Lost and Afraid Atop Mt San Gorgonio - Rescued

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Lost and Afraid Atop Mt San Gorgonio - Rescued

Postby Cy Kaicener » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:45 am

Rescued hiker will never forget the night lost on Mount San Gorgonio
https://www.pe.com/2018/01/13/rescued-h ... -mountain/
. Please visit my website at www.hiking4health.com for more information especially the Links.
http://cys-hiking-adventures.blogspot.com
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Re: Lost and Afraid Atop Mt San Gorgonio - Rescued

Postby Ed » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:29 am

I can understand missing the turn, in low visibility conditions. Sort of. But 'extra clothing' on San Gorgonio in the winter does not mean long underwear, it means stuff that goes over what you are wearing. Quite a bit of stuff. I say that as someone who thinks that Ranger Dave's stern advice to always carry a sleeping bag, foam mattress, and bivouac bag may be a bit extreme. And taking a cross-country route down is nearly always a mistake.

Glad it turned out ok, my hat is off to SAR. Having been hoisted off Skyline recently, I have a deeper appreciation of what they do. But sometimes I think a little investment in prevention, such as short courses in what not to do, featuring case studies, would be a good idea.
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Re: Lost and Afraid Atop Mt San Gorgonio - Rescued

Postby Cy Kaicener » Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:20 pm

Details of the thankful rescued hiker in her own words
https://mysangrescue.blogspot.com/2018/ ... -2018.html
. Please visit my website at www.hiking4health.com for more information especially the Links.
http://cys-hiking-adventures.blogspot.com
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Re: Lost and Afraid Atop Mt San Gorgonio - Rescued

Postby Ed » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:39 pm

Very articulate and complete account. Very good example of how quickly things can go wrong, even with a hiker who is young, fit and experienced. Good summary of lessons learned. Though I am not sure having someone else with her would have made that much difference. Two people can often make better decisions than one, but they can also have disagreements. And there can be complications with two people rather than one. I was climbing Mt. Massive in Colorado once with my wife. About 400' or so below the summit, she said she did not feel well, and would wait for me. We were in the clouds and it was windy. Visibility was a few yards, the noise from the wind was high, and there was no trail. It was a miracle we found each other on my way down.
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Re: Lost and Afraid Atop Mt San Gorgonio - Rescued

Postby OtherHand » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:02 pm

This strikes me as somewhat similar to Jared Nagrete, a 12 year old boy scout that disappeared on a hike on San Gorgonio in 1991, an incident I'm often asked about. I usually respond that it's real strong desire to just get down off the ridge since the upper portions are rather gently sloped. But such attempts usually don't end well, as things get dangerously steep the further one descends. This woman really cheated death in this case. The odds were against her. Most people don't appreciate how easily the "friendly" local mountains can kill them if the wrong circumstances occur. I suspect this is what Nagrete attempted and failed at, the most likely outcome. There are some nasty chutes on that mountain.....
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Re: Lost and Afraid Atop Mt San Gorgonio - Rescued

Postby Ed » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:09 pm

Very sad about Jared Negrete.

I've had enough self-inflicted bad experiences to take a dim view of descending by any route I am not familiar with, unless it is a trail or I have a full view of it. But if you do, I wonder if it safer to stay on a ridge rather than descend a canyon.

When she said she fell into the water, I could feel the shock. I had a friend who was descending Mt. Morgan in the Sierras in February, I can't remember whether it was North Morgan or South Morgan. He was alone, on a grudge climb, a few weeks earlier he had been with a group that turned back about 800' short of the summit on a Sunday afternoon, due to deep soft snow. On the way down, Myron was crossing a stream when the ice broke beneath him, and in he went. He had extra socks, but no extra mittens. Decided that his fingers were more important than his toes, and put the dry socks on his hands. Drove back to LA and checked into the VA hospital in West LA. (Myron had been a Marine in Vietnam, and I assume his current job as a waiter in a French restaurant in Santa Monica did not come with health insurance). He was there for about six weeks. Since Myron was a would-be photographer, he took pictures of his feet every day. Today selfies of your recovering frost-bitten toes would be considered completely normal, but at the time it made the staff very nervous, they thought he might be setting them up for a lawsuit. He was fine by June. We were hiking up McGee Creek to climb Red and White and Red Slate when he insisted on stopping, taking his boots and socks off, and showing me his feet. Quite ugly and gnarly, with mottled coloring of brick red, black and purple.
Last edited by Ed on Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lost and Afraid Atop Mt San Gorgonio - Rescued

Postby OtherHand » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:46 pm

Ed wrote:I've had enough self-inflicted bad experiences to take a dim view of descending by any route I am not familiar with, unless it is a trail or I have a full view of it. But if you do, I wonder if it safer to stay on a ridge rather than descend a canyon.


I've always felt strongly that cross country travel up or down is MUCH safer and superior when done on a spine. You have more options (good cell coverage) and much better visibility as to the terrain ahead. No such possibility down in a canyon and it's easy to get trapped (not that it's ever happened to me). There's also a good mathematical argument to be made that the average gradient of a spine is less than the adjacent ravine.

Just about every missing persons case I know of involves the subject using canyon bottoms, and we all know how many of those turn out. The flip side is that if I'm looking at a very experienced lost individual, I'd focus more on spines as I'd expect they better know what they're doing. So if you're ever stuck with a dicey, cross country descent through unfamiliar terrain, stay on a spine. That way if you do croak, you'll at least have an excellent view.
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Re: Lost and Afraid Atop Mt San Gorgonio - Rescued

Postby Myth » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:44 am

Really interesting read, thanks for sharing, Cy!

Many of the experiences she shared resonated with me. I've been lost before, and that moment of panic and the desire to do something, right now, to become un-lost can be the most pivotal moment in any such misadventure. The more forcefully you can override that impulse and not do anything until you calmed down, the better off you'd probably be. Because you do eventually reach a point where you're not panicked anymore, like she did, and you can make better decisions then.

OtherHand wrote:I've always felt strongly that cross country travel up or down is MUCH safer and superior when done on a spine. You have more options (good cell coverage) and much better visibility as to the terrain ahead. No such possibility down in a canyon and it's easy to get trapped (not that it's ever happened to me). There's also a good mathematical argument to be made that the average gradient of a spine is less than the adjacent ravine.

From personal experience, I agree. In my previous life as a cross-country newbie, I stuck to canyons. Nowadays, I'm up on the spine. Canyons - usually choked with boulders or surprising drop-offs. Water makes canyons and water doesn't worry about vertical drops or getting back up.

It took me some gazing at distant hills with a calculating stare to figure out the bit about spines. If I'm gaining 1000 vertical feet regardless, and I can do it via a canyon that is 80% "very reasonable" and 20% "stupidly steep", or a spine that is 100% "kinda steep, but not too bad", I'm on the spine for sure.
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Re: Lost and Afraid Atop Mt San Gorgonio - Rescued

Postby Ed » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:52 pm

Myth wrote:Water makes canyons and water doesn't worry about vertical drops or getting back up.


Great way of capturing it!
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