is my standard for a minimum kit.

["irresponsible" to set off without being adequately prepared.]? Yes, especially when one guy was taking his 18 year old son, who died. Shame.

UL for the conditions; not just UL, is prudent.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Was this too light??? on 03/19/2007 14:06:54 MDT Print View

Just to be clear, the guys in the photo are not the ones that died - the three Scots involved were two friends and the son of one of the older men. These are links with their names etc.

The survivor was quoted as saying that they were properly equipped: prima facie they weren't.

They were also told - several times - to not attempt the trip due to expected foul weather but they went anyway. What's worse, they went out there without telling anyone that they were going.

(p.s., the "Territorial Army" which the two older men were members of is the British reserve army.)

I don't think that they were trying to be UL, they just underestimated the conditions and didn't take good advice or prepare for the worst.

This sort of thing happens all the time in Australia: tourists don't take proper precautions, don't take good advice and then get themselves in deadly trouble, especially in Central Australia. As an example, about 10 years ago some British colleagues of mine announced that they were going to ride their bicycles from Adelaide to Perth across the Nullabor, one of the driest, hottest, windiest parts of the world - in the middle of summer. I gently pointed out that temperatures were likely to be pretty extreme (45+ C) with no shade and hundreds of kilometres between water. To this the wife drew herself up to her full height and haughtily replied "we'll be fine ... we've cycled in Greece".

Edited by Arapiles on 04/23/2007 15:18:06 MDT.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
the best laid plans of mice and men... on 03/20/2007 16:53:41 MDT Print View

This is a great example of one of the concepts that I feel isn't clearly understood by some backpackers (of all styles.) Will your skill and equipment allow you to tolerate the unplanned or the unexpected?

I feel that so much time and mental energy are spent preparing for the *planned* trip, which is of course part of the joy of backpacking. Walking distance "A" each day, experiencing conditions "B", cooking at point "C", camping at time "D" at point "E". You prepare and equip yourself for the planned itinerary and then you go out and execute the plan.

But part of the reality (and thrill for some) of being in a remote area and days from civilization is that if any problem arises, it will only be solved if it is solved by you using your skills and your resources.

Things can and do come up: human error, animal encounters, bad luck, and especially weather can and do change your plans for you. Solving these problems is usually just a case of knowledge and strategy, but in some cases there can be pieces of equipment that are indispensable to a successful outcome. Even if you believe in the slogan "bandaid or helicopter", remember that Helos aren't much good to you unless it is daytime and the weather is decent. If it's afternoon, or the weather has socked in, you could be left to your own devices.

Some of the gear lists I see posted here and elsewhere (from heavyweight to SUL) seem not to be tolerant of some basic wilderness "surprises". Anyone who's weathered an August snowstorm in the high country knows that having some calories, fuel, and insulation in excess of the minimum expected need can literally get you through the night.

Losing packs, losing food, falling in a river, illness, cuts, sprains, and as Ryan unfortunately found out, a single bad foot placement can all change your plans. If your selected load is only suitable if *everything* goes *only* *exactly* according to plan, you are rolling the dice.

Granted, how much you are "rolling the dice" depends on where you are and what season it is. In winter, as Skurka pointed out, your margins can be very slim. I wonder if the party in the article understood that based on their equipment, they would die if they couldn't make the hut for any reason? Probably not until it was too late.

Look at your gear list. If you are in a snow storm, will you die? What other situations could you get yourself into and/or out of without assistance?

Keep in mind that I hike in Canada. As I understand it, our trails can be quite a bit more remote on average than what many "lower-48" hikers often experience. We also have (on average) an increased potential for severe weather in more places at more times. (And of course out west we have animals that can be larger and more predatory than you might think.) So take this post with a grain of salt.

Many canucks and Alaskans know what I'm talking about, though...