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#182954 - 09/23/09 06:51 PM Re: Leaving a note before hitting the trail [Re: NightHiker]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 860
Loc: Colorado
A friend of mine who works SAR suggests you leave a "scent item" in the car for search dogs. The team can break into the car and that would be the reason they'd find it productive.

I normally drive to trailhead in different shoes and socks than I hike in so ..... there you go.

#182955 - 09/23/09 06:57 PM Re: Leaving a note before hitting the trail [Re: comms]
Basecamp Offline

Registered: 11/08/07
Posts: 107
Loc: PNW
In addition to what I've read, the color of your gear and clothing and a description of your snax/gum/cigarettes and any other clue you might leave behind would be helpful. The brand and model of footgear, along wth size, is helpful. Also medical conditions including required medication, and who you will contact if you come out in a different area. The footprint in foil is a good idea, if you can do it.

While this is helpful to have in a note: ...."If I am in trouble I am heading East to Boulder creek.", it is much, much, MUCH more helpful if folks just stay put when they realize they are in trouble. It could save thousands of man hours, injury or death to SAR personnel and $$$,$$$ that does come out of our tax money.

One search I was involved in for a group of youths with adult leaders that should have known better involved their splitting up and continuing in two groups to try to find their way back. A search helicopter crashed which caused severe injuries to all but 1 of the 7 on board. One was crippled and medically retired, one was severely disabled (quad) but refused to retire... until recently.

Consider the toll that vanity takes...

#182972 - 09/23/09 08:49 PM Re: Leaving a note before hitting the trail [Re: Basecamp]

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 1852

i leave a trip plan with a map and photos of me and my gear. my wife will leave it on the dinning room table so the 911 gang will find it if they have to be in the house helping HER..and of course to find me if i'm not back from a canoe trip on the late-late date.
i leave the car empty.

#182977 - 09/23/09 09:04 PM Re: Leaving a note before hitting the trail [Re: CANOEDOGS]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Sorry, I missed the joke!

And I even know the one about leaving the empty holster and used target on the front seat!

Dummy Sue

#182982 - 09/23/09 09:17 PM Re: Leaving a note before hitting the trail [Re: Susan]
TeacherRO Offline

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2400
Similar discussion of same topic

Another great idea? Get a PLB. You will will make the dear wife ( and SAR) very happy.

#182990 - 09/23/09 09:59 PM Re: Leaving a note before hitting the trail [Re: TeacherRO]
comms Offline

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1502
Loc: Mesa, AZ
Would love one, don't own one. Nor do most people, unfortunately.

Even if I did, I would not change or stop my GOTWA's. A PLB would be on my gear list but having one does not mean I can/should access it due to a variety of reasons. Nor would I put that sense of security on DW, thinking I would "pop the cover" if I don't call when i said I would.

But a great idea, nevertheless. Seriously looking at the McMurdo Fast Find.

Now back to thread. What message do you leave or how to you give info out when you go into the back country?

Don't just survive. Thrive.

#183022 - 09/24/09 02:24 AM Re: Leaving a note before hitting the trail [Re: comms]
haertig Offline

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2151
Loc: Colorado
I leave a photocopy of the topo map with my intended route highlighted. I also mark the perimeter of the area I'll be in with "will not cross these boundaries" hash marks. It's easy to set finite boundaries in Colorado - usually I'm hiking in some mountain drainage and it's easy to keep yourself from "accidently" crossing these towering ridges on either side of you. They make great funnels to keep you within a well defined area, even if you venture off-trail. It's easy enough to get yourself temporarily lost anywhere, but not to the extreme that you inadvertantly scale a 14,000 foot peak and wander down the other side of it.

#183068 - 09/24/09 03:38 PM Re: Leaving a note before hitting the trail [Re: NightHiker]
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 900
Loc: NW NJ
... as long as you are in the right drainage to begin with smile
- Tom S.

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

#183069 - 09/24/09 03:40 PM Re: Leaving a note before hitting the trail [Re: NightHiker]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
Originally Posted By: NightHiker

They're also great self-extraction routes - you know that all you have to do is keep following them downstream and eventually you'll end up in either Utah or Kansas laugh

To a point only - anyone who lives in the Pacific Northwest west of the Cascades knows when they're in a valley and which direction to go to 'self-extract', but getting there can be tough with all the slide alder and variegated footing wherever there isn't an established trail. Also the fastest route to hypothermia here is to thrash through wet slide alder for 15 minutes. Remember James Kim... I think the best advice for lost hikers in our neck of the woods is still Stay Put, someone will be along to find you soon enough, your job is to carry enough with you to survive in wet and cold for 24-48 hours minimum. Sometimes keeping in one place keeps you dry, which can keep you alive.

For solo hikes my wife is my hiking partner - she gets a note with where I'm going, the trail number I'm on, my turn around time on the trail and where I expect to reach (furthest point in), and what time I'll call in and get home. I *NEVER* divert from my planned itinerary without telling her. Ever. Nor do I jolly walk a differnt trail home, ever. She always gets a call when I'm on the road home and back in cell range, it shortens the search area in case I didn't make it home. She knows I hike with enough gear to stay overnight comfortably (dry and warm). She knows I carry a PLB, and will use it if I can access it and need assistance. She knows that my last ditch time is 9pm, after which she should contact the local sheriff's office to report me as late for calling in. Worst case, I'm lying unconscious or dead at the bottom of a ravine, in which case the most heroic efforts of SAR won't make a helluva lot of difference to me. Best case, I'm safe and warm in my tarptent for the night. Medium case, I'm okay, but ran across someone on the trail who is not, and I'm just slowed by their pace to the trailhead (its happened twice, once with a beautiful female German tourist with a badly sprained ankle - wife wasn't too happy about that one :-). So far I haven't given her any reason to worry, but if 9pm came she is better prepared than if I simply left a note.

#183070 - 09/24/09 03:49 PM Re: Leaving a note before hitting the trail [Re: Lono]
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
We used to call self extraction routes "Panic Azimuths" in the military. The basis of them were that, when SHTF, its one of four cardinal directions, and a landmark you are HIGHLY unlikely to miss (be it a road, town, country, etc). This is something I leave when I go off on my own, but havent had to use it as of yet. I usually choose a road, as you cannot really miss hitting that. As long as my panic azimuth will guarantee I hit it, the distance doesnt really matter. On paper, it sounds like a decent idea; as I havent ever had to employ it though, I am not sure of the practical use; using cardinal directions works great with even a button compass, and even with terrain variations, you SHOULD be able to get to your RP, but I am SURE mr. Murphy is waiting there for you....
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