BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SALT LAKE CITY — Authorities in Utah say a 4-year-old girl has been hospitalized after falling 30 feet to 40 feet from a chairlift at a ski area.
Unified Fire Authority Capt. Clint Smith says the girl fell Saturday afternoon at the Alta Ski Area.
The girl was found facedown and not breathing but members of a ski patrol revived her with CPR.
Smith says the girl has been taken to Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City. Authorities say she is in serious condition.
Out There has been pretty heavy on the winter sports lately (‘tis the season, you know), so I decided to turn back toward our own stomping grounds here, or in some cases, looking ahead to future treks.
One of the great things I’ve seen happen lately is a stronger desire by people to seek out their own adventures. Trekking the Appalachian Trail, hiking the Grand Canyon, or even doing a through-hike of the Ouachita Trail — all these are “dream trips” that might take several days or even weeks. And these are things you don’t just decide to do on a whim.
Even shorter day hikes provide challenges your average weekend warrior might not think of. So before planning your next ambitious wilderness walkabout, take time to consider preparing not just your gear, but your body.
Yep, hiking requires special physical preparation. Unfortunately, it’s not the type of training you can get at the gym or even out on the running trails.
This will sound pretty stupid, but the best way to train for big-time hiking is to go hiking. I know, it sounds silly. But there is sound reasoning behind this.
Let’s say you’re planning to through-hike the Ouachita Trail. Its western end starts in the Kiamichis, and it continues east well into Arkansas. So we’re talking several days, minimum, with a lot of uphill and downhill travel. Spots of the trail will be rocky, braided with tree roots and uneven. Your feet will constantly be turned at different angles.
There’s no doubt you can get in shape on jogging paths at your local park or on the treadmill at your gym. But those paths and machines won’t simulate the uneven ground you’ll face on the trail.
Practice hikes will work muscles in your legs (and the rest of your body) that don’t normally see much work in everyday life (or routine training). So before heading out on that big hike, do some shorter ones that include rougher paths.
The same could be said of training for excursions that might involve some minor climbing. Do you really want to tackle a big mountain route in the Rockies without having tried some scrambling on the lower peaks here? We can’t mimic altitude here (though long, frequent cardio sessions help), but we can practice Class 3, 4 and 5 climbing routes in places less than three hours away.
There’s a lot of other considerations for practice hikes, mostly dealing with clothing, food, campsite selection and so on. Rather than go on about that, I’ll suggest this link from sectionhiker.com: http://sectionhiker.com/2009/04/17/beginner-tip-go-on-practice-hikes/. Truly a great site.
Lastly, I’ll say this: Work up to your ultimate challenge. You don’t do a day hike once every six months, then decide to do the Appalachian Trail. Work up to it, improve your skills and knowledge. By the time you’re ready for your rim-to-rim Grand Canyon trip, you’ll have all the great memories and experience from scores of trips you’ve already made.
The Associated Press
Meanwhile, authorities said they have officially suspended the search for Nolan and Anthony Vietti. Searchers have been able to do little during a snow storm the past two days.
Nolan, Vietti and Luke Gullberg started climbing Friday, but rescue workers suspect they had an accident. Gullberg’s body was found Saturday.
Getting some decent snows in Colorado and Utah. And much of New Mexico is shaping up nicely, though no new snow in the past three days. Still a couple of places in the Rockies that haven’t opened yet, and most places do not have all their lifts running. But that will change soon. Here’s some links:
New Mexico: http://www.skireport.com/newmexico/
Interesting video. This guy rafted down the Mississippi River.
Latest from Mount Hood. This story actually moved last night, but nothing new since then. Tragically, it does not sound good for the two climbers who are still missing.
By TIM FOUGHT
Associated Press Writer
GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. — Two climbers missing on Mount Hood for the past five days are likely dead and a search will not resume anytime soon because of severe avalanche danger, officials said Tuesday.
Dr. Terri Schmidt, an expert on hypothermia and mountain survival, said there was less than a 1 percent chance that Anthony Vietti and Katie Nolan had survived after going missing on Friday.
The body of a third member of their party, Luke Gullberg, 26, of Des Moines, Wash., was found on the mountain Saturday. Officials have said he died of hypothermia after surviving a long fall.
Schmidt spoke at a news conference called by rescue officials. She talked with relatives of the missing climbers earlier in the day about the chances of survival in the extreme conditions on Mount Hood. Schmidt said she gave them the same statistic and they said they didn’t want rescuers to be put at risk of encountering an avalanche.
Steven Rollins, a rescue leader, said search teams would not be going back up the mountain anytime soon because of avalanche dangers made worse by an ongoing storm that has created whiteout conditions.
Rollins, with Portland Mountain Rescue, said it would take four to five days of good weather to ease the avalanche risk, but such stretches were rare in the winter on Mount Hood.
“We can’t get people off the ground. … Our hands are really tied,” Rollins said. “If there is anything we could do, we would do it.”
Even if the rescuers knew where the two climbers were, search teams would not be able to get to them because of the danger, Rollins said.
The Mount Hood ordeal began last Friday when the trio was reported missing. They had started up earlier in the day on what was expected to be a one-day outing.
Ground teams and aircraft have been hindered in the search by snow, poor visibility and subfreezing temperatures.
Vietti, 24, is from Longview, Wash., and Nolan, 29, is from Portland.
Nate Thompson, a rescue coordinator, said it was not known if Vietti and Nolan had the equipment to survive for an extended period — such as a camp stove to melt snow for drinking water.
Officials have been piecing together a theory about what happened to the climbers from photos found in the camera next to Gullberg’s body and from gear discovered around him. Rescuers think the tragedy began on the Reid Headwall, a snow- and ice-covered slope that starts at the 9,000-foot level and rises to 10,500 feet, some 740 feet beneath Mount Hood’s summit.
Thompson said it appears “there was some sort of accident” as the trio climbed the headwall, and Gullberg was heading back down for help when he fell.
Thompson surmises that the first accident may have involved Nolan.
Gullberg died at the base of the headwall. Among the items near him was one of Nolan’s gloves. Rescuers think Gullberg may have given Nolan both of his gloves, and took the one glove she had left as protection for himself.
Rescuers don’t know what happened to Vietti and Nolan after Gullberg fell, but they speculate the two were still high on the headwall. Conditions have been too severe for searchers to get that high, although a military helicopter inspected the area Monday and spotted nothing.
This looks kinda fun…
It’s really a shame that many of us don’t get out more in the winter months. Sure, sometimes the weather is miserable or just too cold to enjoy. But there are other times when it’s fantastic out there. Bright skies, few people, lots of time to be out in nature and enjoy it on her terms.
I’ve got a lot of friends who like to hunt. They’ll brave temperatures in the teens just to bag a duck or two. Other friends love to fish year-round, using different techniques to coax fish out of their cold-weather depths. And still others enjoy winter hiking and camping, mostly because of the solitude that comes with smaller crowds.
But just like you might prepare for hot weather activities by stocking up on water and sunscreen, cold weather preparation is equally important.
The main danger confronting us in winter is hypothermia. This occurs when the body’s core temperature drops to levels so severe that certain body functions begin to fail.
Your body enjoys itself most when it doesn’t have to work too hard to maintain that 98-degree core temperature that is normal among humans. When it gets too hot, it sweats to cool you down. When it gets too cold, it will induce things like shivering to increase your level of activity. In cold conditions, appropriate clothing should take care of it. Nevertheless…
A little about hypothermia
According to the Emergency Medical Services Authority, hypothermia can be divided into three stages:
Stage 1: Body temperature drops 1.8 to 3.6 degrees below normal temps. Mild to strong shivering occurs. Hand dexterity is compromised and hands are numb. Breathing becomes quick and shallow. Victims can feel sick to their stomach and tired. Some even start to feel warm, but this is often a symptom of the victim’s condition going into Stage 2. Victims are unable to touch their thumb with their little finger. Vision is compromised.
Stage 2: Body temp is now 3.8 to 7.6 degrees below normal. Shivering becomes much stronger. Movements are slow, labored and uncoordinated. Victims will stumble and mild confusion is apparent. Victims appear more pale while lips, fingers and toes become blue as blood begins to pool around vital organs.
State 3: Body temp drops to 89.6 degrees or lower. This is extremely dangerous. Difficulty speaking, sluggish thinking and amnesia appear. Hand dexterity is gone while victims have major problems walking. Below 86 degrees, exposed skin becomes blue and puffy, muscle coordination is compromised and walking is almost impossible. Victims are often incoherent and irrational. Pulse rates slow considerably, though fits of increased heart rates can occur. At some point, organ failure occurs and the victim dies.
The obvious thing is to dress warm and in layers. But there are some nuances here, too.
There is an old adage in outdoors circles about the type of clothes you should and should not wear: Cotton kills. Sounds extreme, but there are characteristics about cotton that are not helpful in cold weather.
Cotton retains moisture, and wet cotton pulls heat out of the body. It can take hours for damp/wet cotton clothes to dry out. Get caught in a cold rain/snow and get wet, it could be trouble. Similarly, a person dressed warm with cotton base layers could find himself in trouble if, in the act of exertion, he starts to sweat. That sweat could be just as bad as being doused by rain if the conditions are cold enough.
I’m reminded of a book I read last year called “The Final Frontiersman.” The book is about Heimo Korth, a Wisconsin native who moved to Alaska to see if he could live his life in the bush. He did, and he thrived.
One of the things he told the author was that in winter, he makes sure to move slowly when doing things outside. Move too quickly, and he starts to sweat. And that sweat can create huge problems considering the temperatures seen in the Alaskan interior.
Anyway, when it comes to clothing, stick with wool and synthetics that wick moisture away from your body. Your outer shell of clothing should be water resistant, but breathable. If it’s really cold, don’t be afraid to take your time so you don’t sweat too much.
One last note, this one concerning water: If you’re fishing, boating, kayaking or even hunting (say, by a pond/lake/river), keep in mind how much faster hypothermia can set in when you’re immersed in water. Being outside in 50-degree weather is no big deal. But being in 50-degree water can kill you in an hour. Water at or near freezing can kill you in 15 minutes. Even 80-degree water can bring about hypothermia given enough time, according to EMSA.
So be careful if you’re fishing and hunting, and if you’re a kayaker, I’d strongly consider the use of wet suits and dry suits. For those of you into skiing and snowboarding, take special care here, especially if you are doing any backcountry trails.
In short, prepare yourself before venturing into the cold, watch for symptoms and take extra care when you’re around water.
Here’s the latest on the situation on Mount Hood. I’ll update through the day as more is learned.
GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. (AP) — With rescue efforts stalled by a heavy snow storm, worried relatives of two missing climbers gathered Tuesday to hear from a doctor about the chances of surviving the extreme conditions of Mount Hood.
Rescuers were clinging to hope that Anthony Vietti and Katie Nolan were still alive somewhere on Oregon’s highest peak, possibly in a snow cave they might have hacked out with ice picks.
But time was running short for the climbers who vanished Friday.
A whiteout expected to dump as much as two feet of new snow on the mountain prevented a helicopter and ground teams from resuming the search. The storm was expected to last until Thursday, threatening to cause an avalanche that could further complicate a rescue.
“It doesn’t look good,” Jim Strovink, spokesman for the search and rescue operation, said about the forecast. “This could hang on for a couple of days.”
Luke Gullberg, a companion of Vietti and Nolan, was found dead on a glacier Saturday. An autopsy showed he suffered minor injuries in a fall and died of hypothermia,
Dr. Terri Schmidt, an expert on hypothermia and mountain survival, planned to speak to the families of the climbers at Timberline Lodge, the staging area for the rescue operation.
Strovink said Schmidt would answer questions about the health dangers faced by Vietti, 24, of Longview, Wash., and Nolan, 29, of Portland.
Intermittent snow and subfreezing temperatures have hampered the search since it began on the 11,249-foot mountain.
Rescuers said they were hoping Vietti and Nolan had managed to carve out a snow cave and were waiting out the storm.
“We are still being very optimistic,” said Steve Rollins, a search leader. “I’ve been in plenty of snow caves in complete blizzards. You don’t know what the weather is like outside.”
Gullberg, 26, of Des Moines, Wash., was found without his pack or the ropes that had apparently bound the group together at some point.
The discovery raised hope among family members that Vietti and Nolan had Gullberg’s safety equipment and supplies after he headed down the mountain for help.
Latest news from Mount Hood. Again, not good. Here’s hoping and praying for the best…
By TIM FOUGHT
The Associated Press
GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. — A military helicopter searched upper elevations of Mount Hood on Monday, as rescuers held onto hope that two experienced climbers would be found alive after a third member of their party was discovered dead over the weekend.
Search teams were working against time, with a new storm expected to hit Oregon’s highest peak overnight.
Taking advantage of a brief break in the weather, a Black Hawk helicopter operated by the Oregon Army National Guard searched for signs of life or debris. Ground teams have also started up the mountain but remained at lower elevations because of avalanche dangers.
Mountaineers found the body Luke T. Gullberg, 26, of Des Moines, Wash., on Saturday at the 9,000-foot level on Reid Glacier.
Officials were examining photos from Gullberg’s camera for possible clues about the location of his companions.
Authorities have not released details on the photos. But Teri Preiss, an aunt of missing climber Anthony Vietti, said the photos suggested the trio had changed their route up the mountain to avoid one that looked too dangerous.
Bad weather has frustrated ground teams and aircraft searching high elevations for Vietti, 24, of Longview, Wash., and Katie Nolan, 29, of Portland, who have been missing since Friday.
Preiss believes her nephew and Nolan were strong enough to survive somewhere on the 11,249-foot mountain.
“Today is our day,” Preiss said.
Steve Rollins, a search leader, said the climbers were known to have ice axes that could be used to hack out a snow cave.
“It’s more like digging with a spoon than a shovel, but if you’re life is in danger you can do wonderful things,” said Rollins, with Portland Mountain Rescue.
Officials previously said the climbers did not have shovels.
Relatives of all three climbers gathered at Timberline Lodge, a ski resort on the flank of Mount Hood and a staging area for the search.
“We want to get above 10,000 feet,” said Nate Thompson, search coordinator with the Clackamas County sheriff’s office.
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
Here’s a video report on the story: