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What do you expect?

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Re: What do you expect?

Postby MarthaP » Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:48 pm

Greg Enright wrote:Your big adventure comes to a grinding halt. You busted your leg, or whatever, and you can't move. You need rescue.

So, what do you expect? Does your buddy go get help? Do you whip out your sat phone and call for the next available helicopter? Did you go solo, and crawl out?

It would be interesting to hear what you all think is going to happen next, and how long it's going to take. Rescue response varies around the world, so give you story the local perspective.

Interesting topic...I'm sure you have lots of perspective from your own SAR experiences.

Of course what occurs is unique to each situation. My first instinct, were I traveling alone, would be to try and get my own sorry arse out. Crawl, hop, anything to take personal responsibility. Obviously I'd leave word with someone that if not home by a certain time (after providing detailed route information), start worrying. I don't have a sat phone, so that's not a solution. Were I traveling with someone else I think I'd still want to try and get myself out as long as it didn't put partner in danger. Beyond that, I suspect we'd figure out a rescue plan and I'd hunker down for however long it took. And if I'm not prepared for any of this it's my own stupidity and I'm even more likely not to involve a rescue team.

Mind you, I've never found myself seriously injured in the backcountry, at least nothing I couldn't walk out from, so if this did occur (knock on wood) I'd probably be whining for my Mama. :lol:

We have awesome SAR teams here in Colorado - given how busy they are with unprepared and/or inexperienced tourons (mostly), they are quick to respond as long as conditions don't jeopardize their safety. And if they're unavailable, calls usually go out immediately to other services for assistance.
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Postby ksolem » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:47 pm

I expect nothing. I take no communication devices, and I am often alone. I take what I think I'll need to get through. Of course I am not guiding anyone else.

One of the reasons I quit guiding years ago was the business of not having any choice who you are with. Some folks are cut out for the guiding gig, I am not.

Of course I think when someone in The Chief's situation puts in the call if a resource is available they should get right on it. Figure out the bill later. That sounds like a colossal screw up.

To be guaranteed that a resource will be available? Anywhere, anytime?
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Postby MarthaP » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:57 pm

ksolem - I think that's the key word - expectation. I don't expect anything, either. But I agree - Chief got the short end of that stick. Any call from a guide would be a more than serious legit reason to get moving.

What kills me is the expectation the inexperienced have for bail-outs. I still cite the example of the crew of folks caught in a snowstorm on Long's, they took shelter in one of the huts near the Boulder Field (I think it was), then one of them got on the phone calling for an IMMEDIATE emergency hellicopter rescue. In a snowstorm. Just because they didn't know what they'd gotten into. Those are the kinds of folks who can/should really walk out, IMO.
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Postby mconnell » Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:09 pm

The Chief wrote:THERE IS NO CHARGE IF NASAR THEN AFRCC dispatches a military unit with an official NASAR TASKING #!


I don't know if they still do it, but the army units from Fort Carson used to do a lot of SAR work around Colorado Springs. During one evac that I was loosely involved in, they told us that it was considered training time for them. If they weren't doing real SAR work, they would end up running simulations, which cost the same as real rescues.

My father who was Air Force SAR for many years backed this. If they didn't have real rescues to do, they would have to invent something.

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Postby butitsadryheat » Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:47 pm

I don't expect anything.

But then again, I never get off the trail, and I'm never further than 10 minutes from the parking lot at the trailhead. :lol:
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Postby MarthaP » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:41 am

butitsadryheat wrote:I don't expect anything.

But then again, I never get off the trail, and I'm never further than 10 minutes from the parking lot at the trailhead. :lol:

TOURON! :lol:
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Postby The Chief » Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:09 am


Once a Fed/Military Resource receives a TASKING # from these dudes to assist a Civilian/LE SAR Unit, THERE IS NO CHARGE to any of the parties!
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Postby Greg Enright » Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:05 am

I think most people have no idea what to expect when they call in an emergency. Unless someone has spent a great deal of time in the mountains, or read many personal accounts of rescues, they would have no exposure to SAR experiences. I remember, as a kid, hearing that if you got hurt in Yosemite, you were going to get a helicopter ride. If you disappeared in the Park, there would be hundreds of searchers looking for you.

Later I learned that searches and rescues are not always that easy. Helicopters won't fly at night in the mountains and weather can make flying too dangerous. Searches often start with only a handful of searchers, then later, dozens. It is difficult to get resources, air or ground, to the Eastern Sierra. Everyone wants to help, but due to whatever circumstances, they can't always respond when you need them.

Many searches and rescues are resolved quickly and quietly during the night with only a few SAR personell finding or hauling the subject out with a wheeled litter. Those are the best calls, hiking all night, sweating like a pig hauling the litter, and you can still make it to work in the morning.
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Postby The Chief » Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:13 am

With the way the population of enthusiasts is growing in the hills, I believe that we should consider starting a National SAR entity. The likes of this one which just may be the best in world at what they do....

Swiss SAR
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Postby JasonH » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:35 am

Day Hiker wrote:The potential for the unexpected is why I always bring enough warm clothing to survive the night, even when it is just a dayhike (the only exceptions being shorter hikes). If you have a broken tibia sticking out of your leg, you aren't going anywhere fast. And it would really suck to die of hypothermia just because you had an otherwise non-fatal injury.

Even on something as non-technical and well-populated as the Whitney trail in summer, if you break your leg in late afternoon up above Trail Crest, you're going to be spending the night in 20F with just the clothes you brought. If you are not hiking solo, your partner can provide some clothing. But if you both went up as trail runners, with shorts, a long-sleeve poly shirt, and one water bottle, your partner can offer you the huge, whopping benefit of another long-sleeve poly shirt. If you're trail running solo, it's even worse.

That's why I never understood some of those Whitney trail-runner guys. Is it really legitimate to claim a super-fast time when you didn't have the proper clothing to be self-sufficient in the event of an injury -- or even just some bad weather?

Another thing I think about is Aron Ralston's accident. He spent five nights shivering in that canyon, trying to stay warm by wrapping a climbing rope around himself, if I'm not mistaken. Of course he wound up surviving, but the long cold nights added another element of complete misery to his situation. And the added physical stress on his body only worked to intensify his condition and increase his need for food he did not have. Something as simple and light as a fleece jacket and cap could have made a big difference.

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Postby armorfoot » Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:34 pm

After the Aron Ralston incident, I've almost considered bringing a flask of Bacardi 151 JUST IN CASE. I know everyone will probably say something different (as removing body parts while under the influence is not a medically sound practice), but if I have to cut my own fucking arm off, I'm gonna be loaded while doing it.

However, I bring way more water than I think I'll need. Better to have it and not need it, etc etc. A pair of light pants, a heavy sweatshirt and poncho, my LED headlamp, and LED winder light. Also my cell phone. I've found there's a few isolated spots on the Divide where I get really good service, so I pack it for good measure.

The only injury I've received thus far was pretty weaksauce. My buddy and I were climbing on some massive boulder formation in Rampart Range. We made it to the top, no issue. However, I thought I was either Mario and Luigi and proceeded to the jump across a gap to another summit rock. I made the jump semi-successfully. I managed to clear the gap, and sprain the hell out of my knee botching the landing. It could have ended much worse, but every step felt like getting stabbed under the kneecap.

Needless to say, climbing down 800-900feet with a sprained knee is something I would not like to repeat again.
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Postby The Chief » Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:12 pm

Dingus Milktoast wrote:
Greg Enright wrote:I think most people have no idea what to expect when they call in an emergency. Unless someone has spent a great deal of time in the mountains, or read many personal accounts of rescues, they would have no exposure to SAR experiences.

This has the ring of truth to it.


Unfortunately, I do know what to expect. I was one of those "Angels from the Sky" and know exactly what we/they are capable of.

Only if they are called upon so they can perform their amazing and very dedicated/well trained professional feats.
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Postby Guyzo » Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:27 pm

I consider having to be rescued as the ultimate humiliation as a climber.

I think that you got into this and you need to get yourself out.

I have watched SAR in action, JOSAR to be exact, man o man it always looks like a cluster F—K and a more dangerous situation I can’t imagine. That motivates me to not have some dumb STU go down.

I think the Chief has a good Idea about a national SAR. Not too sure if another big bureaucracy is the best way to go. But some real close cooperation and standard protocol might help.

When I see people who are not prepared I always think:

“You arrogant fuck. you think you’re so cool, going it super-light super- fast just like the BIG BOYS in the mags. I know you’re going to be the first to want me to give you a jacket or a place to bivi and some hot food, after you sprain your ankle.”

And I will.
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