Jump to content

Sharing wilderness survival info

Recommended Posts

Beav, I tend to agree with you especially if these persons have families that could be negatively impacted by their risks. On the other hand, I suppose the marketplace makes all this possible. I have an acquaintance who was involved with one of those Everest things. He said that there are times when you have to wait in line for your turn to have a photo taken on the summit. But none of those guys will ever come close to a Shackleford or Wallace or von Humboldt or even a Schultes or Bartram or Mackenzie.

Personally, most of the real adventures that are left in life are those in the laboratory...where truly unknown things are still being discovered. The difference, to me, is that the lab approach requires a much greater investment in preparation and sometimes a lifetime of dedication with no certainty whatsoever of success. On the other hand, risk to life or limb is minimal. Maybe it depends on what a person sees as the payoff - new knowledge for the first time ever versus a photo at a spot where only a few thousand others have ever been. H'mmmm.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Everytime I read about one of these tragedies I harken back about 150 years.


Some folks that went west were city dwellers who knew nothing about living outdoors. OTOH, most were from farm stock that were looking for a better life. Look at the farming folks of that day. Killed and cleaned what they needed. Never had used flush toilets,really knew what tools were for, could judge time by the position of the sun(they had slaved under it all day), for the most part had proper clothing,had women folk that were tough as nails.

In general they were a lot closer to the land and all that goes with it.


They still died by the bucket loads. Now one ill prepared person goes off and dies and it is national news? The Empire is in serious trouble.


You fouled up Mr.Kim, own it.


Read about Scott and Amundsen(sp?). Good old Raold's people actually gained weight. Scotts men died like dogs, not like heroes. Amundsen copied the native folk, Scott was pigheaded and thought simply because he was British that would get him through.


Average people today are sissies that couldn't survive their way out of a paper bag.


I lived in a hole in the Saudi Desert for about 50 days. We were in a static position. Had our chow brought to us. Had our water brought to us, a cup of coffee was a savored luxury. It was tough but NOTHING near as tough as going west was.


Somebody said it here it's what's between your ears that counts the most.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't sell the Brits too short. If you want a story of ultimate survival, pick up a book on Ernest Shackleton. Those guys were tough. Lost their ship in the Antartic ice pack, spent 2 years on the ice and in lifeboats and self rescued themselves. Didn't lose one member of the expedition.


As to the tragedy on the families left behind by these mountaineers, yes it is tragic. These men have put their quest for adventure ahead of their responsibilities as fathers and husbands. Its selfish. But no more selfish than any man who puts his career ahead of his family. Or no more tragic than a father who succumbs to drugs, sex or alcohol.


I gave up the high risk adventure lifestyle after I got married. Once my kids are grown, I might just take it back up. But I won't until my responsibilities have been met and the mortgage paid off. And by then, my wife will pretty much have no further use for me!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I fear, now, that none of the climbers on Mt. Hood have survived and that the mission is now more one of recovery. My heart goes out to those three families.


Gern, Thanks!

Shackleton! Sorry, that's who I meant when I wrote 'Shackleford'. To me there is almost no part of that story that is NOT remarkable. After being stranded on the Antarctic ice without a ship, they navigated in open boats to Elephant Island and, knowing there would be no chance of rescue there, Shackleton and another member then navigated 800 miles to South Georgia Island with only rudimentary navigation tools. And THEN they walked across the icy mountainous spine of that island to a whaling outpost. It is one of the most amazing stories I've ever read.

However, anyone who would like to experience some additional treats over the holiday might take a look at:


'Mountains of the Moon', on videotape, the story of the search for the source of the Nile by Spekes and Burton. This one will rip your face off as well.


For those of us looking for a good book to read over the holiday there is, "Shipwrecked on the top of the world: Four against the Arctic" by David Roberts. This is another really good one to keep you feeling cold in front of the fire place.


Anyone with a daughter should also consider, "Two in the far north" by Margaret Murie, a wonderful true story of a woman who truly lived the wilderness life in Alaska...one of my favorites of all time.


Another book, "Resolute: The Epic Search for the Northwest Passage and John Franklin, and the Discovery of the Queen's Ghost Ship", by Martin Sandler is also good and there are many other books related to this tale.


As John Ciardi often said, "Good words to you!"

And Merry Christmas to all.


Link to post
Share on other sites



Read books? Do any of those come with pictures? ;)


On a serious note. You are right, it appears that all is lost with the climbers on Mount Hood. I watched the last installment of the Everest program last night on the Discovery channel. Each and every guy who summited or got close lost something to frostbite. These guys on Mount Hood have been exposed to freezing temps and up to 100 MPH winds. No matter how much clothing, gear or shelter they have/had, they can't hold out against the cold forever. Eventually they would run out of food and fuel to cook and melt snow for water. What a tragic loss. I'm sure part of the challenge for them was to do it in winter conditions. To me, that is kind of like climbing without a rope. It might be exciting, but it can be deadly in the blink of an eye.


I wondered about the cost of the SAR and the danger involved and who would pay. It appears that the government will pick up the tab. The families have already suffered a great loss and it would certainly hurt to be burdened with paying the extremely high cost of the SAR. Had the guys lived, I think it would have been appropriate to hand them a bill for services rendered. Perhaps that would help deter a few others from doing extreme sports without a very good plan and preparation. Here is a story about the cost involved in the Mt Hood search.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Those rescue costs are obscene. I can understand spending that kind of coin searching for someone who is an unwitting victim of the environment (Kim situation). But these guys chose their fate and knowingly put themselves in the situation. Any rescue attempts should have been performed by volunteers or funded by family members or special insurance policies purchased before hand. It shouldn't be shouldered by the general public.


If you want to get into the minds of some of these adventurers, Jon Krakauer is an excellent source. Try "Into Thin Air", "Into the Wild" and "Eiger Dreams".

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...

Well, this may be a few months late, but I feel I need to put in my 2 cents on this.


Before you become all smug and self rightous in your armchairs, remember that for every high altitude climber that is injured and has to be rescued, there are thousands of fatalities of low risker non adreniline types that are killed and maimed every month on the nation's highways, including children. The cost of rescuing them is never thought of in forums like this.


Also remember that of all the other people who are rescued or need help in the wilderness a good number are Scouts or Scouters who push their more limited envelopes too far. You don't think on how that money is wasted, and generally most all the incidents involving Scouts are preventable with proper planning, leadership and equipment. Yes, of course, this is in part due to the fact that we Scouters field more people than most other groups, but also due in part to the relative inexperience of the leadership. Scouts therefore get into trouble more often. This is one of the big reasons that the Scouters have the perception that most other wilderness travelers look down on them. It is because our people get into trouble more often. One proof is that the Sierra Club outings leaders are required to have current Wilderness First Aid to take adults into the wilderness while no such requirement is forced by BSA for adults taking other people's children into that same wilderness.


Risk is a part of life. Those of us who do these activities have indeed weighed risks versus sometimes considerable skills in the outdoors. Yes there is the thrill of adrenaline, but I can tell you that while climbing above 15,000 feet, there is little adrenaline, and lots of drudgery, but the scenery makes up for it. I also buy the Colorado and Wyoming rescue lisences each year to help fund free rescues, and also in case I need to be rescued. How many Scouters even know about this? How many have even thought of the mechanics of self rescue, and under what conditions it can be managed? Few. I see them every Monday night.


As a mountaineer and whitewater rafter as well as being a teacher and guide (and a high adventure scout leader, one of few who has taken my Scouts mountaineering and whitewater rafting - all without injury for the sixteen years that I have done it), I like many have taken or taught rescue, (I teach both high and low angle mountaineering rescue and have done my time on both ends, once being rescued (private trip) and four times going to rescue, once with my Scouts to help), as well as learning and instructing swiftwater rescue and teaching wilderness first aid. How many of you take someone else's kids even a mile down a trail and DO NOT have these skills. Do you know that if a child is injured beyond your capacity to self evacuate, and to treat (even if you knew how - and remember the first aid merit badge is only an 'introduction' to first aid) when only 10 miles down a dirt road and one mile down a trail that the rescue will likely take some twenty people nearly eight hours to get in and get the kid out, and with all the subsesquent cost and no mountain involved? All of these are adressed in a simple WFA course. How many of you have current cards?


As an outdoorsman, I know how to be a responder for a rescue, as well as know how much envelope I can safely push, testing my skills against the trip and staying in my envelope. This is the thrill of the wilderness, not some adrenaliine rush. This is why the Scouts is not an indoor group, and that is what is valuable to train kids in. This is what builds them into responsible adults - if they are so taught by competant adults...as you well know. That is why you are part of this forum.


Using good since and experience in the type of trip you do allows one to enjoy the aspects of the wilderness, whether it is on a simple backpack trail, a wild river or even a high mountain top, and why the most of the so called adrenaline junkies are actually killed in car wrecks, die of old age or disease than die on a trip.


So my advice, get out of the armchair, learn the skills, teach these skills and allow none to be injured or lost on your trips. Isn't that "being prepared?" It is all worth doing, and kids ulcerate for these experiences.


By the way, Krakauer is an amateur. For a far better and more professional view, read Anatoli Boukreev's book. He was a real professional, and unlike Krakauer, who sniveled in his tent, he actually ascended into the horrible storm and brought back two people above the death zone.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...