Dying of hypothermia knowing you were stupid! Important lessons

As a Seattle-area native and (former) ski bum who remembers the revolution from death-grip cable bindings to sneeze & release anti-friction bindings, and who appreciates why Otto Lang remains a near deity in Sun Valley, I read the whole thing. Thanks for sharing.

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Thanks for taking the time to read it. I’m still friends and regularly in touch with Fred Dunham. Crutch is gone, Jocko is MIA. Graham, the guy who stuffed me in the garbage can, has been gone and unmissed for decades. Mel was a Covid casualty, Pat left this earth about 3 decades ago, Wickwire and Fred Stanley are still active in the climbing community. Fred Dunham is very active among Eastern Washington climbers. Del Young, the guy pictured receiving the “Writ of the Hideous Sherpa” dropped out of sight. I was awarded “Writ of the Hideous Sherpa” in 2019 presented by Fred while visiting Frenchman’s Coulee. I spoke with Jim Whittaker and Dianne Roberts last Summer.

It’s interesting how things shape your life. In my case it was my sense of smell and close scrape with hypothermia that connects everything and is responsible for all of my life experiences.


I enjoyed the read. The twists and turns of life. We never know what’s around the next bend in the river or over the next hill.


I’m fairly experienced in the open ocean and really have no fear of it. My four years at sea taught me to respect the water, even the mere six foot deep Lake Overholser. I have wanted so badly to get out there this year but I lack a wet suit and believe the water temp too cold still.
For the life of me I do NOT know why folks don’t use dry bags for their phones! My new phone is waterproof but it’s fairly heavy and will sink, so it’s gonna have to go in a dry box or a hatch.
Also I don’t recommend setting out an hour before sunset unless you’re prepared for night ops. I always am, even if I plan to be back well before dark.
In the end I’m glad they’re safe.


This guy is an able writer and really incompetant seaman.
Among his mistakes were going out on deadly cold water without a wetsuit or drysuit, unfamiliar with catamarans (note his surprise at its accelleration), alone on a boat designed for two, in winds that seemed “not too bad,” just an hour before sunset. I have sailed extensively, and never as a “pessimist” but always with awareness of the potential dangers and with the benefit of considerable training acquired by crewing for experienced skippers. My brother has even more sea experience than I, and he has recently decided to take up flat-water kayaking. How will he start? By doing considerable reading and spending two hours with an instructor on a four-mile paddle. I recommend it.

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@shadow460 full agreement. Evening on the water is the best time to enjoy boating. The main drawback is that time is against you if something goes and you need assistance. Darkness complicates everything.

He has all the answers now sadly :disappointed:

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I got dangerously hypothermic many years ago at a big rock concert. Did not understand what was going on, really, just had some dumb very good luck when tucked into an old wet but wool sleeping bag. Then l descended on a group’s fire and they were kind enough not to send me away. They figured out better than l could what my state was.

It can come up on you unawares, very easily, because judgement goes fairly early on. This guy was lucky.


Here’s another one – this time heat instead of cold.


In case you can’t see it here are the details:

Three men (stepfather 31, and two stepsons 21 and 14) go hiking in extreme heat (119 degrees) in Big Bend National Park in Texas. The 14-year-old “fell ill along the trail and lost consciousness” (heat stroke?). The stepfather hiked back to the car and died in a car crash going to get help. The 21-year-old attempted to carry his younger brother back to the trailhead, but the 14-year-old died along the way. Rescuers found the remaining stepson an hour and a half after the call.

Unfortunately, it is easy to find examples like this, and I know it is a bit of a cop-out to use them as examples for “sh*t happens” or “you never know”. Fact is most people (especially those who are experienced and stay within their skill level) complete their outdoor adventures safely. How much you need to prepare for a relatively low probability event is the question. I guess that is something we will continue to debate.

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  1. Nobody normal heads out when it is 119 F?

  2. From Florida

  3. not identified and it’s under investigation

Could be more to it maybe :thinking:

Have to agree - this one is pretty clear cut. Why go hiking in the desert in the middle one of the worst heat waves in history.

Sometimes I wonder why I get out of bed! I’m glad I retired before my job killed me.

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Probably just really really poor judgement. Visiting so might have been an imperative to do this regardless of the conditions. Three males of bravado or nearly there age, sadly a pretty classic mix. Figured they could overcome any problems…

We have a saying that has become a bit of a joke because in diving and planning gas management it’s “plan the dive, dive the plan” but my husband and I always say “never fall in love with the plan.”

Works with flying, boats :canoe: combat

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Today I was remembering that on Christmas day we got on a row boat to go to this island on Lake Bled in Slovenia and half way out there I realized they had all been drinking and were talking about how they couldn’t swim.:face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:I told my husband if the boat sank to swim far away from them as fast as he could and to just save our puppy :dog: who had never been on a boat before.

And what do the people do when they get to the island? Drink beer at the church of course.

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Yikes!!! That reminds me:

My daughter came back from an Alaska cruise. They went on an outfitter/guided tour through floating block ice to view the icebergs. I asked what boats were provided - Old Town tandems with spray skirts. No immersion gear !!!

I put my head down on the table and shook it.


Bring your own PFD to Austria, I’m not sure they have any.


You would think it’s the same in New Hampshire. Most people don’t seem to ever wear them. Paddleboarders are the worst. Like 90% don’t.

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Absolutely. The first thing a drowning person will do is try to drown the rescuer. I got my life saving certificate in my teens. Obviously Junior but we still had to tow unhepful people in under their chin to pass. I was per usual even in my group of similarly aged females the lightest weight and among the shortest.

Those of us who had passed got our certificates. But not in our hands until, particularly looking at me, the instructor said we were told never, ever to actually get within reach of someone drowning. Throw them something and stay a safe distance, because they would take us under.

That one stayed with me. When l got to summer camp not long after and we had to pass some tests to go out in a canoe, the first thing l spotted was stuff like the life rings and ropes on the dock. Was not about to find out the first day that some idjiot parents had sent their daughter to stay at a camp on a lake without knowing how to swim.


It’s the way it is! We are free to make life choices.

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