Posts Tagged ‘mountaineering


Outdoor/Cold Weather Survival: Mitigate the Risks

At Traditional Mountaineering (an excellent resource to search through) they note that mountaineering is inherently risky/dangerous and one can only mitigate the risks. I think much of the outdoor pursuits have risks and we muddle along in those pursuits with some vague sense of ‘survival’ plan because we are close to the rig or we are with someone.


With the extreme cold temps gripping the NE U.S. and elsewhere, a stranded vehicle scenario should give rise to a bunch of what if’s. Do you really have a plan for a long term, stuck in the car event? The space blanket piece at Traditional Mountaineering got me to thinking about such a plan. It doesn’t take being stuck in sub zero temps to need such a plan. 

car snow

Truly give some thought to an in-vehicle survival/comfort kit and also think of what you should carry on your back when trudging off into the woods to fish, hike, snow shoe, photograph, etc. The space blanket gives a false sense of security…do you in general have false sense of security with your outdoor survival plans?

snow rig

Traditional Mountaineering/Index is an excellent site to search through re mountaineering issues and incidents in Oregon (and beyond). There is much to learn here that can be borrowed for the non-climbing outdoor enthusiast or stranded motorist.


Frostbite: Wilderness Medical Society

Frostbite: The excellent publications from the Wilderness Medical Society offer advanced information on how to handle maladies related to outdoor activities, and in particular under mountaineering conditions. I believe much of this advice is pertinent to the outdoorsman that plans on heading out into Winter conditions to hunt, fish, photograph, camp, snowmobile etc.


Poetry that Touches: ‘I Never Counted on That’

Never factoring in

the lives that would be lost in war and accidents.

Never factoring in

the disappointments, illnesses and divorces.

Never factoring in

that forever was often never in the plan.

I came for

the learning, listening and loving.

There had to be

all the other things along the way

to polish the diamond I would become under pressure.

There needed to be in my case,

the addictions, the abuses, the manipulations, the lies.

Had I not been planted in those circumstances

I would have not had the opportunities

(more at greatpoetrymhf)


Search & Rescue (SAR)…Time Considerations

Seems about this time of year with the change in the weather, I get into this ‘be prepared mode’. I probably go out into a wilderness setting more in the Spring and Summer, but the elements, light and the occasional lost hiker prompt me to at least share my concerns about being prepared and safe.

The just recent cases of an Oregon lady supposedly lost in the Mt. Hood Wilderness and the recovery/deceased of another woman in the nearby State of  Washington raised my awareness to an internal process in Search and Rescue (SAR) missions: The consulting with experts to evaluate your probable chances of survival given the factors: were you prepared (gear), do you have a history of knowing how to conduct yourself in the wilds, the weather, the terrain, your known health/fitness factors, etc.  

I want to share some very interesting stats and time line markers re the search and termination of the search should you become lost. The resources are very fascinating and should be read and shared.

OHSU Researchers Find Time Is Best Predictor Of Survival In Search And Rescue Missions (July 17, 2007)

Oregon Health & Science University emergency medicine researchers set out to develop a model that could be used by search and rescue teams to determine when a search and rescue (SAR) mission could be terminated without abandoning potential survivors. The model found time to be the most important variable in determining whether a person will be found alive. Ninety-nine percent of people found alive were found within the first 51 hours after being reported missing. Their findings are published in the most recent edition of Wilderness and Environmental Medicine.

The model found a high rate of survival for people found within 17 hours of first being reported missing, a moderate rate of survival for those missing between 17 and 51 hours, and a low rate of survival for individuals missing for more then 51 hours. The analysis also found people reported missing in May through October were less likely to survive, as were people older than 60. Individuals reported missing on land were more likely to be found alive than those reported missing from a water-based activity.” (Read the entire report)

The SAR Missions are now, and probably have been, but now it is more openly presented, using these timeline markers and ‘experts’ to decide if the search will continue. If you are lost, you need to stay safe, composed and alert to SAR operations trying to find you. If you are family/friends of the lost person, the difficult decision re termination of SAR ops will be presented to you given the above timelines at some point. The probabilities of survival will be used to protect the searching resources. A fact of life, maybe a fact in death. Be prepared!!!


You Outdoors: Plan, Advise, Be Ready

Bivvy Sack

Outdoor Considerations

Bivvy sack, space blanket, cell phone, compass, map, water, fire starter, whistle, high energy food source. Some of the suggested items to pack up and carry along. It would take little room in a light pack or over sized fanny pack.

Leave a plan of where you are going. Write it down and put on dash. Stick to your plan. If you walk out and drive to a new watershed, does anyone know? You should drive into cell phone range and call. Who will know you changed your plan?

Perhaps you are of the ‘I don’t have anyone to tell. It is no one’s damn business anyway. I can take care of myself’ variety. Well, that is fine. Just in case read the mountaineering site so you can better survive.

Four Basic Responsibilities for Outdoor Visitors


Mt. St. Helens (360º Sweeping View)

Mount St. Helens Panoramic View

Hold the arrow down (lower left corner) and sweep the view in either direction


The Liquid Mountaineers (Jesus Complex)

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September 2020

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