Rescue on the Skyline Trail - Temperature over 120 degrees

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Re: Rescue on the Skyline Trail - Temperature over 120 degre

Postby Ed » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:12 am

Thanks for the potential explanation, Cynthia. I hate it when my mind keeps buzzing around a question for which I don't have the basic knowledge to even guess at an answer.

I think your advice for Skyline in the summer - which I remember as DO NOT DO IT, DUMMY!!! - is the correct advice for any general audience, even an audience of 'experienced hikers'. We know there are a few, very few, exceptions. But they know who they are, and are informed by personal experience, not advice from strangers. You can throw in Skyline in the winter, as far as I am concerned. I have seen people up there in the snow twice or more whose only trekking aid was a stick they picked up. One of them crossing the traverse, clearly very afraid. If he had fallen, the only thing I could have done for him was use my SPOT, and that is not a place where you can assume SAR will arrive in time, if you take a bad fall. And I still remember the group 2600fromatari tried to warn off a few years ago, who had to be hoisted off. For some people, tactful advice is not enough. The message has to be simplified and high-volume.

I still cannot get over the age of the boy. Kids that age are rarely endurance athletes. I have racked my memory, and can't recall seeing anybody above the First Rescue Box, and perhaps above the junction of the Ramon and Museum trails, who looked under mid-teens.
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Re: Rescue on the Skyline Trail - Temperature over 120 degre

Postby guest » Sun Aug 18, 2019 2:44 pm

Hi,
Cynthia, I did not know this about sepsis, (don't really even know what that is), but find this very interesting. The one horse on the PCT I helped rescue above Snow Creek a couple summers ago, got that, plus renal failure, from severe dehydration. Even with an amazing hoist lift, helo rescue, the poor thing didn't make it because of this. The vet said this horse was 30+ liters under what it should be!

Was RMRU not involved with this one? They don't seem to post their mission anymore, (since May)? I took a boyscout group up many years ago, for their Eagle Scout badge, and the 3 scout masters assured me they were trained, (which they were), but I still reserved the right to turn anyone around at 3.5K, as I know at that point, if it's safe to continue, (to avoid a long, tough down climb. These were 14-16 yr. olds, and one was really struggling at one point, all had to dig deep, but made it. Much younger, and you'd need to have been a serious athlete, like the 14 yr old? female teen, who one the Baldy race, (Zip, who is she?), an endurance athlete already, or plain tough as nails, (like kids that grow up in 3rd world countries, (if their not malnourished).

It seems, as Ed touched on, that many people just don't want to listen, or take any advice, call it rebellious, (disrespectful), arrogant, so The Land of Hard Knocks isn't going away, (not saying this family did this). I've offered directions & advise many times, some accepted, much not. Doreen, Cy, Andy, Halhiker, and many like Cynthia here, have warned people, (till were just frustrated and tired of sounding like nannies), on the trail, especially in winter, and watch the horror on some of their faces, if they even make it to the traverse. Or finding their just about out of water at Flat Rock. Self reliance & responsibility seems less common in many of the folks I've encounters, or read about, than a few decades ago.
Even with much info on the web, hiking clubs, mags etc., many figure they'll do it on guts & glory and deal with the consequences, (not implying this family did that, it seems they did train for it, but to what extent). If your training for a marathon, a few 10k's and some gym work isn't going to be enough.
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Re: Rescue on the Skyline Trail - Temperature over 120 degre

Postby Wildhorse » Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:10 pm

I would feel somewhat relieved if we learned that she died from medical error or iatrogenic injury from medical treatment. I prefer that to death resulting from a faulty or risky hiking decision. I would rather blame the medical/pharma industry than the hikers, if possible. And it is not unusual to die from medical treatment rather than from the malady itself.

But we don’t know. The family and friends may not know either. Awful feelings of guilt are sure to hurt the survivors. They last forever.
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Re: Rescue on the Skyline Trail - Temperature over 120 degre

Postby zippetydude » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:34 am

First let me say that I agree with everyone that this is a terrible tragedy. I don't understand how such a decision could have been made either, and the price was tragically high.

With regards to the little boy, I have seen kids that age on top of Mt. Whitney and on Mt. San Gorgonio as well. Some just seem to develop the ability at a very young age. Speaking of which...

Hi Scott! Her name is Carrie Garritson. She set the record in 1988 at the tender age of 11. No one has been able to break it since. Absolutely Incredible.

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Re: Rescue on the Skyline Trail - Temperature over 120 degre

Postby cynthia23 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:33 pm

The reason I suspect something like sepsis and tissue loss is because that's the only reason I can think of for the transfer to Arrowhead. Many years ago a dear friend of mine, who had a mild case of the flu, suddenly and quite quickly developed sepsis or what we sometimes call toxic shock. She went to the emergency room but rapidly (within an hour) fell into a coma, during which all the blood flow to her limbs ceased. She survived, barely, but her limbs became gangrenous because all the tissue had died. After months of struggle to save them, her legs had to be amputated, along with some fingers. So I am always mindful of this issue, and I suspect something like this might have happened with this woman, although of course the stressor to her body in this case was not an infection run wild, but hyperthermia.

I go back and forth about what causes these Skyline rescues. Sometimes I think it's simply low I.Q.; sometimes I think it's hubris and ego; sometimes I think it's modern culture's distance from wilderness; sometimes I think it's because Skyline, unlike other trails, has an urban interface which makes it too easy to get to. And sometimes I think it's the unusually steep face of Mt. San Jacinto, which gives a seductive optical illusion that the tram station isn't really that far away. It's probably all of these things.
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Re: Rescue on the Skyline Trail - Temperature over 120 degre

Postby Ed » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:36 am

A good list of possible causes, Cynthia. And perhaps also a superficial culture that tells people, over and over again, that they can do anything they want, provided they have the motivation and will power, without enough regard for preparation and other factors.

Your friend's case is a scary example of the vulnerability of the human body.
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Re: Rescue on the Skyline Trail - Temperature over 120 degre

Postby Wildhorse » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:59 pm

Ed, I think your cultural observation goes a long way towards explaining what happens on Skyline, even if this case may be an exception. Seeking achievement in a meritocracy ruins many lives, one way or another. The pressure to achieve is mostly inescapable. It’s too bad. It creates even lethal status anxiety. I wish our culture was different.
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Re: Rescue on the Skyline Trail - Temperature over 120 degre

Postby Wildhorse » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:03 am

I read at MNN Nepal is trying restrict Everest access to those with experience and top health. Also must have a Nepali guide. That will be interesting to watch as others contemplate what to do about Skyline.
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Re: Rescue on the Skyline Trail - Temperature over 120 degre

Postby cynthia23 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:01 pm

Ed and Wildhorse, I think you nailed it. Status anxiety in a culture in which it's harder and harder to stand out from the crowd. It's interesting to reflect how the Native Americans in this area generally avoided climbing mountains--it was something to be done only for real necessity and then with care and trepidation.
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Re: Rescue on the Skyline Trail - Temperature over 120 degre

Postby Perry » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:16 am

Here are some recommendations for adult hikers, and this assumes heat acclimatization:
https://arielschecklist.com/wbgt-chart/

And a chart using wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT) values and guidelines by American Academy of Pediatrics:
https://www.irwin.amedd.army.mil/pages/ ... m#children

WBGT is not the same as air temperature, and there are charts in the first link for looking up this value using temperature and humidity, assuming full sunshine and a light breeze.

Unfortunately, most people don't read these, but it doesn't hurt to share these links with others, and there may be some benefit of seeing specific guidelines instead of vague blanket-type recommendations that are common in the media.
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