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Temp of 115 kills hiker
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(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Temp of 115 kills hiker on 06/10/2013 12:08:46 MDT Print View

BOULDER CITY, Nev. (AP) - Authorities say temperatures hit an estimated 115 degrees in a Colorado River canyon where a Scout group took a fateful hike over the weekend.
Lake Mead park rangers say 69-year-old Scout leader Clawson Bowman Jr. of Las Vegas was found dead around 3:30 p.m. Saturday about a mile from the trailhead.
Four other Boy Scouts were rescued from the White Rock Canyon area in Arizona after calling for help.
Park rangers tell the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the group had started early and reached their destination at the Arizona Hot Springs by 9 a.m. But the heat rose quickly, and the group became disoriented as they tried to make their way back.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Temp of 115 kills hiker on 06/10/2013 12:24:41 MDT Print View

I find it hard to believe that there's not some pre existing health issue in cases like this.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Temp of 115 kills hiker on 06/10/2013 12:28:44 MDT Print View

Like pilots do well and boaters sometimes manage, we all need certain hard&fast limits that, in calm thoughtful reflection we've decided we will never exceed. For a particular pilot/plane that might a minimum of 2 n.m. of vis or a ceiling of more than 2500' AGL. A certain boat might dictate no seas over 3 feet.

Temps forecast over 100F should absolutely dictate a trip cancellation. Over 85 or 90F in sun or without lots of acclimatization should also scrub a trip.

When I work in the desert, we have checklists of the amount of water per person, rest break schedules (OSHA requires shade, but A/C in a vehicle is better), and there's a sliding scale of more rest at higher temps plus a hard stop-work limit.

We cavers marvel at how Boy Scout troops, almost uniquely, will proceed with a trip to a wet cave when rain showers or thunderstorms are forecast.

Maybe if every trip announcement included comfort/safety-related contingencies ("day hike at Lake Chabot Saturday at 9 am. Rrain plan: Oakland Museum"), the organizers would (1) be forced to comply with their own guidelines, and (2) be able to attribute a trip cancellation to the weather rather than feel personally responsible for disappointing the boys by canceling. Last winter, my kids had a lot of ski lessons cancelled for temps below -0F (90 minute lessons). Shorter school recess periods have a -10F limit. -12F and it's indoor recess.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Temp of 115 kills hiker on 06/10/2013 12:39:32 MDT Print View

115* is incredibly hot if you're in it for any length of time.
Michael Popov experienced the same fate in death valley.

Edited by asandh on 06/10/2013 17:53:18 MDT.

Joe Lynch
(rushfan) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Temp of 115 kills hiker on 06/10/2013 19:03:17 MDT Print View

I did my eagle project at Lake Chabot...

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Over 100 on 06/10/2013 19:25:50 MDT Print View

Sad story, kids don't know their limits and adults trying to keep up with their kids push themselves too hard. A clear policy of when to cut a trip off helps with such situations.

That said I would not make 100 F a cut off for all trips. I was out in the sun all day long one week when the temps hit 105 daily. Of course I'd already been working in south Texas for months and knew how to take care of my body.

Edited by Cameron on 06/10/2013 19:30:03 MDT.

heat on 06/10/2013 19:41:40 MDT Print View

It was 115 a few days across central Kansas last summer, and all the residents of that state didnt drop like flies.

Older people are VERY sensitive to heat stroke and heat related illnesses. My sister went over to my parents house one day, my 72 yr old dad once was standing in the kitchen and didnt know who she was, or who he was. He had just been mowing the yard on a normal summer day. On way to ER he repeatedly kept asking where they were going.

With adequate water, and a place to occassionally get out of the direct sun and rest, heat isnt usually a killer for normal healthy people.

However I have seen several people pass out in temps in mid 90s, not in direct sun, when working in hot areas like concessions at football stadiums. Not strenuous work. Some people are less resilent I suppose.

Edited by livingontheroad on 06/10/2013 19:46:49 MDT.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
115 not THAT hot, but it's hot on 06/11/2013 07:15:45 MDT Print View

Okay, 115 is darn hot and if you've ever ridden a motorcycle in temps like that, it's hideous (especially on an air-cooled 2-stroke).

The fellow who died was 69 years old and still leading young men on adventures. 69 years old. He was apparently in good health, in compliance with the BSA requirement for annual health assessment and got caught in temperatures and stress that exceeded his capacity. I wonder if, once things got that hot, he had a chance to cool or not. That was pretty darn hot and those Scouts had to deal with a pretty horrible situation.

BTW, BSA standards direct us to cancel all kinds of things during "weather", be it rain, sleet, snow, heat or wind. Such guidelines can be difficult to navigate once one is "out in it". For examples, one is hiking in the High Sierra and it begins to rain; one is canoeing down the Colorado and wind whips up; one is canyoneering and it becomes much hotter than the weather forecasts that were available for the nearby areas. The spreadsheet and flow charts begin.

They got caught out and a good man, a volunteer, lost his life. A disaster all around. My heart goes out to those young men and the Scout leader's family.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Temp of 115 kills hiker on 06/11/2013 09:04:42 MDT Print View

Heat Stress in the Elderly
Elderly people (that is, people aged 65 years and older) are more prone to heat stress than younger people for several reasons:
Elderly people do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature.
They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat.
They are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body's ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit perspiration.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
100+ on 06/11/2013 10:58:11 MDT Print View

Sad Story.

I don't think I could call off my trips at 100F or even 105F without practically giving up entirely. That may be an exaggeration, but it seems like my long distance bicycle tours often have record heat headlines much of the way. Record heat seems to be the rule on my trips. I know it was 100-105F for a lot of our coast to coast Trans America tour. It was also an unseasonable 110-115 for a chunk of our San Diego to Reno tour. My backpacking trips have not been quite as bad, but I have had 100F+ unexpectedly after I was already committed and didn't have much option other than to finish. I consider myself to be a bit of a "delicate flower" wrt the heat, but I managed.

Do your mileage when it is the coolest part of the day, don't push too hard, and drink A LOT of water. I do wish I was better at following my own advice though :)

Edited by staehpj1 on 06/11/2013 17:27:46 MDT.

Michael C
(chinookhead) - F - M
the right clothes on 06/11/2013 17:24:25 MDT Print View

First off......this is a tragedy. I hope for the best for his friends and family.

I just want to agree with the people who have said that with the right clothes, health, and acclimating one can operate OK in temperatures over 100.When I was 18, I had a long term internship (archaeology and restoration) in the middle east, which involved heavy work for 6-8 hours in 100-110 degree heat on average (and often in the open).

After about a week of feeling like death after work and barely making it through the day I (and the other Americans)started looking at the substantially older native Arabs who were completely out working us (some men in their late 60's-early 70's). On my 3rd day, despite drinking gallons of water, I got dehydrated and blew up out of every hole:)

Next day, we ditched the shorts, t-shirt, and baseball cap for full body coverage......I wasn't wearing a kafiya (some did), but i started wearing a torn pillow case to cover the back of my neck and a neck gaiter and this made all the difference.

Also, we hiked in these temperatures in the day time (100+) for several days.....while taking more brakes mid-day, but still hiking. I guess that there is also acclimating.

Edited by chinookhead on 06/11/2013 17:26:20 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Temp of 115 kills hiker on 06/11/2013 20:41:10 MDT Print View


I am very familiar with this area. Most hikers park at the trail head on HWY 93. This is the White Rock Canyon trail head. It is only 3 miles to the Colorado River, which is actually the top of Lake Mojave. To me it is inconceivable that someone could get lost on this trail, as it is well marked. The first 1.5 miles or so is a wash. The last 1.5 miles is mostly a slot canyon. From here you go south about a 1/4 mile and work your way up to Arizona Hot Spring. Maybe a total of 1/2 mile. You have to climb a 20 foot ladder just below the hot spring. It is next to impossible to get lost.

White Rock Canyon #1
Above: wash in White Rock Canyon entering the slots.

White Rock Canyon #3
Above: 1.5 miles or so of slot canyon to the Colorado. High walls and trees for plenty of shade.

White Rock Canyon View #1
Above: Colorado River 3 miles from the trail head.

Hot Spring Canyon Trail Start
Above: Trail to Hot Spring Canyon about 1/4 mile down stream from junction of Colorado River and White Rock Canyon.

Hot Spring Stream
Above: Seasonal stream below Arizona Hot Springs.

Now why would an adult want to take kids to a hot spring in summer, where the water temperature is 114F+ and you cannot drink the water and there is a remote possibility of the naegleria fowleri amoeba entering your body via the mouth or nose. It is a nice soak in December though.
Arizona Hot Springs

I suppose they could have started at the source of White Rock Canyon, which requires somehow getting to the southern base of Fortification Hill. From here you would have to walk cross country a couple miles to the top of White Rock Canyon and then hike the 10 miles to the Colorado. I have never seen another human at the top of White Rock Canyon, so this is unlikely.


The other two things that could have happened is the troop cross from the trail head over to Hot Springs Canyon, which is difficult. The top of Hot Springs Canyon has 30+ foot pour-overs to head down towards Arizona Hot Springs.

Or if they crossed over to Hot Springs Canyon further down, they would have had to do it cross country or locate the old Native American trail, which is sketchy at times. Trying to get to Arizona Hot Springs via Hot Spring Canyon would be irresponsible for an adult to attempt with kids, especially in summer.

So my guess is they tried to hike in via Hot Springs Canyon.

Although I do some hiking in these kinds of temperatures, I ALWAYS discourage others to do so.

Below some pictures of Hot Springs Canyon. You need to go over the hills at the left of each picture. The only easy way is to find a ancient trail which winds through the hills separating White Rock Canyon and Hot Springs Canyon. This trail disappears at times in the hills. It will eventually hit a side trail in White Rock Canyon, which is not the main trail to the river. Again, very poor decision to take kids on this route in summer.

Hot Spring Canyon #4

Hot Spring Canyon #5

Edited by ngatel on 06/11/2013 20:45:59 MDT.