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#168029 - 02/26/09 08:57 PM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: Russ]
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
Originally Posted By: Russ
A GPS is a great tool for staying found...

If you leave a GPS on continuously, you do run the risk of running down the batteries which is why:
1) You don't leave it running continuously, you turn it on, determine the course to your destination and then turn it off. Use a mag compass to follow that course; and,
2) Carry spare batteries, just in case.


Exact-a-mundo. Turn on the GPS, take a fix, turn it off. In this mode lithium batts last for weeks and weeks of use.

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#168032 - 02/26/09 09:21 PM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: Glock-A-Roo]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2023
Loc: NE Illinois
Originally Posted By: Glock-A-Roo
Exact-a-mundo. Turn on the GPS, take a fix, turn it off. In this mode lithium batts last for weeks and weeks of use.


In my original comment I forgot to mention the absolutely critical "take a fix" step. They would have needed to turn the GPS on and create a waypoint for the hotel, parking lot, shelter, .... a safe place.

Without that, all they might have is the direction and distance to a great fishing spot back home.

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#168033 - 02/26/09 09:36 PM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: KenK]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4987
Loc: SOCAL
For me taking a fix (marking a waypoint) at the truck when I start is a given. Then I take additional waypoints as I travel -- waypoints are free. Marking significant geographical features is a good habit because then you can literally draw a map on a featureless non-mapping GPS. Much easier to stay found. If on the other hand you are out skiing and don't bother to take care of basic backwoods navigation. . . 2 minutes with a GPS can spare you a lot of time stamping S O S in the snow.

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#168037 - 02/26/09 09:49 PM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: benjammin]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
"They deserve what they got."

Yes, but...

The authorities on both sides of the border collect a lot of taxpayers monies to go after fools who are doing stupid things in the wrong places. They've been doing it for years and people get to expect it. Fine.

But if you're going to change the rules of this particular game, you'd better give some warning. You can't just arbitrarily decide that this is the day you're going to pull the rug out from everyone who isn't aware of your decision.

So put signs all over at the accesses to wilderness areas, and broadcast it on the news, radio and weather stations: IF YOU GET YOURSELF INTO SOME STUPID PREDICAMENT, WE AREN'T COMING TO GET YOU. MAKE PLANS TO RESCUE YOURSELVES, OR DIE OUT THERE AND FEED THE BEARS.

I'm fine with this. But I'm not fine with the people responsible for the wilderness areas being just as stupid as the people they rescue. That's really a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Sue


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#168045 - 02/26/09 10:52 PM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: Susan]
scafool Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
Are we going to start this stupid ideological argument again?
Sure there is plenty of blame to go around, and one woman has paid with her life for her incompetence, the incompetence of the resort manager, the search leader, the police etc etc etc.

The truth is that we set up a system that should have prevented this and which failed in this case.

When the coroners are finished and the lawyers are done maybe we will get lucky and will have learned how to prevent it failing this way again.

More likely all we will end up with is somebody being blamed for it instead and nothing done to fix the problem. A totally useless solution.
_________________________
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

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#168097 - 02/27/09 01:47 PM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: scafool]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
I'd say the incompetence finger only points to one spot for blame, and that is the couple that tempted fate. They instigated the event, and they are solely responsible for the outcome. The volunteers are all discretionary, and anyone stupid enough to go into the wilderness thinking that there's always going to be a safety net if they take a chance and it doesn't work out for them is just plain stupid. You can't fix stupid. Signs telling people they are responsibile for their own actions are wishful thinking.

Volunteers don't get paid, although the organization may receive some funding for their effort, but that is not an instant obligation, nor should it be.

However, I believe the lawyers will make a case and policies will be changed, and in the long run once again the general public will be footing the bill for ever more contingency against stupid people taking stupid risks.

It would be far better, I think if we spent the money on paid advertising telling everyone that they actually need to think before they do, and have some sort of plan on how to mitigate the risks they take. Imagine how different the outcome if the couple had been on this forum for a couple months before attempting what they did? Prevention is far, far more desirable and efficient than response.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#168104 - 02/27/09 02:11 PM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: benjammin]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4987
Loc: SOCAL
Maybe spread some unsubstantiated rumors on the internet that say something to the effect that if you get lost in the great outdoors and nobody knows you're missing, you could die.

What exactly does "experienced skiers in unfamiliar terrain" mean? They were very capable of getting seriously lost? The more I think on this the more I think Benjammin is correct.

"Life's tough. It's tougher if you're stupid."
-- John Wayne

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#168105 - 02/27/09 02:33 PM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: Russ]
Andrew_S Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 59
Today's Globe & Mail has a more detailed account.

Two days after they went missing, their first SOS was spotted by a local skier, who told Purcell, which in turn notified Kicking Horse to check if it had any signs of an overdue skier. The answer was no. Golden and District Search and Rescue heard informally through a volunteer who also works at Kicking Horse, but weren't called out by RCMP, who no one told.

This is where the finger-pointing appears to begin.

Purcell claimed late Thursday night that Kicking Horse had told it that Search and Rescue had been called, and therefore the helicopter company thought the matter to have been dealt with. The resort presumed that since one of its staff volunteered with Search and Rescue, that staff member would in turn inform Search and Rescue, which would then deal with it.

...

(It was at a joint ski outfitter and Search and Rescue meeting held in Golden, just last month, that both Purcell helicopters and Kicking Horse resort were directly informed that RCMP must be alerted in order for a search mission to be launched. All sides agree that, on Feb. 17 after the first SOS was spotted, neither Search and Rescue nor RCMP were formally notified).


The issues here are clear. If this account is accurate, the resort is negligent. Outfitters, etc., have a duty of care that extends at least as far as calling police on behalf of their clients. The police have a clear duty to respond and investigate when notified.

We can engage in interminable and otiose ideological debates, or we can acknowledge the facts: that there is a search and rescue system, and that the system exists for the sake of people who screw up. I expect that system to work.

You can blame the victims, thus excusing incompetence and neglect and perpetuating it. Alternatively, you can acknowledge that people will do stupid things, and demand that the SAR system that your taxes pay for is competent and effective.


Edited by Andrew_S (02/27/09 02:34 PM)
Edit Reason: fix quoted portion

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#168108 - 02/27/09 02:52 PM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: Andrew_S]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
Hmm, the investigation should turn up more facts. So far all is heresay. If the statements hold true, then it could be someone at Kicking Horse didn't exercise due diligence in accounting for the missing skiers, which would probably convey a negligence tort violation on the resort. From there, it looks like the communications were relying on the faulty initial info from the resort as the basis not to deploy, which was likely prudent based on the Feb 17 agreement.

Now, there may also be a good case of criminal negligence/reckless endangerment against the surviving male, especially if they find out it was his idea to go out of bounds. If anyone is going to go to jail for this, he is first in line. The rest may all be just face civil claims, unless someone can prove malicious intent, which doesn't seem to be the case here.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#168109 - 02/27/09 03:00 PM Re: Woman dies after pair lost in backcountry [Re: Andrew_S]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4987
Loc: SOCAL
Sure, the SAR community didn't get called in, but all the hotel guests were accounted for. These two were no longer clients of the resort, they checked out.

For $116 plus S&H you can get a Garmin Geko 201 on ebay -- cheap insurance. 3.1 oz with batteries.

Really, the cost of a vacation, ski's, rental car, resort et al and they get lost? In the age of $billion$ GPS constellations there is no excuse for two healthy people to get lost.

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