there is one rule ill repeat again and again ...
you can usually survive being cold OR wet ...
both and you might be very dead ... add in wind and being immobile, and yr just dead, or darn close to it
conditions can change even in the summer as the story below shoes ...
A Summer Hiking Trip Turns Deadly
Even as they lay huddled, tucked together in a fetal position under a thatch of scrub brush in a raging blizzard at 11,000 feet, brothers Bob Paré and Greg Davison thought they would survive.
But in the morning, Paré, 20, realized his 16-year-old brother was dead, or close to it, and that he might not make it either.
He waited another hour for daybreak, clutching his brother's motionless body, before he could go for help.
Paré's harrowing trek down St. Mary's Glacier through arctic conditions in light clothing started as a half-day outing with his brother Saturday morning.
Native Coloradans, the young men knew conditions in the mountains can change quickly, but they expected no worse than a rain shower.
"Three days to June, we really didn't expect a blizzard," Paré said Thursday.
The two left the trailhead for St. Mary's Glacier on a loop that would lead them around the top of the mountain and then straight down the glacier, he said.
They each were wearing an undershirt, T-shirt and jeans. They brought along windbreakers and sweat shirts. Their dog Nikki, a red, brindle boxer, joined them.
About an hour into the trip, an arctic storm slammed into the mountain, battering the brothers with 60 mph winds and plunging them into whiteout conditions. Visibility dropped to about 20 feet.
"We thought it was fairly temporary," Paré said. "We were already on our way down, so we thought we would keep going down."
But they quickly became disoriented.
About 5 p.m. the brothers decided to build a makeshift shelter on the side of a curved rock wall.
Paré broke down nearby shrubs and tiny trees, piling them up to form two walls. He lay his younger brother down against the wall and partially covered him with his body to shield him from the brunt of the storm.
Then Nikki lay on top of the two brothers and Paré pulled the makeshift walls down on top of them, he said.
The two brothers lay like that in 13-degree temperatures for about 12 hours, shivering, talking and trying to stay awake.
Neither brother ever thought that death was a possibility.
"We weren't really thinking something like that was going to happen. There were no negative thoughts," Paré said. "We talked all night and there never was any sort of tone like that."
But as morning came, Paré realized his brother wasn't doing well.
"Around 5 in the morning or so he started mumbling like he was dreaming and I tried waking him up and stuff, but he wouldn't wake up," Paré said. "I realized he was getting severe hypothermia."
But it was still dark, so Paré was forced to wait another hour or so before leaving for help.
Paré checked on his brother a final time before leaving at 6:20 a.m.
"I couldn't find a pulse, his eyes were dilated and there was no response at all out of him," he said. "He was gone or damn close."
Paré tried to get Nikki to lead him to safety, but the dog ignored him and crawled back on top of Davison, refusing to leave.
Although the weather was still pretty bad, Paré thought his trip down the mountain would be easy. It wasn't.
Suffering from hypothermia and with his clothes frozen to his body, Paré stumbled down the mountain as if he were drunk.
"I was walking all over the place and the wind kept pushing me over," he said. "I would just sort of sit down for a minute and then get up and start down again."
After about a mile, Paré fell down one last time.
"I was done, that was it," he said. "I have never ever been so spent, exhausted in my life."
A rescuer, searching for the brothers with the Alpine Rescue Team, heard Paré's shouts for help and found him.
The team rushed Paré back to the parking lot, two miles away, where medical personnel had to cut the frozen jeans from his legs and shoes from his feet to get to his severely frostbitten toes.
It took rescuers using directions from Paré another two hours to find Davison's body.
They were able to find it only because Nikki, who was wearing a bright yellow slicker, was still lying on top of him.
Davison was pronounced dead at the base of the mountain.
Paré suffered frostbite on his arms, legs and feet. He says all but his feet have already healed. He doesn't think he will lose any toes.
Nikki, the dog, survived the ordeal with no injuries.