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Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Hiker fined for being unprepared on 12/31/2012 09:52:27 MST Print View

Australia has the right idea.



http://now.msn.com/

Clueless hiker fined for 3-day trek with just potatoes and flatbread

"What to bring on my grueling, multiday excursion into the mountains? Hmm ... I know, how about a kilo of starchy tubers and some flatbread?" An ill-equipped Aussie man was fined $500 after the unidentified fellow trekked into New South Wales' rugged Blue Mountains for a three-day trip carrying only potatoes and naan bread. He got lost and had to be found by rescuers. Although the potatoes can actually sustain a person if supplemented with vitamins A and D, the 29-year-old also lacked locator beacons or accurate knowledge of his route. The combination put him and others at risk, said Australian authorities, who apparently have little time for unprepared adventurers who trek into the wilderness, get lost and require others to rescue them.



From the Sydney Morning Herald, Dec 30, 2012

http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-news/victorian-fined-for-trekking-underprepared-20121230-2c1ej.html

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Good for them on 12/31/2012 11:03:10 MST Print View

As much as I'm glad the guy had the desire to visit the outdoors, I am glad the SAR applied a bill and hope the word spreads. Act like an idiot and pay your own way.

Jeff Hollis
(hyperslug) - MLife
Be prepared. on 12/31/2012 11:18:22 MST Print View

Cause Mother Nature has a more permanant way of keeping down the number of unprepared hikers. :)

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Hiker fined for being unprepared on 12/31/2012 15:18:02 MST Print View

The guy was a complete incompetent idiot!

I KNOW that country, probably better than most. That's a hard trip. I doubt that the $500 covered more than a fraction of the SAR cost though.

Darwin.

Cheers

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Exactly what did he do wrong on 12/31/2012 16:08:20 MST Print View

I'm not sure where the guy went wrong and deserved to be fined. Mayb he was incompetent and maybe he just sprained his ankle and couldn't get out on schedule (hardly a crime). Until I see more information I'll reserve judgement.

In principal I'm a bit skeptical of some government bureaucratic deciding whether or not a risk I take as a responsible adult is a good idea or not. I would hope the only people getting fined are really, and completely stupid.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Exactly what did he do wrong on 12/31/2012 16:14:54 MST Print View

I don't know the details, but the OP stated that "...He got lost and had to be found by rescuers...."
Is the OP correct? I don't know. I assume so.

That being the case, the hiker's incompetence cost an agency time, expense, and risk.
Stupid actions often have unforeseen consequences. Sometimes death, in this case rescue and a fine. He got off lucky.

Works for me.

Edited by greg23 on 12/31/2012 16:17:57 MST.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Take your vitamins on 12/31/2012 16:45:10 MST Print View

So the take home message here is do not get lost in AUS, and if you do, be sure to bring your vitamins.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Hiker fined for being unprepared on 12/31/2012 16:48:28 MST Print View

"What to bring on my grueling, multiday excursion into the mountains? Hmm ... I know, how about a kilo of starchy tubers and some flatbread?" An ill-equipped Aussie man was fined $500 after the unidentified fellow trekked into New South Wales' rugged Blue Mountains for a three-day trip carrying only potatoes and naan bread. He got lost and had to be found by rescuers. Although the potatoes can actually sustain a person if supplemented with vitamins A and D, the 29-year-old also lacked locator beacons or accurate knowledge of his route. The combination put him and others at risk, said Australian authorities, who apparently have little time for unprepared adventurers who trek into the wilderness, get lost and require others to rescue them."

I applaud the fine for incompetence,as evidenced by lack of a locator beacon or knowledge of the route in apparently very rugged terrain, but am troubled by the focus on his diet. A kilo of potatoes and naan contain ~3500 kcal, more than enough for 3 day trip with a couple day's rations to spare when combined with the metabolism of body fat at an ~30% carbs to 70% fat ratio.

The first 2 factors alone, however, would qualify him for the Darwin competition.

spelt the enigmatic
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Re: Hiker fined for being unprepared on 12/31/2012 17:10:38 MST Print View

Yes, the focus on the food is a little weird. Seems that was the least bad of his several bad decisions.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Assumptions on 12/31/2012 17:23:14 MST Print View

He seems to have had three "problems" lets look at them in detail and the assumptions being made.

1. Lack of knowledge - Not actually stated this just seems to be assumed based on everything else that went wrong. Its possible he knew exactly what he was getting into and just had bad luck. Or he could be an idiot.


2. Lack of supplies - The only thing we know for sure is he had minimal food and no locator beacon. Its assumed he had inadequate gear because the authorities said nothing about a shelter or sleeping bag but its possible he DID have the right gear and knew what he was getting into. Or he could be an idiot.


3. He was late - The assumption is lateness was due to incompetence but we know he hurt his ankle. A sprained ankle can slow down a perfectly competent hiker so being late doesn't mean he was an idiot. Or he could still be a complete idiot.

I'm perfectly open to the idea this guy was an idiot but right now we just don't know and newspapers are notorious for getting important details and context wrong.

Now maybe the police talked to him and he really was inadequately prepared and didn't know what he was getting into. Its also possible the poor guy just had bad luck and the SAR guys were annoyed that they actually had to go out and do the job they are paid to do.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Assumptions on 12/31/2012 17:26:20 MST Print View

Luke Schmidt said -

"...and the SAR guys were annoyed that they actually had to go out and do the job they are paid to do."

Now that's an interesting perspective ...

Edited by greg23 on 12/31/2012 17:28:31 MST.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Assumptions on 12/31/2012 17:58:56 MST Print View

You are also assuming that the SAR crew was paid rather than volunteer.

Perhaps so; perhaps not. Either way, it's a moot point.

The saliant point here is that the authorities who handled the case deemed him sufficiently negligent to warrent a monetary fine.

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Hiker fined for being unprepared on 12/31/2012 18:17:14 MST Print View

Muir would have been in trouble with his diet.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Assumptions on 12/31/2012 20:07:18 MST Print View

> I'm perfectly open to the idea this guy was an idiot but right now we just don't know
I know that country. We have done that route, and variants of it. I do know.

Newnes to Colo Heights in three days ... you could do it at peak flood by surfing the river the whole way. But it is not very likely you would live. That river goes up by 10 metres at times. Whole trees with a 1 - 2 m trunk diameter float down the river when that happens. And the river is going through gorges most of the time.

Part of the problem was that he was from a long way away and simply did not understand the country. Perhaps, if he had been attempting something similar in his home state of Victoria, he might have succeeded. (Unlikely imho, but never mind.) It's great country, but more than a bit extreme.

Oh well, he's alive.

Cheers

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Re Assumptions on 12/31/2012 21:51:00 MST Print View

Well flooded rivers do add context to it Roger, thanks for the on the ground perspective. So I would be guessing the key in concluding he was at fault is the difficulty of the terrain not all the other factors (lack of a SPOT and food).

Incidentally does this happen often there? I've heard of it once or twice in the US but only in some really, really extreme cases. Usually they involve the guilty party doing something really dumb then summoning help with a SPOT or cell phone.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
SAR volunteers do not like fines on 01/01/2013 11:44:16 MST Print View

The great percentage of SAR in the US are made up of volunteers. The majority of them do not want people in distress hiding from them or not calling for help until it is too late, which people do if they know they might be fined. Volunteers love to do what they do and are not in it for the money. The goal is to help people, not judge and cause them more monetary distress.

The rescued, in my experience, donate more money than fines would generate anyway.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: SAR volunteers do not like fines on 01/03/2013 16:46:18 MST Print View

"The majority of them do not want people in distress hiding from them or not calling for help until it is too late, which people do if they know they might be fined."

In principle I agree with the fines, but the above point is the first thing I thought of when I read this. Unintended consequences have to always be a consideration. Would someone take even more risk & not seek help to avoid a fine? I wouldn't, but you can bet some people would.

Ryan

Edited by ViolentGreen on 01/03/2013 16:46:52 MST.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: SAR volunteers do not like fines on 01/03/2013 18:00:40 MST Print View

Would someone go on a trek totally unprepared and then ...

"Would someone take even more risk & not seek help to avoid a fine?.... you can bet some people would."

Ahhh, Darwin comes through again.

Edited by greg23 on 01/03/2013 18:03:57 MST.