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  1. #1
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    mountain biker froze to death, sad story

    I don't know if this has been posted before.
    Too much passion and poor decisions could kill you.
    Very sad story that just happened last weekend.

    CORONA: Widow angry at delay in search for mountain biker | Corona, Norco, Eastvale News | PE.com

    We all can learn from this. Never underestimate the mountain, be prepared.
    Be safe out there.

  2. #2
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    Sad story, but in perspective, that was not a good day to go out in the local mountains. I didn't go back out until yesterday and conditions were still marginal.
    I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass. - David Lee Roth

  3. #3
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    Read it a couple days ago, very sad. Don't know if his battery died or just lost reception, but my phone fully charged is something I will keep an eye on.

  4. #4
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    A sad story for sure... but I have to say I see a whole lot of finger pointing at people who weren't to blame. A little more thought put into the gear he was taking with him probably would have saved him... let's not mention postponing the trip.
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  5. #5
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    Yeah...as a rescuer myself it sucks when conditions prevent you from going out and searching for a lost person. However, if conditions are that poor, you have to consider the safety of many over trying find/save just one.

    And I'm sure that the mountain biker figured like many of us do...I've been there, done that...no reason to think I can't do it again. Well, stuff happens and you gotta be prepared. An 80 mile loop on a mountain bike in what I presume is fairly rugged area is nothing to take lightly...and in marginal weather to boot.

  6. #6
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    This is a very tragic story indeed.

    I get that the rider was ill prepared. Definitely shouldn't be out there if your safety could be compromised. That said, it didn't seem like finding him was too hard. I mean if a small group of volunteers was able to find him in 6 hours, having more support could have saved his life.

    Again, clearly you should be prepared but if it wasn't that hard to find him, would it have been so bad to utilize more resources? We have people that do snow rescue where it's much colder and visibility is much less, I think people can go out with flashlights in rainy conditions, ya?

  7. #7
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    Yeah, this is pretty sad. I'm not going to bash the widow for her thoughts on the rescue - I don't blame her for feeling the way she does. I ride solo a lot and that takes just a little bit more preparation and planning than group riding. You and you alone are responsible for your actions and safety. You can't rely on others to get you out of a jam. Part of this philosophy is making good decisions, chief among them is knowing the weather and acting accordingly. If there's going to be bad weather on the day of the ride then you either cancel, change the time of the ride to miss the weather or go somewhere else where weather won't be an issue.

    I found it strange that he died on the bike. I get it, he was probably getting hypothermic and losing judgement but damn, get off the bike and hunker down, man.

    Unless there's some sort of review that says otherwise I'll support the search and rescue team's decision and take them at their word. There must have been good reason for not conducting the search. They're trained and dedicated professionals and you have to really try to see the situation from their point of view.
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  8. #8
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    Sorry, have to agree sad, but not the sheriffs/rescuers fault. Seriously, who would plan to go out for 9 hours without even food, let alone a rain jacket and other "maybe" things?
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  9. #9
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    Given his confused and disoriented state when he called his wife I wonder if he'd crashed and was suffering concussion symptoms. Hypothermia can cause similar symptoms though, so who's to say? That's the thing that a lot of people don't get about hypothermia is that it doesn't have to be that cold to die from it. 40-45 degrees F and wet for several hours is plenty cold to kill.

    Sad story. As one who also rides solo in remote locations (and has crashed and been disoriented from a concussion) it really made me take a little re-assessment of my preparedness level.
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  10. #10
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    First off, let me say that I am extremely saddened by the story, and the loss of another biking enthusiast. I know that the saying "He died doing what he loved" might be said here, but it simply isn't true. He died by freezing to death, and that probably wasn't what he loved doing.

    All the talk leaning towards blaming the rescue crews is a little disturbing to me. In the end, we are all responsible for our own safety, and when that fails, it is the duty of family, friends, and community to take over. If there is an official government agency that can help, that is great, but it isn't the job of the government to bail us out, or hold our hand, etc. Each man has to be responsible for himself.

    Thoughts and prayers to the family, and those affected.
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  11. #11
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    Sad indeed. This has certainly got me rethinking some of my own future rides and how prepared I am in case of mishap. Usually a minimalist but not anymore! Did a ride yesterday and the boulders that had fallen onto the trail were plain scary!

  12. #12
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    his being purple and still on the bike suggests something swift rather than hypothermia as that would have forced him off his bike.
    living in the blue mountains here in aus and my housemate is a member of the rural fire service. The number of people each year that get caught out is pretty amazing. to try and mitigate it the blue mountains council rent out epirbs if you are going out so if something should happen. Response time is a hell of a lot faster than waiting beyond a certain time.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luis M. View Post
    Sad indeed. This has certainly got me rethinking some of my own future rides and how prepared I am in case of mishap. Usually a minimalist but not anymore! Did a ride yesterday and the boulders that had fallen onto the trail were plain scary!
    This is how I feel. I'm not exactly a minimalist, in fact I think I pack more than I need. In the future when I'm debating whether or not to bring that extra layer I'll opt to bring it regardless.

    Condolences to the deceased. It's interesting how he was found on the bike. Without knowing the terrain and conditions I wouldn't point any fingers at S&R. They want to head out there and find you safe as much as we want to ride.

  14. #14
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    Sad story but Id rather die clipped in than waste away in a hospital bed. His family can take solace knowing he passed doing what he loves.
    No moss...

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw-13 View Post
    Sad story but Id rather die clipped in than waste away in a hospital bed. His family can take solace knowing he passed doing what he loves.
    I was just going to say basically the same thing! It is sad but I can think of a lot worse ways to pass.

  16. #16
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    I read this yesterday and have been pondering it and considering my near misses that could have turned catastrophic.

    Anyone can read and plan, but without more experience it really is hard to know what "being prepared" really means. And "experience" isn't just years of enjoying an activity or living in an area. Sometimes it takes a few near misses or mishaps to make even the most avid enthusiast realize how far bad a normal scenario can turn. Even with that realization, though, the individual weighs their options to "bring everything" or travel light. Maybe this guy pushed his luck too far. Maybe he's never had a mishap in all his years outdoors. Maybe when he left the house he really thought he was up for the challenge. It certainly is a sad story, but it will likely encourage others to evaluate their own situations more critically.

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  17. #17
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    The guy was incredibly foolish and woefully underprepared for his trip. It's completely absurd to blame the search and rescue team for his death.

    But I'm going to take a contrarian viewpoint about the so-called search and rescue team. I think it is a really valid point that if six volunteers can go out into the darkness and find him without any trouble, then why couldn't the official search and rescue team? I have to question their commitment. What is the point of having a search and rescue team that won't even search much less rescue? If you won't do the job when it needs doing, then clearly this isn't a job for you. Obviously, there are at least six volunteers who are willing to do the job, because they are the ones who did it. So maybe they should be the new search and rescue team for Riverside County?

  18. #18
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    Tragic tale. A 10 oz rain coat and a lighter might have saved his life. I always plan for what if. An extra food bar and an extra layer is always with me. I have used my compass, lighter, knife and duct tape on different rides.

  19. #19
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    Re: mountain biker froze to death, sad story

    Quote Originally Posted by mr_spin View Post
    The guy was incredibly foolish and woefully underprepared for his trip. It's completely absurd to blame the search and rescue team for his death.

    But I'm going to take a contrarian viewpoint about the so-called search and rescue team. I think it is a really valid point that if six volunteers can go out into the darkness and find him without any trouble, then why couldn't the official search and rescue team? I have to question their commitment. What is the point of having a search and rescue team that won't even search much less rescue? If you won't do the job when it needs doing, then clearly this isn't a job for you. Obviously, there are at least six volunteers who are willing to do the job, because they are the ones who did it. So maybe they should be the new search and rescue team for Riverside County?
    Until you're the one making the calls for the SAR team, I wouldn't question it too much. The guy who made the call has to weigh the risk of endangering his team to the possibilities of finding who they are looking for.

    As much as some people don't like it, they have no legal obligation to help someone and do it out of their own kindness.

    If I was making the calls and it looked like there was a good chance my team would get hurt, I would make the same call.


    Kudos to the volunteers for doing something. We don't know enough to determine however if the "ease" of finding the missing biker had anything to do with something other than luck. Since no one was with him we can't know if he would have been found in time had a team found him sooner.

    It is a tragedy and I feel for his family, but the fault lays squarely on his own decisions and unpreparedness.
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  20. #20
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    it's a tragic death.

    there is no place to hide from the wet (rain or splatter) on a bike. being wet increases the effect of wind chill exponentially. so once your so cold you are shivering, you cannot get the legs pumping enough blood to raise your core temperature without the cold wet wind bleeding it all away. no matter how warm it is, if i'm going out for the day, a wind/rain layer (thin and nearly weightless will do!) is ALWAYS a layer I carry. and if you are riding in an area where the local search and rescue is afraid of bad weather conditions, i'd carry even more.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomahawk3Niner View Post
    Until you're the one making the calls for the SAR team, I wouldn't question it too much. The guy who made the call has to weigh the risk of endangering his team to the possibilities of finding who they are looking for.

    As much as some people don't like it, they have no legal obligation to help someone and do it out of their own kindness.

    If I was making the calls and it looked like there was a good chance my team would get hurt, I would make the same call.


    Kudos to the volunteers for doing something. We don't know enough to determine however if the "ease" of finding the missing biker had anything to do with something other than luck. Since no one was with him we can't know if he would have been found in time had a team found him sooner.

    It is a tragedy and I feel for his family, but the fault lays squarely on his own decisions and unpreparedness.
    Again, the fault is his. No question. No disagreement whatsoever. But I still question the point of having a SAR team that won't SAR. Yes, there is risk, but everyone volunteers for SAR. No one is forced to do it. You know the risk when you signed up for the job, and you know the day might come when you will be called on to take that risk. If you aren't willing to do it, then stop pretending, because I'd rather have no SAR team than have one that only goes out when there is no risk. Because, what's the difference?

  22. #22
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    Re: mountain biker froze to death, sad story

    Quote Originally Posted by mr_spin View Post
    Again, the fault is his. No question. No disagreement whatsoever. But I still question the point of having a SAR team that won't SAR. Yes, there is risk, but everyone volunteers for SAR. No one is forced to do it. You know the risk when you signed up for the job, and you know the day might come when you will be called on to take that risk. If you aren't willing to do it, then stop pretending, because I'd rather have no SAR team than have one that only goes out when there is no risk. Because, what's the difference?
    There is always a risk. It just depends on how bad. Sending a team in, if it looked almost certain that they would get lost in a blizzard for example, would be dumb.

    I can't speak to what the conditions were on this mountain because I don't know, but if a trained SAR team calls off because it's too dangerous I'm not going to call them pointless for it.

    I can't imagine the decision was made lightly. The kind of people who do SAR aren't the kind of people that will just let someone who needs help go with out it for no good reason.
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  23. #23
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    Sad story, and my thoughts go out to his family. I always carry a bag of the "10 Essentials" in my Camelbak, and I always pack at least a windshirt as an extra layer (and a puffy if its cold out) in my pack. I've also gotten in the habit of sending a txt message to a friend if I'm riding solo, letting them know where I'm riding and when I expect to return. It doesn't take much to turn a fun ride into an epic, or worse...

  24. #24
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    For those judging the rescuers;

    First rule of rescue - As a rescuer, do not put yourself into a position that you will have to be rescued.

    Don't make things worse -- Granted it is not the same situation, the rules apply the same

    The heart-breaking decision to suspend rescue operations knowing someone may be trapped in the rubble of a collapsed building as happened in Elliot Lake, Ont. is among the hardest for first responders to make, experts said Tuesday.

    At the same time, they said, their top priority must be to ensure that rescuers dont add to the tragedy by themselves becoming casualties.

    Its the most difficult thing for a first responder to cease operations because its not what we do, its not what we want to do, said Jim Young, who heads up the urban search and rescue task force in Vancouver.


    It is sad. I don't know why he went out seemingly so under prepared. Wishes to the surviving family.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_spin View Post
    Again, the fault is his. No question. No disagreement whatsoever. But I still question the point of having a SAR team that won't SAR. Yes, there is risk, but everyone volunteers for SAR. No one is forced to do it. You know the risk when you signed up for the job, and you know the day might come when you will be called on to take that risk. If you aren't willing to do it, then stop pretending, because I'd rather have no SAR team than have one that only goes out when there is no risk. Because, what's the difference?
    People can't count on Search and Rescue because they have to weigh a variety of factors when deciding on when to head out. If you head out to something in the outdoors in rough terrain don't expect them to come and rescue you. But Search and Rescue teams get people out of jams all the time, you know that. So having these resources is well worth it.

    They are not pretending, I couldn't disagree more with that statement. They are dedicated individuals, many of whom are volunteers but they are not under any obligation to risk their lives - that has never been part of the job description. They do go out with some risk but at the same time they will mitigate that risk and if they determine conditions are too severe then they will make the call to stay grounded.
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  26. #26
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    "cellphone extreme athletes", the people who don't need training, skills, proper gear, or proper precaution because if they get in trouble they'll just call for help on their cellphone.
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    ... your idea of technical may be much different than other peoples idea of technical.

  27. #27
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    Very sad news. I would be angry with the SAR team as well. Conditions clearly were not so bad no one could go out looking for the guy...his wife and some volenteers did it and they are not trained professionals. I don't think the SAR team are to blame in anyway...this guy made a mistake going out in bad conditions, unprepared and paid with his life. Totally his fault. But if the wife and her friends can do it...so can SAR.

  28. #28
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    Re: mountain biker froze to death, sad story

    Quote Originally Posted by motomuppet View Post
    Very sad news. I would be angry with the SAR team as well. Conditions clearly were not so bad no one could go out looking for the guy...his wife and some volenteers did it and they are not trained professionals. I don't think the SAR team are to blame in anyway...this guy made a mistake going out in bad conditions, unprepared and paid with his life. Totally his fault. But if the wife and her friends can do it...so can SAR.
    I reread the article and it sounds to me like the wife and other volunteers went out early the next morning. If that's the case they could have been in better weather. In cases like this... Once night came if he didn't have a fire his chances of survival are damn slim.

    All this blaming the SAR team... Not sure why anyone would want to do it if they are going to be blamed for someone else's bad decisions and bad luck.

    Wife would have more room to complain if they went out when SAR first called it off. But still...
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomahawk3Niner View Post
    I reread the article and it sounds to me like the wife and other volunteers went out early the next morning. If that's the case they could have been in better weather. In cases like this... Once night came if he didn't have a fire his chances of survival are damn slim.

    All this blaming the SAR team... Not sure why anyone would want to do it if they are going to be blamed for someone else's bad decisions and bad luck.

    Wife would have more room to complain if they went out when SAR first called it off. But still...
    I dunno...while I totally agree blaming the SAR team makes little sense, put yourself in the wifes shoes...your partner is out there and the professionals call of the search on sat night. You get organised with some kit and some mates and head out at 3:45am sunday morning...thats the middle of the night, and we dont know what time the search was called of on Sat night...could have been 11:59pm for all we know. So she sets off with mates and they find her husband dead. There were probably several hours wasted when the search was called off while she argued with the SAR team, and went to make preperations of her own when they would not help. If they had continued the search the outcome may have been different and he may have been found alive. A lot of if's but as his wife can you imagine how frustrating that would be. Like I said, I dont think it is the SAR's fault he died...that was all his fault and responsibility, but as his partner I would be pretty mad at the SAR.

    It is a tough call to stop searching for someone, and I respect that. You have to look out for the search crew's safety as well. In this case, looking at it from the wifes perspective, it was the wrong call. Obviously, it could have gone the otherway as well. Had the SAR team gone looking for him and one or more of the search team were injured, well, it would have been deemed foolish to go out there in those conditions. Tough call, but like I said, if I were in her shoes, i would be pretty angry with the SAR team.

  30. #30
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    Definitely a sad story.

    It's so easy to get so far off the beaten path in such a short time on a mountain bike. Sometimes a simple part malfunction can lead to a really bad situation...especially in cold/wet weather.

    Broken chain? What if your chain tool breaks while repairing, it's 1 hour till dark, and you're 10 miles from the trail head?

    It's so tempting to travel light and fast, and it's easy to forget how far from help you actually are.

    I've had some close calls, my light weight essentials list is as follows:
    -2 tubes.
    -Patch kit
    -Super Glue
    -Pump
    -Shell layer
    -Multi-tool
    -Energy bar
    -Small LED light
    -Small strip of duct tape.

    Some lessons I've learned:
    -Never cross a sloped snow field in the spring, ever. I nearly ended it in a pile of scree, when I didn't, it was still a 1.5 hour hike back up.
    -Never go on an epic loop when there is rain in the forecast.
    -Never descend more than 50 feet down something you can't ride back up.
    -Always let someone know where you're going, and when you plan to return. Confirm with them when you've returned.

    And I still know that I'm woefully unprepared for a crash/injury. Or some types of mechanical issues.

  31. #31
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    I'm not sure where you get "all the talk leaning towards blaming the rescue crew" is coming from. My post was the only post that questioned it.

    That said, I get that if conditions were "safe" to go out and look for him, then they would have done it. My logic is questioning the lack of going out is that it only took 6 hours for non professionals to find the body, I could only imagine if there were more resources he could have been saved.

    I never said that search and rescue is to blame or that they are at fault. I'm saying that IF they were deployed, SINCE 6 inexperienced search and rescue members were able to find him in that short period of time, then maybe he would have had a chance to survive if more resources were allocated to the search and rescue.

    Nobody is saying it is anybody's official job to "bail us out" but at the same time, I've seen search and rescue go out for less. For instance, a back country skier who goes out of bounds and hasn't been seen for a few hours, a loved one reports it and I know that patrols go out (in the dark and in the snow).

    Clearly if I haven't said it enough, it's up to yourself to get out of trouble and to be prepared, but it seems to me that in this case, someone potentially could have been saved without exerting too many resources.

  32. #32
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    Its easy to Monday morning Quarterback what the SAR Team "coulda, shoulda, woulda" done, but none of us were there that night to know the conditions, SAR Team members are VOLUNTEERS, and the first rule of being a Rescuer is to not become a casualty yourself. SAR Teams work with a plan, and if that plan cannot be safely implemented then the search is delayed until it can be implemented. The non-professional "rescuers" were just wandering around in pairs and probably just got lucky in stumbling across him. I wonder how it would have played out had one of the would be rescuers been injured or killed?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    ... your idea of technical may be much different than other peoples idea of technical.

  33. #33
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    Sad story, but to be honest the guy sounds pretty dopey, theres basic things you need to take out on any ride, whether riding in snow, cold, heat or just a normal ride.
    If he had been a bit smarter he would be alive today.
    Id put this down to natural selection...
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomahawk3Niner View Post
    We don't know enough to determine however if the "ease" of finding the missing biker had anything to do with something other than luck.
    Yes, we do. The volunteers simply went up his planned loop in reverse and found him on the main road.


    Tone's, I think your honesty is a little much. The contributing or causing factors are more than obvious in this case. Just because you can post something doesn't mean you should. Think for a minute about Andre's family members reading this. Thanks.

  35. #35
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    This story reminds me of what happened to Evan Tanner, UFC guy. Died alone in the heat. He was also new to riding. (dirt bike) You wouldn't paddle out on an overhead day as a newb surfer. People don't realize the dangers on land the same way.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by brentos View Post
    Definitely a sad story.

    It's so easy to get so far off the beaten path in such a short time on a mountain bike. Sometimes a simple part malfunction can lead to a really bad situation...especially in cold/wet weather.

    Broken chain? What if your chain tool breaks while repairing, it's 1 hour till dark, and you're 10 miles from the trail head?

    It's so tempting to travel light and fast, and it's easy to forget how far from help you actually are.

    I've had some close calls, my light weight essentials list is as follows:
    -2 tubes.
    -Patch kit
    -Super Glue
    -Pump
    -Shell layer
    -Multi-tool
    -Energy bar
    -Small LED light
    -Small strip of duct tape.

    Some lessons I've learned:
    -Never cross a sloped snow field in the spring, ever. I nearly ended it in a pile of scree, when I didn't, it was still a 1.5 hour hike back up.
    -Never go on an epic loop when there is rain in the forecast.
    -Never descend more than 50 feet down something you can't ride back up.
    -Always let someone know where you're going, and when you plan to return. Confirm with them when you've returned.

    And I still know that I'm woefully unprepared for a crash/injury. Or some types of mechanical issues.
    Decent list but nowadays it is just plain stupid to go on a long bike ride without an external battery charger for your cellphone. A really solid one can be had for $25-40 and does not take up much space or add much weight.

    There are hundreds of incredibly useful survival apps available for smartphones which more people need to be aware of. How to build a shelter, how to stay warm, how to tell where you are, etc, etc can all be found on a decent survival app.

    Hell, the lightest external battery charger available could weigh 10 pounds and I'd still be packing it every time I go on a long ride

  37. #37
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    We could go on all day about what could have been different, but the focus for all of us should be what we can do to stay as safe as possible. Calling the guy "dopey" and a result of "natural selection" is a ridiculous response (not to mention a complete misunderstanding of natural selection).

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by She&I View Post
    Yes, we do. The volunteers simply went up his planned loop in reverse and found him on the main road.


    Tone's, I think your honesty is a little much. The contributing or causing factors are more than obvious in this case. Just because you can post something doesn't mean you should. Think for a minute about Andre's family members reading this. Thanks.
    I doubt they will be reading this, i did actually think of that as i wrote it, but i understand what your saying, cheers
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    We could go on all day about what could have been different, but the focus for all of us should be what we can do to stay as safe as possible. Calling the guy "dopey" and a result of "natural selection" is a ridiculous response (not to mention a complete misunderstanding of natural selection).
    Its a perfect example of Charles Darwins natural selection theory, people just arnt used to hearing it in relation to grown humans, its harsh but true.
    If you got a group of 1000 people to head out on bikes into a possibly life threatening environment only the smartest with the best preparation and the strongest would survive, thus making a stronger,smarter gene pool, its easy to sit around and say poor fellow how sad, but there was many ways he could have avoided this, yes its sad, i feel for his family but its a clear cut case of a lack of thinking on many levels that has led to his death.
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's View Post
    Its a perfect example of Charles Darwins natural selection theory, people just arnt used to hearing it in relation to grown humans, its harsh but true.
    If you got a group of 1000 people to head out on bikes into a possibly life threatening environment only the smartest with the best preparation and the strongest would survive, thus making a stronger,smarter gene pool, its easy to sit around and say poor fellow how sad, but there was many ways he could have avoided this, yes its sad, i feel for his family but its a clear cut case of a lack of thinking on many levels that has led to his death.
    Um. No. The guy just made poor decisions. Genetically, he was probably no more disposed to dying in the wilderness than any of the rest of us. But whatever...

  41. #41
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    This is a terribly sad story and there are a LOT of lessons to be learned on many fronts. There will be a significant discussion by the SAR teams and Riverside Sheriff's personnel about the decision making, risk assessment, and other factors in this search.

    Hindsight is always 20-20 and people should be asking what happened and how to avoid it in the future. This certainly applies to SAR personnel and us as individual mountain bikers (or skiers, hikers, climbers, kayakers, etc.).

    Ask yourself, "What would I do if I were forced to spend an unplanned night out?" or "What would I do if my friend were injured?" Apps on phones are great but you shouldn't be relying on them. Phones break, coverage is non-existent, etc.

    Avoid potential problems and take steps to mitigate the risk. Don't hesitate to turn around or stay home. The trail will still be there later when the weather is better. If you go - take the proper equipment and make sure someone knows where you are going and when you'll be back. Have basic navigation skills and info on the area so you can make good decisions on bail out options. Know how to recognize and treat medical emergencies. Take a first aid class. Hypothermia is an insidious killer. It will quickly impact your ability to make good decisions or even recognize that you are in a life-threatening situation. Carry the appropriate tools AND know howto do basic field repairs.

    There are lots of good sources for info (here's one: http://www.mra.org/images/stories/tr...ntrysafety.pdf). Take advantage of the advice a lot of people are sharing. Try some things out BEFORE you need them. See what works for you.

  42. #42
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    Sadly, he was unprepared for things going wrong. As an an old cold weather hiker, backpacker (in my younger days) and rider, I always carry enough stuff to survive an unexpected sleepover or turn in the weather. I feel bad for his family. Let us all take heed and be ready when nature turns unkind.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  43. #43
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    The only word I can think of for this situation, regardless or how you look at it, is tragedy. A member of our tribe has fallen. If I could take on the burden of this family's loss, anguish and crushing grief for one second, one minute, one hour, one day, I would.
    Perhaps the lessons learned from his situation may save your life or the life of a loved one some day.
    I would never thought about having a cell phone charger or a light-weight bivy in my pack. Now I know.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerry68 View Post
    Its easy to Monday morning Quarterback what the SAR Team "coulda, shoulda, woulda" done, but none of us were there that night to know the conditions, SAR Team members are VOLUNTEERS, and the first rule of being a Rescuer is to not become a casualty yourself. SAR Teams work with a plan, and if that plan cannot be safely implemented then the search is delayed until it can be implemented. The non-professional "rescuers" were just wandering around in pairs and probably just got lucky in stumbling across him. I wonder how it would have played out had one of the would be rescuers been injured or killed?
    ^^^This.

    It's quite giggle-worthy when I read the statements of people questioning the SAR team's decision not to head out in the conditions (which killed/contributed to the death of the cyclist), as they existed. If I'd been tasked to perform (C)SAR in those conditions, I wouldn't have headed out until the next morning.

    It's unfortunate, yes. But if you can't operate without a cell phone to get your ass home, you shouldn't be out in the back country. A map, compass, flashlight and an emergency bivy bag would have saved this dude.

    He was unprepared, and he paid for it.
    Death from Below.

  45. #45
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    I don't get people defending the wife. Yeah, they found the guy. This time. That doesn't change the fact that they made poor decisions and tasked inexperienced people to do the job a professional had declared too dangerous at the time. Just because the house doesn't fall on you when the fireman says to not go back inside, doesn't mean the fireman is unprofessional or unprepared. It means you are a fool and got lucky, nothing more.

    One of the actiivities of any decent SAR team is to review ALL rescues, no matter how successful, to determine what they can further do to improve safety, team coordination, time management, etc. Unfortunately for the Sherriff's department, I think they'll be spending most of their time defending their actions from the understandably upset but decidedly ignorant wife. Sorry, but being willing to risk the lives of several members of your family and friends to find one person does not make you brave, smart, or a hero.

  46. #46
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    i've read this thread with great interest since i often do moderately long solo night rides in areas not far from san francisco that aren't used much after dark. you all make good points, especially when it comes to telling someone where you're going and plan to come back. but when it comes to this sad story, two things jump out at me right away:

    "Marin was wearing only a thin shirt that he had recently purchased and cycling shorts. He ignored his wifes advice to bring food."

    and then this:

    "Sheriff's Lt. Zach Hall said ideally, the department would have sent a helicopter to follow the approximately 53-mile route that Marin, 34, had planned to follow along Skyline Trail, Main Divide Road and Indian Truck Trail."

    you planned on riding a FIFTY THREE MILE LOOP in questionable weather conditions wearing only a jersey and shorts with no food?

    how many of you can ride fifty miles without eating anything?

    i know i can't.

    the SARS team has much more experience at their jobs than i or almost any of us ever will. i think they made the right decision.

    i won't say more.

  47. #47
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    I'm kinda thinking an emergency thermal blanket would be a good thing for my pack depending on my ride. Very light to carry, reflective , and probably usefull for temps under 70 for shock treatment of a riding buddy.

  48. #48
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    SAR teams are not professionals. They are organized by the sheriff but they are civilian volunteers many of them teenagers.
    the sheriff is never going the send them out in poor weather at night.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_spin View Post
    Again, the fault is his. No question. No disagreement whatsoever. But I still question the point of having a SAR team that won't SAR. Yes, there is risk, but everyone volunteers for SAR. No one is forced to do it. You knoerw the risk when you signed up for the job, and you know the day might come when you will be called on to take that risk. If you aren't willing to do it, then stop pretending, because I'd rather have no SAR team than have one that only goes out when there is no risk. Because, what's the difference?
    I agree 100 percent. They weren't entering a war zone, nor the himalayis. They would have the opportunity to save lives, and be able to take all the resources needed. Then again I do not know squat.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kliemann53 View Post
    SAR teams are not professionals. They are organized by the sheriff but they are civilian volunteers many of them teenagers.
    the sheriff is never going the send them out in poor weather at night.
    you're right...some of them are scout troops.

    Search and Rescue Merit Badge and Worksheet

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's View Post
    Its a perfect example of Charles Darwins natural selection theory, people just arnt used to hearing it in relation to grown humans, its harsh but true.
    Besides the fact that this is simply tasteless to say in this situation, it is also bad example, as he already has 4 kids.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  52. #52
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    It sounds to me like the time to start planning for his rescue was when he first left the house.

    The story is sad, I don't wish that on any family. I do hope it serves as a reminder that you need to take preparation seriously. It is easy to dismiss this one as shear stupidity, because this guy did pretty much EVERYTHING wrong, but I see people cut corners all the time in preparation that could cost them there lives.

    It is an odds game. Chances are very high that all the crap I carry around with me, while saving me from some hurt and suffering on very rare occasion, will NEVER actually save my life. But it is a risk that I see no point in exposing myself or my family to.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  53. #53
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    This thread should be locked... A guy died and all people have to say is what ( they ) would do or how he didn't prepare enough....common guys none of us were there be adults and if you don't have anything positive to say then shut the f up..... Stuff happens you don't know what happened so don't assume the worst....

    My regards to to his family real shame 4 kids lost a dad....

  54. #54
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    Re: mountain biker froze to death, sad story

    Quote Originally Posted by shekky View Post
    i've read this thread with great interest since i often do moderately long solo night rides in areas not far from san francisco that aren't used much after dark. you all make good points, especially when it comes to telling someone where you're going and plan to come back. but when it comes to this sad story, two things jump out at me right away:

    "Marin was wearing only a thin shirt that he had recently purchased and cycling shorts. He ignored his wifes advice to bring food."

    and then this:

    "Sheriff's Lt. Zach Hall said ideally, the department would have sent a helicopter to follow the approximately 53-mile route that Marin, 34, had planned to follow along Skyline Trail, Main Divide Road and Indian Truck Trail."

    you planned on riding a FIFTY THREE MILE LOOP in questionable weather conditions wearing only a jersey and shorts with no food?

    how many of you can ride fifty miles without eating anything?

    i know i can't.

    the SARS team has much more experience at their jobs than i or almost any of us ever will. i think they made the right decision.

    i won't say more.
    QFE


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  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's View Post
    I doubt they will be reading this, i did actually think of that as i wrote it, but i understand what your saying, cheers
    Thanks for that.

    I think you might be surprised where family members end up online, digging for remembrances about a loved one. I've seen it commonly on climbing web sites where a relative joins the conversation about a fallen athlete. Words written on the net are immortal. Four kids will certainly, in time, want to know more about the dad they lost.

    *****

    I wrote this on another web site:

    I'm still baffled that, apparently, so few solo riders have taken advantage of the dedicated NOAA sat frequency for PLBs. You spend < 300 on a beacon, register online and you're set (in two years you'll be asked to confirm/update your reg info). The registration info includes two contact personnel. In emergency, you activate it and it sends your location to whatever emergency services cover that area. The agency can then get in touch with the registered contacts...Three bills is a no-brainer expenditure for what a beacon can do. If you can afford a decent MTB, you can afford a beacon.

    PLBs and Satellite Messengers: How to Choose

    I pack my PLB every solo ride, along with a few emergency items in case of forced bivy. A Bic lighter has turned numerous grim nights on climbing missions into mere annoyances. A spare dry layer and small light are always on board as well.

    Mike

  56. #56
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    Its a bummer that the dude died, however you have to place blame on him. people on this forum will learn from this mistake and hope this will save a life.

    I do not see anyone bashing this guy, sometimes the truth hurts that it was not a smart thing to do.
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  57. #57
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    This tragic story had me googling SAR.
    I found this on the first page.
    SMSR - Welcome to the Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Website
    "Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year - anywhere, any time, any weather"

    I found the one related to this sad story with their entry posted on the website:
    Mission 2014-006

    More googling:
    According to these, the route was 18 miles.
    CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST: Mountain biker found dead (UPDATED)
    Mountain Biker Who Got Lost in Cleveland National Forest Found Dead - Police & Fire - Lake Elsinore-Wildomar, CA Patch
    If you can't play, display.

  58. #58
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    The volunteers who found him didn't rescue him any better than the SAR team did.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja's Son
    You may be happy to hear that my dad has kicked cancer's ass. Now he's looking for whoever sent it.

  59. #59
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    Anybody who thinks the SAR team didn't do their "job" properly should read this:
    "All of the Team members are unpaid volunteers who make themselves available regardless of the time of the day, job and personal commitments, or the weather. In a typical year the average Team member will contribute almost 1000 hours to the Team. New members typically spend over $3,000 of their own money on personal equipment when they first join the Team, and personal expenses continue as equipment is used and must be replaced."

    They stopped doing their "jobs" to go out and try to rescue this fellow. When was the last time you did that?
    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja's Son
    You may be happy to hear that my dad has kicked cancer's ass. Now he's looking for whoever sent it.

  60. #60
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    why should this thread be locked?

    why should we as the mountain biking community not express our condolences while reaffirming the need to be prepared for anything on every ride, no matter how short...or long.

    sometimes a positive will arise out of something negative. i would assume due to this incident, those responsible for SAR in the area will re evaluate their procedures...even though i think they made the correct decision...and many mountain bikers will take a little time to think about preparedness.

    don't forget, njhardrock that our sport is inherently dangerous.

  61. #61
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    Living in Orange County I know that route very well. In fact many of us snow ride up there. He rode by more than a few bailouts and did not take them. Since it is a ridgeline route the clouds would have seeing very far tough leading to his confusion on where he was. He continued to ride his bike proofing that a quad or moto could also have been used to find him. A moto can cover the whole length of the Main Divide in about 40 minutes. Motos sneak around the gates and ride out there all the time knowing that they won't get busted on the illegal stuff because the Forest Service or Sherriff is not out there in bad weather. I wonder at what point his wife knew that SAR was not going out that night. Believe me I have a handful of friends with motos that would have been to me in a hour if the call went to them. This proofs to me 911 should be the second call. These rescues are time sensitive and delays but people at risk.

    Yes he made mistakes, so do people when they leave food on the stove and go to bed and it catches fire. Point is rescue workers are used to assessing risk and I don't think the risks where that high in this case. SAR week sauce.

    Dean Stepper
    Laguna Beach CA

  62. #62
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    I wonder if the sars are donut eating cops or people in good shape. Prolly some of each.
    I got cold and lost at Oak Mtn one winter night. Freaked me out but made it down. Was trying to get a whole loop starting late. Called a ranger who said" How would I how you get out we have a hundred miles of trails."
    Keep trying to do the awesomest thing you've ever done.

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by She&I View Post
    Thanks for that.

    I think you might be surprised where family members end up online, digging for remembrances about a loved one. I've seen it commonly on climbing web sites where a relative joins the conversation about a fallen athlete. Words written on the net are immortal. Four kids will certainly, in time, want to know more about the dad they lost.

    *****

    I wrote this on another web site:

    I'm still baffled that, apparently, so few solo riders have taken advantage of the dedicated NOAA sat frequency for PLBs. You spend < 300 on a beacon, register online and you're set (in two years you'll be asked to confirm/update your reg info). The registration info includes two contact personnel. In emergency, you activate it and it sends your location to whatever emergency services cover that area. The agency can then get in touch with the registered contacts...Three bills is a no-brainer expenditure for what a beacon can do. If you can afford a decent MTB, you can afford a beacon.

    PLBs and Satellite Messengers: How to Choose

    I pack my PLB every solo ride, along with a few emergency items in case of forced bivy. A Bic lighter has turned numerous grim nights on climbing missions into mere annoyances. A spare dry layer and small light are always on board as well.

    Mike
    You make some good points, i was a bit insensitive, apologies to his kids or family if they ever read this and all the power to them, cheers
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by bamwa View Post
    I wonder if the sars are donut eating cops or people in good shape.
    In Riverside county they are volunteers. That may have been part of the problem.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by dstepper View Post
    In Riverside county they are volunteers. That may have been part of the problem.
    For every person they save, they are also part of the solution. It's a double edged sword.

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by dstepper View Post
    In Riverside county they are volunteers. That may have been part of the problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by terrasmak View Post
    For every person they save, they are also part of the solution. It's a double edged sword.
    They are [civilian] volunteers most places. They also receive training. IME they don't let just anyone sign up and go at it with out making sure they know what they are doing.

    In this case it sounds like it was a SAR team organized by the Sheriff's department, where the team likely got orders from the Sheriff/County Officials.
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  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by dstepper View Post
    In Riverside county they are volunteers. That may have been part of the problem.
    Just because someone is a volunteer it means they aren't trained and capable of doing the job. Volunteer = don't get paid. Don't assume any more than that. The VAST majority of wilderness SAR in the western US is done by volunteers. There are VERY few paid personnel. The local county Sheriff has the legal responsibility to respond to wilderness SAR incidents. Official SAR teams have an affiliation with the Sheriff as a result. The Sheriff may also have 4x4 teams, mounted posses, communication units, and other groups that participate as well. Typically the Sheriff will have a sworn deputy (Sgt., Lt. or similar) as the Incident Commander, but most of the key operations, planning and related functions are performed by experienced volunteers who are trained and have the skills to do the job. Remember, a professional is not solely defined as someone who gets paid to do a job.

    It is not unusual for mountain SAR teams to be made up of extremely experienced personnel. This includes all-season mountaineering experience in places like AK, Canada, Asia, etc., long distance hiking (18-20 miles a day with 30+ lb packs), 50+ mile MTB rides, trail running, etc. Operating on a field crew on a SAR operation requires significant fitness levels and team members work hard to maintain that fitness. Remember that once you find someone you have to be prepared to treat and stabilize them and then get them out. This is all while keeping yourself and your teammates safe as well.

    Does this mean that there aren't some people who aren't as fit? Absolutely! I have seen plenty of paid professional first responders that struggle to deal with wilderness SAR situations if the call can't be handled by a helicopter or is more than a couple miles beyond road access.

    I wasn't there and was not privy to the factors the incident commander used to make a decision to wait to deploy field crews so I won't critique the response on a public forum.

    This has been a very sad situation and nothing can make the family whole. What we can do is make sure it doesn't happen again. Your local SAR team is probably looking for the skilled, fit and motivated team member YOU could be. Don't just be a Monday morning QB. Do something to make a difference for ANYONE that may need help in the future or at a minimum, make sure you are prepared and avoid needing SAR help at all. The best incident is the one that never happens.
    Last edited by mtnrsq; 03-10-2014 at 10:46 AM. Reason: fixing some issues due to my computer freezing during my post

  68. #68
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    Definitely a wake up call for me. I've never had any major close calls, but it only takes once. It's also another reason I use strava. I post up when finished so my wife knows I've completed my ride and am headed home. As in most tragic accidents, one bad decision leads to another. This loss for his family will probably lead to others being more prepared.

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by shekky View Post
    you're right...some of them are scout troops.

    Search and Rescue Merit Badge and Worksheet
    I try to learn something new everyday, and you provided. I am an adult leader in all three of our scout units (pack, troop, venture crew), and had no idea that troops can serve in SAR capacity. I suppose it makes sense, they can be tasked to cover safe ground. We once sent our older boys to Tn to help the grandparents of one of the boys who had lost their house in a tornado. Not SAR, but tons of debris to remove with nails, glass, etc.

    My experience with SAR teams has been limited to rescues in terrain that required abseiling, or steep trail terrain. Everyone I've met was a certified abseil instructor, and a few certified SAR instructor. Most have day jobs with a fire or police department, quite a few are military past or present, but some have regular jobs. I suppose this can vary from place to place, but I still consider SAR teams to be comprised of people that are professional in their SAR abilities.

    Same goes for the scouts. As an adult leader that is active in running outings, I receive regular training in basic first aid, wilderness first aid, CPR, abseiling, determining safe conditions and weather, etc. as I must be trusted to make the right call for any event we participate in. The BSA has us leaning well towards the side of safety. If they are using scouts, I would trust that the SAR coordinator has made a good judgement call on the conditions in regards to who he is letting perform a search, and any scout troop will have adult leaders with them while conducting a search that agrees with the SAR coordinator assessment.

    That said, earning the SAR merit badge does not require participation in a SAR event or association with a SAR team. Like many merit badges, it requires the scout to focus on the basic fundamentals of how a SAR team works and to learn basics that help a SAR team member be a safe and efficient component in a rescue.

    Moving on, I remember way back in the day, as a fresh young Marine, going out and doing hundred milers on the hot N.C. coastal tarmac with very little to eat, just a few bananas and maybe two or three dollars for a gas station stop. I would tank up well at the chow hall first, but I have no idea how I did that. I don't think, though, that I could have done that on a mountain bike on a soft trail. Even if the trail was very improved, (smooth, rolling) it would have been a hard push to do that distance with no food, even with 60-70 psi.

    Ah, space blankets! I always have one in my bag, even in the summer. It's amazing how close you can be to civilization, but yet so far. I've stopped to take a break for as as long as an hour on popular trails in one of our metro parks, and didn't have a single soul pass by. Traffic depends on the day. Many parts of the trails you can see housing and roads, but cannot be seen or heard. All it takes is damaging the bike and breaking a leg or ankle and you can't get out. Make that phone call if you can, but it will take about 30 minutes for the EMT's to arrive and organize their gear, and another hour or more to reach you by foot. Late in the afternoon, at the bottom of a run between ridges, temps will start dropping fast once the sun is below the ridge line. You are injured, low on energy, and now shivering. Your immune system is under attack. Even in surviving, your looking at a longer recovery than if you have been able to remain warm. Warm brings not only physical comfort, but also mental, and can help you think more clearly and make better decisions.

    Spare tubes, bike tool kit, phone or radio, energy bars, space blanket and 30ft paracord live in my seat pack.

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flamingtaco View Post
    ....Spare tubes, bike tool kit, phone or radio, energy bars, space blanket and 30ft paracord live in my seat pack.
    And duct tape. And enough spare clothing to stay survivably warm. Include a fresh base layer to replace the wet one against your skin. If you're riding familiar trails in a group, less to worry about. If alone, be more concerned.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  71. #71
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    Tragic & Avoidable.


    Remember this sad story from a few years ago?
    another Mt biker dies on Porcupine Rim
    "Someone must have put alcohol in my beer last night." ~ Mr. Richard Baty, Esq.


  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gasp4Air View Post
    And duct tape. And enough spare clothing to stay survivably warm. Include a fresh base layer to replace the wet one against your skin. If you're riding familiar trails in a group, less to worry about. If alone, be more concerned.
    I agree... I should have clarified that the list was my base minimum for dry summer conditions. I have two sizes of seat packs to accomodate varying riding conditions, and also a seatpost rack with pannier bag for the occasional winter ride and every scout ride. In the big bag I can easily store extra thermal layers, rain gear, tent footprint to serve as a tarp, water bladder, etc, all inside a dry bag

    Forgot to mention I also always have my base medical kit: bandaids, mesh bandages, tape, iodine or equivalent, bush and bug allergy relief, finger splints, aspirin, ibuprofen, epi pen, and a few more items not in my brain at the moment. Some will view this as overkill, but having been involved in scouting for ten years so far, I tend to pack as if I'm at a scout event. It's probably a good thing as I often take my boys with me when I hit the trails, and they want to ride further each time we go.

  73. #73
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    If you are not going to be prepared for an emergency situation, at least be prepared for an emergency Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) | ACR ARTEX
    Pisgah Area SORBA

    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    ... your idea of technical may be much different than other peoples idea of technical.

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    Kit for cold weather riding on long, remote rides (not including food, energy stuff and water):

    - Small first aid kit (tape, gauze pads, neosporin, butterfly & assorted bandages, ibuprofen, antacid)
    - iodine tablets
    - Lighter and small chunk of fire starter
    - Emergency blanket
    - Light rain shell
    - Two tire levers (Pedros)
    - Pump and CO2
    - Repair kit with multi tool, extra presta valve core, extra derailleur hanger, chain tool, 2 zip ties, super glue, patches
    - GPS (on iphone, I use Mountain Bike Pro because it has an offline map feature that will show you where you are even without cell signal)
    - Headlamp for emergency light source
    - Extra tube (I run tubeless and only carry the extra tube on long rides)

    All of this weighs a little over 3 lbs, not including pack of course. Not much weight.

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerry68 View Post
    If you are not going to be prepared for an emergency situation, at least be prepared for an emergency Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) | ACR ARTEX
    A PLB wouldn't have changed anything, rain gear and a granola bar probably would have saved his life.

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerry68 View Post
    If you are not going to be prepared for an emergency situation, at least be prepared for an emergency Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) | ACR ARTEX
    A PLB or similar (SPOT, etc.) type device is wonderful to helping make the "search" part of SAR much simpler.

    It will not necessarily make the "rescue" part any easier. Bad weather, difficulty of access and/or evacuation, and other objective hazards may mean a rescue will still take hours.

    As others have noted, being prepared is the key and has to go beyond a cell phone or other emergency signaling device. You may be in pain or uncomfortable, but you will dramatically improve your odds of a positive outcome if you can stay warm, dry and hydrated. The converse is sadly true as well. Stack the odds in your favor.

    Other posters have mentioned bivy sacks and emergency blankets. One of the cheapest, easiest, lightest and functional pieces of emergency equipment you can carry is a large heavy duty trash bag. Tear a hole in it for your head and arms and put it on like a poncho and voila, you have a waterproof shelter that will cut the wind and keep the rain off. I have seen it contribute directly to the survival of victims that would not have made it otherwise.

  77. #77
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    Hypothermia can sneak up on you and by the time you have it you may not be able to reverse it on your own. There was an incident where 7 people were canoeing and they decided to jump in for a swim. When searchers found them they were all dead just floating in the water. Why did they not get out of the water? Once you have hypothermia you can actually start feeling warmer.

    Years back I was hunting all day from a treestand. When I got down and started warming up I could not stop shaking. It took about two hrs for me to stop shaking. I'm certain that if I had stayed there much longer I never would have left. My condolences to Mr Marin's family.
    When you've seen someone rupture their scrotum on a bike you won't take the standards for top tube clearance lightly!

  78. #78
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    [QUOTE=RossJamis;11058215... There was an incident where 7 people were canoeing and they decided to jump in for a swim. When searchers found them they were all dead just floating in the water. Why did they not get out of the water? ...[/QUOTE]

    A dangerous scenario for water sports occurs in the spring: warm air, icy cold water. When you hit sufficiently cold water, there's a thermal shock that is immediately disabling, seriously reducing your ability to think straight or perform physically. Perhaps that is what happened in the incident you describe.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  79. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Njhardrock View Post
    This thread should be locked... A guy died and all people have to say is what ( they ) would do or how he didn't prepare enough....common guys none of us were there be adults and if you don't have anything positive to say then shut the f up..... Stuff happens you don't know what happened so don't assume the worst....

    My regards to to his family real shame 4 kids lost a dad....
    Ah .. but those reading this thread can learn from his mistakes to avoid the same possible fate should this happen to them.

    My cell phone is in a Mophie case .. flip the switch and it recharges my dead cell phone to full power for another 10 hours. Just an idea if anyone is interested.

  80. #80
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    Cell phones are great when they work but I have biked/hiked many areas where I could not get service. I think its really important to be able to keep yourself warm till you are found and that means food/shelter and a way to start a fire. I have a fire starter kit inside my seat tube on my bike.
    When you've seen someone rupture their scrotum on a bike you won't take the standards for top tube clearance lightly!

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by RossJamis View Post
    Cell phones are great when they work but I have biked/hiked many areas where I could not get service. I think its really important to be able to keep yourself warm till you are found and that means food/shelter and a way to start a fire. I have a fire starter kit inside my seat tube on my bike.
    Where I live .. plenty of towers so reception not much of a problem, but you are absolutely correct with what you have just in case for shelter, fire. I have the same packed away in a small backpack (and protection)

  82. #82
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    What I have found is even in areas where there are plenty of towers you can lose reception in small areas.. One place I always lose reception is actually right next to a cell phone tower. In a worse case scenario you could break a leg or otherwise be immobilized and not be able to traverse the distance to an area where your phone works. Its always best to plan for the worst. I would also strongly suggest that people practice making a fire in adverse conditions. You should be able to start a fire with matches and only stuff you can find on hand in the woods.
    When you've seen someone rupture their scrotum on a bike you won't take the standards for top tube clearance lightly!

  83. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by RossJamis View Post
    You should be able to start a fire with matches and only stuff you can find on hand in the woods.
    Like magnesium pedals!
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by RossJamis View Post
    I would also strongly suggest that people practice making a fire in adverse conditions. You should be able to start a fire with matches and only stuff you can find on hand in the woods.
    Matches fail too easily, especially if they get wet or even try to start a fire in rain. I have a *Blast Match* which is better.

  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by kris7047th View Post
    Matches fail too easily, especially if they get wet or even try to start a fire in rain. I have a *Blast Match* which is better.

    That's the point you need to be able to start a fire with minimal equipment. Then carry what works best. I've seen many people that could not start a fire with newspaper and dry firewood. If you can not start one and keep it going in favorable conditions you will not be able to do it when your life depends on it.
    When you've seen someone rupture their scrotum on a bike you won't take the standards for top tube clearance lightly!

  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by RossJamis View Post
    That's the point you need to be able to start a fire with minimal equipment. Then carry what works best. I've seen many people that could not start a fire with newspaper and dry firewood. If you can not start one and keep it going in favorable conditions you will not be able to do it when your life depends on it.
    i always carry a lighter and some toilet paper with me...

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by shekky View Post
    i always carry a lighter and some toilet paper with me...
    Save the TP for other purposes and go with clothes dryer lint .. you can compress quite a bit in a small plastic bag and it works better. Soak it in some vasoline.

  88. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Given his confused and disoriented state when he called his wife I wonder if he'd crashed and was suffering concussion symptoms. Hypothermia can cause similar symptoms though, so who's to say? That's the thing that a lot of people don't get about hypothermia is that it doesn't have to be that cold to die from it. 40-45 degrees F and wet for several hours is plenty cold to kill.

    Sad story. As one who also rides solo in remote locations (and has crashed and been disoriented from a concussion) it really made me take a little re-assessment of my preparedness level.

    I was riding a local loop recently and came off, falling fairly hard on my right side. There were no broken bones or anything, but the fall really messed me up.

    I was dressed for the cold weather, with a waterproof lined jacket and tights etc. but still got wet on my right side as I fell into a gully with standing water.
    I got back on the bike but I was shivering and suddenly felt cold. My arm hurt and I had to ride pretty much one handed.Fortunately I was near to home as I would not have liked to ride any distance in that state.

    I'm guessing this guy fell off, and ended up in a similar state. He stopped riding at his normal speed and got cold.

    It's really sad. But I'm surprised he went out so lightly dressed in those conditions.

  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by RossJamis View Post
    Cell phones are great when they work but I have biked/hiked many areas where I could not get service. I think its really important to be able to keep yourself warm till you are found and that means food/shelter and a way to start a fire. I have a fire starter kit inside my seat tube on my bike.
    Had a few pretty serious injuries myself MTBing over the years, had hiking buddies that have injured themselves and have come across several people on the trail with injuries.

    In my experience there is no one thing that puts someone in a life threatening situation, it's a catalogue of events and choices that lead up to that point.

    It's easy to sit here and imagine how we'd act under certain situations, in the real world though we're confused, frightened, hungry, severely cold/hot and often dehydrated.
    Any one of these things will make a MASSIVE impact on our decision making process, added together clear thinking often goes out the window.

    In mild conditions we could "get away" with just sitting down and waiting, throw in colder or even hotter weather though and our window for getting rescued gets dramatically smaller.

    Fire would be fantastic in cold conditions, as not only does it keep you warm both the smoke and the fire are excellent signalling tools.
    Problem is though for a fire to be effective at giving enough warmth it will need a LOT of fuel, if you're injured that's going to be extremely difficult to provide.

    It's also extremely difficult to get a fire started in the conditions it's likely to be needed (cold and wet or even snow).
    You'll need to find decent tinder, then dry twigs, even then if it's really damp you'll struggle to get larger logs dry enough to burn.

    I'm pretty good at getting camp fires going with the most basic of tools, i've succeeded many times in getting a fire from bow drills, hand drills and a few other friction fire methods (it's something of a hobby), i still wouldn't bet my life that i could get a decent fire going 100% of the time even with my fire starter kit.
    Give me a axe and a decent fixed blade and i'd say i could do it 99 times out of 100, but if we start taking Axes with us then we're not really MTBing any more we're camping.

    A emergency bivvy bag is light weight and a effective shelter and heat retention device.
    If it's really cold though then it's not enough by itself to stave off hypothermia, you'll need enough warm clothing as well.

    That's another thing.
    If it's wet and your clothing is wet through, then it might sound crazy, but with fabrics like cotton you'll do better going commando as the wet fabric will act like a large heat sink effectively wicking heat away from your body.
    Interesting story here of a woman lost for 11 days, it was only the forethought of stripping off her wet clothings and determination that kept her alive.
    Lost:..... NAKED 11 days in "ALASKA"
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  90. #90
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    A small emergency blanket to wrap up in while clothes are drying out. They can be found in the sporting goods/camping aisles at Walmart, Cabela etc. They are very small and lightweight. Your back pack shouldn't be without one.

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by kris7047th View Post
    A small emergency blanket to wrap up in while clothes are drying out. They can be found in the sporting goods/camping aisles at Walmart, Cabela etc. They are very small and lightweight. Your back pack shouldn't be without one.
    Problem with emergency blankets is, they only reflect heat so your body needs to be putting out heat enough for the blanket to be effective.
    Granted if we are alive our bodies put out heat BUT a lot of the heat a silver foil type emergency blanket gets is lost through convection, so they don't reflect 100% of the heat they receive, this is fine for most circumstances but if you approaching hypothermia then your body is already starting to shut down so they'll be even less use.

    If you are wearing clothing that insulate up your body temperature these blankets are a great addition, but on their own they provide very little in the way of insulation.


    If you were to stand up and do star jumps for say 1 min every 10 mins your body would generate heat that the blanket would then reflect, so that'd be better.


    I used to carry a couple as they're light and take up very little pack space, but after experimenting with them as a warmth device i felt they were very limited.
    Best way i found of using them is to wear them between me and my sleeping bag, as they don't breath though condensation from sweat becomes a problem half way through the night.

    They do make fantastic reflectors when placed a suitable distance behind a fire though, add a bit of a curve to them and you can even direct a lot of heat towards you even from a small fire.
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  92. #92
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    Don't forget the large plastic bag! As someone pointed out, put hole in a hole to poke you head through and maybe two for your arms and you can keep riding. Also, a fleece ear warmer head band or a fleece cap that can fit under you helmet can do wonders to keep you from getting chilled in the first place. Thanks to all who are posting information that can keep an emergency from turning into tragedy.

  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbr6fs View Post
    Problem with emergency blankets is, they only reflect heat so your body needs to be putting out heat enough for the blanket to be effective.
    Granted if we are alive our bodies put out heat BUT a lot of the heat a silver foil type emergency blanket gets is lost through convection, so they don't reflect 100% of the heat they receive, this is fine for most circumstances but if you approaching hypothermia then your body is already starting to shut down so they'll be even less use.

    If you are wearing clothing that insulate up your body temperature these blankets are a great addition, but on their own they provide very little in the way of insulation.


    If you were to stand up and do star jumps for say 1 min every 10 mins your body would generate heat that the blanket would then reflect, so that'd be better.


    I used to carry a couple as they're light and take up very little pack space, but after experimenting with them as a warmth device i felt they were very limited.
    Best way i found of using them is to wear them between me and my sleeping bag, as they don't breath though condensation from sweat becomes a problem half way through the night.

    They do make fantastic reflectors when placed a suitable distance behind a fire though, add a bit of a curve to them and you can even direct a lot of heat towards you even from a small fire.
    This was my point. Although not perfect, it's better than nothing when drying out with a fire.

  94. #94
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    The other benefit to a space blanket is using it as a temporary shelter to keep the rain off of you. Just wrapping it over you when its raining is going to keep you much warmer then not. One other thing that I would say is a must have is dry clothing to change into when you stop moving. I don't know about anybody else but my clothes are pretty sweat soaked when I ride and this makes them pretty useless for heat retention when you stop moving. I think the minimum you should carry is a warm hat and a fleece/jacket. Even on short stops you can slip on the jacket to keep from getting chilled.
    When you've seen someone rupture their scrotum on a bike you won't take the standards for top tube clearance lightly!

  95. #95
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    A fire for warmth or signal was likely not an option in this case. Everything was wet from extremely heavy rainfall just prior to his ride. Also, signal fires have started wildfires in multiple cases.

    I wonder how many suggesting a "space" blanket have used one. I wouldn't bother packing one way too fragile. One wrong movement on anything but smooth ground and that thing is split wide open. The main danger with these IMO is thinking you have a decent shelter when you really don't. I'd sooner bring trash bag or a light storm shell with a hood.

    Clothes drying in cold/dank conditions? Good luck. I just did it a couple months ago, after attempting impromptu bivy in a rain/snow storm with a mylar "space" blanket. (Note to self: don't forget storm-worthy bivy bag.) Clothes dried, but took hours in an ideal natural shelter, after spending untold effort and time locating/collecting dry fuel. Not a practical activity for someone injured or otherwise incapacitated.

    A spare dry upper body layer, even a super thin one, works instantly and allows activity to happen, unlike a bivy or mylar bag. Size your storm shell on the generous size so you can sit with your whole self under it.

    Buck up and buy a locator beacon. Like a small first aid kit, you don't even know it's in your pack. It may not be a fail-safe, but if you're immobilized or in trouble, it adds a layer of possible solution to your situation by turning a SAR into a rescue only.


    PS: Tone's: Thank you.

  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by kris7047th View Post
    This was my point. Although not perfect, it's better than nothing when drying out with a fire.
    The thing is Kris how many MTBers have the equipment and skills necessary to create and maintain a fire on what is likely to be a very cold and/or wet day?

    As i say primitive fire starting techniques is a bit of a hobby for me, it's something i've been experimenting with for many years in many different environments and conditions.

    If you dumped me in a stressful situation on a soaked hillside in the rain even with a firesteel i'd still struggle to get a fire going long enough to dry out larger logs.
    If i had a axe i could split the wood to get to the drier parts, i'd even consider using a decent knife to baton the log, or a silky saw to split it.

    But like i said how many take a axe, good solid knife or saw on their usual local rides?

    A inner tube or tyre would make a fantastic bit of fuel (i use inner tubes cut into ranger bands for to keep my fire starting kit dry and closed as they also make great fire starters), they also put off a fair amount of smoke so great for showing your location on less windy days.
    You'd still struggle to get enough heat and burn time to dry out larger logs enough for them to burn though.


    All things considered starting a fire would be a great boost to both your moral, chances of being found and chances of surviving a cold wet night.
    Personally though i pack enough clothing and kit (emergency bivvy bag) so as to be able to survive a cold, wet miserable night without NEEDING a fire.

    I do this as even though i'm experienced in getting a fire going with limited resources, i don't always ride in wooded areas and i can't guarantee i could get a good fire going even if i was unless i had an axe or at least a strong fixed blade knife or saw.

    Quote Originally Posted by RossJamis View Post
    The other benefit to a space blanket is using it as a temporary shelter to keep the rain off of you. Just wrapping it over you when its raining is going to keep you much warmer then not. One other thing that I would say is a must have is dry clothing to change into when you stop moving. I don't know about anybody else but my clothes are pretty sweat soaked when I ride and this makes them pretty useless for heat retention when you stop moving. I think the minimum you should carry is a warm hat and a fleece/jacket. Even on short stops you can slip on the jacket to keep from getting chilled.
    Good points

    It's tough because MTBing is such a high energy activity when we're riding even in really cold conditions all we usually need is a thin base layer with a windproof outer layer.
    When we stop though the cold really starts to seep in.

    Might be worth thinking:
    Do i have enough warmth and waterproof layers to keep me fairly comfortable for say a 1 hour stop for lunch?

    When hiking in winter i throw in a old belay jacket into my rucksack, it packs small, is fair light, fairly water resistant and it's synthetic filling still retains some warmth when wet.
    To be honest i rarely take it MTBing though.
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  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by She&I View Post

    I wonder how many suggesting a "space" blanket have used one. I wouldn't bother packing one way too fragile. One wrong movement on anything but smooth ground and that thing is split wide open. The main danger with these IMO is thinking you have a decent shelter when you really don't. I'd sooner bring trash bag or a light storm shell with a hood.
    I'm pretty sure at least one of us has not used a space blanket. There are no seams to split open on a space blanket. I think you are talking about a space bag.. A friend of a friend took one of those on a backpacking trip. He was laughing at the others because they were carrying heavy bags. His laughing stopped when he froze all night long. I have had the same space blanket for 30 years and its still in one piece. And no its not still in the package. They are not perfect but they are better then having nothing.
    When you've seen someone rupture their scrotum on a bike you won't take the standards for top tube clearance lightly!

  98. #98
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    Very sad story. In hindsight a lot could have been done differently from everyone involved.

    This story make me wonder though about Strava. As most of you know it's an app a lot of us use to mark our rides. I wonder if it's possible for Strava to be contacted in an emergency and access the riders account to find the location. I know if you upload the ride your friends can see it but what if your phone dies?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RossJamis View Post
    I'm pretty sure at least one of us has not used a space blanket. There are no seams to split open on a space blanket. I think you are talking about a space bag..
    I do see that quilted thingamajig you're calling a space blanket, but conventionally, those too-thin mylar rigs are known as space blankets.

    space blanket - Google Search


    Space bags are here:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=spac...=isch&imgdii=_

    Nomenclature aside, point taken. I'd feel infinitely more confident with a multi-layer number like yours than, essentially, a cellophane bivy bag. But I would carry a light storm shell before either. Cheers...

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    I'm glad to see the discussion focusing on what we can do to avoid tragedies like this in the future.

    There are other things that can greatly improve your chances of being found if something happens. It is surprisingly difficult to spot things from the air and it is not unusual for helicopters to fly right over people and not see them. Being able to signal for help effectively is important.

    A whistle is very light and the sound travels a LONG way. It also takes very little effort to use and is far less taxing than shouting for help. Mirrors are great for signalling aircraft or ground searchers from long distances and a flashing on a hillside will definitely get checked out. Finally, a simple light source - chemical light stick or flash from a camera can be seen very easily if night vision equipment is being used. That small fire you lit is going to be very visible as well. Brightly colored clothing will also help the SAR team spot you.

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