Thursday, July 22, 2010

Risk Factors

I've started reading "Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon", by Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thoma M. Myers.

Its very well written factual, documented accounts of how and why people have died in the most popular of the seven wonders of the world.

I've been there a couple times. Once on the North Rim, twice on the south.
I've spent two nights at Phantom Ranch, back in the 80's. Don't think its changed much. We hiked in on the North Kaibab Trail, then back out on the Bright Angle Trail. Having that experience helps me relate to the stories I'm reading.

Recently a young woman died in the Grand Canyon from a local town near Zion. She had worked at the library, and people here had met her. They say everyone loved her.
Apparently the details are sketchy, but it involves too little water in too much heat.
Seems this is a reoccurring factor in many hiking and in-canyon fatalities. People run out of water. Sometimes they try to bushwhack to the closest source visible, end up stranded on a ledge where they can not retrace their steps. They may perish there on the ledge, or fall while attempting to climb down.

Its very sad. Two of the greatest risks the authors of this book state are being male and being solo, with no one to offer a stabilizing second opinion.

The harrowing search and rescues over the course of days and even weeks are described in the book as well. Reading about them is excellent therapy for those who venture because it reminds us to leave itineraries with friends, and if injured or lost to leave notes or signs for those who may look for us. It also reminds us that others will be in jeopardy if we fail to make good decisions.

Seems we tend to overestimate our abilities and underestimate nature.
This tendency can be fatal.
Its humbling to recognize our mortality.

1 comment:

  1. 你要保守你的心,勝過保守一切,因為一生的果效是由心發出................................................