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Originally Posted by Birdwatcher
Maybe she almost did, I would think losing the trail would be typical of the later stages of hypothermia.
The story said S&R found her belongings before they found her, and also that they went into recovery mode. Sounds like she dropped or ditched what she needed to survive. It's not uncommon for people in the late stages of hypothermia to ditch their stuff, including taking clothes off. In the early stages the body cuts off the flow of blood to the extremities to protect the core, and in the late stages the body loses its ability to regulate, and the blood is released, making people feel flushed. Plus, judgment goes out the window.

It could have been any number of things that sent her down the path to hypothermia, usually it's a combination. Get off the trail, get disoriented and panic, and injure yourself. Panic is a very common reaction to getting lost. Or something as simple as losing glasses or contacts and not being able to see the trail, taking a wrong turn, twisting her ankle, whatever.

And like I said, I've seen a lot of people in the backcountry who weren't carrying the stuff they'd need in a situation like that, it's not uncommon at all.



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It is not unusual for the same type of incidents to occur here in the Idaho mountains. Every year, people go out without the proper clothes and gear and either suffer or pay very dearly for it.

"Be Prepared," as the Boy Scouts say.

L.W.


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I did a two day climb on Mt. Washington in '79.
Late October and 19 degrees with snow on the mountain.
I can easily see how an unprepared hiker can die of exposure there, even during a summer storm.


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Don't panic. Don't panic. Don't panic.

Yeah - easier said than done, when it starts in the pit of your stomach and works its way up...

BTDT - never (quite) lost control tho. And never been in more than mild hypothermia.

Last edited by las; 11/25/22.

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Originally Posted by las
Don't panic. Don't panic. Don't panic.

Yeah - easier said than done, when it starts in the pit of your stomach and works its way up...

BTDT - never (quite) lost control tho. And never been in more than mild hypothermia.

That’s very true. I learned early on that a cool, calm, collected approach is the best way to face life and death matters but even the most trained and competent individuals can find themselves starting to “panic”. Panic doesn’t necessarily manifest itself by erratic movements and illogical behavior, it can be confused or misleading thoughts like my compass is broken and my GPS is wrong, etc.

In the times where I’ve gotten myself into a precarious situation outdoors I have sat myself down to reflect, even in the pouring rain. I determine whether I am in fact lost and now wandering rather aimlessly or admit whatever I’m currently facing to myself. That’s when I prioritize the importance of survival over “getting back”.

One time years ago I was elk hunting in a new area high above the Teanaway river with a few friends. I was paired up with “Mike” an Army intel guy attached to a Ranger Btn. He was a great guy but that’s when I realized that there was a difference between a Ranger and being attached to the Ranger’s. 😁. We were dropped (followed them in my truck) in the early darkness into a new area that was only quickly described to us before getting out. I made the mistake of following the advice of my friends and not equipping myself properly for the new area. Long story short we were lost and had no idea where we’d parked. By this point of the afternoon everything looked familiar because we’d walked in circles, squares, triangles….everything but find the truck. The sun was going to be behind the mountains in less than an hour and my decisions switched to survival based decisions rather than getting back to the truck and getting comfortable. We found a spot to make a spike camp and began setting it up. Gathered wood and built a little fire which brought about a renewed clarity….the magic of a campfire or beach fire cannot be underrated. Somehow I realized…or maybe a good guess, or divine intervention?….that the trail I had found and we’d begun to camp by was the trail that led back to the truck so I told him to stay with the fire and I wouldn’t deviate off the trail but if it was correct I’d fire a shot and he’d snuff the fire and follow the trail. Sure enough I got lucky and we were back to our buddies ranch an hour or so later.

I learn a lot through my mistakes and based on that fact alone I should be the smartest guy in the world 😂 but thankfully the good Lord has allowed me to have the temperament to stay calm when it mattered and make good decisions, at least good enough to survive. Unfortunately my mistakes could have been fatal for someone else if they were to make different choices in those same circumstances. Both of our hypothetical mistakes would’ve been identical but the outcome would’ve been the opposite…simply because one stayed calm and thought about the long game while the other person made choices for the short game…getting ASAP to the comfort of home and others.


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I check the forecast at least 3 times a day - even if I'm going into work. Always looking 3 - 5 days out also so I can plan my next adventure.

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Originally Posted by las
Don't panic. Don't panic. Don't panic.

Yeah - easier said than done, when it starts in the pit of your stomach and works its way up...

It's not mental, it's physiological. Adrenaline dump, fight or flight reaction. It takes on average 30 minutes to dissipate, which is why the advice is to sit down, have a snack, start a fire. After that you're thinking more clearly.



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A tragedy for her family, no doubt. We all head out with the best intentions, some more prepared than others.
A tragedy none the less. RIP.

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Originally Posted by smokepole
Originally Posted by las
Don't panic. Don't panic. Don't panic.

Yeah - easier said than done, when it starts in the pit of your stomach and works its way up...

It's not mental, it's physiological. Adrenaline dump, fight or flight reaction. It takes on average 30 minutes to dissipate, which is why the advice is to sit down, have a snack, start a fire. After that you're thinking more clearly.

I’m not sure what alternatives that poor woman had, given she had gone out unprepared. Could be she remained rational and was moving as best she could until hypothermia took over.


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Horrible and awful. That poor thing.

My heart goes out to her family and friends.

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Some people push themselves to the limit. I don’t think they intend go out there to kill themselves but then again they never realize that the limit sometimes is death. May she RIP, at least she had a goal and was trying to accomplish it.

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I've known a couple ultra-light backpacking fanatics who could be potential fatalities like this. Their goal is to cut the weight, not to see the country. They will calculate how much water they need each day and carry nothing more. No 1st aid kits, no extra fire starting stuff, no extra clothing, nothing for emergencies.


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Originally Posted by Rock Chuck
I've known a couple ultra-light backpacking fanatics who could be potential fatalities like this. Their goal is to cut the weight, not to see the country. They will calculate how much water they need each day and carry nothing more. No 1st aid kits, no extra fire starting stuff, no extra clothing, nothing for emergencies.

Interesting perspective on lightweight backpacking, I can't imagine a backpacker who's not interested in seeing the country, it's kind of unavoidable. The people I know who cut ounces do it so they can go faster/further and see more country.

Anyway, this young woman was not a backpacker, she was a day-hiker and a peak bagger. Her goal that day was to summit three of New Hampshire's highest peaks, which she accomplished. Lots of people go as light as possible in that situation, and she did a few things right. Her mother was waiting for her at the trailhead and reported her missing before nightfall and the search was started that evening.

She apparently missed a turn on the trail, and according to what I read, it's easy to miss the turn even in good weather and other hikers have done it at the same spot and had to be rescued.

Condolences to the family, can't imagine what they're going through.



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To some, it's kind of like running marathons. They aren't out to see the country but rather to push themselves to their personal limit. Some of the ultralight crowd are that way. They want to see how far they can go on the minimum weight. The potential problems are when they hit that limit a long ways from the road.


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And yet again. Hikers unprepared and too dumb to not realize wading in ice cold water in deep canyons is not recommended.

https://www.accuweather.com/en/winter-weather/woman-dies-in-narrows-at-zion-national-park/1376202

It never ceases.

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"Always go straight forward, and if you meet the devil, cut him in two and go between the pieces." (William Sturgis, clipper ship captain, 1830s.)
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