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eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
'Caught In A Storm, Near-Hypothermic, A Piece Of Gear Saved My Life' on 11/28/2013 12:11:32 MST Print View

http://gearjunkie.com/mount-hood-climb-rescue

I had read about the people involved in dramatic rescues on the mountain every year, but never thought it would be me. I bivied, initiated a rescue with GPS coordinates, and laid in wait with my headlamp pointed down the mountain and set to strobe.

Sustained 50mph winds tore away my tarp. My down sleeping bag became saturated by a foot of fresh snow and exposure began to take its toll. I shouted into the tempest until my voice went hoarse, my body’s violent shaking subsided to stillness, and I began to slip into a dreamlike state.

A calmness came over me and I decided that this was probably how I was going to die.

I slipped in and out of consciousness. It was close to midnight and I had been on the mountain for 24 hours now. Then, something changed. My mind briefly cleared and I realized I still had some fight left in me. I managed to stand again, clenched the headlamp, and started blowing the whistle that was integrated into the strap with everything I had as its light continued to strobe into the furious wind-blown snow.

.....

I owe my life to the brave team from Portland Mountain Rescue and everyone else that coordinated on the search, but also to my Petzl Tikka Plus, without which, I may have never been found.



more at link ...

Andy F
(AndyF) - M
Re: 'Caught In A Storm, Near-Hypothermic, A Piece Of Gear Saved My Life' on 11/29/2013 09:52:38 MST Print View

Whatever it was he used to initiate "a rescue with GPS coordinates" probably helped more than the headlamp. ;)

Edited by AndyF on 11/29/2013 09:53:09 MST.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: Re: 'Caught In A Storm, Near-Hypothermic, A Piece Of Gear Saved My Life' on 11/29/2013 10:26:29 MST Print View

What would Les Stroud do?

I remember something on the show about clapping his hands to get the blood to rush to his finger tips, to avoid frrrrrrrrost bibibibite.

Edited by RogerDodger on 11/29/2013 10:27:06 MST.

Jeremy B.
(requiem) - F - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: 'Caught In A Storm, Near-Hypothermic, A Piece Of Gear Saved My Life' on 11/29/2013 12:29:19 MST Print View

To the south a wall of white came rushing toward the mountain, enveloping everything in its path. I had noted this predicted front when I started the route, but there it was hours early and coming my way.

There's an "oops".


It's also only briefly mentioned, but the headlamp had the whistle integrated into its strap; probably helpful in a whiteout, especially assuming some amount of error in the GPS coordinates.

Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Gear, AND good judgment on 11/30/2013 06:47:52 MST Print View

Whatever it was he used to initiate "a rescue with GPS coordinates" probably helped more than the headlamp. ;)

and

"To the south a wall of white came rushing toward the mountain, enveloping everything in its path. I had noted this predicted front when I started the route, but there it was hours early and coming my way."

There's an "oops".


I agree on both points. I think he's taking the wrong lesson away from the experience. The headlamp was certainly secondary to his calling for a rescue (with GPS coordinates,) and the whole thing came about because he climbed ahead of an approaching storm on a high mountain. It's unwise to rely on weather forecasts, especially the exact timing of storms.

I think it's great to have survival gear and the ability to call for a rescue, but it's best to make decisions as if there is no chance of rescue.

Edited by Colter on 11/30/2013 06:48:28 MST.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Tarp on 12/01/2013 01:20:01 MST Print View

1st mistake-> A tarp for wintere shelter in the mountains.

(Now all you tarpers don't go getting all your tighty-whities in a bunch. I know tents can fail but at least you're IN them when they do.)

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Gear, AND good judgment on 12/01/2013 01:56:05 MST Print View

"To the south a wall of white came rushing toward the mountain, enveloping everything in its path. I had noted this predicted front when I started the route, but there it was hours early and coming my way."

I have read a lot of stories like this over the years... many involving deaths. One common thread seems to be that the people involved either have a poor understanding of the risks (going up on a high mountain in winter or shoulder season ahead of a forecast storm) or they ignore the risks due to a self-imposed plan: 'I have the weekend off and don't know when I could get around to this trip again... if I don't do it this weekend (or their pre-set vacation)'. Being fixated on doing a particular trip at a particular time regardless of the conditions is a potential killer. Another is peer pressure: 'I don't feel good about this climb. I don't feel up to it, but I don't want to mention it to they guys.'

Putting good judgment first and being flexible can save your life.

Unfortunately, even the title of the article made it all about the gear. So I suppose other people wanting to go up on the mountain ahead of a bad weather forecast will feel better about it if they have a whistle? What a disservice this article is to the safety of others. And it was about the wrong piece of gear! If he had a stout 4 season tent and pitched it in a protected location, there may have been no need for a rescue at all.

off my soap box now... :)

Billy

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: Re: Gear, AND good judgment on 12/01/2013 09:51:50 MST Print View

the dark side of hikers gone missing and never found in a snow accident, also has an upside. Archaeologists and DNA geneticists find the misfortune to be a scientific research treasure, however a few hundred, perhaps 1000s of years later.

Possibly in our lifetime, when more polar ice melts, we may find some ancient hikers.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Gear, AND good judgment on 12/01/2013 11:51:40 MST Print View

I have read a lot of stories like this over the years... many involving deaths. One common thread seems to be that the people involved either have a poor understanding of the risks (going up on a high mountain in winter or shoulder season ahead of a forecast storm) or they ignore the risks due to a self-imposed plan: 'I have the weekend off and don't know when I could get around to this trip again... if I don't do it this weekend (or their pre-set vacation)'. Being fixated on doing a particular trip at a particular time regardless of the conditions is a potential killer."

Right on, Billy Ray. "Experts" get themselves in trouble from overconfidence and locked focus on a goal can filter out a lot of warning signs. They have a real problem with focus with pilots. It's a classic where an "experienced hiker" gets lost and in the dark on a day hike where they took a wrong turn and kept going because the destination was "just a little further."

This story is also an example of compounded errors: overestimating weather changes plus poor shelter and wet down piled up to be a near death experience. It's ***recreation***, and living to take another trip is a very good goal!

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: 'Caught In A Storm, Near-Hypothermic, A Piece Of Gear Saved My Life' on 12/01/2013 18:04:21 MST Print View

Might he be looking for an advertising deal with the headlights manufacturer

Ian Clark
(chindits) - MLife

Locale: Cntrl ROMO
life is good on 12/01/2013 18:57:11 MST Print View

I am happy you survived this incident. For some reason, I have reservations about your write up.

I can't speak for the SAR teams that effected your rescue, but in my neck of the woods they are all volunteer groups. I commend their efforts and hope the sacrifices that they made away from their real lives, jobs, and families were compensated by the fulfillment of a successful mission. It should be noted that the SAR teams travelled the same ground you travelled, but they travelled it twice at night. One direction to locate you and the other direction to complete the extraction. They don't usually carry backpack light loads as they are equipped for a degree of uncertainty, technical gear, and medical gear. Kudos to the team for even taking on a high risk night mission. Not all jurisdictions would have provided that.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
My buddy Les on 12/05/2013 18:29:49 MST Print View

"What would Les Stroud do?"

"I had noted this predicted front when I started the route, but there it was hours early and coming my way."

Based on what I know about Les, not gone out in the first place would be my guess.