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Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
OVERDUE HIKER - please help if you can on 10/25/2012 13:06:25 MDT Print View

Posting this here just in case anyone has any info:

http://www.nps.gov/seki/parknews/upload/FLYER-LAWRENCE-CONN-OVERDUE-HIKER-Oct-24-2012.pdf

Last seen on the Taboose Pass trail heading into the mountains on Friday the 19th.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: OVERDUE HIKER - please help if you can on 10/25/2012 13:29:16 MDT Print View

So people don't have to go read that link:

On Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, Larry started his hike at the Taboose Creek Trailhead in the Inyo National Forest with plans to travel over Taboose Pass toward the John Muir Trail in Kings Canyon National Park. His route may have included Split Mountain and areas to the south, including Pinchot Pass. He planned to be back on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012.

Andy Duncan
(bluewater) - M

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: OVERDUE HIKER - please help if you can on 10/25/2012 14:23:54 MDT Print View

I have read that Larry is an experienced hiker. He is a long time member of the High Sierra Topic forum. There is more information at:

http://highsierratopix.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8537

regarding the search. Here are a few photos just in case anyone has seen him.

Larry

And his tent:

tent

Andy.

Brian Johns
(bcutlerj) - M

Locale: NorCal
Any update? on 10/31/2012 01:39:24 MDT Print View

Or word yet on this hiker? Given the experience, location and time of year, I expect a happy ending.

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Not yet Found on 10/31/2012 07:26:30 MDT Print View

No, as of last night, the man remains "missing". It's now been quite a while and there's weather involved. Not good, but there are those who apparently know him that feel he's got the smarts to last things out, if in able condition but immobile for some reason.

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Re OVERDUE HIKER - please help if you can on 10/31/2012 11:09:50 MDT Print View

I've been following the threads over at HST and it's heartbreaking. I hope they find Larry alive, but the odds at this point are not favorable. They posted up some of Larry's previous posts and he has stated he doesn't follow his own trip plans, he doesn't carry a SPOT, and he doesn't even own a compass or gps, and he didn't have a stove. He was known to carry adequate cold weather clothing and gear, and extra food.

I hope he's found alive, but if nothing else I hope people will consider how they approach their own solo adventures. It's possible something happened to Larry that no amount of safety gear would have helped with, but it's also possible that if he'd had navigation equipment or a SPOT or PLB that this ordeal would have been over days ago.

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
Tributes to missing hiker on 11/12/2012 01:18:43 MST Print View

3.5 weeks after he was last seen, Larry Conn has not returned.

There are some moving tributes to Larry, and some words about how much he was moved by the mountains, here:

http://highsierratopix.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8537

...scroll down to the last two or three pages.

He leaves behind a partner and a 7-year-old son.

You will be in our thoughts for a long time to come, Larry.

- Elizabeth

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Tributes to missing hiker on 11/12/2012 02:04:38 MST Print View

Rumoured to be carrying no stove and no compass.
> He leaves behind a partner and a 7-year-old son.

And those he left behind now have to manage by themselves. They're the ones who are suffering now.

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 11/12/2012 13:43:41 MST.

Phillip Damiano
(Phillipsart) - M

Locale: Australia
Overdue hiker on 11/17/2012 18:08:55 MST Print View

This is so sad,

I would never venture out in the bush with no map, compass or GPS on a solo trek is not a wise dessicion to make, I take extra precautions when i am solo. I dont venture off track solo unless i know the area well. Choosing to keep to formed hiking trails on my solo treks. Off track with a group of mates.

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
compass on 11/19/2012 00:50:33 MST Print View

It's just so worth it to carry a basic compass.

Mine is like 35g and is super small and from REI.

Most of the time you don't need it but when you do...

When we were in Yellowstone at about half way through our trip we basically ran out of trail. The map was 100% wrong.

We had to walk about 4 miles through a valley/swamp to the other side to re-orient our position and then find the trail emerging from the valley some three hours later.

Without a compass we would have had to turn back.

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Compass not the issue on 11/19/2012 08:24:29 MST Print View

I carry a compass, too.

However, the issue with this man isn't one of navigation: by all accounts, he was very familiar with the areas he backpacked into. The general consensus is that disaster befell him, such as a fall or "medical", rather than him becoming lost. Were he lost and needing orientation, the fellow had clearly established capability to hunker down and make himself known to rescuers that scoured the area.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Compass not the issue on 11/19/2012 09:08:13 MST Print View

I agree. I have hiked extensively in this area and if he a map then a compass would likely only be needed in the event of a whiteout. I think we should be careful speculating on causes until there is a bit more data.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Compass not the issue on 11/30/2012 18:30:00 MST Print View

Jumped in late... I agree with what Greg wrote. Speculation that such and such piece of gear would have made the difference is just that -- speculation. And given the turn of events -- we can tone down the sarcasm too. "Cheers".

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
medical on 12/04/2012 12:13:09 MST Print View

I really hope they find him and everything works out.

The issue that keep me awake at night have more to do with a fall or health reasons while alone.

Most of the trail have enough traffic that if you are hurt you can just walk to the trail and someone will come by in a few days at most.

We need a better way to find trail partners - if for safety alone.

A broken leg can be very problematic when alone but if you have a partner can be far easier to recover from.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: medical on 12/04/2012 12:59:53 MST Print View

Kevin, it has been like a month and a half.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: medical on 12/04/2012 18:05:57 MST Print View

"The issue that keep me awake at night have more to do with a fall or health reasons while alone."

The cold hard truth, Kevin, is that every once in a while an incident like this occurs and, while terribly sad, it does serve to clarify the risks inherent in solo hiking. I feel for his family and friends, and am sad for him, but also see it as an object lesson for those who contemplate soloing but may not have thought thru the potential consequences. Anyone who does so should do it with their eyes wide open.

Diana Nevins
(artemis) - MLife

Locale: Great Plains
Another cold, Hard Truth on 12/04/2012 18:38:41 MST Print View

I think it's important to remember, too, that we have no way of knowing whether having a hiking partner would have helped in this case. If you're way out in the backcountry and have a massive MI, all your hiking partner is going to be able to do is to watch you die - there's just no way for medical help to arrive in time, even if you're carrying a PLB or a satellite phone.

Maybe hiking solo proved a fatal mistake in this case - or may be not. Maybe it was just Larry Conn's time to go. Until/unless his body is found and a cause of death can be accurately determined, we just don't know.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Another cold, Hard Truth on 12/04/2012 21:01:14 MST Print View

" think it's important to remember, too, that we have no way of knowing whether having a hiking partner would have helped in this case. If you're way out in the backcountry and have a massive MI, all your hiking partner is going to be able to do is to watch you die - there's just no way for medical help to arrive in time, even if you're carrying a PLB or a satellite phone."

True enough, but it sure would have saved SAR a lot of time, expense, and personal risk.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Different Acceptances of Risks on 12/04/2012 21:42:23 MST Print View

Reading some of the posts about the riskiness of hiking solo...

I think we can all think of scenarios where a twosome could have saved the day (versus handling a situation solo). But then, some might argue that a threesome or a quartet could handle difficult situations even better! And then, there are those who think hiking out in the wilds in the middle of winter is just plain insane!

Where do we draw the line? IMHO, extremes aside, there really is no single line. We all have to weigh the costs against the benefits and against our own experiences (of course).

Bottom line, each to his or her own. More preparedness. Less idle speculation.

Edited by ben2world on 12/04/2012 22:51:19 MST.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Different Acceptances of Risks on 12/05/2012 13:55:37 MST Print View

I think it is well to consider, in the light of this unfortunate occurrence, the two different kinds of risk that accompany solo travel. The first is risks that you, the traveler, accept for yourself. You decide that the added risk to life and limb that traveling alone in the wilds presents is worth it to you in order to have the experience that it provides. I might add that this is not a simple equation - solo=more risk. A person might be safer traveling solo in some situations compared to traveling with companions who they are responsible for and who does not have their level of experience or competence.But generally, solo is riskier.

The second is the risks that you ask others to accept for you. The worry and perhaps grief that your injury or death may bring to family and friends; and the risks that will be taken by those who search for you. It is these secondary risks that I find the most troubling in my own considerations of going alone. If I were still single and childless, and could be assured that if I was lost no one would come looking for me and risk their own safety to do it, then I could feel that it was all my risk. But Since I am married and have kids and since I know that I will be searched for even if I tried to arrange that I would not be, I feel differently.
These secondary risks have led me to decide that I have an obligation to those at home and those who would come looking to carry a PLB, for their sake. I realize thee are situations where it wouldn't matter - if I fall and die it won't matter what I am carrying - so it's not perfect but there it is.

Everyone has to consider the risks and decide what they want to do. I just think it's important to be aware of the risks that you take for others as well as those you take for yourself.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Different Acceptances of Risks on 12/05/2012 14:29:22 MST Print View

Paul:

Agree -- although I would add the the two risks are present any time we hike out in the wilds -- regardless of group size. We are talking different degrees of risks -- but given that both we and our loved ones and the people who might later get "sucked in and affected" all have different viewpoints and risk tolerance -- who draws the line?

Some people may feel comfortable drawing the line at two. Others might think four is the minimum. You see, there is so much subjectivity here. Hard etching the line between one and two (or wherever) is, IMHO, arbitrary and not necessarily correct in all the circumstances.

Anyway, my spew. Aside from the extremes of recklessness, I don't think there really is a single answer as to whether hiking solo is safe / responsible -- or not.

Edited by ben2world on 12/05/2012 14:32:56 MST.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
OVERDUE HIKER on 12/05/2012 18:08:04 MST Print View

I agree with Roger and Paul that having family/dependents back home should mean less risk-taking while this status lasts. It's an issue of responsibility. Children do grow up, so the status of parent doesn't last forever.

Although I carry a PLB, it's simply a psychological weight saving that gets friends and relations off my back! I don't let it affect my behavior one way or another. When I take one of my grandkids out, the PLB of course becomes a lot more important, although fortunately I've never had to use it. On the other hand, I know that if I do have even a relatively minor accident at my age, it will probably end my backpacking career. That's why I'm careful when going over dicey terrain. For this old lady, pushing to keep up with a group involves far more risk of injury than hiking solo at my own pace.

If it's my time to go out there, fine--it will happen one way or another any time now. If you find me unconscious along the trail, don't bother trying to resuscitate, but please take good care of my beloved dog!

Edited by hikinggranny on 12/05/2012 18:11:54 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Different Acceptances of Risks on 12/05/2012 19:10:34 MST Print View

"I think it is well to consider, in the light of this unfortunate occurrence, the two different kinds of risk that accompany solo travel...."

+1 With one minor qualification: "But generally, solo is riskier."

I'm not convinced hiking solo, in and of itself, is riskier, but the consequences of a mishap are potentially much more severe. In the event you are incapacitated, you simply have no backup, even if you are carrying a PLB, a good first aid kit, have the knowledge to use both, and are in a location where a PLB can transmit/receive. Hiking with one or more partners greatly reduces the chance of being unable to either self rescue or summon help, not to mention stabilize a severely injured hiker. What Paul said in his post is well worth thinking thru very carefully before deciding to hike solo. If the decision is still to do so, at least carry a PLB and a good first aid kit, know how to use them, leave your intended route with a responsible person, and stick to that route. My 2 cents.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Different Acceptances of Risks on 12/05/2012 22:34:14 MST Print View

Ben - there is one big difference between solo and any other size group, and that is that if one is solo and something happens, no one knows where you are unless you have some sort of communication or signalling device. If there are 2 or more of you, one can go for help or build signal fires or otherwise try to attract the attention of searchers. I think this is a very big difference, and it particularly affects those who come looking for you. The difference between a search and a rescue is immense. Having followed the search for Larry Conn fairly closely on HighSierraTopix forums, I was amazed at how many people and how much resources were involved. If a location had been known, one helicopter flight and it's done.

If you are on well-travelled trails in the prime season, this is much less of an issue than if you are off-trail or off-season. So each outing has its different set of considerations.

For me, the critical issue is that I do not want anyone risking their life or health or even wasting their time trying to find me if I have chosen to go off in the mountains on my own and I have gotten in trouble. That is not to say I would not go solo - but if I do go solo, and off-trail or off-season, I will carry a PLB. In some situations, I'll carry the PLB even if not solo. When I skied across the Sierra with a partner, I carried it, since we would be way out there and the chances of anyone finding us in time or of one of us getting out in time to get help in an emergency was essentially nil after the first day or two.

Everyone has to make their own decision about solo wilderness travel. I just wanted to bring up the idea that your decision will affect others as well as yourself, so take that into consideration.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Different Acceptances of Risks on 12/05/2012 23:26:56 MST Print View

Paul:

My posts were thoughts that came to me after reading Tom's posts.

Objectively, group hiking ought to be safer and better in dealing with mishaps than solo hiking -- assuming comparable hiker experience and all.

But subjectively, safer may still not be safe enough. We ALL have different risk tolerance levels. I, for example, think solo hiking is a safe and responsible enough thing to do for certain hikers. Tom, OTOH, believes solo hiking is not safe enough. But hiking in a group is OK. But you know, there are plenty of people who believe hiking up in the wilds in the middle of winter is just crazy unsafe and totally irresponsible, no matter how large the group. Well, who's right?

There is no objectively correct answer to this -- simply because we all have different risk tolerance levels. What's reasonable to one may be quite radical to another. So it goes right back to HYOH.

Tom is right to warn everyone to be careful. But I think it is 'wrong' to warn against the entire concept of solo hiking as unsafe. Just as I believe it is 'wrong' if someone else were to warn against the entire concept of winter hiking as unsafe. Because it goes right back to 'unsafe for whom'? Who gets to define what's unsafe vs. safe enough?

But one thing we all agree on is what you wrote in your last paragraph: "Everyone has to make their own decision about solo wilderness travel. I just wanted to bring up the idea that your decision will affect others as well as yourself, so take that into consideration".

Edited by ben2world on 12/06/2012 00:11:07 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Different Acceptances of Risks on 12/06/2012 16:20:26 MST Print View

"I, for example, think solo hiking is a safe and responsible enough thing to do for certain hikers. Tom, OTOH, believes solo hiking is not safe enough. But hiking in a group is OK."

I am truly puzzled by your comments, Ben. I have assembled my posts to this thread below for reference, prefaced by the context in which I made them. Nowhere have I implied that everyone should hike in a group, or that soloing is inherently more risky to the hiker than hiking in a group. What I have tried to say is that anyone comtemplating a solo hike should be think thru the consequences should something go wrong, the secondary risks if you will. Those secondary risks concern the impact on family, as well as the expense, time, and risks to SAR personnel. I would suggest you re read my posts, paying particular attention to post #3, in which I said explicitly that I was not convinced that solo hiking is, in and of itself, riskier. My posts throughout this thread have been focused on considering everything that goes into hiking solo, including personal risk and consequences for others. Then, if you decide it is worth it, proceed properly equipped and with proper route information left with a responsible person. I speak as one who has done a lot of solo hiking, a substantial amount of it off trail, during my backpacking career. I would be the last person to recommend against it. I thought you were aware of this, but apparently I was mistaken.

#1 - In response to Kevin's concerns about something going wrong when hiking solo.

'The cold hard truth, Kevin, is that every once in a while an incident like this occurs and, while terribly sad, it does serve to clarify the risks inherent in solo hiking. I feel for his family and friends, and am sad for him, but also see it as an object lesson for those who contemplate soloing but may not have thought thru the potential consequences. Anyone who does so should do it with their eyes wide open.'

#2 - In response to Diane's post about having partner not helping if you have a heart attack, PLB or not.

"True enough, but it sure would have saved SAR a lot of time, expense, and personal risk.

#3 - In response to Paul's excellent posr outining the fallout from a mishap while hiking solo.

"+1 With one minor qualification: 'But generally, solo is riskier.'

I'm not convinced hiking solo, in and of itself, is riskier, but the consequences of a mishap are potentially much more severe. In the event you are incapacitated, you simply have no backup, even if you are carrying a PLB, a good first aid kit, have the knowledge to use both, and are in a location where a PLB can transmit/receive. Hiking with one or more partners greatly reduces the chance of being unable to either self rescue or summon help, not to mention stabilize a severely injured hiker. What Paul said in his post is well worth thinking thru very carefully before deciding to hike solo. If the decision is still to do so, at least carry a PLB and a good first aid kit, know how to use them, leave your intended route with a responsible person, and stick to that route. My 2 cents."

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Different Acceptances of Risks on 12/06/2012 16:35:49 MST Print View

"I'm not convinced hiking solo, in and of itself, is riskier, but the consequences of a mishap are potentially much more severe."

Agree. And if there is more risk, it is worth it.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Different Acceptances of Risks on 12/06/2012 16:41:09 MST Print View

When I hike solo, I'm more careful, avoid doing some things I might do with a group because I know no one will go get help. And I don't have to impress myself, if with someone else I can't be a "wimp" so I'll be more likely to do something to impress the other even if dangerous.

So, smaller chance of getting injured

If I do get unjured, bigger chance of not surviving if I'm solo

But, mutiply those two together and the chance of not surviving is probably about the same

And say I broke a leg. If there was someone else, sure, they could go get help but that's going to be a major pain regardless. Better to just make sure I don't injure myself in a manner I can't walk out.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
group risk on 12/06/2012 16:49:40 MST Print View

groups can increase the risk ... ive seen it in climbing, winter sports, etc ...

also remember that as a group you are only as fast and strong as your weakest member ..

solo has its own risks ... you can mitigate those to some degree with solid skills, the right equipment, proper preparation, and a good mindset ...

ALL OF THE WARNING signs had been there, glaring and obvious: heaps of new snow, terrain that would funnel a slide into a gully, a large and confident group with a herd mentality, and a forecast that warned of dangerous avalanche conditions. All of us had been trained to recognize these risk factors, yet we did not heed them. Why?

“In a group, you feel less accountable for making decisions,” Peikert said later. “Because it’s one or two people making the call. It’s like a riot—if one person throws a rock, everyone starts throwing rocks.”

....

Squaw Valley, California, psychiatrist and former pro skier Robb Gaffney told me, “If you’re in a group, and you have this gut instinct that something isn’t quite right, the fact that you want to be part of the group means you’ll be less likely to speak up.”

Hammond, the Salomon rep, admits: “A lot of us knew that terrain almost too well. But this wasn’t a group of 12 people charging down a slope and being stupid. We were a big group acting smartly and independently.”




http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/snow-sports/Tunnel-Vision-November-2012.html?page=all

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: group risk on 12/06/2012 17:27:02 MST Print View

agree eric. collective thinking results in the lowest common denominator solutions. all rather boring and uninspiring.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re: Different Acceptances of Risks on 12/06/2012 18:09:49 MST Print View

Tom wrote: "I am truly puzzled by your comments, Ben. I have assembled my posts to this thread below for reference, prefaced by the context in which I made them. Nowhere have I implied that everyone should hike in a group, or that soloing is inherently more risky to the hiker than hiking in a group. What I have tried to say is that anyone comtemplating a solo hike should be think thru the consequences should something go wrong, the secondary risks if you will".

Sorry for the confusion, Tom, but what I got -- again -- was that you were singling out solo hikers to "think thru the consequences should something go wrong". But EVERYONE hiking out in the wilds (or skydiving or ocean diving or whatever) -- ought to be doing the same, no?

To use an admittedly extreme example to illustrate a point... wasn't there a very experienced 30-something woman mountaineer who died while trying to summit Everest (or K2 or something similarly challenging) a few years back? Some people were upset that a mother of two young children could have left them orphaned in pursuing her own personal quest!?! Who's to say, really? But my point is that she was with a group of very experienced mountaineers.

But anyway, if you are not singling out solo hiking, then my apologies. I'll pin the misunderstanding to the possible mental fog caused by my codeine infused cough syrup. :)

Edited by ben2world on 12/06/2012 18:15:00 MST.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Group Risk on 12/06/2012 18:20:20 MST Print View

Interesting point. One of my closest calls in the outdoors was a kayaking accident. Long story short, we took flat water boats into serious whitewater and all three of us ended up in the water. Why? Well probably because we all had the "herd" mentality and none of us had the brains to speak up and say it was a bad idea.
For a similar illustration of the same principal look at what young adults do in groups.

On the other hand solo people tend to be much more aware of their vulnerabilities and much less likely to take foolish risks.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
ham sandwiches ... on 12/06/2012 18:22:22 MST Print View

well the flipside is that if you solo ... dont eat ham sandwiches ;)

Munching on his sandwich, enjoying the view to the south of the Sawatch Range, Lee stopped breathing. He tried to cough, but nothing. His airway was completely blocked by a piece of sandwich. He hacked. Nothing. After 10 or so seconds of desperately trying to draw in some thin, 12,900-foot-high air, he began to see a gray frame at the very edge of his vision. He realized he had wasted a lot of time.

He had survived 35 years of pushing his limits in the big hills, including hundreds of pitches of roped climbing, that rock on Torreys Peak, the occasional incompetent partner, stuck ropes, Rocky Mountain thunderstorms, and he was about to be killed by a goddamn ham sandwich. His story in the next year’s Accidents In North American Mountaineering would be hard to frame as “heroic.”

In 1974, American physician Henry J. Heimlich popularized a series of abdominal thrusts that came to be known as “The Heimlich Maneuver,” a technique that has saved the lives of many humans who neglect to chew their food completely. The light bulb went on in Lee’s oxygen-deprived brain and he remembered the self-Heimlich technique, in which a choking person can Heimlich themselves by leaning over, say, the back of a restaurant chair and pushing it into their diaphragm.

There are no chairs on the northwest ridge of Drift Peak.

But what about leaning the spike of his ice axe on a rock and driving the head of it into his abdomen? Lee looked around. Nothing but snow, which would just give way under his weight. He would have to glissade down the ridge to a talus field 40 feet away to find a large rock. If he could make it in time.



more at link ...

http://semi-rad.com/2012/12/the-greatest-mountaineering-survival-story-never-told/

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Skewed view of risk on 12/06/2012 18:29:24 MST Print View

Several years ago I was into skydiving. I loved it and it was the single coolest minutes of my life as I shot to the ground at 120mph. But I stopped, one reason being that my life insurance had a skydiver exemption. So I started really getting into hiking doing longer, more remote solo trips. Finally a couple of years ago I started doing solo snowshoe trips into the Sierra, I felt better about this hobby, if something happened to me my family would be financially taken care of. But which activity was statistically more dangerous..... No question the solo snowshoe trips.

I do many trips that other would say are risky, reckless etc. I know the risks, I plan carefully and minimize my exposure as much as possible. Will you read someday on this board that old Malto bit off more than he could chew.... Possibly but hopefully not. But I would rather live today than die tomorrow wishing I had lived yesterday.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Different Acceptances of Risks on 12/06/2012 18:42:17 MST Print View

Eric raises a very good point.

It's a pretty common scenario that the majority of a group chooses to do something and members in the minority are dragged into something over their heads due to a fear of confrontation and speaking up, not wanting to be left out, or simple peer pressure.

Sometimes this can be a good thing; people get pushed and learn new things. I've certainly experienced it when I used to rock climb and now I'm getting it surfing; being out with people that are better than me gets me into far more challenging situations than I would put myself into alone. When I'm crapping my pants looking at the size of the waves prior to paddling out and a friend is telling me they're "big, but not THAT big"...well, it's ether time to suck it up and go for it or back off only to wonder what could've been. Going for it is a great way to speed up the learning curve...but if you have serious reservations and you're not willing to speak up, it could also get you hurt or killed.

The consequences of a simple solo accident could be severe, but personally, I'm far more likely to take serious risks when I'm out with a group and someone is pushing it. I'd like to think I know when it's time to speak up and bow out, but a group's energy can sometimes blur this line.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: group risk on 12/06/2012 18:46:26 MST Print View

Maybe minimizing risk is more complicated

Just saying don't go solo is to simplistic

One thing is remembering times that could have gone wrong, like I was looking through the camera viewfinder and almost walked off the cliff. I now try to move to a position or look through the viewfinder but don't do both simultaneously.

Or what happened in particular cases when someone was seriously injured or killed? What can I avoid to not do that?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Different Acceptances of Risks on 12/06/2012 19:43:55 MST Print View

"Agree. And if there is more risk, it is worth it."

+1 That sums it up quite nicely.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Different Acceptances of Risks on 12/06/2012 20:11:51 MST Print View

"Sorry for the confusion, Tom, but what I got -- again -- was that you were singling out solo hikers to "think thru the consequences should something go wrong". But EVERYONE hiking out in the wilds (or skydiving or ocean diving or whatever) -- ought to be doing the same, no?"

No problem, Ben. Of course the same applies to everyone who engages in a risky pursuit, whether solo or in a group. It's just that the consequences for a solo hiker are potentially much more dire, as was the case for the guy whose disappearance and almost certain death started this thread. The focus of the thread has been the risks of solo backpacking, and that is how I couched my posts. If you have a group, there is immediate onsite assistance to stabilze the injured party and make them comfortable, assuming they are still alive, and begin the process of either self rescue, signaling for help, or sending one or more remaining party members out for help if no one is carrying a PLB/Sat phone/SPOT, etc. This does not necessarily lessen the risks inherent in backpacking, but it will probably mitigate the consequences of a mishap. I was simply trying to bring up these points for consideration by those inexperienced in solo hiking who are contemplating doing it. For those of us who made the decision long ago, what I am talking about is well understood, and I suspect all of us have gone thru the "thinking it thru" process at some point. In the end, as you said, everyone makes their own decision and then lives or dies by it. That is the way of the mountains, and of life. Others have addressed the group hiking subject quite well, and I have nothing to add beyond saying that I largely agree with what they said. Personally I want nothing to do with large groups in the mountains, and have long preferred to either hike solo or with one other person. The 2-3 times I hiked in a group of three did not go well, and I have no reason to think that I would fare any better with larger groups. Group think or the dominance of more aggressive personalities greatly increases the odds of a mishap, IMO, not to mention diminishes my enjoyment. I much prefer my own company or that of a close friend or acquaintance that I trust, with all the risks that come with that choice, trusting in judgment and skills that have been acquired from many years of wandering in high places. So far, so good, but who knows what the next hike will bring.