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moonspots
Happy Curmudgeon



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moonspots
Happy Curmudgeon
PostFri Aug 20, 2021 2:57 pm 
Bowregard wrote:
Not my post but put yourself in that position.
If you are cold, tired, not 100% sure where you are but know you have to descend to get back to the car any time you see a route that might get you back that is downhill you are likely to take it.


Ok, in that context, makes sense. Got it, thank you.

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"Out, OUT you demons of Stupidity"! - St Dogbert, patron Saint of Technology
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Schroder
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PostFri Aug 20, 2021 4:51 pm 
Purely speculative on my part but here's how I see what happened. Her goal was to spend the night in the lookout and she was coming up fairly late in the day. The last party going down saw her a bit below the pass on the long traverse above timberline and she was walking into a blizzard. Unable to find the route forward and darkness quickly approaching, she turned around and was unable to find the trail she had just come up, which was partly through a large talus field and snow covered. She decided to head down into the trees, either to seek shelter or to grope her way down to the road. She didn't have to get down very low before she was in the dark and probably got into heavy freezing rain.

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zephyr
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zephyr
aka friendly hiker
PostFri Aug 20, 2021 7:03 pm 
Schroder wrote:
...but here's how I see what happened.

Thanks for that summation.  It rings true for me.  That also explains why the air search wouldn't have seen her since she took shelter under that tree.  Very sad for all the folks involved.  ~z

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Damian
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PostFri Aug 20, 2021 8:11 pm 
A talus field with a little snow and failing light.  All it takes to take down any of us.  Including some very experienced members of this site.  Another wake up call for me.

Gil, Joseph, Bedivere
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D. Inscho
Not bored yet...



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D. Inscho
Not bored yet...
PostFri Aug 20, 2021 8:11 pm 
Schroder wrote:
Her goal was to spend the night in the lookout and she was coming up fairly late in the day.

As someone who maintains a couple of fire lookouts in the North Cascades this is a worrisome problem; those in quest of lookout shelter may share a few vulnerabilities:
  • no backup shelter
  • unfamiliarity with terrain/route
  • goal driven without regard to conditions
It is a common error for disoriented travelers to descend too soon when trying to get back to the TH. Even when faced with an obviously errant route-choice, travelers will resist ascending to try to correct in difficult conditions. She hunkered down only when faced with super-desperate hypothermia.

This is 2 deaths on the Hidden Lake trail. Travelers need to heed the warning.

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The key to a successful trip is to do the planning during work hours.       --  John Muir

My most memorable hikes can be classified as 'Shortcuts that Backfired'. --Ed Abbey

Joseph, ChinookPass
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forest gnomehilkND m.
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forest gnomehilkND m.
Forest nut...
PostFri Aug 20, 2021 8:51 pm 
Wow I'm really glad people areally analyzing this and it seems not any over the top speculation,

The snow on a rockfield, pushing a bit to far past seeing the other hikers...perhaps no extra dry clothing..the whole getting wet thing..

These are all good points that even all of us with 30+ years experience can learn from.
We've all been in at least 1 of those situations or combo.there of...

We came out 10m.from Joe lk. On the pct after 1night....rain had our tents wet, bags very damp.
Soaked on the hike out (no raingear, sweat would not have helped)..had garbage bag ponchos..and trash compactor bags over packs.everything still got wet.

Almost hypo.and got dark 2 hrs.from car..

Pointed out 1 dry spot under a tree to my friend and said u may stay here but could u get a sm. Fire going with cotton balls... (I also pointed out the way to break lower dry branches off trees, but with 2 days of misting rain not much else was dry.)

to dry out clothes?..probably a miserable night and wet bags by morning...I also mentioned having handwarmers...

I  found myself in that situation 2x.
Bowie knife saved me..while getting my stashed gear..fell in a Creek, foot of snow..getting dark. (Was at camp,and knew where cedar trees were down)..thank god for cedar..

Everything was super wet ,except some dry kindling from under a split tree & cotton balls.

Joseph
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Pyrites
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PostFri Aug 20, 2021 9:21 pm 
What makes this scarier to me is it sounds as if hiker found what Id consider a great location, second best to a car with a working heater. Early season, Id expect it to be pretty dry.

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pula58
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PostMon Aug 30, 2021 4:13 pm 
Pyrites wrote:
What makes this scarier to me is it sounds as if hiker found what Id consider a great location, second best to a car with a working heater. Early season, Id expect it to be pretty dry.

She was in a snowstorm, either snow or rain down low, so, she was probably wet and cold. And from what I recall, the weather turned bad when she was up there, and stayed bad for several days (correct me if I'm wrong). October can be dangerous because a lot of times summer ends with the first day of winter. It can dump a lot of snow, and bam, you're stranded.

Joseph
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forest gnome
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forest gnome
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PostMon Aug 30, 2021 6:12 pm 
Another thing I wasn't sure of is
how far was she from the lookout, it's been pointed out she wasnt too familiar with the hike..hard to push through in those
conditions...especially if your 30min or more out..conditions go so bad so fast sometimes.

Gps?..does it work in the storm..

Joseph
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Tom
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PostTue Aug 31, 2021 3:44 am 
forest gnome wrote:
how far was she from the lookout

Schroder on the previous page wrote:
This is the general vicinity
This is the general vicinity

forest gnome wrote:
Gps?..does it work in the storm..

Seriously?

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moonspots
Happy Curmudgeon



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moonspots
Happy Curmudgeon
PostTue Aug 31, 2021 6:42 am 
Tom wrote:
forest gnome wrote:
Gps?..does it work in the storm..

Seriously?

Hmmm, I'd think that's a valid question. I don't know, but I suspect that it does. My old 60csx works in the basement, so I'm *guessing* that it'll work in a snowstorm. At least one of our snowstorms (lots of "dry" snow). But in a significant west coast snow storm with lots of wet sow, I don't really know. So if I remember, I'll give it a try during our first snow this winter, which usually is quite wet.

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"Out, OUT you demons of Stupidity"! - St Dogbert, patron Saint of Technology
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bk
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PostTue Aug 31, 2021 6:43 am 
Article on weather and GPS performance:
https://www.frotcom.com/blog/2016/11/do-weather-conditions-affect-gps-accuracy
...and another...
http://gpsinformation.net/gpsclouds.htm

Though also note, if the GPS receiver is an older-style, weaker receiver to begin with (pre-2010-ish?) then its performance isn't that great even in clear weather.

Also, if using my iPhone GPS...its battery will go from 60% to 0% in the snap of a finger in cold weather (unless its hooked up to an external charger, and kept close to my torso in an inside pocket).

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Schroder
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PostTue Aug 31, 2021 8:32 am 
Here's an article in the Spokesman-Review written by a reporter that was on the team that found Rachel's remains:

Recovery of Moses Lake hiker two years after vanishing prompts questions about search and rescue system

day_hike_mike, zimmertr
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Sculpin
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PostTue Aug 31, 2021 9:47 am 
Schroder wrote:
Here's an article in the Spokesman-Review

Thanks, Schroder, that is a fascinating read.  She was found by Sam Sayers boyfriend!

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Gil
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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman



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zimmertr
TJ Zimmerman
PostTue Aug 31, 2021 9:54 am 
I thought it was well written as well. A great morning coffee story. It was interesting to hear more about Bud Carr as well. I remember the animosity towards during the search for Sam Sayers. A lot of people believed him a con man.

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