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Old 12-16-2009, 12:17 PM
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Default The Bigger Picture

The Bigger Picture

They have called off the search. The 2 of 3 individuals that began a “quick” assent/decent of Mt. Hood are prolly not coming back. One was found, the other two may not be that lucky. The family’s are devastated to say the least, just before Christmas, I can’t imagine their grief. I have talked about this with a number of friends over the last few days. Most agree, like myself, that a $5.- tracker beacon rental would have saved a lot of time and effort in locating the individuals that are lost. Also the pain and unsurity of the family’s could have been eased somewhat. Technology for certain endeavors should be mandatory, speaking of Mountain Climbing, in particular during questionable weather conditions and times of year. But the bigger picture in this story is being “Equipped“.

Study: In all instances, studying your objective is key. Understanding the goal before approach holds true for everything. Knowledge, or lack of same, of the nuances of a particular situation can make or break an outcome.

Gear Up: Outdoor activities always should be looked at in a “worse case scenario”. Sacrificing essential gear for weight considerations is fool-hardy. I can’t tell you how many times I have been caught in a 50 degree downpour after spending a whole day in 75 degree sun and been glad for that long sleeved shirt and 99 cent emergency parka I had been carrying around all year. Hypothermia claims 700 lives a year in the US, ages 17 to 70. Never venture outdoors without proper clothing for a range of conditions.

Shelter/Food/Water/Heat/First Aid: I once had a conversation with a guy about going into backcountry situations. When we compared notes on multi-night treks, he laughed when I told him what I had in my pack. “I never carry that much stuff, if I did, I wouldn’t go”. Preparation is the act of being ready, before deployment.
Shelter - I always have an emergency space blanket or two. Backpack, Lumbar pack, Bicycle. It’s an easy bivy that can cover you in short order.
Food - Snack Bars/Energy bars have a hell of a shelf life and are indispensable in emergencies and non-emergencies alike. They can hold you.
Water - I hope this is a no-brainer for everyone.
Heat - I have fire starter kits stashed everywhere. Stick matches (water proof, or?), cut-up brown paper bags, camp fire sticks. All fit into a small zip-lock and go into the small pocket of your Back/Lumbar/Bike pack. Everyone should have one of these, no excuses!
First Aid - This to should be a no brainer. Everyone should have a Full First Aid Kit in their rig. Not one of those little things but a large kit. You can buy the pre-made kind, or like me, chose to build your own. It should be well marked and visible! Others that you travel with should know where it is. A smaller version should be kept in your Back/Lumbar/Bike pack as well. Over the years, the things I am asked for most often….Band-Aid, Aspirin, Burn/Bug Ointment, Neosporin.
Yes, this IS a basic list. One to get you thinking, not a panacea.

This time of year, while it’s snow/rain/crappy/boring, is the time to put together/replenish our stashes. We can’t bring back those who are lost, but we can try to avoid any future mishaps of our own by getting prepared now.
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Old 12-16-2009, 12:53 PM
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Default Re: The Bigger Picture

Hi badfishunter,

Thanks for the insightful post. Mt Hood claims far too many lives. Some that I know about lost their lives because they went on a day trip with out proper preparation or equipment. I remember some being saved because they knew how to build a snow cave. Not something most people would know how to do.

This holds true with fly fishers who boat, fly, hike or back pack to fish. You have got to take some precautions every time. It is the short hikes or packs that people seem to be the least prepared. A beautiful sunny day can turn into a terrible storm with little or no warning. No one should be fishing with out a pocket knife and some way to make a fire on their person. The more remote you fish the more emergency gear you need.

Frank
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