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#270620 - 06/25/14 01:23 AM Re: Karen Sykes - Mount Rainier [Re: Teslinhiker]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 982
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
Any incident has a systematic chain of events that can ultimately lead up to a tragic conclusion. This includes car accidents, airplane crashes, hiking injuries/death and so on. Science and post incident investigations has long proven that somewhere in that chain of events, poor judgement, not well thought, wrong or even worse - no decisions have played a role in tragic situations. The chain of events leading up, can be weeks, days, hours or minutes in the making. In this deceased person's case, we will probably never know. That does not mean I am passing poor judgement directly on the person, but simply stating a fact that is perhaps uncomfortable for many to realize.

Except that up thread you did seem to be passing judgement, when you explicitly said:
Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
Judging by the info in the link, she was an experienced hiker - but experienced does not always equate good judgement which was missing on that fateful day.

However, you do make one good point. Decisions made days or hours before could certainly have changed the outcome. If she had just stayed in Seattle, then none of this would have happened.

One simple preparation will insure that you will never die in the mountains, and that is to never go into the mountains. If you do go into the mountains, there is some chance you might die, no matter how experienced you are, or how much survival gear you carry, or how many companions you go with. I'm "simply stating a fact that is perhaps uncomfortable for many to realize."
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"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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#270621 - 06/25/14 01:31 AM Re: Karen Sykes - Mount Rainier [Re: AKSAR]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1286
Originally Posted By: AKSAR

Except that up thread you did seem to be passing judgement, when you explicitly said:
Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
Judging by the info in the link, she was an experienced hiker - but experienced does not always equate good judgement which was missing on that fateful day.

However, you do make one good point. Decisions made days or hours before could certainly have changed the outcome. If she had just stayed in Seattle, then none of this would have happened.

One simple preparation will insure that you will never die in the mountains, and that is to never go into the mountains. If you do go into the mountains, there is some chance you might die, no matter how experienced you are, or how much survival gear you carry, or how many companions you go with. I'm "simply stating a fact that is perhaps uncomfortable for many to realize."


I munged the words in my original post. If it makes anyone feel better, would it of been more acceptable to say; she was an experienced hiker - but experienced does not always equate good judgement which was possibly missing on that fateful day.
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Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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#270622 - 06/25/14 01:41 AM Re: Karen Sykes - Mount Rainier [Re: RNewcomb]
bws48 Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 797
Loc: Anne Arundel County, Maryland
"I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorize before
one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit
theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
- - Sherlock Holmes in “A Scandal in Bohemia”, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

We don't have the facts yet.

But, I was working on something else today and the following popped up: "The Normalcy Bias."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normalcy_bias
A quote from the article "The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It can result in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation."

I have also heard something like this referred to as "get thereitis."

Pure unsubstantiated speculation: could she simply have thought "I've done this a 1000 time before---no problem."

A cautionary tale.

I do hope more facts come out, but we will never know what she was thinking.
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"Better is the enemy of good enough."

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#270628 - 06/25/14 03:11 PM Re: Karen Sykes - Mount Rainier [Re: bws48]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5796
Loc: southern Cal
"experienced" is a very elastic term. It doesn't mean "immune" or"impervious". It does mean that an experienced outdoorsperson is less likely to get into trouble. As always, full details are helpful in really understanding the situation.

Here is yet another case of an "experienced, fit" individual disappearing. It doesn't look good for him. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2014/jun/24/no-new-clues-in-search-for-missing-firefighter/
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Geezer in Chief

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#270634 - 06/25/14 04:17 PM Re: Karen Sykes - Mount Rainier [Re: AKSAR]
Deathwind Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/01/14
Posts: 310
I hike alone whenever I can. Also fish, hunt and run cross country. It's rare that I can be alone and I value those moments. I haven't camped alone in a few years, except during deer season. I'm lucky that the boss likes being outdoors and isn't one of the dainty breed who shrieks when a mosquito lands on her. Recent se walked into our weekend camp with a bull snake she had caught for a kid down the block.

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#270638 - 06/25/14 04:59 PM Re: Karen Sykes - Mount Rainier [Re: Deathwind]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5796
Loc: southern Cal
Hiking in a group in no panacea. An aware,reasonably cautious, well equipped solitary hiker may be in less jeopardy than an uninformed group. The latter case is just going to require more body bags.

The critical variable is knowledge, often expressed as "experience."
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Geezer in Chief

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#270643 - 06/25/14 06:18 PM Re: Karen Sykes - Mount Rainier [Re: RNewcomb]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2810
I may just have to start hiking alone, can't get the rest of the family to go often enough frown

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#270645 - 06/25/14 06:49 PM Re: Karen Sykes - Mount Rainier [Re: Eugene]
Deathwind Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/01/14
Posts: 310
Just be careful Eugene. You're smart enough to carry the proper gear. Maybe you can find a hiking buddy or even a group locally? I kind of prefer to be alone out there. I don't have to watch over anyone and it gives me time to think.

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#270652 - 06/25/14 10:03 PM Re: Karen Sykes - Mount Rainier [Re: wildman800]
Phaedrus Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 1905
Loc: Great Plains
Originally Posted By: wildman800
Another uncomfortable fact of life: Aneurisms. Many folks have them within the brain and/or along primary blood vessels and have not ever learned of that fact, for many reasons, until one day, poof. Death occurs quickly and one drops exactly where they were at that moment. One can be standing in an Emergency Room of a modern hospital and there is not anything that can be done for them.


Something like this was kind of what I was driving at. The reports, sketchy as they are, listed the cause of death as hypothermia. Now, I'll be the first to admit I'm no Cody Lundin, just a guy that tries to learn and loves the outdoors. And it's also true that just being experienced and knowledgeable doesn't immunize one completely against risk. Yet in conditions that are relatively mild I would be somewhat surprised to see a skilled, healthy and well equipped person to succumb to hypothermia overnight. I do know it can hit you hard and fast, but I do wonder if some other health issue complicated things for her.

One last comment; if I am thinking about my death I can sure picture a lot of ways worse than dying on a beautiful if cold mountain at age 70. My dad loved the outdoors but passed away in a hospital bed, covered with tubes and monitors, at age 67. I have no doubt he'd have gladly traded spots with her if he could.
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“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

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#270656 - 06/26/14 12:53 AM Re: Karen Sykes - Mount Rainier [Re: Phaedrus]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5796
Loc: southern Cal
I will never forget a search we did some years ago. We were looking for an elderly gentleman who had not returned from his daily early morning walk in the desert. We found hm quickly along the route - quite dead. What impressed me was his facial expression which I can only describe as serene and content. There are much worse ways of going, and I don't care for tubes and monitors either.
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Geezer in Chief

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