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#97849 - 06/14/08 01:33 PM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: midnightsun03]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
Something else to worry about. Yeah valid. Sorry about that.

Point is that it's entirely possible to be over-prepared and overly concerned. It's not rocket science.

Yakking that one knows better than a cadre of local guides who have been at it collectively for -- what? -- hundreds of years? Wouldn't know about that.

I do know I camped out in Pennsylvania last night, and the low temp was 65 degrees. I brought, but didn't use, a sleeping bag.

Started to roast after sun-up, and am presently sweltering.

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#97850 - 06/14/08 01:47 PM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: midnightsun03]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
I think his point might have been that sometimes people in authority make blanket statements about safety and preparation that really aren't all that helpful, and are not always 100% correct. They do this because to try and be more correct would probably be more harmful. You hear alot of stuff about hypothermia, like the Bay of Fundy is 40 degrees all year round and if you fall in you will be dead in 20 minutes. That's kind of crazy. Fisherman will often tell you that kayakers and sailboaters should never be out there, ever. That it's just too dangerous. They wouldn't be out there except to earn a living.

I understand what they are really saying. It's just kind of weird the way they say it. We had a big public inquiry or coroners inquest here when a fellow in his 20s died of hypothermia during a adventure race - run, bike, kayak.

All kinds of information and recommendations came out of it, but it was all the same old crap that people don't listen too because its hard to separate the practical from the impractical when people are forced to make general statements. So the inquiry made no real practical recommendations, when they probably could have. Like...

1. Hypothermia happens sooner if you are exhausted.
2. Adventure races probably shouldn't do the paddling leg last.
3. The Bay of Fundy is about 5 deg C colder in early June than early September, and that's alot.
4. Wet suits are sometimes more vital than life jackets and tow ropes, or flares, even though for some strange reason they are not mandatory when other stuff is.
5. Kayaks can often be easily modified with some foam inside to be more stable when swamped.
6. People should consider measuring the water temperature whenever they go paddling. It does vary.

None of that came out of course. That's just my own personal knowledge and opinion. The official word is just the same old crap as always. Not saying it happened in this thread, but people are often afraid to recommend anything other than the age old wisdom, even if it isn't really helping people. Not sure what the answer is. I certainly don't have all the answers. I also have a big beef with alot of crap about wind chill, but don't take my word for it.

I'll say this...
People should be careful when diverging from conventional wisdom, but also be
very cautious about following conventional wisdom without really understanding it.

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#97851 - 06/14/08 07:01 PM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: JAK]
ronin Offline
member

Registered: 08/09/04
Posts: 41
Hi Jason.

First for johndavid: You and I agree on a lot of matters (including jason here, hmmm, actually most on this entire site) and fear mongering for fun and profit may be one of those matters. Mostly it seems our disagreements are a matter of degree. [pun, pun, dbl pun; i win] BTW, I first said hiking, etc, "isn't rocket science." Next time johndavid I demand attribution.

Quote:
They do this because to try and be more correct would probably be more harmful.

Some do it for fun and profit. Many on the Net do it out of fear. Fear for themselves and/or fear for others. OTOH, I look to what a person is trying to accomplish. And go on from there. In general, I agree that being overprepared is wasteful. But it beats being underprepared.

WTS, one of my fave climbers once told me: "If you don't have it, you don't need it." Works for me. ;-)

Quote:
Fisherman will often tell you that kayakers and sailboaters should never be out there, ever. That it's just too dangerous. They wouldn't be out there except to earn a living.

With all due respect to those who have lost loved ones (as i have very recently, not an outdoors related death), "...no one here gets out alive!" Life w/o risk is just not worth living .... to me. It does cause anxiety for my loved ones .... but they understand that I do try to be careful.

Quote:
I certainly don't have all the answers.

Hmmm, another quote: "Pick me, pick me teacher."

Quote:
I'll say this... People should be careful when diverging from conventional wisdom, but also be
very cautious about following conventional wisdom without really understanding it.

Man do I agree w/u on this one! Question authority.

I'll close w/a final quote. Just because i'm in the mood to quote others. It's easier than saying something original. ;-)

"Perfection is the Lord's purview."

Peace,

Richard.

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#97852 - 06/14/08 09:23 PM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: johndavid]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6738
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Thank you, Jimshaw, Pika and Midnight Sun, for excellent replies. We've now heard from a number of highly experienced backpackers in the Pacific Northwest and a Search and Rescue professional from Alaska. I'm quite experienced, too, but not quite on that level! However, my experience has been in the Rockies and the Pacific Northwest, not in Pennsylvania summers, which is hardly in the same category weather-wise. (Actually, I did have 6 weeks' backpacking experience in Pennsylvania, but I was only 6 at the time, so I don't remember a lot.)

I checked the American Alpine Institute website that Johndavid cited and found that he summarized it far too much. Here's what it _really_ recommended. I left out the warm weather stuff like shorts and T-shirts.

Base Layer (top and bottom)--lightweight polypro or polyester

2nd layer (top)--expedition weight long underwear top, lightweight fleece, 100 wt. powerstretch, or possibly Marmot DriClime

2nd layer (bottom)--Schoeller or nylon fabric, should be somewhat wind/water resistant

3rd layer (top)--jacket, similar to bottom 2nd layer

Insulated Jacket--not needed July-Sept. 15. Probably correct, since the 2nd and 3rd top layers together are basically equal to the insulated jacket (at least to my Montbell UL Thermawrap) and, being separate, allow more versatility.

Shell layer (top)--waterproof, breathable, durable, with hood, sized to fit over clothing

Shell layer (bottom)--waterproof, breathable, durable, preferably with full-zip legs

Liner gloves (polypro or polyester)

Modular gloves or mittens

Warm hat

Sleeping bag rated to 15* F.

Even without the insulated jacket, all these layers together, four on top and three on the bottom, should be plenty warm enough! If not, there's the 15* (not 30-40*) sleeping bag as backup. Of course these folks are being guided, and I'll bet the guides have plenty of extra stuff along just in case.

I've seen too many below-freezing nights and too much inclement weather, even in July and August, in the Cascades (at 5,000-7,500 ft.) over the years to be comfortable with any less than what is _actually_ recommended on the AAI site (4 layers top, 3 layers bottom). I have a 20* bag, but a heavier base layer, so that balances out.

I would never want to debunk the dangers of hypothermia, especially on a public forum that will be read by beginners. I've had just enough experience with it to have a pretty good idea of how dangerous and insidious it is. Even so, MNS' account above was quite an eye-opener. I just hope, Johndavid, that we won't be reading about you as another casualty in the future.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#97853 - 06/15/08 03:51 AM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: OregonMouse]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
For the record like Jim Shaw and MNS and others I have a similar philosophy of going big on clothing insulation and food. It's for a different application, paddling and Eastern woodlands, but similar in principle. I also tend towards layers that can be worn all at once when needed. No spares as such. Less need of shelter and mountaineering type equipment where I hike. My general observations is that most outfitters seem to produce equipment that gives the appearance of one destined for Everest or car camping, often both at once.

My point was that I prefer the sort of detailed expert advice that Jim Shaw and MNS provide, rather than the over generalized stuff that tries to get applied to a wider audience and wider application, for whatever reason. I listen to folks like Jim Shaw and MNS, and draw on my own experience from small boat sailing and stuff, and then do my own hands on experience in my own little neck of the woods. Doing alot of hiking in familiar stomping grounds helps alot.

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#97854 - 06/15/08 11:35 AM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: JAK]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
I had replied to this yesterday but my post isn't here so I must have failed to follow-through with my posting before logging off <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />

Quote:
I'll say this...
People should be careful when diverging from conventional wisdom, but also be
very cautious about following conventional wisdom without really understanding it.
This is absolutely true no matter what topic or discipline you're talking about. Since March I've been studying, learning and practicing a new hobby, and one thing I've learned is that without a solid understanding of the fundamentals, you have no way of knowing whether information given to you by others is good or bad. The world is full of bad information, and those who follow blindly have little or no control over where they end up. Living with conscious deliberation will allow you to replicate your results, or alter your behaviors if necessary. Just muddling through whatever you do may get you where you want to go, but who knows what opportunities you might have missed along the way?

Anyway, a further point I'd like to make is this... we need to stop focusing on hypothermia = death and start focusing on how hypothermia can cause all kinds of negative outcomes, with death only being one option. Many many injuries result from hypothermic decision making. You might not die from those injuries, but they do have a cost. Even if you avoid injury, you almost inevitably have to alter your plans so you can treat the hypothermia, and at the very least you'll have a less enjoyable trip. What is the harm in carrying an extra pound of insulation when going into the more extreme environments?

MNS
_________________________
YMMV. Viewer discretion is advised.

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#97855 - 06/15/08 12:00 PM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: midnightsun03]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
That's a really good point. Same also for stuff like dehydration, sun burn, heat stroke, fatigue, sleep deprivation, etc. I remember when I did alot of competitive sailing and just got hammered on this light air day at the Midwinters in Florida, meaning I didn't finish all that well, and then I was sick enough the next day that I couldn't race. Sun burn. Dehydration. etc. I didn't have enough water and I didn't protect myself from the sun. Way before I got sick I just wasn't performing as I should have. I know, excuses, excuses. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Anyhow really learned alot from that experience. No sense trying to save a few pounds if it means losing your wits, even if it doesn't lead to further consequences. Stuff like that happens in other sports also. Cross country skiing. Cycling. You lose your wits and your lucky if all you lose is the race.

Regarding clothing. You have to dress not just to stay warm when active or well rested, but also to get warmed back up and restore your energy reserves, and your mental composure. You can't always crawl into a sleeping bag to do that. Sometimes you need to slow down and rest up while semi-active and that can take twice as much clothing as otherwise for the same conditions. Mitts are like that also sometimes. They need to be warm enough to warm your hands back up quickly after doing something with them, not just stay warm.

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#97856 - 06/15/08 06:04 PM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: JAK]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
JAK
quote"My point was that I prefer the sort of detailed expert advice that Jim Shaw and MNS provide"

Thanks JAK <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />

I'm glad the detail seems useful. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />The devil is in the details ya know. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Its a royal pain writing explicit detailed posts and I know it annoys some people. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> But theres been a few - like "how to melt water when you have none to start off" and how about "How to get into a tent in a blizzard - so that you and the inside of the tent remain dry" and others that are painfully detailed, but without the detail, they're just general "good ideas" like "keep your knife sharp" <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> I mean if you don't actually learn how to do an important skill before its needed, then you will most likely screw it up the first half a dozen trys before you learn the importance of the detail. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

Et All
Our society is under a lot of pressure by people selling fear. I am not selling fear - I don't make any money doing that so I can't afford the time for it. My hope is merely to help those who might learn from my experience good and bad for their own benefit.
<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
I am sort of wild reckless guy and I have tried MANY of the things that I suggest are stupid to try, yet I survived. I used to go up the Sierras ahead of huge mountain storms to be there for the storm - not something I recommend, but because of this extremeness I have been forced to learn an extended set of skills that takes me out of the 1 year of experience 30 times category. I CAN tell you all about being in REAL mtn storms and crawling through deep snow. I regard it as fun, like riding really fast across the desert on my motorcycle, but frankly without the experience I have I wouldn't have as much fun.

AS Midnight say - you don't have to get very cold before it destroys the fun part of your adventure.

JD, as for spelling Rainear - we have a lot of creative ways pf spelling in Oregon... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> however everybody knows what I meant to say. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#97857 - 06/15/08 06:28 PM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: Pika]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Pika,
Hi Dude,
You old desert horned toad. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

I want you to know that I do have the greatest respect for your wisdom. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> I wish to grouped with you also. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> although I am not quite as tough as you.

Especially when we leave home and enter the other guys domain, it pays to get local wisdom. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> I hope if I ever get to Tucson again that I get to meet you. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

Besides that I'm a California granite climber and I know the north Cascades are way different. I've hiked up some trails into spots above the north cascades park, but to me its strange territory. Like theoretically how different can the Cascades and the Sierras be? Yet I am completely at home in the Sierras and I don't even know how to travel in the steeper cascades.

So come on. don't be shy, tell us some smart things toth consider before heading into the north Cascades backcountry.

Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#97858 - 06/16/08 08:56 AM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: Jimshaw]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
The first time I visited Washington Cascades, in 1974, I spent three weeks in the region camping. Seeing photos of lots of ice, I brought a mid-weight down jacket with hood, and a sleeping bag with 2-2.5 pounds of (cheap) down.

Lugging all that stuff around was a mistake derived from my lack of experience, that significantly degraded my fun. In roughly 2 dozen return trips, I left that stuff at home.

Summer in Cascades isn't particularly cold as it turns out. On a clear night at 5,000 feet, it might touch freezing at times, but more often not. The summer weather is typically very stable, and dry, although there are exceptions. Weather forecasts are typically very accurate.

Rather than "too general," the list I linked to was specific and detailed. What I actually wrote about was "clothing for torso" which is also highly specific. I don't think I implied that one ought to go barefoot or neglect other body parts.

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#97859 - 06/16/08 10:58 AM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: OregonMouse]
ronin Offline
member

Registered: 08/09/04
Posts: 41
Quote:
I would never want to debunk the dangers of hypothermia, especially on a public forum that will be read by beginners.

I don't think that anyone has suggested any such thing OregonMouse. What I and others try to point out is that most people have an over-inflated fear of the, so called, wilderness due to post after post (and etc) filled with doom and gloom.

"Lions and snakes and bears .... Oh My!!!" Let's Get Real.

1) The average newbie seldom gets in serious trouble in the first place because they're too scared to venture away from established trails. It's the experienced (actually, it's often true experts) who get themselves in trouble. And often enough it's not due to being underprepared. I know this is all anecdotal and all too general. But if anyone can prove otherwise .... please correct me.
2) The average newbie takes everything but the kitchen sink. Mostly due to all the fear-mongering. Again being underprepared is not an issue.
Note: Lacking an appreciation (ie; adequate knowledge) of the dangers of the "wild and wooly" outdoors is not an issue due to #1 and #2.

So what's the harm in carrying an extra pound of down (for example)? Not much harm, IMO. But a pound of down isn't what happens in the real world. What happens is at least a two pound jacket and pants and heavy boots and gloves and poles and then a larger (ie; heavier) pack and so on, and on and on.

By the time the newbie gets to the trailhead he/she is carrying a 40 pound pack when a 20ish pack would do nicely.

The huge difference in weight comes mostly from being overly exposed to fear-mongering. And the harm includes greater risk of injury and greater fatigue .... which leads to poor decision making! I repeat: Poor decision making .... due to fatigue. And that is (poor decisions) one of the main causes of a large number of injuries and re, IME.

Last but certainly *not* least: The newbie does not enjoy the hike as much as one could and either doesn't venture out again. Or does so sporadically.

Side Issue: I've noticed that a great many experienced hikers would love to see fewer people on the trail, so i'm sure that discouraging newbies might play a part. Albeit a *subconscious* one. But I digress.

Note: Please keep in mind that the term "wilderness" is a misnomer when used to describe the vast majority of hiking folks do. Experienced or otherwise.

Quote:
I just hope, Johndavid, that we won't be reading about you as another casualty in the future.

Do you really believe that a person as experienced as johdavid would find himself unprepared? Doubtful! But I do think he's at high risk .... simply because he is highly experienced and therefore more likely to take chances a newbie wouldn't even dream of.

Peace,

Richard.

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#97860 - 06/16/08 11:06 AM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: Jimshaw]
ronin Offline
member

Registered: 08/09/04
Posts: 41
Quote:
Its a royal pain writing explicit detailed posts and I know it annoys some people.

My pet peeve on the Net is vaguely stated questions .... and answers.

Quote:
Our society is under a lot of pressure by people selling fear. I am not selling fear

I doubt anyone on this thread is "selling fear." I do think that SAR pros and experts in general are trying to help newbies stay out of trouble by scaring the heck out of them .... inadvertently.

It's an extreme attitude. A paternalistic attitude. And IMO, a harmful attitude.

Quote:
JD, as for spelling Rainear - we have a lot of creative ways pf spelling in Oregon... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> however everybody knows what I meant to say.

Oh Jim ya went and dun it agin! It's Orygun. Everyone knows that!

Peace,

Richard.

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#97861 - 06/16/08 11:12 AM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: johndavid]
ronin Offline
member

Registered: 08/09/04
Posts: 41
Quote:
Rather than "too general," the list I linked to was specific and detailed. What I actually wrote about was "clothing for torso" which is also highly specific. I don't think I implied that one ought to go barefoot or neglect other body parts.

Yes, johndavid i've noticed how you've been misunderstood on this thread. Purposefully!

It's called the Straw Man argument. A common practice on the Net. One which you've been guilty of also. [wicked grin]

What I get from your posts herein is that the dangers are over-hyped and having enough gear is over emphasized. Is that close johndavid?

Peace,

Richard.

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#97862 - 06/16/08 11:48 AM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: ronin]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
Quote:
I doubt anyone on this thread is "selling fear." I do think that SAR pros and experts in general are trying to help newbies stay out of trouble by scaring the heck out of them .... inadvertently.

It's an extreme attitude. A paternalistic attitude. And IMO, a harmful attitude.
Please elaborate, Ronin.

MNS, the SAR volunteer in AK
_________________________
YMMV. Viewer discretion is advised.

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#97863 - 06/16/08 10:27 PM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: midnightsun03]
northernbcr Offline
member

Registered: 05/26/08
Posts: 125
Loc: bc/yukon border area
just read the whole post heres my 2 bits worth it makes me uncomfortable that there are lists of items to bring. when i started my winter camping it was in the yukon cub movement .there were no listed supplies you took what you had slept in the tent and if you were cold you went in the cabin next trip you tried to get better stuff. i guess that i feel if you are using lists you maybe in a little to far allready most of my gear has evolved from trial and error thru the years i have spent much time in a snow cave in my front yard trying gear stoves sleepbags etc. there isn't many people that i would go up in the hills with that just talk about what they read in a book. now talking about cold our valley bottoms run about 1300-2000 ft we have had snow at this hieght in every month of the year our mountains run up to 8000 ft in this area and they do freeze regular if you get hurt lost and do not have extra gear you will not survive, it does throw out the real light weight goals to carry the extra food cloths sleeping bag but it is my opinion that with true bush savvy you will bring the extra stuff and you will go forward with a lighter consciounce and only slightly heavy pack. all that rambeling aside if one does not have the skills needed to use your gear noyhing else matters if you let coldness creep in and get ahold then you may not be able to save yourself if you catch it in time and you have the gear ----- then you stand a chance

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#97864 - 06/17/08 06:00 AM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: Jimshaw]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Quote:
JD, as for spelling Rainear - we have a lot of creative ways pf spelling in Oregon... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> however everybody knows what I meant to say. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
I figured you must be talking about freezing rain with really big wind up there.

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#97865 - 06/17/08 06:13 AM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: JAK]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
I remember this one from when I lived in Victoria. Classic.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iz-WuLQz_ns

Such a magnificent place, but often so tragic.
Sometimes a little humour helps us step back now and then.

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#97866 - 06/17/08 09:03 AM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: JAK]
johndavid Offline
member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 260
Loc: jersey city NJ
Backpacking is like driving a car, although much safer. It's very easy. Mostly common sense. If you completely mess-up, or get very unlucky, problems are possible.

On Saturday, I passed an unusually grim accident scene in Pennsylvania, & mostly succeeded in not looking.

What caused the accident? I certainly don't know, and I don't care to know whether somebody in particular was to blame.

Just an unusually bad scene, and obsessing over it isn't useful.

When I used to work for a small newspaper, the editor would always get photos of smashed-up cars and put them on the front page. Perhaps he felt it was in the public interest as a means of educating drivers.

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#97867 - 06/17/08 09:53 AM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: midnightsun03]
ronin Offline
member

Registered: 08/09/04
Posts: 41
Quote:
Please elaborate, Ronin.

MNS, the SAR volunteer in AK


1) My comments were clearly not directed at anyone in particular.
2) I've been reading your posts for years. You are one of the most interesting and informative members on this thread (along w/Jimshaw and Pika).

OK, back to your regularly scheduled rant. In Brief (i'm not kidding, i could write a book on this topic):

Extreme: Because the risk of serious injury requiring rescue is infinitesimally small in comparisn to normal day to day activities. E.g. driving to the trailhead. Because of the "Last Straw Factor." Ie; the total effect of Hyped adverts, sensationalist news and post after post warning of dire consequences.

Paternalistic: Because all the dire warnings aimed at "beginners" imply that they must be protected from themselves. And who better to do the job than some avowed expert? Be it the local SAR who help set rules (e.g. the never ending must have a PLB controversy). Or the local politicians who think they know what's best for all. Or even your next door neighbor who after reading another sad story thinks "... there ought to be a law."

Harmful: Because the "Fear Factor" leads to lessened use of our trail systems. Which causes wholesale decommissioning. Because the FF leads to overly large, heavy packs which incur a greater risk of injury.

Now back to you MNS. Read the following assuming a kindly tone, ok? Good. :-)

The film you were a part of will most likely ignore the fact that hypothermia is seldom a problem leading to serious injury requiring rescue. In addition it will ignore the fact that most injury related rescues are for experienced, properly equipped hikers (if not over-equipped; e.g. the subjects of this thread).

Will it also ignore the fact that hyperthermia is a much, much more likely problem? Will it also ignore the fact that poor decision making due to fatigue is also vastly more likely than hypothermia? And I could go on and on. And often do. Sorry!

MNS, I hope this last comment doesn't hurt your feelings, What the producers do is *no* reflection on you. Based on the vast majority of videos/films i've seen it is likely that the film will be yet another sensationalistic stab at fear mongering.

Peace,

Richard.

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#97868 - 06/17/08 10:54 AM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: northernbcr]
ronin Offline
member

Registered: 08/09/04
Posts: 41
Quote:
just read the whole post heres my 2 bits worth it makes me uncomfortable that there are lists of items to bring.

I concur. I specially dislike the ubiquitous "Ten Essentials" lists. Or as I call them: The "Non Essentials" lists.

Quote:
there isn't many people that i would go up in the hills with that just talk about what they read in a book.

Did you ever see the Gary Larson comic captioned .... "On the Internet no one knows you're a dog."

We all know that experience is the best teacher. Unfortunately it's the most experienced who are most likely to die out there. IOW: Newbies seldom tackle Denali. And when they do they are so over-equipped they don't get far and end up going home disgusted. Right, MNS?

[/quote]now talking about cold our valley bottoms run about 1300-2000 ft we have had snow at this hieght in every month of the year our mountains run up to 8000 ft in this area and they do freeze regular if you get hurt lost and do not have extra gear you will not survive,[/quote]
Sorry but you missed the points:

1) The subjects of this thread and a large majority of rescue subjects did/do have the proper gear. It's true i'm guessing based on the article describing them as being very experienced.
2) Even you cannot help but spread unreasonable fear by telling folks they'll die if they are poorly prepared. It jist taint nesarily so!

Quote:
it does throw out the real light weight goals

Naaah, not necessarily. LTW "goals" are bogus. Because LTW is mostly subjective. Extremists like Dr. ArrJay need not apply. ;-)

Quote:
if you let coldness creep in and get ahold then you may not be able to save yourself if you catch it in time and you have the gear ----- then you stand a chance

There you go again .... spreading FUD. It would do as well if one said: Improvise, adapt overcome .... because if you don't have it you don't need it. And both POVs would be wrong for most hikers.

Look at it this way:

A large portion of outdoors lovers (for want of a better term) never get far from the campground. Probably because the last time they hiked more than a few miles they were bushed and did not have a good time.

Another large percentage never get farther than five miles, or so, from the trailhead. Probably because they are so burdened w/excess gear. And they don't go out very often because it's a pain (literally) carrying so much excess weight.

Leaving a few, very few, who venture forth. Of those, most are accompanied by at least one experienced hiker. Because newbies think they'll freaking die if they head off by themselves. Hmmm, I wonder how they got that idea. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

Which leaves a small number of experienced hikers and a tiny percentage of extremists (the latter is not an insulting comment, unless we're talking about Dr. ArrJay, et al).

It's the last two groups we should be addressing w/dire warnings. Not "beginners." But as we all know they are the ones least likely to take heed.

Peace,

Richard.

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#97869 - 06/17/08 10:56 AM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: johndavid]
ronin Offline
member

Registered: 08/09/04
Posts: 41
Quote:
When I used to work for a small newspaper, the editor would always get photos of smashed-up cars and put them on the front page. Perhaps he felt it was in the public interest as a means of educating drivers.

Or because "if it bleeds, it leads?"

Peace,

Richard.

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#97870 - 06/17/08 11:01 AM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: ronin]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
I would like to make a few comments, not all directed specifically at your particular post.

1) I was once a "newbie" and my gear was not based on fear mongering. It was heavy because it was all I could afford! As a teenager, I had to babysit and deliver papers to earn the money. If I had to wait until I earned enough to buy the high-end gear, I would never have started!

I think it is typical when you start any sport, that you buy "entry level" gear and if you then do not continue, no great loss, and if you like the sport, you upgrade and refine based on your personal experiences. I was lucky that I started out in an organized group with good training and dedicated mentors for us beginners - so I was taught what were essentials and what were not. My essential gear was a bit heavy and perhaps a bit overkill, but I did not take lots of extra junk (early on I was told I did not need to bring fresh underware for each day!).

2) I do not think you can separate cause and effect with hypothermia and poor judgement. They have feedback. A little cold-- you think less clearly-- you think less clearly and do not do what is proper to re-warm so you get a little more cold -- and so on. Tragedy happens as the end product of numerous compounding factors (small mistakes and uncontrollable factors) that feed back on each. It is often hard to pinpoint one factor. Even mild hypothermia is a compounding factor in a lot of outdoor accidents.

3) As for backpacking being "safer than driving a car" (not your comment but another poster's comment), it takes a very narrow definition of backpacking to assert this as a fact. In some environments, backpacking is NOT as safe as driving; in some it is. OK - I do 8-10 day off-trail trips, never see anyone, go over Class3 passes, expose myself to quite a bit of objective danger, climb a few mountains on the way -- am I backpacking? Is winter backpacking as safe as driving a car? Is winter a time of year or a set of condtions?

4) Every newbie (and experienced backpacker too) should read statistics on accidents - not as a part of fear mongering but to try to learn a little from others misfortunes. Accidents in North American Mountaineering is on my yearly reading list - I learn something each year I read the new report. I do not think that focusing on safety is fear mongering. Granted, the outdoor industry would have you believe that you must have their latest gizmo in order to survive! But that's advertising. Nobody really believes all that!

5) Any tragedy such as this is really sad. My heart goes out to loved ones who are stuggling with the loss, regardless of the cause.

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#97871 - 06/17/08 11:33 AM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: ronin]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
Hi Ronin...

Thanks for your reply.

Just for the sake of explanation, the TV show had to do with animals and how they have adapted to survive in extreme environments. The experiment was to show how humans respond to conditions that animals have no problem dealing with. So, no, there will probably not be any discussion about how hypothermia is just one "abnormal state" condition that can lead to adverse outcomes. Actually, that topic will be covered collectively in other episodes.

With regards to that topic, we regularly discuss hyperthermia here, especially in the summer time (which I realize it is now in most parts of the US, just not here in AK) and how it can be quite deadly quite quickly. Fatigue is something that comes up from time to time as well. If you look back over the past year or two you'll see that we discuss multiple causes of adverse outcomes, though each one may be discussed independently, and often in response to a well publicized event.

As for a paternalistic attitude, I guess we view that differently. The way I view it, those of us who volunteer with SAR organizations are putting our lives on the line when we go out on a search. I feel that those of us who choose to respond to lost and injured hikers and climbers do have a responsibility to ourselves to educate the public as much as we can. Accidents happen, unpreparedness happens, stupidity happens - we go no matter what caused the need. But we do feel better putting ourselves on the line when we've also had opportunities to raise awareness about the things that can and do go wrong out there. We tend to find ourselves most often looking for "inadvertent" hikers - people who make spur of the moment decisions to take a quick hike, get turned around and then end up lost. Up here also most "overdue" hikers aren't lost, just delayed by weather (or wildlife encounters!). Truth be told, we really don't have to do many "rescues" here in the Anchorage area - not of hikers anyway. Most of our "rescues" are hunters, snowmachiners and 4-wheelers who get stuck and have to spend an unprepared night or two out. Different audience, I know. Why might that be? Perhaps because we've done a good job of making sure people are prepared when they take a planned hike.

I personally don't believe in using scare tactics to raise awareness, but perhaps in an effort to be brief and to the point, messages come across as heavy handed. On this forum in particular we have a responsibility to err on the side of overpreparedness for newbies because taking a cavalier approach toward packweight could end up getting someone hurt or worse. The sad fact is that we live in a litigious society, and those who are responsible for the content of this site could conceivably be at risk legally. Even if a lawsuit is frivilous, the site owner is not immune to this risk!

So, the bottom line is that we have to respect that we all bear a certain responsibility toward the site owner (who is a private individual) to make sure that the content of his site is responsibily presented - even if it errs on the side of caution. We can and do have some great discussions about the tradeoffs between weight, comfort and safety. Newbies should understand that lightweight is to be aspired toward, not a starting point. Start heavier, go slower, travel less distance, take notes. As time on the trail and experience increases, decreasing packweight can become a reality. We all have lists, but if everyone here were to put their lists side by side, I'll almost guarantee that each one will have its own personal variations. I believe this may have been one of the points being made - that lists are too individual to be a "safe" place to start for newbies. Perhaps the best approach to dealing with your concerns would be to start a thread in the newbie forum on things that can go wrong in general, and how to recognize and minimize those risks.

Peace,
MNS


Edited by midnightsun03 (06/17/08 11:42 AM)
_________________________
YMMV. Viewer discretion is advised.

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#97872 - 06/17/08 12:03 PM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: midnightsun03]
ronin Offline
member

Registered: 08/09/04
Posts: 41
Dear MNS; forgive me not thanking you sooner for the selfless work you do. Consider yourself well thanked and well appreciated! :-)

Your reply is as usual, well written, detailed and mostly correct.

Your advice to start a thread is also helpful. I'll think about it. Perhaps in a few days when I have more time.

I do think that the fear of litigation vis-a-vis poor advice on this site is overblown. IANAL but I am quite sure that there is no real likelihood of such an outcome.

Of course it's you're duty to educate the public! I am not adverse to education, as a rule, even when it's poorly balanced. I do take issue w/the constant specter of death which haunts newbies. If not consciously .... as a subconscious affect. Sorry, broken record. ;-)

Thank you once again for being an exemplary member of TLB

Peace,

Richard.

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#97873 - 06/17/08 12:50 PM Re: Exposure death on Mt Rainear [Re: wandering_daisy]
ronin Offline
member

Registered: 08/09/04
Posts: 41
Great post WD. Thx. I hope you don't mind how I snip out some content.

FYI: I can't come up w/a good term for describing the many outdoor activities which are performed on foot so w/your indulgence i'll just start referring to hikers whenever I speak contextually.

Quote:
1) I was once a "newbie" and my gear was not based on fear mongering.

For every rule there's an exception. Often the dearth of such exceptions prove the rule. ;-)

Furthermore, very, very few hikers will admit to fear based decisions in this context (and in most others as well).

Finally, there is subconscious affect. Exemplified by the "Ten Essentials." Ie, few will say the TEs are based on fear, much less fear mongering. But it's cumulative whether they realize it or not. For proof look at their gear lists.

Quote:
I was lucky that I started out in an organized group with good training and dedicated mentors for us beginners

Once again making you an exception. As you imply by writing that you were lucky.

Quote:
so I was taught what were essentials and what were not.

At the risk of sounding argumentative .... I would bet that most of those essentials .... weren't essential. ;-)

Quote:
2) I do not think you can separate cause and effect with hypothermia and poor judgement.

Sorry WD, you misunderstood me. I didn't address that specific issue because MNS had already done so, eloquently, and I wanted to point out that hypothermia was a less likely cause of poor decision making .... for the vast majority of people.

Quote:
3) As for backpacking being "safer than driving a car" (not your comment but another poster's comment), it takes a very narrow definition of backpacking to assert this as a fact.

I completely disagree! Within the context of this thread (as i understand it; serious injury rescues and death) there can be no doubt that serious traffic accidents occur w/much more frequency than hiking related serious rescue and/or death incidents.

Quote:
In some environments, backpacking is NOT as safe as driving; in some it is.

Sorry once again but you missed my point: The vast majority of hikers, specially beginners, avoid dangerous environments and/or situations.

Quote:
Is winter backpacking as safe as driving a car? Is winter a time of year or a set of condtions?

Forgive the broken record: Beginners seldom hike in winter conditions. When they do they often are over-prepared. And usually accompanied by an expert. It is that expert who's most likely to get them in trouble (excepting commercially lead hikes).

Quote:
4) Every newbie (and experienced backpacker too) should read statistics on accidents - not as a part of fear mongering but to try to learn a little from others misfortunes.

Please enlighten me. I sincerely would like to know how you came to that conclusion.

I believe that newbies learn nothing of value from the constant onslaught. Except to be over-prepared and i've already addressed that issue.

Quote:
Accidents in North American Mountaineering is on my yearly reading list

Which would help explain why you feel that hiking is often more dangerous than driving a car. Please don't think i'm trying to put words in your mouth. That is what I feel you were saying in general. Because you disagreed w/my opinions in re the nature of the vast majority of serious hiking incidents.

Quote:
I learn something each year I read the new report.

I don't bother. Call me ignorant (it's ok, i am ignorant of much), but I see no value in learning that Joe Smith was taken from us by an avalanche. It only saddens me. Although it certainly does help keep me from hiking in such conditions. JIC you're wondering .... not due to fear. But due to the fact that I detest winter. I don't even want to see snow and ice in my refrigerator. I kid, I kid, but I do hate winter.

Ok, i'm an experienced hiker, but not only have I yet to learn anything of value from an incident report, I defy *anyone* to tell me what they have learned from reading incident reports that they shouldn't have known in the first place due to common sense and a modicum of research.

Of course I exclude winter hiking conditions in general and mountaineering specifically. Because the vast majority of hikers do not risk either. Which brings us back full circle. [sigh]

Quote:
I do not think that focusing on safety is fear mongering.

Good. We agree on something at last!!! ;-)

Quote:
Granted, the outdoor industry would have you believe that you must have their latest gizmo in order to survive! But that's advertising. Nobody really believes all that!

As I pointed out: It's not just the Hyped ads at fault. It's cumulative.

And it's safe to say that most people *do* believe all that. The proof is that the ads continue to run. Nuff said?

Peace

Richard.

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