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Frog
01-25-2005, 08:51
This past weekend with temps near 0 and wind chills near 20 below a troop of boy scouts with about 30 members went to mount Rogers area and camped. Around 11 of them split up and hiked out towards the Rodi.Gap. There stoves froze and so did there boots. They were resuced sunday. Some had frost bite and some had hypo. All are recovering at home now. Winds at Rogers on Sunday where in the 50 mph range. This was there 5 winter trip up there in as many years but still this is a warning all ways check the forecast and realize that the forecast isnt for that area you can almost all ways add colder temps and higher winds for that area than the forecast calls for.

Lone Wolf
01-25-2005, 08:55
Piss poor planning on the adult's part. Bad weather WAS forecasted.

SGT Rock
01-25-2005, 08:56
From the Roanoke Times (http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke%5C17421.html)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Snow ends Scout camp


The group trudged ahead with its camping trip on Mount Rogers despite rangers' warnings of deteriorating weather.


By Lindsey Nair
981-3334
The Roanoke Times

A group of North Carolina Boy Scouts were rescued from a camping trip on Mount Rogers this weekend after they were overwhelmed by below-freezing temperatures and heavy snow.

Despite their motto, "Be prepared," several Scouts wore improper clothing and had tennis shoes frozen to their feet when they were brought out of the woods Sunday, rescuers said.

"They tried to build a fire, but they never could get one to go," said park ranger Roy Kilby with Grayson Highlands State Park. "There was too much snow and wind."

Of the 15 people taken to a hospital, two remained hospitalized Monday.

A spokesman at the Piedmont Council Boy Scout office in Gastonia, N.C., where the Scouts were from, was out of the office Monday afternoon and could not be reached.

Kilby was on duty Saturday when the group of about 30 people arrived. He said most were Boy Scouts about 12 to 15 years old.

The park already had about a half-foot of snow from Friday's storm, and Kilby warned the Scout leaders that more snow was in the forecast. He said signs at the park also warn visitors of drastic weather changes on Mount Rogers.

"They were told about the weather, that we were supposed to have more snow and temperatures dropping," he said.

But the group appeared to have a lot of gear, he said, and decided to forge ahead about 10 a.m.

Capt. Junior Reedy with the Rugby Rescue Squad said the troop hiked about two and a half miles into the park and were on National Forest land when they set up camp in the area known as Rhododendron Gap.

Meteorologist Jan Jackson with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg said the temperature near Mount Rogers on Saturday night was 4 degrees and the wind chill was minus 15 to minus 20. It snowed Saturday and Sunday.

"People don't seem to understand that the temperature most of the time is eight or 10 degrees colder back where they were at," Reedy said.

By Sunday morning, some troop members were too cold to walk out. One chaperone, a 60-year-old who had recently had a lung removed, was the most ill-affected, Reedy said.

Those who could walk hiked out to find help. Reedy's squad got the emergency call about 10 a.m. Sunday and was joined by several other squads. Rescuers took all-terrain vehicles into the park to find the Scouts, but the snow had drifted so badly over the trails that they had a hard time following them.

When they reached the Scouts, medics loaded them onto the ATVs and drove them to the park road, where an ambulance was waiting, Reedy said. They were then taken to a triage area outside the park office.

"They got so cold back there they couldn't hardly get their shoes off them," he said. Rescuers at the triage area had to cut frozen laces to get some of the boys' feet out of their shoes.

"The ones I saw, they just had on these regular tennis shoes and things," Reedy said.

He said some of the Scouts' clothes were wet, so they were stripped down and wrapped in blankets to begin the warming process. By the time the last member of the group was brought off the mountain, it was dark, Reedy said.

According to the Declaration of Independence, a weekly newspaper in Grayson County, 15 people were taken to Ashe County Memorial Hospital in West Jefferson, N.C. They included 11 Boy Scouts, one Scout leader and three members of the Rugby Rescue Squad.

Six Scouts were admitted for treatment of frostbite and hypothermia, and four of those were discharged Monday morning, the Independence newspaper said.

John Wadsworth, director of field service for the Blue Ridge Mountain Council in Northwest Roanoke, said winter camping is not an unusual Boy Scout activity, but it requires preparedness and common sense.

"A lot of times you will find sort of a goal for a lot of troops is they like to do one outdoor trip a month," he said. But "the kids are trained before they're put in that kind of environment, and even then, there's got to be some discretion."

Wadsworth said Scouts should be educated before any outing, including cold-weather camping. And parents have the right to keep their son from going on Boy Scout outings if they so choose.

Some Boy Scout outings are designed to teach Scouts wilderness survival skills, but "there's not any badge that would challenge someone to go into extreme cold," Wadsworth said.

Reedy and his squad have gotten used to rescuing hikers and campers from Mount Rogers over the years, but he hopes people will refrain from camping during the worst weather of the season.

"I hope they wait until spring."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Copyright 2005

Lone Wolf
01-25-2005, 08:58
Just shows any fat-ass yahoo can be a scout "leader". :rolleyes:

SGT Rock
01-25-2005, 09:06
I notice the quote "But the group appeared to have a lot of gear, he said, and decided to forge ahead..." I guess the math is:

(a lot of gear)*15 = prepared for anything
Bad Weather

I guess a lot of gear isn't enough to hike in really bad weather. :confused:

I am sure the scouts learned a lesson, I hope they all end up OK and maybe with a healthy dose of respect for weather and a healthy skepticism of adult scout leaders

Youngblood
01-25-2005, 09:33
When you go out on the trails, you need to know your limitations, whether you're a scout, hiker, backpacker or whatever. A lot of times folks take unwise risks and make it okay, but that doesn't mean it still wasn't an unwise risk. I don't support the 'hike it or die trying' philosophy... three members of the Rugby Rescue Squad where also admitted to the hospital. The Rugby Rescue Squad in particular and everyone else associated with the rescue did a great job in difficult conditions. It sounds like it took multiple trips to get everyone out of there.

Youngblood

dje97001
01-25-2005, 09:55
I agree that this expedition sounds absolutely moronic. Either a case of testosterone gone-wrong or maybe just stupidity and inexperience. These leaders acted very irresponsibly.

Do consider that typical scout-leaders are volunteers who are trying to give their kids and other people's kids (who don't take the time to teach their own kids things about the outdoors) an awesome couple of years worth of experience. They often walk the fine line between mentor and teacher and generally do not have much instruction. But they take time out of their busy lives to enrich the lives of a younger generation.

My own leaders were awesome. Half of the experience is pushing yourself to try new things and develop a quiet confidence in your ability to succeed (be it outdoors or elsewhere). These leaders sound like they violated the trust that the boys and their parents put in them--and their "good judgement." And that unfortunately contributes to stereotyped portrayals and decreased credibility for the organization as a whole.

Lastly, stories of good experiences in the boy scouts very rarely get published--those don't sell papers. I'm sure that most people on here who have been a part of scouting (girl or boy; leader or scout) over the years could share some incredible stories of things they did, or the positive impact that scouting had on their lives.

The leaders in this story acted like jerks. Let's not generalize based on such a limited sample.

Lone Wolf
01-25-2005, 10:00
You're right. Not all scout "leaders" are bad. There should be some sort of nation wide training program for prospective scout leaders. I'd be damned if I sent my kid out in the dead of winter with some inexperienced buffoon.

J.D.
01-25-2005, 10:14
You're right. Not all scout "leaders" are bad. There should be some sort of nation wide training program for prospective scout leaders. I'd be damned if I sent my kid out in the dead of winter with some inexperienced buffoon.
Agreed! Just heard about this "expedition" from a friend in Blacksburg. Like other postings, my first reaction was anger at the so-called Leaders.

But.... Perhaps the vast experience that is *HERE* could help prevent a "next time" which could be fatal. Like everyone else, I have no time to volunteer.... Guess I should just MAKE THE DAMNED TIME! Maybe save some poor kid's toes...

I have no kids and don't know any Scouts; but, think I will call around this week and offer my two cents to any Scout group that will have me. What's one night a week gonna cost me besides a few less beers...?

"IF" some group accepts my offer, would anyone like to suggest an itinerary? Gotta be basics-basics-basics and something kids will grasp.

Anyone else...?

Happy Trails,

J.D.

dje97001
01-25-2005, 10:14
Yeah they do have both national and local training programs... but how much can a weekend/week do when compared to a lifetime of experience? What this worthwhile organization needs is experienced outdoorsmen--such as yourself ;)--and outdoorswomen to share their talents and ensure that no boneheads will be leading the trip. That isn't to say you need to have lived in the woods and killed you a barr when you was only 3, but sometimes you get people who have a lot more energy than experience--and these people need role models too.

Youngblood
01-25-2005, 10:20
You're right. Not all scout "leaders" are bad. There should be some sort of nation wide training program for prospective scout leaders. I'd be damned if I sent my kid out in the dead of winter with some inexperienced buffoon.
Yeah, but volunteer programs can't always be that selective or they might not have a program. When you volunteer for these things (kids athelitic programs are the same way) it is usually when your kids are involved and you learn a good bit about what you are doing as you go. These folks usually have full time jobs with a family that takes huge demands on their time. They make the time so that their kids have the opportunity to participate.

The Cheat
01-25-2005, 10:24
"IF" some group accepts my offer, would anyone like to suggest an itinerary? Gotta be basics-basics-basics and something kids will grasp.

Anyone else...?

Happy Trails,

J.D.
Here's a reference, the BSA guide to safe scouting:

http://www.scouting.org/pubs/gss/toc.html

RockyTrail
01-25-2005, 10:25
Very well said, dje97001.

People will make mistakes, even Boy Scouts. I hope they and the rescuers all are well and have no permanent injury from this incident.

SGT Rock
01-25-2005, 10:29
From their own guide (http://www.scouting.org/pubs/gss/gss13.html)

Winter Camping Safety

There is magic to camping in winter. It is one of the most advanced and challenging of outdoor adventures. Special considerations for winter camping include the following:

Leadership. In no other camp is the type of leadership as important as in the winter camp. It is vital that a leader be an experienced camper with a strong character.

Equipment. Do not attempt to camp unless completely outfitted. Even if equipment for winter camp is more expensive than for summer camp, Scouts must be adequately clothed, and leaders should ensure that blankets and other equipment are of suitable quality and weight.

Physical Condition. A physician's certificate as to physical ability must be obtained by each Scout before preliminary training begins.

neo
01-25-2005, 11:57
the only scout i would venture with in any harsh weather is my oldest son
hank 11 years old,aka the warrior,i would not lead anyone else,s kid,s into extreme stuff,me and hank are a hell of a team in the backcountry:sun neo

Bolo
01-25-2005, 13:57
One Scout leader with 11 boys? That's not a recommended ratio. Should have been at least 2 leaders.

Some Scouts wearing tennis shoes???? Poor judgement by the Boy Scout, here, but then it's difficult to get young boys to wear anything but tennis shoes. My son recently wore tennis shoes on a ski trip. If if hadn't been for the ski boots, his feet would have froze!

Boy Scouts (and leaders) are trained in First Aid, Camping, Hiking and Backpacking and these skills are re-inforced during the boy scout years (11-18). While most leaders are volunteers (some are paid scouters), many older leaders simply will not go to BSA training for updates, reinforcement etc, because they think they 'know it all' and don't need the training. In my experience, an 11 yr old, unless he is an experienced cold-weather camper, will not know what to bring to protect him against the elements. Again, this is the troop's fault for not providing a gear list prior to the trip and ensuring the boys had all the gear needed. Parents can't be blamed because, no doubt they thought the boys were in good hands.

Unfortunately, poor judgement by scout leaders of this troop got them into trouble. My guess is it will be a long time before they attempt another cold weather trip, which is sad. It's the only way they will learn.

I'm currently a scout leader, female, not a backwoodswoman and not a fat-assed, thank you Lone Wolf. I volunteer apprx 20-30 hrs per week to scouting which includes training and running a troop of 30 boys. Recently new to this site, I would like to thank all of you who have posted such wonderful information regarding just about everything there is to know about the outdoors. It continues to be an excellent resource I can pass on to my scouts. You can believe they know what to take and when to attempt a cold weather outing!

Bolo

lobster
01-25-2005, 15:56
There was snow on the ground prior to the start of their little outing? That should have been enough to not allow kids to take part with just sneakers.

J.D.
01-25-2005, 16:12
I'm currently a scout leader, female, not a backwoodswoman and not a fat-assed, thank you Lone Wolf. I volunteer apprx 20-30 hrs per week to scouting which includes training and running a troop of 30 boys. Recently new to this site, I would like to thank all of you who have posted such wonderful information regarding just about everything there is to know about the outdoors. It continues to be an excellent resource I can pass on to my scouts. You can believe they know what to take and when to attempt a cold weather outing!Bolo
Thank you, Bolo! I am sure that we all appreciate your work & time & volunteering.

Thanks!

J.D.

SGT Rock
01-25-2005, 16:36
This past weekend with temps near 0 and wind chills near 20 below a troop of boy scouts with about 30 members went to mount Rogers area and camped... ... Winds at Rogers on Sunday where in the 50 mph range.

Captain Chaos called me Sunday after coming from Mollies Ridge Shelter to rub in the fact he went hiking that weekend too (and I didn't get too). He reported some very bad conditions such as a -5F temp Sunday morning, 50mph wind gusts, deep snow, etc. He even said they had a guy coming in Saturday night near hypothermic. It also seems a lot of shelters are getting full from reservation. What gives? Was it Masochist Weekend?

Just as a sort of informal polling, when do you call it on account of winter weather?

p.s. I would have gone out last weekend if I would have had the chance, but I don't know about taking my boys on such a hike.

Bolo
01-25-2005, 16:46
I have no kids and don't know any Scouts; but, think I will call around this week and offer my two cents to any Scout group that will have me. What's one night a week gonna cost me besides a few less beers...?


J.D.J.D. Sounds like you want to get involved? Call your local BSA Council office and get the name of some troops in your area. The Council can also put you in touch with Scoutmasters. Troops meet once a week. I'm sure they would love to have you speak. Tell the boys about the unfortunate experience of the above troop. Guarantee you mention frostbite and the consequences to an 11 yr old and you'll get his attention. Offer to give a stove demonstration, show them your gear. Tell them about your hiking experiences, or better yet, go with them on their next outing or campout. Sign up to be a leader or a Merit Badge counselor!
Scout leaders also have many meetings (training, roundtables, banquets) where they need guest speakers. Just volunteer!!
Bolo

Dances with Mice
01-25-2005, 16:57
Bolo - the article said there were 30 members in the group, it didn't say what the adult / youth ratio was. One adult was admitted to the hospital, probably the one-lunged older 'chaperone'. Never forget that the leaders of any Troop are the Scouts. Check the Handbook, the word 'leader' always refers to a youth. In this case adult supervision was inadequate. It's not just semantics, when adults lead Scout troops trouble will follow.

J.D. - Consider volunteering to be a Counselor for the Hiking, Backpacking, and Wilderness Survival Merit Badges. As a Counselor you could then work with Scouts, probably older Scouts, from several troops. What they learn from you would then be passed down to the younger Scouts in their Troops.

Contact the local Council to get registered as a Counselor. Then from the Council get a list of Troops near you and let them know you're available. Find out when Roundtables are, show up there and introduce yourself to the adult Scouters and tell them to have applicants for those badges call you. You could put together a program that would help the boys meet the requirements for the Badges. You could do this working with a group of boys from several troops. It would put you in direct contact with the Scouts who are already in leadership positions within their Troops, and your expertise would then have a greater impact than if you got bogged down in the administrivia that's always present in any one Troop.

Also consider starting a Venturing Crew for older Scouts, adults are needed for Advisors. Crews can be co-ed, and boys can be registered in both Scouting and Venturing programs. Venturing is less hassle and more fun.

Bolo
01-25-2005, 17:28
[QUOTE=Dances with Mice]Bolo - the article said there were 30 members in the group, it didn't say what the adult / youth ratio was. One adult was admitted to the hospital, probably the one-lunged older 'chaperone'. Never forget that the leaders of any Troop are the Scouts. Check the Handbook, the word 'leader' always refers to a youth. In this case adult supervision was inadequate. It's not just semantics, when adults lead Scout troops trouble will follow.

QUOTE]
DWM,
I am aware that "the leaders of any troop are the Scouts," however "boy-run" leadership failed the boys on this trip...The fact that anyone (boys or adults) let them wear tennis shoes, bothers me. Time for a "thorns and roses" session at their next troop meeting. AND, the article stated their were 30 on the camping trip but only 11, including the older, one-lunged adult went on the hike. The BSA Guide to Safe Scouting concerning winter camping safety states " direct supervision should be maintained at all times by 2 or more adults when the boys are 'in the field.'" I'm assuming "in the field" meant the hiking expo with the 11 scouts?

Your suggestion to J.D. on the Venturing Crew was excellent advice. I'm thinking about going there myself. 11-12 yrs olds are great fun...15-16 year olds test my patience!

Bolo

Frog
01-25-2005, 17:46
I considered going this weekend right up to the point that i read the weather report for Rogers and that the wind was suppose to be bad. All ways check the weather and add to it if you are going in an area that is like a bald in most places. Knowing on balds theres no where to get out of the wind. The temps are always colder up high (in most cases) so any weather report that you get for an area you should consider that that report is for an in town report.

Dances with Mice
01-25-2005, 18:59
DWM, I am aware that "the leaders of any troop are the Scouts," however "boy-run" leadership failed the boys on this trip...The fact that anyone (boys or adults) let them wear tennis shoes, bothers me. Time for a "thorns and roses" session at their next troop meeting. AND, the article stated their were 30 on the camping trip but only 11, including the older, one-lunged adult went on the hike. The BSA Guide to Safe Scouting concerning winter camping safety states " direct supervision should be maintained at all times by 2 or more adults when the boys are 'in the field.'" I'm assuming "in the field" meant the hiking expo with the 11 scouts?

Read it again.

The article doesn't say how many went on the hike, I assume it was the 30 that showed up. Of the hikers, "those that could" walked out then squads rescued those that couldn't. 11 were admitted to the hospital, including 1 adult. I'm assuming these were the ones rescued, you're assuming it was the entire hiking group.

But that's a minor point. You're correct that both the leadership and the adult supervision failed. That often happens when adults don't develop or allow youth leadership because when the adults lead, who is left to supervise? I've seen the results time after time, unfortunately. It never works but usually no one gets hurt.

ed bell
01-25-2005, 19:08
Rock, I went ahead with a short overnight off of Highway215 at the Blue Ridge Parkway this past Saturday. We had a low of -2F and winds over 50mph. I have often wondered what my threshold for cancelling would be, usually it involves changing the length of hike and campsite rather than cancelling altogether. I can always add gear. I would like to think that cold temps and wind wouldn't keep me out, but a severe snowstorm would. I recall a freak March snowstorm down here (Southern Appalachians) that put over 40 inches down at the Pisgah Inn on the Parkway. Stranded all kinds of people. Tennis shoes in 0 degree weather is insanity. If the Scouts checked in with a ranger and he let them go on, I would question that decision.

SGT Rock
01-25-2005, 19:13
Well he may have assumed that because they "had a lot of gear" that the scouts checking in were not in their trail clothing and footware, something that probably more hikers than me practice, well at least before I switched to running shoes. Also, I have to admitt that at times I have expected some snow, I have even still worn trail runners, but I knew what I was expecting and what I was doing. I certainly wouldn't have done it with a foot of snow sitting on the ground and more coming.

I also think you are right about plan changes. If I had driven all the way to Mt Rogers and there was bad weather on the way, I probably still would have gone out too, just not as far.

NICKTHEGREEK
01-25-2005, 20:20
When I was in the service we always tried to be aware of something we called "get-home-itis" basically it was a mindset that led you into making a poor decision about flying im marginal weather because you would get home to your family if all went well. We always tried to balance it by remembering that if marginal conditions went bad, we'd never see home again.
While I was active in scouting I made sure everyone knew what we considered to be the minimums for every outing, be it physical conditioning, equipment, or weather conditions. This troop suffered from get-out-there-itis and rather than cancel they foolishly pressed on. Hopefully all will recover with just a hard learned lesson.

Ramble~On
01-26-2005, 00:22
I don't blame the Scouts.
The fact that a few of these Scouts were able to attend this outting with the gear they had is all I need to know about the adult leadership in this particular Scout group. Let alone the participation of any of their parents.
At the very least if my 12-15 yr old were going on any such trip in winter I'd atleast check out what he was planning on taking.
It is very fortunate that the outcome didn't turn deadly.

I spent Sunday night on Bob Bald in the Citico Creek Wilderness (just SW of GSMNP) 5300 ft. at 7pm the temperature was 15 below zero...what it got down to that night I don't know cause I was in my tent. Having spent the past couple of days out hiking...I couldn't imagine being out there without the proper equipment. Those kids no doubt went through a living hell.

I have been involved with leading Scout trips for the past few years and I plan to continue. I won't even start to go into what all this guy did wrong.

I'm no expert on the subject but I do love winter backpacking...the guy that was responsible for this trip should reconsider his involvement in leading trips.

RenaissanceMan98
01-26-2005, 00:46
For folks who have knowledge and are interested in using it proactively to help curtail events such as this one in the future.

Your knowledge is a resource that any scout leader worth their pack will be more than happy to rely upon. If you are a thru-hiker you will probably find that you have a very high level of well-earned respect coming your way from a scout troop.

A friend of mine (Bushwack) and I spent an evening week before last with the local Scout troop discussing winter camping and hiking issues, in order to help prepare them for an upcoming trip. It was great fun, brought back a lot of memories, both from my youth and my hikes on the AT, and was extremely appreciated by both scouts and adults.

We broke it down this way:

Bushwack discussed clothing layering, hitting heavily on the drawbacks of cotton, then he covered campsite location and setup, sleeping gear, and he ended with appropriate meal planning for winter camping. He even put together bags of gorp for each scout, to demonstrate balances of fat/protein/carbs and how they each effect the body's ability to regulate temp.

I followed him with a discussion of tricks/techniques for maintaining and increasing body heat and then spoke in detail about cold weather specific first aid issues. i.e hypothermia and frost nip, their signs and symptoms, treatment, and prevention.

I highly recommend the experience.

Pencil Pusher
01-26-2005, 05:43
Who the heck would resuce the boy scouts? Geez Louise, nobody should have to suffer through a resuce.

VAMTNHIKER
01-26-2005, 07:50
I highly recommend working with a troop or crew... we only ask for "one hour a week" .... yeah.... promise!...:banana

A lot of short term frustrations... but a great amount of long term satisfaction when you see the impact on the young adults.

If you can be a training resource for a unit, you help train the leaders to be safe also!

Yours in Scouting,

Scouter Steve

ex-Cubmaster
ex-Scoutmaster
ex-Venturing Crew Advisor
Philmont '69, '71, '04

The Hammocker
02-06-2005, 00:42
I'm gonna tell this one to the guys on the next campout.