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  1. #21

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    If a member of the group displays signs of hypothermia warm them up by means available. Usually putting a warm body in a decent bag with a cold body will do the trick, especially with a shelter or tent available. Then walk out if the trail is passable and the distance/grade manageable. Keeping moving is rarely a mistake when within 5 miles of a vehicle. Exceptions include flooding, blizzard conditions, and steady cold rain in the absence of adequate gear. Huddling together in dry sleeping bags in a shelter or tent beats walking in conditions where exposed walking will not warm you up. Fire building skills in bad conditions are a good thing to teach/learn as well. A hiker with a blow torch should be able to start a sustainable fire in most conditions.

  2. #22
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    Your intentions are good Dug in that you want to prevent this type of scenario and deal with it IF it was to happen but it's so easy to NOT know the exact predicament because we are depending on media sources, that always seem to leave important details out of stories, to clue us in on the exact situation.

  3. #23
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    I understand it to be impossible to know the exact gear or lack of, I did make a few assumptions and understand most on this sight are very experienced and would not find themselves in that position. I was just looking for some replies, input and ideas if one was to find themselves in that hypothetical position.
    Some very helpful replies and I really appreciate that!
    I have a habit of putting myself in others shoes in these types of situation. I guess, to see what I would do and then seek others opinions. This helps me learn from others mistakes.
    Thanks again

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    Quote Originally Posted by DugK View Post
    I understand it to be impossible to know the exact gear or lack of, I did make a few assumptions and understand most on this sight are very experienced and would not find themselves in that position. I was just looking for some replies, input and ideas if one was to find themselves in that hypothetical position.
    Some very helpful replies and I really appreciate that!
    I have a habit of putting myself in others shoes in these types of situation. I guess, to see what I would do and then seek others opinions. This helps me learn from others mistakes.
    Thanks again
    your scouts most likely have learned enough already to avoid putting themselves in that kind of predicament.really the best thing to do, should you find yourself getting in a bit over your head, and if possible, retrace your steps and walk back out. ive cut many a trip short due to failing weather conditions i did not anticipate. pay attention to your pace if snow is slowing you down to ensure you can get to shelter before dark.if you're only traveling 1mph, you cant cover 5 miles in 2 hours.
    farmer chef gave a pretty good rundown of the what if's

  5. #25
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    I would have been prepared and kept going most likely.

    As far as I'm concerned they did the right thing for them - they survived. I was talking to someone about swift water rescues this summer and he was saying that no rescue is "by the book".... Any rescue where the person doesn't die is a good one.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by DugK View Post
    I understand it to be impossible to know the exact gear or lack of, I did make a few assumptions and understand most on this sight are very experienced and would not find themselves in that position. I was just looking for some replies, input and ideas if one was to find themselves in that hypothetical position.
    Some very helpful replies and I really appreciate that!
    I have a habit of putting myself in others shoes in these types of situation. I guess, to see what I would do and then seek others opinions. This helps me learn from others mistakes.
    Thanks again
    in some respects I have been in this situation quite a few times. Cold, wet and miles from where I need/want to be. I don't think these folks were in any worse shape than many on here find themselves in. It was their reaction to that situation that was the difference. This situation would have gone completely unnoticed by Whiteblaze had they either pushed on to the shelter or turned back. This is no different than other situations where some say a route is impassible and other find it a minor inconvenience. generally it is experience that makes the difference in how someone views a bit of adversity.

  7. #27
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    As The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy says, in large, friendly letter, DON'T PANIC.

    Lessons for newbies:

    1) Every time you go into the backcountry, even for a day hike, carry enough gear that you could survive a night of the forecasted weather conditions, which you will have, of course, checked.
    2) Always attempt to extract yourself from the situation. You will probably get out faster than if you wait for help.
    3) The exception is if you are actually completely lost. In that case, you should stay put and attempt to contact help with the whistle and fire starters you should have with you. Moving around in that situation just makes you harder for rescuers to find.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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  8. #28

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    I freely and sheepishly admit that the first time I hiked in snow I wore cotton leggings and jeans. I made it a mile before I got tired of sinking to my knees in snow and turned around. The key is knowing when you've made a mistake and fix it before you're in trouble. Mistakes aren't always bad, I've learned a lot from them.

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerboy57 View Post
    walk out .
    Yes i agree on walking out.

  10. #30
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    "DON'T PANIC" probably is they best way to handle these situation, period. The OP was looking for advice on what to pass on to a Scout troop, I think, so it occurs to me that "Don't Panic" is a good life skill to pass on to them. I think that's called self esteem. And I have to say I don't recall that being addressed in the Scout Manual, pity that. Tho' I supposed most lesson like that are more osmotic than formal.

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  11. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by MDSection12 View Post
    The issue was they didn't seem to even have the gear necessary to take the basics steps to survive... You assume they had sleeping bags, but I don't know that that's founded. They burned their clothing with a blow torch for warmth...

    Yes, they did have sleeping bags. I saw an interview of one of them, in which he said they tried to make some type of shelter by piling their three sleeping bags over each other.

    Being just three to five miles in from the trail head (reports vary) and NOT HAVING AN INJURY, I surely would have TURNED AROUND AND WALKED BACK TO MY CAR AT THE TRAIL HEAD. Miserable? For sure. But just laying down--particularly without proper gear--is not the right decision here. Every step closer to the trail head is a good thing. Moving increases your core temperature. Even if they didn't know enough to use vapor barriers (plastic bags) on their hands and feet--and it seems likely they didn't, they would have been in better shape if they had kept moving.

    It seems like the TURNING AROUND

  12. #32

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    ----Sorry----

    ...It seems like the TURNING AROUND is always the hardest part!!!! Just TURN AROUND!!! And go back!!!!

  13. #33
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    DugK, as a scout leader there are many things you can teach your troop that will help them in life--not just on the trail. The whole 'be prepared' thing is a good crossover skill. But beyond the lesson of what to do, or not do, that this case teaches, there are a few skills and habits of trail life that can help get you out of a jam like this.

    For every drop or gain in elevation there is a one degree temp difference for about 1000 feet--so if you can go down safely you will usually be warmer.

    As you travel look for places that would be good shelter if you should need it--a cave or rock overhang or just a deep depression in the ground could protect you from the wind. A fun game is to tell the kids to stop for a water break and then ask them to describe the trail they just walked. Reward the best description with a snikers bar and the next time you ask you will get some very detailed answers!

    If you had to drop your pack and run, what would you have in your pockets that would help you survive until you could get your pack back or if the bear takes it away for good. My knife, phone, maps, money, hat, lighter, bandana and a few other things are almost always in my pockets. Another game is to gather for lunch and have everyone tell what they have in their pockets that would help them survive. Be prepared for some laughs here.

    Hope this is what you were looking for, grayfox

  14. #34
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Thinking about it occasionally during the day, and talking to one of my co-workers who is a first responder, I'd say a useful thing to do with your kids is to role-play, "What would happen if you couldn't walk another step?" That might be a more useful approach than simply giving them lists of the 10 Essentials and general advice. The Red Cross offers a Wilderness First Aid course that would be very useful for older kids. The gist of that course is to triage your decision-making with an eye to survival first and minimizing the injuries second. For people who want to spend time in the backcountry, that could be as useful as swimming lessons for someone who likes messing about in boats.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

    ME>GA 2006
    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=3277

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  15. #35
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    I have a habit of putting myself in others shoes in these types of situation. I guess, to see what I would do and then seek others opinions. This helps me learn from others mistakes.

    I hear ya. I used to think it was best to learn from my own mistakes. I now think it may be BEST to let others make make more of the mistakes and learn from them.

  16. #36
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    I don't agree with walk out, at least not at first.

    First STOP, under whatever the best shelter you can find, and MAKE TEA, ant then THINK about the situation you are in and what you should do about it. Do you know where you are? Do you know where you need to get to? Do you know the route and the likelihood of getting lost on the way? Do you know how long it will take to get you there? How long until dark? What is the weather doing? Is the temperature dropping? How cold might it get? Is there rain or freezing rain or snow coming? Can you make a decent shelter? Can you make a decent fire? Do you have communications to call for help if needed?

    Then decide whether to walk out, make shelter and then walk out, or call or signal for help.

    I assume from the above posts, in this case, the best course of action might have been to walk out.
    I always stop and make tea first. Then I walk out, or make shelter then walk out.

  17. #37
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Stopping and thinking is good. But I stand by my original point: The only two situations in which you need to call for help are if there is someone so injured that they cannot move at all, or if you are so lost that changing location runs the risk of making you harder to find.

    I'm not alone here in being disgusted by the mentality that says, "I'm not feeling good. Waaah. Someone bring some machinery and whisk me away so I don't have to walk anymore."
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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  18. #38
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    In a group, HONEST COMMUNICATION is the key to identifying a weakness before it turns into danger.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAK View Post
    I always stop and make tea first.
    Quite, old chap.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Someone intent on cooking some meth.
    This would explain some things, for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Traffic Jam View Post
    ...Mistakes aren't always bad, I've learned a lot from them.
    Good point, and one of the reasons we should all be a little more reserved in our criticism (which most have). Just a little more reserved, the criticism is due.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marta View Post
    Stopping and thinking is good. But I stand by my original point: The only two situations in which you need to call for help are if there is someone so injured that they cannot move at all, or if you are so lost that changing location runs the risk of making you harder to find.

    I'm not alone here in being disgusted by the mentality that says, "I'm not feeling good. Waaah. Someone bring some machinery and whisk me away so I don't have to walk anymore."
    And isn't it true that they may have correctly thought that's what would happen to them if they continued or tried to go back? With the snow, they may have thought they could not stay on the trail going forward or backward. I agree, in those conditions, movement was key, and they probably should have attempted doing that going downhill. But obviously there's lots of stuff they had no clue on, and they very well might have thought that staying put on the trail was the best thing to do. Lack of experience got them into that situation, lack of experience made them stay there and call for help. I'm going to give them credit for that, whether they deserve it or not.

    I still have an issue knowing that a permit was granted to these "hikers".
    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
    - Kate Chopin

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