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Jasonst
06-03-2006, 03:04 PM
lost hiker (http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-06-03-lost-hiker_x.htm)

And another lucky one found...

NH_Mtn_Hiker
06-03-2006, 07:05 PM
Harlon joked that he aimed his "glossy bald head" at the helicopter to attract the crew.
Anybody else read Deep Survival (http://www.deepsurvival.com/)? ;) :)

NewHampshire
06-03-2006, 07:23 PM
Awwww c'mon. Aint y'all bein a bit harsh? I mean, we all, at one time or another, wanted to hike in waist deep snow drifts in blue jeans and flannel shirt.......right!? :eek:

Brian

David Metsky
06-03-2006, 07:37 PM
<mod hat>
Folks, you can comment on the story, but don't just take pot shots.

-dave-
</mod hat>

Paradox
06-03-2006, 07:44 PM
All standard safety warnings apply: bring map, compass, GPS, and polyester, polypro or wool clothing only. Cotton not an option.

SAR-EMT40
06-04-2006, 01:19 AM
Anybody else read Deep Survival (http://www.deepsurvival.com/)? ;) :)


I think several have on this site. Excellant book for the most part. IMHO

Keith

skibones
06-04-2006, 06:37 AM
Even though my friends laught at my day pack, loaded up with survival items- when they make their wrong turn in the woods, they'll be thankful they're with me.

DougPaul
06-04-2006, 10:02 AM
Anybody else read Deep Survival (http://www.deepsurvival.com/)? ;) :)
There has already been a thread on the book. Search for it.

IMO, some flaws, some interesting material.

Doug

Dugan
06-04-2006, 11:03 AM
Cotton not an option.

Up until 20-40 years ago and the onset of today's fast drying wicking fabrics, cotton was most certainly an option.

Some of us have even lived through winter hiking in layers of cotton and wool and can remember those dark times before polypropylene.

I'm so sick of hearing, "cotton kills". Wearing cotton is not a death sentence, nor is it the mark of a novice, or a signal of stupidity. It just takes a little more care in managing your layers.

Paradox
06-04-2006, 11:45 AM
Fair enough, I used to wear cotton often, 25 years ago. But all too often certain people rely on the knowledge, skill, financial resources, and willingness of rescuers to risk danger, rather than having basic equipment. A $15 dollar compass, an $8 map, and some raingear from Walmart, is not too much to expect. :rolleyes:

NH_Mtn_Hiker
06-04-2006, 12:12 PM
...I'm so sick of hearing, "cotton kills". Wearing cotton is not a death sentence, nor is it the mark of a novice, or a signal of stupidity. It just takes a little more care in managing your layers.
I respectfully completely disagree. :)

The term "cotton kills" refers to the fact that wearing wet cotton can lead you down the trail to hypothermia faster than wearing nothing at all.

As far as "managing your layers": That's rather difficult after falling through the ice into a river, or getting caught out unexpectedly in the rain for a few days, or hiking in hip deep snow for five days, or......

Nobody ever plans to get caught out in a survival situation like Terry Harlon did, but it happens. I sometimes hike in cotton clothing myself, but I wouldn't do so in an area that was as unfamiliar to me as Colorado was to Terry and my brrr, it's cold clothing in my pack is always synthetic.

Snowflea
06-04-2006, 05:28 PM
I kinda agree with Dugan. IMHO, ignorance is what kills.

Cotton works fine if one is hiking in a dry climate--i.e. California & Colorado in the summertime, etc. In very hot, dry climes cotton is successfully used by some to keep one's body temp down (by soaking or drenching a cotton T-shirt in cold water, for example)... my point being, there are situations when wearing cotton is advantageous.

NOT that we here in New England can fathom lately what "hot & dry" actually feels like... :(

dug
06-04-2006, 07:39 PM
I kinda agree with Dugan. IMHO, ignorance is what kills.

Cotton works fine if one is hiking in a dry climate--i.e. California & Colorado in the summertime, etc. In very hot, dry climes cotton is successfully used by some to keep one's body temp down (by soaking or drenching a cotton T-shirt in cold water, for example)... my point being, there are situations when wearing cotton is advantageous.

NOT that we here in New England can fathom lately what "hot & dry" actually feels like... :(

I'm on board with this as well. In the summer, I always wear cotton but have a synthetic with me to change into. If it's real hot, it absorbs any and all moisture well and then catches every breeze out there. Around camp, it's comfortable and airy. Now, if the temperature drops or there are other changes to weather, I will most definantly change.

DougPaul
06-04-2006, 08:31 PM
Up until 20-40 years ago and the onset of today's fast drying wicking fabrics, cotton was most certainly an option.

Some of us have even lived through winter hiking in layers of cotton and wool and can remember those dark times before polypropylene.

I'm so sick of hearing, "cotton kills". Wearing cotton is not a death sentence, nor is it the mark of a novice, or a signal of stupidity. It just takes a little more care in managing your layers.
In the NE, cotton just has a lower safety margin than the modern synthetics. Only kills now and then. :)

Doug
Who started winter hiking with cotton fishnet (inner layer), wool insulation, and a 60-40 (cotton-nylon) parka... (These were the materials of choice at the time.)

dms
06-04-2006, 08:53 PM
Who started winter hiking with cotton fishnet (inner layer), wool insulation, and a 60-40 (cotton-nylon) parka... (These were the materials of choice at the time.)
Likewise Doug, Norwegian fishnet cotton undershirt, plaid LL Bean wool hunting shirt, wool sweater, wool pants and my army jacket. That was high tech in the 70's and early 80's.

Dugan
06-04-2006, 09:08 PM
IMHO, ignorance is what kills. (

Exactly.

Yes, I too wear mainly synthetics now, year 'round. I am incredibly thankful for their development for winter hiking. I developed an allergy to wool several years ago. I don't what I'd do without synths - I have a cedar trunk full of wool sweaters used for layering in winter activities that I can no longer wear, but can't bear to part with.

I so loved my LL Bean wool pants!

jjmcgo
06-04-2006, 10:08 PM
Like DougPaul and others, I'm from the generation that combined cotton and wool. I didn't go from cotton to poly initially because I just love, love, love wool. It comes in different weights and textures and it always protects from wind and moves water through.
Later, I was blown away by the insulating qualities of lightweight poly and plastic-bottle fleece but if I couldn't have wool, well ...
I have a real bad allergy to mushrooms and can live with that but an allergy to wool would leave me half naked with about 100 pounds of contributions to Goodwill.

Paradox
06-05-2006, 07:48 PM
The discussion of cotton is germain to the initial posting and news article. But I would like to get back to the fact that this guy did't spend $60 for some basic stuff he could have gotten at Walmart. For lack of Tenderfoot Boy Scout preparedness, he took rescuers, (an expensive and limited resource) away from their posts. Now they cannot respond to something unavoidable. Such as a well prepared hiker on the trail who needs an atrial defibrulator, etc.. The fact that the rescuers were paid by our taxes is good and appropriate, but there should be some sort of penalty for putting others at risk. Snarky jokes are all we have at this point.

king tut
06-05-2006, 08:19 PM
The guy was from Louisiana and hiking out West. Let's not over-analyze this.

He sounds like a cool guy. I would go to Mardi Gras w/ him, but not let him lead me up a tall mountain.

giggy
06-05-2006, 08:30 PM
was he heading to a closed hut? :p

Paradox
06-05-2006, 08:36 PM
Louisiana? Hmmmmm, okay, but if he had been from Arkansas then he would have had no excuse.

the starchild
06-06-2006, 01:14 AM
here are a bunch of other stories on the same dude. some have additional facts, and some paint a different picture. pretty interesting how the writers can influence our opinion and perception of an an incident.

on a lighter note this dude had a great quote, "I really don't like to camp out, and this week has not made me like camping out."

http://www.shreveporttimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060603/NEWS01/606030370/1060

http://www.shreveporttimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060602/NEWS01/306020002/1002/NEWS

http://www.kpxj21.com/news/local/2922251.html

http://cbs4denver.com/seenon/local_story_154230006.html

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_4748011,00.html

http://www.ksla.com/Global/story.asp?S=4978496

the starchild
06-06-2006, 10:54 AM
cotton does kill! but that statement must be used in the context of winter, which i believe people who say it assume it is implied. IMHO, this is where we may disagree but if we step back for a second, we prolly do agree. Cotton takes forever to dry, doesn't wick well and a wet cotton shirt is bad news in the cold. really bad news IMHO. this past weekend for example, hiking in wet fog and rain in 40 degree temps with cotton, i'd say, cotton kills! but gimme a synthetic shirt, windbloc vest, synthetic shorts and a hat and i'm all good!

in summer, especially someplace very hot and dry, cotton is better than a wicking synthetic because it won't keep sucking the moisture away from you dehydrating you. cotton will also breathe much better and be cooler than wearing a syhthetic.

i have heard this argument many times before and usually the disagreement is cotton doesn't kill in warmer weather, which i do not think anyone believes or is saying.
anyways, no matter what, if it works for you and makes you happy, go for it!

Dugan
06-06-2006, 01:22 PM
cotton does kill! but that statement must be used in the context of winter, which i believe people who say it assume it is implied. IMHO, this is where we may disagree but if we step back for a second, we prolly do agree. Cotton takes forever to dry, doesn't wick well and a wet cotton shirt is bad news in the cold. really bad news IMHO.

Cotton DOES NOT kill. Lack of knowledge as to how to properly manage layers DOES kill. I (and others) have hiked many times in winter WEARING COTTON!!! and have lived to tell the tale.

Your points are all valid: it does take longer to dry and doesn't wick well. If memory serves, in winter, we got around that by carrying more layering pieces and being careful to pace ourselves and manage layers in such a way as to minimize sweating.

In fact, back before synthetics were available, I do not recall stepping over/around the dead bodies of hikers wearing cotton and wool in the winter with any greater frequency than in the summer! :D Of course, since it was well known that cotton killed, we all hiked naked in winter!

Now then - who remembers pre Gore-tex rain gear? :eek:

HAMTERO
06-06-2006, 01:46 PM
I think the guy did pretty good after his initial mistakes. He stayed alive for 7 days and didn't panic.

dms
06-06-2006, 02:25 PM
Cotton DOES NOT kill. Lack of knowledge as to how to properly manage layers DOES kill. I (and others) have hiked many times in winter WEARING COTTON!!! and have lived to tell the tale.
I agree, I used a cotton fishnet undershirt when I was winter hiking in the late 70's and early 80's until Helly Hansen came out with it's polypro underwear. I layered the fishnet with wool and never, ever had a problem on many winter hikes.

Woody
06-06-2006, 08:33 PM
After reading all the links that Starchild posted (thanks) it sounds like this lost day hiker had a map but I never saw anything about a compass mentioned. That critical piece of equipment and a little knowledge of how to use it may have been all the help he needed to avoid all those nights out. We all need to learn from these stories about lost hikers. I have a compass in each of my three packs, so that I won't forget one. Whenever I hear comments from friends or co-workers about their plans for a short hike or some "exploring" I try to find a polite way to mention that they should remember to bring a map and a compass with them on their walk.

cushetunk
06-07-2006, 07:52 AM
I just skimmed everything written in this thread. The most interesting thing is that this guy apparently survived 7 days in a challenging situation, and that he has a good sense of humor: i.e. joking about using his bald head to signal airplanes.

I've often read that it is not any "hard skills," but rather flexibility and a sense of humor that are the best survival skills.