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Thread: Missing hiker's dog turns up

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    Missing hiker's dog turns up

    Sad story out of Colorado. Experienced hiker missing since Feb. 3, his dog turns up alive 8 days later. Search called off on account of bad weather.

    https://abcnews.go.com/US/missing-co...ry?id=75875737

    "How can a domestic dog be up in the Rocky Mountains in some extremely severe conditions and emerge with no frostbite whatsoever,” said a relative.

    A vet once told me dogs have a remarkable ability to survive cold that would do in humans. I had a dog that preferred to spend the night outdoors in a window well during frigid Wyoming winters. But when the temp got down to 10° F we insisted pooch come indoors for the night. When she got older, she relented and spent every night inside.

    Stories like this make me pause about continuing to hike solo. I love it. My wife hates it. As I get older, I worry more and more about falling or getting hurt with no one to help out.
    散步 Sanbu

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanbu View Post
    Sad story out of Colorado. Experienced hiker missing since Feb. 3, his dog turns up alive 8 days later. Search called off on account of bad weather.

    Stories like this make me pause about continuing to hike solo. I love it. My wife hates it. As I get older, I worry more and more about falling or getting hurt with no one to help out.
    Going solo in winter is something I am no longer willing to do Sanbu. The stakes are just too high (for me) if something goes wrong.

    Summer is another story: I am happy to spend a night or two out in warmer wx if I must. I pack for it on day hikes and so far have been lucky enough not to need to. But, l always leave a hike plan with my spouse and also text her when I summit and also return to the car. She's relieved and I am too!
    cb
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    Strange days indeed -- most peculiar, mama
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    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanbu View Post
    Sad story out of Colorado. Experienced hiker missing since Feb. 3, his dog turns up alive 8 days later. Search called off on account of bad weather.

    https://abcnews.go.com/US/missing-co...ry?id=75875737

    "How can a domestic dog be up in the Rocky Mountains in some extremely severe conditions and emerge with no frostbite whatsoever,” said a relative.

    A vet once told me dogs have a remarkable ability to survive cold that would do in humans. I had a dog that preferred to spend the night outdoors in a window well during frigid Wyoming winters. But when the temp got down to 10° F we insisted pooch come indoors for the night. When she got older, she relented and spent every night inside.

    Stories like this make me pause about continuing to hike solo. I love it. My wife hates it. As I get older, I worry more and more about falling or getting hurt with no one to help out.

    I know their hearts pump faster it seems. Shorter life cause of it. The dog probably buried down in crevices,etc to survive when tired. And the sense of smell and hearing led him down. Being the dog probably hiked before it helped him figure it all out. And maybe hiked that area before.

    On a side note the hiker probably didn't have a PLB. Which goes with me every were and is always easy to get to. Like back when gpsr's were early hikers said here on this forum actually "they are toys" etc. Maybe PLB's will be carried by those who frequent off road.

    One of the recent biggest stories of "should of had a PLB" is this gal.she had a fanny pack so carring would of been easy. ResQlink is so small and light.
    https://www.deseret.com/2006/12/21/1...nded-near-moab
    Last edited by CaptCaper; 02-14-2021 at 09:45 AM.

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    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    For doing winter solos I do find myself on smaller peaks or places I've done several times or I know I will have ample company. (Pierce Monadnock, Willard) Part of my winter solo days was that I did not do any 4K first ascents in winter. NH's highest peaks I did with others in the late fall to get an idea of what it would look like in snow. I'll have to go look up my old spreadsheet, I'd be tempted to say my highest winter solo first ascent might be Kearsarge North. I think that's it in NH, In total it might be Balsam Lake Mt. or a neighboring peak although I will have to check the date, it might have been early Spring.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    I hope you have a PBL.

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptCaper View Post
    I hope you have a PBL.
    An interesting comment Capt.

    My decision not to winter solo is because I really don't want to make a scene.

    I do not want to be the reason state and local SAR folks are dragged out of warm homes in the middle of a winter night to tote my sorry old ass down a trail cause I twisted my knee or sprained an ankle. It just seems irresponsible at this stage of the game.

    And a PBL won't help resolve that situation.
    Last edited by ChrisB; 02-14-2021 at 04:26 PM.
    Nobody told me there'd be days like these
    Strange days indeed -- most peculiar, mama
    .

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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    I solo often, or with Gryffin, in all four seasons. I've done the single season winter 48 twice. In 168 winter hikes, 40 of which were solo, I believe I have been truly alone (nobody else on my route at any point that day) about 5 times.

    Tim
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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Why is it that we look at Winter differently than Summer or other seasons? You plan for the weather, bring the appropriate gear in anticipation of the worst and if conditions are not what you expected than you turn back. Pushing yourself at any time of year is dangerous. It's NH not Patagonia. And if you make a foolish decision somebody has to come and get you regardless of the season. Is a calm, sunny -5 deg day in FEB any worse than a 45 deg day with 60 mph winds and heavy rain in mid-June? I really don't get this qualifier. Yes in absolute terms the worst Winter day will be worse than any other time of year but a stupid decision is a stupid decision 24/7/365. And the unexpected accident like falling and whacking your head, cutting a major artery and bleeding out, etc can also happen 24/7/365. What season you're in has no bearing on any of this. Not sure why we view this is more inherently risky than other times of year. I think there are a lot of aspects of Winter hiking that are actually easier and safer than other seasons, liked paved "spike tracks" versus roots and mud, falling in 3' of fluffy powder versus a pile of rocks, etc.

    For what it's worth I did all of the NH 48 4k's in Winter solo as well as several peaks in NY. Technically I did Owl's Head with a partner, who was actually a woman from Canada who attached herself to me about a mile into the hike when she made me aware of the fact that she really didn't know where the hell she was going and did not know much about the bushwhacks. I certainly don't feel at all reckless about it either. I planned the various hikes based on the weather, was conservative and was able to do 45 of the 48 on the first attempt (Zealand eluded me on the first try due to some bad equipment decisions and fresh snow and unbroken trail past the Zeacliff outlook. Adams was a function of being in horrible shape and coming to grips with that early on before anything stupid happened. Jefferson turned into Clay on a blue bird day where I lost motivation looking at the depth of Sphinx Col and decided to enjoy the day on one of my favorite peaks instead). They weren't all blue bird days and I encountered problems and nasty weather on several of the peaks but I planned for these possibilities and was ready. I didn't overextend myself.

    And CaptCaper, I do carry a PLB and GPS just about all the time, and often an InReach, but I never rely on them as any sort of option. I think of them as a bonus if the circumstances I'm in allow me to deploy them and my circurmstances allow me to take advantage of anything they offer. If I'm ever at the point where I'm weighing the dangers of a scenario and I think "I do have a PLB" as if somehow that is mitigating my risk I've already made a bad mistake. I find these devices to be more like a lottery ticket than an insurance policy. Probably won't help me much but if they do I count myself fortunate. EDIT: By "lottery ticket versus insurance" I mean PLB's and other communication devices. Obviously a GPS has utility all the time.
    Last edited by DayTrip; 02-14-2021 at 05:06 PM. Reason: Clarity
    “Sometimes when you’ve lost something in your life that matters, the only thing left to do is go and find it.” Renan Ozturk

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    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    Probably won't help you much? Or it might have you make poor decisions? you might want to re-think the meaning of carrying one I can't see your reasoning at all about them.

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptCaper View Post
    Probably won't help you much? Or it might have you make poor decisions? you might want to re-think the meaning of carrying one I can't see your reasoning at all about them.
    Are you saying because you carry a PLB you're immune to a bad outcome? That is certainly a flawed thought process if it is. Just ask Kate Mastrova about that. Plenty of dead people have been taken out of the back country with their PLBs.

    What I'm saying is they can help but they are not a guaranteed "get out of jail free" card. Just because you have one does not mean you'll get to deploy it and people will find you in time. That's just a fact. I carry one because I feel it can improve my chances of a positive outcome in certain situations but I have no delusions about it 100% guaranteeing my safety. I obviously think it has value or I wouldn't bother bringing it in the first place.
    “Sometimes when you’ve lost something in your life that matters, the only thing left to do is go and find it.” Renan Ozturk

  11. #11
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    "Why is it that we look at Winter differently than Summer or other seasons?"

    Less margin for error.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

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    PLB's make it easier to find your body.

    I don't carry any electronics outside my fitbit and cell phone. Don't need anything else, and I really don't need those. I never thought that staying found was such a critical skill. I can use a map and compass well enough to navigate through a Whiteout or snowstorm. But, its better not to put yourself in the position where your body needs to be located.

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    PLBs are worthless for finding a body unless they are turned on. They hand held units are designed to require a specific set of deliberate actions to be turned on (Marine and Aviation units may have automatic deployments) I bought one that I carry when I work on my AT boundary section in Maine. Cell coverage is marginal at best and the boundary rarely if ever sees traffic. I also have some potential serious terrain features, (cliffs) I need to navigate around that could put me in a spot where I would be unable to do a self rescue if injured. Prior to the AT reblazing the route last fall, it had not been marked for close to 30 years so even knowing that I was on particular boundary line wouldn't help much.

    To date my reading indicates that the satellite system used to receive and act on PLB signals is the most robust one out there. No doubt that will change at some point as low earth orbit satellite systems get deployed. I also am not interested in subscription model used buy the alternative systems.

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    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Why is it that we look at Winter differently than Summer or other seasons? You plan for the weather, bring the appropriate gear in anticipation of the worst and if conditions are not what you expected than you turn back. Pushing yourself at any time of year is dangerous. It's NH not Patagonia. And if you make a foolish decision somebody has to come and get you regardless of the season. Is a calm, sunny -5 deg day in FEB any worse than a 45 deg day with 60 mph winds and heavy rain in mid-June? I really don't get this qualifier. Yes in absolute terms the worst Winter day will be worse than any other time of year but a stupid decision is a stupid decision 24/7/365. And the unexpected accident like falling and whacking your head, cutting a major artery and bleeding out, etc can also happen 24/7/365. What season you're in has no bearing on any of this. Not sure why we view this is more inherently risky than other times of year. I think there are a lot of aspects of Winter hiking that are actually easier and safer than other seasons, liked paved "spike tracks" versus roots and mud, falling in 3' of fluffy powder versus a pile of rocks, etc.

    For what it's worth I did all of the NH 48 4k's in Winter solo as well as several peaks in NY. Technically I did Owl's Head with a partner, who was actually a woman from Canada who attached herself to me about a mile into the hike when she made me aware of the fact that she really didn't know where the hell she was going and did not know much about the bushwhacks. I certainly don't feel at all reckless about it either. I planned the various hikes based on the weather, was conservative and was able to do 45 of the 48 on the first attempt (Zealand eluded me on the first try due to some bad equipment decisions and fresh snow and unbroken trail past the Zeacliff outlook. Adams was a function of being in horrible shape and coming to grips with that early on before anything stupid happened. Jefferson turned into Clay on a blue bird day where I lost motivation looking at the depth of Sphinx Col and decided to enjoy the day on one of my favorite peaks instead). They weren't all blue bird days and I encountered problems and nasty weather on several of the peaks but I planned for these possibilities and was ready. I didn't overextend myself.

    And CaptCaper, I do carry a PLB and GPS just about all the time, and often an InReach, but I never rely on them as any sort of option. I think of them as a bonus if the circumstances I'm in allow me to deploy them and my circurmstances allow me to take advantage of anything they offer. If I'm ever at the point where I'm weighing the dangers of a scenario and I think "I do have a PLB" as if somehow that is mitigating my risk I've already made a bad mistake. I find these devices to be more like a lottery ticket than an insurance policy. Probably won't help me much but if they do I count myself fortunate. EDIT: By "lottery ticket versus insurance" I mean PLB's and other communication devices. Obviously a GPS has utility all the time.
    Winter is nothing like summer in terms of the level of risk. I broke my ankle in CO during the summer. Took me almost 20 hours to get out, nobody knew where I was. If it had been winter, I'm really not sure I would have survived, maybe, but it would have been exponentially harder. You could survive in the summer for a long time injured, in the winter the clock starts ticking and it is not your friend. I found a guy on Lions Head with a broken ankle in the winter. He was already going into shock, I dragged him down to the Tucks trail, I know for a fact he would not have survived the wait for SAR. If it was summer time, he would have had plenty of time to wait. It was the cold that was killing him.

  15. #15
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    As usual I don't appear to be making my point clearly. I guess I'll take one more crack at it. I think you and others are substituting the season as the risk when it is the decisions that were made/not made that created the risk. The season can of course have an impact on the severity of the consequences but is not in and of itself the danger. You can go out in the dead of Winter and have a perfectly safe, low risk adventure just like any other season. And you can have a perfectly tragic and disastrous Summer trip too on the finest of days.

    To use your examples (not as criticism in any way but to hopefully illustrate the point I'm trying to make with your examples):

    When you broke your ankle in the Summer did you have supplies for treating a broken ankle, a very common backcountry injury and you were alone so if it happened you would have to deal with it? Why would you have been able to last longer because it was Summer - was it because you didn't have warm clothes to ride out a long wait because it was warm out and that didn't seem necessary? And why did no one know where you were - did you tell anyone where you were hiking that day and when you expected to be back? These are all decisions/non decisions you made that impacted your risk level that have nothing to do with the season. If it had been Winter what would be different? You'd still need the ankle first aid stuff, you should still have told someone where you'd be in the event something went wrong and you would presumably have had clothing and gear appropriate for the weather (a puffy, a bivy, etc). The consequences of these decisions would most definitely have been amplified the situation in Winter but that is NOT BECAUSE IT IS WINTER. It is because you made bad decisions. The season is affecting the severity of the consequences. It is not changing the level of risk.

    Again, not trying to criticize what you did (because I'm sure you knew what to do and how to do it) but just spinning it into a "what if" for discussion purposes. I think it is the lazy way to look at a lot of these incidents and blame the season for the danger versus the lack of planning, lack of gear, lack of knowledge and lack of good old fashioned common sense as the root cause. Bad decisions will increase the severity of the consequences in any season and yes I get the fact that Winter is the worst season for this magnification of bad decision making. My point is that the risk is the same in all seasons. If you break an ankle in a remote area at any time of year and didn't bring supplies or knowledge to deal with it you have increased your risk. If you didn't bring the proper clothing for the temps you are out in you have increased your risk. If you do not tell anyone where you are going to be for an extended period of time and something happens you have increased your risk. If you get up today and it's Feb 15th your risk level has not changed. Hopefully that makes sense.
    “Sometimes when you’ve lost something in your life that matters, the only thing left to do is go and find it.” Renan Ozturk

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