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#137153 - 08/03/10 03:33 PM Re: You know how to whistle, don't you? [Re: dkramalc]
moondust Offline
member

Registered: 08/17/03
Posts: 22
Loc: California
I sometimes hike with people who don't wait very well. Frustrating if you are one of the people in the back. Some people think a hike is a race. I like to take photos, stop and enjoy my surroundings, adjust my gear when necessary.

Three of us decided to buy Garmin Rinos, including Speedy and Speedy's GF (he won't wait for her either) - the best electronic gagdet ever! It is a combination high-end GPS/two-way radio. You can see the location of the other Rino users on your topo map! Not to mention that a radio is far superior (if heavier) than a whistle for communicating things like "I have to make a potty stop" or "you are getting too far ahead so just stop and wait for me, you toad". It also has a great rechargeable battery which lasts and lasts. I think if you are careful it will last a couple of days.

You can nag at those people who don't wait and don't look back, but it rarely changes their behavior and makes for a less pleasant experience all around. The Rino rules!

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#138585 - 09/09/10 10:37 PM Re: You know how to whistle, don't you? [Re: moondust]
Redfacery Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 82
Loc: NY
Communicate, Plan, and be Consistent. Those are the three things I always do whenever I am in the woods with anyone. We tell each other how we're feeling (physical fitness wise) repeatedly throughout the day, we have several times/places to stop at or check in that we know of before the day starts. And finally, we stick to the same M.O. for hiking.

I always have a whistle, but often hike with people who do not carry one - just like I always have a compass, and often hike with people who do not bring one. If you know who you're hiking with, plan ahead, and have the same practices from hike to hike, I see no reason a married couple (or some buddies who know each other well) need to stay within earshot on a trail.

Off trail is another matter entirely.

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#138856 - 09/15/10 10:40 PM Re: You know how to whistle, don't you? [Re: balzaccom]
NorthTxHillbilly Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/10
Posts: 67
Loc: North Central Texas
I like for my wife and I to each carry a whistle for emergencies simply because we are usually apart for a few minutes when "nature calls".
_________________________
Proud to be an American. Lucky to be a Texan.

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#138864 - 09/16/10 02:30 AM Re: You know how to whistle, don't you? [Re: NorthTxHillbilly]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I hike alone mostly, but if I am with someone else, we stick together. I've read too many stories of people who have gotten separated. Some stories have happy endings (a helicopter ride for the lost hiker), some don't (body recovery).

If you are with people who are newbies, less fit, can't navigate or are kids and you let them out of your sight, you are an idiot, plain and simple. My only comment would be "WTF is wrong with you?" Be an adult, show some responsibility, so what if you have to walk a little slower. Is walking faster worth losing someone, maybe for good?

If you are out with people who have no qualms about abandoning you, my advice is what the Arthur's Pass SAR folks gave to a hiker they rescued after her friends abandoned her in the middle of nowhere NZ-get some new friends.

_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#138865 - 09/16/10 08:09 AM Re: You know how to whistle, don't you? [Re: TomD]
Ken the Bear Offline
member

Registered: 02/09/10
Posts: 45
Loc: St Louis
I use a fox 40 classic whistle. Dang is that thing loud. All of us have one attached to our shoulder straps.

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#138869 - 09/16/10 11:21 AM Re: You know how to whistle, don't you? [Re: TomD]
Redfacery Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 82
Loc: NY
If you are hiking in a place that has a lot of serious dangers, then I completely agree with your intense wording. But in most cases, for most people, if there are kids or newbies around, chill out. Try not to scare people off by calling them idiots and irresponsible.

Most scenarios in the woods aren't life threatening. Most trails a newbie or a child will be on are well established, with easy-to-follow blazes (well, at least here in the northeast, I can't vouch for anywhere else). Obviously if you have a small child, you need to know where they are, but having protocol (like them knowing that every time they get to a fork in the trail, or every time there's a good log to sit on, or something, they should stop) means being more certain someone is safe.

In my opinion, if you are taking someone who can't navigate, is too small/young to be safe, or is very new to backpacking into a dangerous hike or situation, you've made a serious mistake whether you're tied to them the whole time or whether you abandon them.

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#138882 - 09/16/10 01:38 PM Re: You know how to whistle, don't you? [Re: Redfacery]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Here's the bottom line- a friend of mine, along with two other people, was killed in a helicopter crash on a SAR search in Hawaii looking for a guy whose buddy abandoned him and walked out on his own. The missing hiker was never found either. This was on a popular trail on Oahu, so I have no sympathy for anyone who takes the position you do.
People who do stupid things put others at risk when someone goes looking for them. Yes, I know, it's their job, but a little common sense could have prevented this from happening.

Like I said, I have read far to many stories where one member of a party was abandoned by their friends and wound up injured or dead. People can and do disappear even in well-traveled areas. It happens all the time. Your assumption that people don't get lost in well-traveled areas simply isn't true.

A few years ago, a kid disappeared from a popular car camping campground near LA. They never did find him. I'm not trying to scare anyone, but I stick by my premise-it is irresponsible to leave your friends or kids behind if they are incapable of being on their own. The corollary is that they could spend far too much time and energy looking for you, assuming you are lost.

_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#138885 - 09/16/10 02:26 PM Re: You know how to whistle, don't you? [Re: TomD]
Redfacery Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 82
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By TomD

People who do stupid things put others at risk when someone goes looking for them. Yes, I know, it's their job, but a little common sense could have prevented this from happening.

I'm not trying to scare anyone, but I stick by my premise-it is irresponsible to leave your friends or kids behind if they are incapable of being on their own. The corollary is that they could spend far too much time and energy looking for you, assuming you are lost.


I agree wholeheartedly, and I think you'd agree with me a lot more if I'd been more clear! I spent a month in AK this summer off trail with one other guy, and we were seldom ever out of sight. Before going into the woods with anyone, I am sure that I can put my life in their hands with confidence. (For a day hike most places, that's just a little too much safety concern for me, but to each their own)

I have vetoed group members before, or not gone on trips with people in whose hands I couldn't trust my life, and won't hesitate to do that again in the future. Some of the scariest moments I've ever had have been the one or two times a group member has been missing (or I have, depending on your perspective crazy ) for a short period of time.

That said, the times my buddy and I were out of sight in AK were usually while one of us was hunting or foraging, and I didn't worry because we always had maps and emergency kits on our person (and I had my SPOT - what a cool device for a long trip).

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#138891 - 09/16/10 04:06 PM Re: You know how to whistle, don't you? [Re: Redfacery]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
One thing that colors my argument is the years I spent as a scuba instructor. With my friends who were expert divers, I didn't worry about them, although we never wandered too far away from each other, but with students, I had to watch them like a hawk. Even with some friends whose skills weren't as developed as mine, I always kept an eye on them

One of my students survived passing out underwater because I was there to rescue him. If he had been able to wander off on his own, he would be dead. Granted, the consequences underwater are more serious and happen quicker than on land, but the principle is the same-some people can handle going alone, most can't.

I hike alone anyway, so if I get lost or hurt, that's my problem, but going in a group or even with one other person means shared responsibility. The last thing I would want is to spend my hike looking for someone or having them look for me. That's not my idea of fun.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#138894 - 09/16/10 04:28 PM Re: You know how to whistle, don't you? [Re: TomD]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Another thing to consider is that sometimes people hike with strangers they meet through a club or something like MeetUp, the website where you can find people with similar interests.

Usually there is a group leader, but even then, this can lead to trouble. A few years ago in the PNW, a beginning group of winter campers didn't check the weather reports and got caught in a huge storm. No one got lost from the group, but they were lucky. It took a massive rescue effort-about 100 rescuers, several helicopters, snow machines and ambulances to get them out. This was a combination of inexperience and bad judgment on a grand scale.

Several boards had accounts of this, including posts by some of the particpants, a couple of whom made light of the extreme danger they were in. Had this storm gone on for a few more days, the outcome could have been far different. During that same storm, I think 4 backcountry skiers were killed by avalanches.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#138901 - 09/16/10 09:41 PM Re: You know how to whistle, don't you? [Re: TomD]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I have to chime in here on Tom's side. Most groups aren't that well organized. What constitutes easy, obvious terrain and signage varies tremendously with experience level. We had an epic search for a young lady who was gathering firewood at a campground, got out of sight of the group and wound up walking about seven miles down a canyon, spending a stormy night out on her own, lacking about twelve of the ten essentials.

I think some people trust in the group and don't pay attention to their surroundings and landmarks - something inadvertent happens, and they are figuratively and literally lost.

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#138904 - 09/16/10 10:50 PM Re: You know how to whistle, don't you? [Re: oldranger]
GDeadphans Offline
member

Registered: 12/26/08
Posts: 382
Loc: Maine/New Jersey
I think better safe than sorry. If someone is uneasy at surviving on there own in the woods, than they are prime candidates for a whistle. But if you have some skill and can make it (and the tools to feel confident)...then I see a less of a urge to carry one.


Edited by GDeadphans (09/16/10 10:51 PM)
_________________________
"To me, hammocking is relaxing, laying, swaying. A steady slow morphine drip without the risk of renal failure." - Dale Gribbel

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