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#255552 - 01/16/13 12:06 AM Re: Another tragedy [Re: airballrad]
JBMat Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 745
Loc: NC
Frankly, this guy screwed up badly and his sons paid the price along with him. I've read the stories. Plain and simple, his lack of planning, lack of equipment, and general poor decisions are what caused this tragedy. Don't know or care about his level of experience - even really good experienced people in the woods make errors. I am saddened that the two kids had to suffer for their father's errors.

#255553 - 01/16/13 12:14 AM Re: Another tragedy [Re: airballrad]
spuds Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/12
Posts: 822
Loc: SoCal Mtns
Hypothermia and clouded judgment,then rapidly overcome perhaps?

Somehow....a three hour tour,a three hour Tour...... comes to mind.

Im going with tragic accident here.Most people going hiking dont make much prep,its just a walk to most folks is my thinking.

Very sad.

#255555 - 01/16/13 12:19 AM Re: Another tragedy [Re: JBMat]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6584
Loc: southern Cal
"Experienced" is a very subjective term; I have hauled the bodies of quite a few "experienced" outdoors folk out of the woods. The deal is that the first things affected by hypothermia, and by other types of environmental stress like hyperthermia, dehydration, etc., are the higher types of intellectual activity - making judgements, evaluating, and assessing conditions. just when you need to be really sharp and on the ball, you are impaired. I have gone down that slippery slope, fortunately not too far, a couple of times and "insidious" barely describes the situation.
Geezer in Chief

#255556 - 01/16/13 12:47 AM Re: Another tragedy [Re: airballrad]
tomfaranda Offline

Registered: 02/14/08
Posts: 301
Loc: Croton on Hudson, NY
Terrible tragedy & since we don't know all the facts, think I'll go easy on the Dad.

#255559 - 01/16/13 06:23 AM Re: Another tragedy [Re: airballrad]
Phaedrus Offline

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2155
Loc: Great Plains
What a tragedy, and even worse that it would have been so easy to prevent. I'm sure that once hypothermia set in his judgement was affected, and perhaps they didn't realize how much trouble they were in til it was too late. My heart goes out to the rest of the family. What a way for a vacation to end.

Hopefully something good will come of this; if nothing else perhaps it will force other families to take steps to learn some skills and make sure they're properly prepared.
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

#255563 - 01/16/13 04:33 PM Re: Another tragedy [Re: unimogbert]
ILBob Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 776
Loc: Northern IL
Originally Posted By: unimogbert
IlBob - you might add a secondary thing to fear to your excellent and simple list:

A nice weather forecast that's wrong.

Trusting a weather forecast is sometimes necessary but don't bet your life on it if you can help it.

I do not go hiking if I expect bad weather, but I have been rained on a few times anyway when it was unexpected.

I just won't go out in the woods without some kind of protection from the rain, even when it is warm out.

Having said that, I was once much younger and stupider.
Warning - I am not an expert on anything having to do with this forum, but that won't stop me from saying what I think. smile


#255566 - 01/16/13 06:07 PM Re: Another tragedy [Re: airballrad]
GoatMan Offline

Registered: 08/17/07
Posts: 101
This is a really sad story. I totally feel for the family. The pictures in the article show that he was a scout leader. The older of the two boys was a Wolf cub scout. That makes him about 8 years old. The younger brother is probably 6 years old. I have kids that old and it is VERY easy to understand some of the challenges he would be up against. When young kids get wet and really cold, they won't move anywhere. He likely carried one or both of them a long way trying to make it to a safe location. I sure the kids literally shut down long before he did. In that state, there is little to no chance they can contribute to making a shelter and he likely doesn't want to distance himself much from them to gather what he needs to provide some sort of shelter. There is no way he is going to leave them out there to make a fast trip for more help either. He probably carried them until he didn't have the strength to continue, then the three of them cuddle together under a large pine to try and stay warm enough to survive the night. But being soaked to the bone and temperatures in the 20's, hypothermia takes 3 lives.

We would hope that ponchos and emergency blankets would have been enough to keep them alive. I've slept in emergency bivvys and done survival overnighters, stayed overnight on hunting trips in a AMK bivvy because no sleeping bag was available. Emergency blankets suck. IF emergency ponchos would have kept their body cores dry and they could have had the emergency blankets with their body warmth together, I agree they likely would have survived the situation.

Sad, sad, sad...

#255567 - 01/16/13 07:10 PM Re: Another tragedy [Re: airballrad]
TeacherRO Offline

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2326
This is why I always hike with a small backpack. Its got a 'few things' inside. Usually a poncho/ jacket, food bars, phone, survival/comfort/first aid kit, light & water.

Figure 3-4 pounds w/o water.

#255568 - 01/16/13 07:27 PM Re: Another tragedy [Re: Phaedrus]
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
Originally Posted By: haertig
...But building a fire could have been quite tough in the downpour that was described...

Originally Posted By: Phaedrus
...I'm sure that once hypothermia set in his judgement was affected, and perhaps they didn't realize how much trouble they were in til it was too late...

I think one of the big lessons from this case is the importance of prevention, or "it is easier to avoid a trap than to claw your way out of one".

In the outdoors or any situation where resources are limited, the value of prevention is multiplied beyond its usual value in resource-rich environments. One of the chief takeaways I got from wilderness medical training was not how to do brain surgery in the woods with a paperclip (though I can do that wink ), but how vitally important it is to avoid seemingly simple problems: hypo/hyper-thermia, mobility killers like ankle injuries & trenchfoot, etc.

Because once you get in the hole, it is hard to extract yourself.

#255569 - 01/16/13 07:50 PM Re: Another tragedy [Re: TeacherRO]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 855
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: TeacherRO
This is why I always hike with a small backpack. Its got a 'few things' inside. Usually a poncho/ jacket, food bars, phone, survival/comfort/first aid kit, light & water.

Figure 3-4 pounds w/o water.

Those are all good things to have.

I hike alone often. My bag of "just in case" weighs 20 lb w/o water.
A little of that is ballast for fitness training in carrying a load but all of it has potential use for survival situation. Staying out alone overnight with what I normally carry would still be VERY challenging. (I really ought to try it sometime for the learning experience)

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