Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Missing Hiker

About twice a year someone is ‘lost’ on Mount Rainier. I have hiked up mountains in Colorado before, and it is pretty similar to Washington State. Unless it’s a busy trail mountain (Flat Top in Rockey Mountain National Park has well over 500 people a day climb it) then you do need to take certain precautions. Problem is no one ever does.

Now someone else is missing, on Mount Rainier, and guess what he was wearing yesterday. Pants, Shirt, and baseball cap. Missing for 24 hours now. I pray for his safe recovery, but weather there has turned bad, and he was not prepared for overnight stay.

Here are some things to take with you in a backpack.

Extra shirt

Waterproof overpants


Water Proof Jacket

Small/medium LED waterproof flashlight

Extra pair of socks

A rapid charge battery for your cell phone.


Separate leatherman tool

2 small ½ liter bottles of water

2 power bars or granola bars

1 apple/banana/etc

The biggest problem you need to worry about isn’t weather changing, it is you breaking a leg, or falling and twisting your ankle, or something where you can not make it back down. That is when these things come in handy. If you are missing, a flashlight at night would be a beacon to any helicopter or rescue worker. LED Flashlights last for thousands of hours of use. You could keep it on and pointed somewhere all night for several nights.

Even if you have no cell phone service leaving it on could help rescue workers find you, but only if it has power. I personally never had a problem, but it would happen the one time my battery was low or something.

Why waterproof if it gets cold? Well Snow and Ice melts. For 24 hours your body heat with 2 shirts, sweater, and waterproof jacket is more than fine.

Obviously this is in addition to what you plan on eating and drinking on the hike. So if you are stuck. Save this till day 2. Have 1 bottle of water and 1 bar a day. This will give you quite a few days of life. Between the flashlight, cell phone, and as long as you are ON a trail, then this should be more than good enough to allow a ranger to find you.

AND PLEASE PLEASE ALWAYS CHECK WEATHER BEFORE YOU GO UP! Mountains are not like valleys. I have been in Colorado when it snowed in June or July, so check the weather. They have peak warnings, mountain advisories, etc if something is happening. PLEASE CHECK !!

UPDATE --- The hiker was found dead, I am VERY sorry to hear this. My prayers go out to the family. I wish there was better news.

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