I shocked a whole room of folks by describing how long it takes to mobilize a search team - your friends/family have to notify the appropriate authorities, and then most search teams are volunteer, and then they won't be sent out til the next day as the SAR teams that mobilize in the dark consist of... mine. Most teams do not. Helicopters do not fly at night in the mountains. So if you are injured on a hike and help is needed, you will be out for one night minimum.
The assertion I was contradicting was that a fellow who broke his leg was left waiting for too long and EMS took "forever" to get there. He was two miles from a trailhead, at the end of a paved road, 45 minutes drive at the speed limit from the nearest city. I put forth that four hours is PHENOMENAL response time to get to a hurt hiker, due mostly to his proximity to a road and cell signal. I added it all up for them - four hours drive to a true wilderness trailhead. Miles in, hiking that same trail they did with a backpack with a STOKES LITTER. Hiking the injured party back to the trailhead if a helicopter is not available (our bird is search only, we can only transport healthy and well search victims not in need of medical attention). A lot of things that can happen to delay this, such as weather grounding the choppers.
It's a huge wake up call. And while I realize this is dragging things off the original challenge post - it's really what it's about at the base of it, what you really actually need vs. what you think you need. The 11 item challenge is a great way to accomplish something actually helpful to any hiker, whether he's going six miles or sixty. You only get to 11 items if you think about needs. And it's interesting to see what people think they will need. I didn't put a sleeping pad or bag/quilt on mine, because I know that I could get through with clothing and just the items in the pack like the trash bag and a tarp.
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzukihttp://hikeandbackpack.com