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#16969 - 08/01/11 09:21 AM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: Bulldog34]
Burchey
Unregistered


Interesting how a storm like this reveals the number of folks on the mountain that aren't ready to be on the mountain. We all start from scratch when it comes to learning about going into and coming out of mountains safely. It's amazing how much you can learn about equipment you'd need, dealing with weather, etc by reading or searching online. It's a shame more folks don't do so before they head into the Sierras.

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#16972 - 08/01/11 09:42 AM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: Bulldog34]
DonCoqui Offline


Registered: 06/28/11
Posts: 47
Loc: Chula Vista, CA
Bulldog, LOL!

I've never had a single bar either... two trips in two years... then to my surprise some people were making calls home on AT&T when we summitted on the 21st! I had to borrow a cell phone and called my wife from the summit.

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#16974 - 08/01/11 11:01 AM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: Bulldog34]
CMC2 Offline


Registered: 11/04/09
Posts: 160
Loc: CO
AND 7 year old Rosie 1n 1959

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#17055 - 08/02/11 05:57 PM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: frediver]
KelliD Offline


Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 3
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Hey frediver,

I can answer your post as I was in the group that called 911. The decision was made after a bit of discussion and after just having watched the young kid nearly slip over the edge of Lone Pine Creek as he hurtled across. We knew the creek at that time was unpassable. I was part of a group with four others - backpacking. We had all our gear though being soaked, my core was still dry due to my good rain coat and we talked about just hiking back up to find a place we could shelter for the night. The problem came with the 10+ other people stuck there around us, all of whom (if memory serves) were day hikers. At most, we had room to stuff 4 extra people in our tents, and two of our group had emergency space blankets. We could have kept people warm for a while but probably not all night. Especially since many of the day hikers were visibly shaking as shaking hard, and not prepared with the rain gear that the day required. We knew we were within a mile of the Portal, and were simply wanting to let someone know that there was a large group stranded. Our hope was that someone could come up the trail (which if I remember Lone Pine is the first main water crossing) so it shouldn't have been too bad a time. With a rope that we could secure to get across the creek, or that (as it did turn out) there was an alternate route down.

The kid who barely made it down, did make it to the Portal and that was what alerted them and what sent Miles racing up the mountain. I think all in all it was the right thing to do. Had we had the portal number or forest rangers or something we would have called that knowing they might have a better handle on the situation already, but we didn't.

-K

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#17058 - 08/02/11 06:23 PM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: KelliD]
DonCoqui Offline


Registered: 06/28/11
Posts: 47
Loc: Chula Vista, CA
Kelli, had you known about the Old Trail you could've made it down to the Portal w/o a call to 911, but since you didn't, the group made the right call in calling first responders. I would've done the same.

Luis

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#17114 - 08/03/11 10:57 AM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: frediver]
jbashaw16 Offline


Registered: 07/26/11
Posts: 1
Loc: Culver City, CA
Frediver,

You are right, you weren't there. I was with the group that called the Sheriff on 7.29.11.

Our intentions were to inform a party off the mountain about our situation. We simply called to tell them that we were with 15+ hikers that were stuck at the Lone Pine Creek crossing and most had appropriate clothing, food, shelter, etc but that there were 3 day hikers who were completely soaked through with no shelter or change of clothes. Myself and the other 4 I was with had decided to take them in if we needed to stay the night on the trail. We didn't expect rescue as most of us were prepared to stay the night, if needed.
As a SCUBA instructor and trained rescuer, I understand completely that you are always number one and before attempting any rescue, you must first assess the situation to see if you are even able to conduct the rescue. No one was late for work or expecting an immediate rescue. It was more of an informative call, especially after a young man had just run down the hill staing his father was "dying of hypothermia" and barely made it across the raging stream with no pack and one pole.

For the record, I had the following on my person:
-A full first aid kit including 2 space blankets
-Food for 2 people for 2 days
-32oz of water
-Jetboil stove with a large and full canister of fuel
-Completely dry clothing for 2 days as my pack was covered with a duck cover
-3 season tent
-Stormproof matches, emergency mirror and headlamp with 2 sets of extra batteries.

We were more than prepared for staying the night on the trail. Thank you for your obvious concern.


Edited by jbashaw16 (08/03/11 11:21 AM)

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#17115 - 08/03/11 11:23 AM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: KelliD]
BigPines Offline


Registered: 07/31/11
Posts: 5
Loc: Wrightwood, CA
KelliD & jbashaw16, no need to justify your actions to anyone. I happen to know you weren't the only ones who called emergency services that day. I heard they got a call off from near the top as well.

I don't think any of us have the right to say calling 911 was not warranted in any particular situation unless we were there next to the person making the call. This was not just an average rainstorm people were dealing with and conditions changed quickly. Even if you were able to cross some water, it doesn't mean the people crossing it an hour or even 15 minutes later could have made it. If someone couldn't get down, and they didn't believe they could survive staying on the mountain (for whatever reason), their life was in danger.

Myself, I had a Spot Satellite GPS Messenger on me as did Mark in our emergency camp. We discussed if we should push the 911 button. We both agreed that we would not push it because 1) We believed we had the situation under control 2) We didn't think anyone could land a helicopter anywhere near us anyway - we turned out to be wrong about that 3) We didn't want to incur the cost of an expensive helicopter ride out of there when it wasn't absolutely essential for anyone's survival. If any of the victims had not responded well and we believed their life continued to be in danger, we would have pushed the button without hesitation. It was a judgement call that happened to work out in this instance.

I think we should also be careful not to project an elitist attitude that everyone in trouble that day was simply unprepared or that people with less experience than we have had no business on the mountain. How far should we take this? Are all victims of natural disasters simply unprepared? Of course not. Nobody has a crystal ball. If Parks and Recreation knew what this storm was going to be like, I'm sure they would have closed the trail before it hit. Should all hikers have a rain poncho? Yes. Should all day hikers be required to take a tent and a sleeping bag to the summit? I will probably at least take full provisions to Trail Camp from now on but I don't believe that should be imposed on everybody unilaterally.

Those who were not there really have no context for what this storm was like. This wasn't a typical summer shower. It was a massive storm. I have never seen anything like it before. 20-25 year hiking veterans have told me they have not been in anything like it before. When we got to the restaurant, we heard stories of hikers fresh off the trail with hypothermia symptoms that had to be stripped down and thrown in the shower. We were told they will be cleaning up trail damage for years as a result of this storm.

It is true a few people were unprepared or acted irresponsibly and a few panicked. However, let's remember to give people some credit. For the most part I think people were reasonably prepared for what they could have reasonably encountered that day on the trail. I think most people made reasonably good decisions under extremely difficult circumstances. Experience is the best teacher. My sons and I were basically prepared with everything we needed to be on the mountain but we made some mistakes in deciding what we would take with us to the summit. I take full responsibility for that. I made some mistakes and I learned from them. Luckily, nobody was hurt or died as a result of my learning experience.

As far as children being on the mountain goes... My personal feeling is children under 5 have no business anywhere near the summit. I'm not going to say how far they should go because each set of circumstances is different. However, I agree they probably shouldn't be beyond Trail Camp. We probably don't need to impose a new rule for this. We have more than enough rules already. Parents need to use their heads. Those who blatantly risk the safety of their children, should be prosecuted for child endangerment. The couple with the three kids under the age of 5 definitely and unnecessarily risked their children's lives. As has been said before, each kid is different. My 10-year-old son is an avid hiker. We live in a mountain community and he has been hiking his entire life at high altitude. I think for kids like him, who have training, a summit is OK but I wouldn't have taken him last year. Just my two cents...

Mike


Edited by BigPines (08/03/11 11:30 AM)

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#17116 - 08/03/11 12:33 PM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: Bulldog34]
CaT Offline


Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 694
Loc: Blacklick, OH (formerly SoCal)
Originally Posted By: Bulldog34
CaT, we just missed each other - we left on Sunday the 24th. Laura told us that Saturday night that you had left a note on the TOF's windshield at the Meysan Lakes trailhead. Was hoping to catch you at the Portal, but it was not to be. Sorry we missed you, and that sucks about shelving Whitney!

I hiked up to LPL the afternoon of 7/23, my first hike of the week (left the TH ~3pm), just to begin acclimating. Coincidentally, I ran into Richard Piotrowski, who was headed down with Rick Graham, at the same time I was headed up. Richard and I hiked together in 2004 up as far as UBSL, where he continued to summit and I returned to the TH. It was good to see him again. I also ran into him and Rick again the following morning at breakfast at the Portal Store. I saw Laura's TOF on the side of the road near the Meysan Lake parking lot on my way up, I think the same day, and then saw it still there on the way down, but this time, she was sitting on the tailgate winding down from her hike. We both spotted (and recognized) each other instantly, and I pulled over, hugged her (and stepped on her toe -- darn!), having finally met her in person for the first time after a few years of MB, Facebook chat, and e-mail correspondence. Also saw her at the same breakfast with Richard the following morning. Not sure who left the note on her TOF, but it wasn't me.

As for shelving Whitney, I made it up various lower stages of both trails throughout the week, and since I had summitted before, I wasn't worried about it not happening this time. I did, however, do a couple of new hikes -- Horseshoe Meadow to the first Cottonwood Lake, and another day, Onion Valley up to Kearsarge Pass. Both were outstanding hikes, with beautiful scenery. On the Onion Valley hike, I began my hike with an older threesome (one lady, 59, and two gentlemen, 67 and probably early 70s). They left me in the dust! The 70s-guy was Dave Brown, if I recall, and the 67-y-o was [first name] Joy, who has known Bob Rockwell for years, and I think he said he also has been on the China Lake SAR team with him as well. The lady (didn't ever get her name, sorry), led the way. It was a pleasure meeting those three. But I'm getting way off topic here. 'Nuff for now.

Given the proximity of both of us to the store on 7/23, it's entirely possible we may have seen each other, but not recognized each other. As I was hiking during the week, I kept thinking what a good idea it would be if we could come up with some kind of suitable, inexpensive "Whitney Zone" t-shirt that would be instantly recognizable by those of us wearing them. Something to ponder during my copious free time.... smile

CaT
_________________________
If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracle of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.
- Lyndon Johnson, on signing the Wilderness Act into law (1964)

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#17123 - 08/03/11 01:37 PM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: CaT]
frediver Offline


Registered: 07/31/11
Posts: 5
Loc: Ca. N.Cal
It sounds like I stepped on lots of toes and all I can say is sorry.
You are right, I was not there.
IMO the posts following mine have touched in a sideways fashion
most of my thoughts on the subject.

Proper preparation and equipment to meet reasonable emergency needs.
Sharing/pooling of resources when necessary with others.
Recognizing when to call it quits and hunker down.
Realization that help is often more than a phone call away, often several hours or days. So wanting help and getting it are two different issues.
Or in other words will help arrive in time to Help or just Recover ? You Are on your own until the help you called arrives ?
And finally if you need to call 911 then call but that might not solve the issues at hand ! Calling 911 or pushing the 911 button starts a chain of events that you can not control.

Sorry
This has been a very informative thread.

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#17125 - 08/03/11 02:12 PM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: frediver]
BigPines Offline


Registered: 07/31/11
Posts: 5
Loc: Wrightwood, CA
frediver, I think we can all agree with everything you just said. smile

It was a tough situation and it caused some stress for lots of folks. Let's hope the next trip to Whitney goes better.

Mike

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#17128 - 08/03/11 02:28 PM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: CaT]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2249
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
Originally Posted By: CaT
Given the proximity of both of us to the store on 7/23, it's entirely possible we may have seen each other, but not recognized each other. As I was hiking during the week, I kept thinking what a good idea it would be if we could come up with some kind of suitable, inexpensive "Whitney Zone" t-shirt that would be instantly recognizable by those of us wearing them. Something to ponder during my copious free time.... smile

CaT


_________________________
Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

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#17129 - 08/03/11 02:37 PM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: wagga]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7875
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: wagga


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#17131 - 08/03/11 03:35 PM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: CaT]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1255
Loc: Atlanta
Originally Posted By: CaT
Given the proximity of both of us to the store on 7/23, it's entirely possible we may have seen each other, but not recognized each other. CaT


Undoubtedly. Barb and I were mostly planted at one of the picnic tables by the store windows from 9 am till 9 pm that Saturday, while Brianne helped out Doug and Earlene in the store (for 12 straight hours during their busiest day of the season so far - maybe she's actually learning a work ethic). When Laura showed up Saturday evening, she was talking about several different things at once in her usual high-octane manner - I got the David/TOF/Trailhead piece, but there was also mention of a note left under her wipers. Guess I mistakenly mixed the two up. Glad you guys got to finally meet! We must have just missed each other that next Sunday morning, as we were there between 8:00 and 10:00 having breakfast with Laura, Chris, Richard, and Rick.

We also did Kearsarge Pass while we were there. Beautiful hike with lots of snow. It was our first acclimation hike after arriving the day before, and we went with Laura and Jim (sierragator) from the OV trailhead to the pass as they started out on a multi-day trek (10 planned for Laura and 4 for Jim). Those are two exceptionally strong, high-altitude hikers that I don't relish the thought of trying to keep up with, especially my first day out of the lowlands, but between my family's light daypacks and their heavy loads (Laura's pack was 65 pounds and Jim's @ 50), we managed to keep pace. Two years ago I did Cottonwood Lakes and Cottonwood Pass on consecutive acclimation days, and enjoyed those as well.

Glad CaT got to walk some native Cali trails!

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#17136 - 08/03/11 04:56 PM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: Bulldog34]
CaT Offline


Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 694
Loc: Blacklick, OH (formerly SoCal)
Quote:
Undoubtedly. Barb and I were mostly planted at one of the picnic tables by the store windows from 9 am till 9 pm that Saturday, while Brianne helped out Doug and Earlene in the store (for 12 straight hours during their busiest day of the season so far

Unbelievable! At ~3pm that Sat, I walked up to the store, filled my empty water bottles from the spigot outside the kitchen, waved "hi" to Doug, Sr., who was inside cooking, and took a gander at who was sitting around at the tables outside, all before my first stroll up and back to LPL. I'm pretty sure I may have walked into the store and probably saw Brianne working there, though I would not have known who she was. Amazing!

Quote:
We must have just missed each other that next Sunday morning, as we were there between 8:00 and 10:00 having breakfast with Laura, Chris, Richard, and Rick.

Even more unbelievable! I'm wracking my head trying to remember when I got up to the store on Sunday morning, but I'm pretty sure it was before 10:00 am, since I had breakfast on one of the outside picnic tables with the same 4 people you did! But I don't recall the time I arrived precisely. What an unfortunate miss!

I did Kearsarge Pass from the OV TH on Tue, 7/26. Awesome hike! Wonderful view at the pass! About 20 of us from a variety of smaller groups arrived at the pass during the same approx. one-hour period, and ended up talking, taking each others' pictures, etc. -- very fun!

As I understand how Laura's week went, you were very fortunate to have caught her that first day to go to Kearsarge Pass with her, since she caught some kind of cold about that time, and was sick pretty much the rest of that week, which aborted her planned BP trip for the same week (for which she had taken the week off of work, and ended up spending it sick). She recovered enough by Sat, 7/23 to do the Meysan Lake dayhike that day, and at the end of that dayhike was when I met up with her sitting on her TOF. Unfortunate for her (sick all week); good for you (got to hike with her). After talking with her for a while, her advice to me was along the lines of, "Get out of Lone Pine and don't be so fixated on Whitney". For at least a couple of days afterward, I took her advice, and was happy I did.

Glad I got to do some trailwalking also. Always an immense pleasure in those mountains, any time, any place.

CaT
_________________________
If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracle of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.
- Lyndon Johnson, on signing the Wilderness Act into law (1964)

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#17137 - 08/03/11 04:58 PM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: Steve C]
CaT Offline


Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 694
Loc: Blacklick, OH (formerly SoCal)
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Originally Posted By: wagga


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Very creative!

          LIKE
_________________________
If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracle of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.
- Lyndon Johnson, on signing the Wilderness Act into law (1964)

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#17164 - 08/04/11 06:27 AM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: wagga]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 836
Loc: Sheridan, OR
Originally Posted By: wagga


Iduzntgetit.......















I like it, 2! Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude!
_________________________
Journey well...

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#17166 - 08/04/11 06:41 AM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: + @ti2d]
CaT Offline


Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 694
Loc: Blacklick, OH (formerly SoCal)
Quote:
Iduzntgetit.......

Assuming this is a serious comment (which I'm seriously reconsidering if it is whistle ), "Zone" is for Whitney Zone and "14505" is for the summit elevation.

CaT
_________________________
If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracle of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.
- Lyndon Johnson, on signing the Wilderness Act into law (1964)

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#17170 - 08/04/11 07:17 AM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: CaT]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7875
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's an improved version from wagga:


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#17171 - 08/04/11 07:40 AM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: CaT]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 836
Loc: Sheridan, OR
CaT

I wuz bein' fasheeshist... grin

That would make a great pennant/flag, too!

I say let's make some rubber baby buggy bumper stickers!

Steve and wagga...fyi...that updated "zoner" is in the REI presentation for January

Okay back to the harrowing day trip 07-29-11!!!
_________________________
Journey well...

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#17182 - 08/04/11 10:29 AM Re: Harrowing Day Trip 7/29/11 [Re: + @ti2d]
CaT Offline


Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 694
Loc: Blacklick, OH (formerly SoCal)
Quote:
Okay back to the harrowing day trip 07-29-11!!!

Yes ... apologies for the very major off-topic digression. blush

CaT
_________________________
If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracle of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.
- Lyndon Johnson, on signing the Wilderness Act into law (1964)

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