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Chockstone Forum - Accidents & Injuries
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|Canyoning death in Blue Mountains
On 14/01/2010 patto wrote:
>On 14/01/2010 gordoste wrote:
>>are the beacons any use in canyons?
>Most canyon accidents don't have time for beacons. If you get into trouble
>things can turn pear shaped pretty quickly. I had some friends of friends
>get into trouble last summer. Minor mishaps can spiral out of control
>when there is cold water involved.
>Have a read of this
>if you haven't already. It is a sobering account of a tragic canyoning
The technology used in beacons nowadays is far superior than even a couple of years ago, which may
allow for the use of beacons under coverage/dense foliage and in canyons. Of course there will be
many factors that either improve or worsen
I disagree with you, however perhaps I have misinterpreted your comment about not having enough
time for beacons. All accidents that occur in remote areas, which as you correctly say "can turn pear
shape pretty quickly", will undoubtedly benefit from a beacon. Recovery times for emergency services
can take hours through to days - a locating beacon will most certainly reduce this time frame of
location and recovery.
If we consider the 'deteriorating patient' or a group of ill-equipped hikers/canyoners who are cold, lost,
hungry with injuries, how can you rationalise against the possession and use of a beacon? It takes one
person, only seconds to deploy a beacon - such a small distraction when considering the potentially
long, anxious wait and frustrating management (or lack thereof if you are not competent in remote
area/wilderness first aid) of the sick, injured, lost or whinging or all of the above.
On 15/01/2010 J Qui wrote:
>I disagree with you, however perhaps I have misinterpreted your comment
>about not having enough
>time for beacons. All accidents that occur in remote areas, which as you
>correctly say "can turn pear
>shape pretty quickly", will undoubtedly benefit from a beacon. Recovery
>times for emergency services
>can take hours through to days - a locating beacon will most certainly
>reduce this time frame of
>location and recovery.
>If we consider the 'deteriorating patient' or a group of ill-equipped
>hikers/canyoners who are cold, lost,
>hungry with injuries, how can you rationalise against the possession and
>use of a beacon? It takes one
>person, only seconds to deploy a beacon - such a small distraction when
>considering the potentially
>long, anxious wait and frustrating management (or lack thereof if you
>are not competent in remote
>area/wilderness first aid) of the sick, injured, lost or whinging or all
>of the above.
Of course beacons can be useful. Shit they could be 'potentially' usefull on a mountainbike ride in Lysterfield.
Single day hikes into canyon country does not strike me as high on the lists of requiring beacons. Single pitch climbing at a less popular cliff at Mt Buffalo would be a similar risk type. Do you carry a EPIRB while climbing?
My point about time is that like climbing the incidents happen quickly. The most important thing is to carry the correct equipment and have sufficient skill to extricate ones self. Self rescue is very important in canyoning.
Personally I would aim to carry an EPIRB if I am more than a days walk from civilisation especially in alpine/snow environments.
On 15/01/2010 patto wrote:
>On 15/01/2010 J Qui wrote:
>>I disagree with you, however perhaps I have misinterpreted your comment
>>about not having enough
>>time for beacons. All accidents that occur in remote areas, which as
>>correctly say "can turn pear
>>shape pretty quickly", will undoubtedly benefit from a beacon. Recovery
>>times for emergency services
>>can take hours through to days - a locating beacon will most certainly
>>reduce this time frame of
>>location and recovery.
>>If we consider the 'deteriorating patient' or a group of ill-equipped
>>hikers/canyoners who are cold, lost,
>>hungry with injuries, how can you rationalise against the possession
>>use of a beacon? It takes one
>>person, only seconds to deploy a beacon - such a small distraction when
>>considering the potentially
>>long, anxious wait and frustrating management (or lack thereof if you
>>are not competent in remote
>>area/wilderness first aid) of the sick, injured, lost or whinging or
>>of the above.
>Of course beacons can be useful. Shit they could be 'potentially' usefull
>on a mountainbike ride in Lysterfield.
>Single day hikes into canyon country does not strike me as high on the
>lists of requiring beacons. Single pitch climbing at a less popular cliff
>at Mt Buffalo would be a similar risk type. Do you carry a EPIRB while
>My point about time is that like climbing the incidents happen quickly.
> The most important thing is to carry the correct equipment and have sufficient
>skill to extricate ones self. Self rescue is very important in canyoning.
>Personally I would aim to carry an EPIRB if I am more than a days walk
>from civilisation especially in alpine/snow environments.
One of the main principles of remote area first aid is to implement management plans when 'definitive
care' is greater than two hours away. Yes, only two hours away from hospital, not first aid. Considering
this, single day hikes into canyon country does, without question, fall into the "beacon essential"
category. Let's elaborate on this, at the three hour turn around mark (for a six
hour single day hike for example) someone loses their footing and compound fractures their tib/fib. Let
me tell you, without a beacon, quite simply, you're cactus for at least a six hour return. Let's see the
patient get out of this situation without either a) reasonable blood loss b) infection c) permanent nerve
impairment d) hours upon hours of torturous pain e) the accompanying first aiders tiring out f) the
accompanying first aiders running out of provisions...the list goes on.
Simple day hikes or single pitch climbs AND urgent/time critical accidents are not mutually exclusive.
Yes, I do carry a beacon on single pitch climbs when I am a reasonable time frame from definitive
care. My friends know this, and we work it in to our risk assessment when out and about. I have seen
the repercussions of ignorance or lackadaisical attitudes too many times. Remember, a simple knock
to the head that 'knocks someone out' for a short while can kill them within four to six hours. Tell me,
do you know how to manage this confidently knowing you still have to drag your best mate for another
four hours whilst unconscious?
Hikers, canyoners, climbers etc must be aware that being responsible means catering for the worst
case scenario, or the lowest common denominator of the group.
You are absolutely correct in saying that it is important to carry the correct equipment and have
sufficient skill to extricate oneself. You also say that self rescue is important to canyoning....bloody
oath it is. We gotta remember that having the correct equipment and skill does not exclude one, or
many, from accidents (such as those in the canyoning accident). By definition of the term, accidents
can right royally ruin anyone's day, even those with all the gear and experience. Also remember that
part of self rescue is the ability to notify people (emergency services) of emergencies!....a beacon will
Your choice to carry a beacon when more than a day's walk from civilisation, especially in alpine or
snow environments is your choice. Personally, I recommend that people adhere to a tighter rule.
Lastly, and I mean this with no disrespect, perhaps statements regarding safety, and when to and
when NOT to carry something that can and will save lives, should be left to those with the bona fides
and credentials to back up their recommendation.
The culture behind those comments are what causes accidents, or makes them worse.
Ps. I have amateur/professional mtb rider mates who carry lightweight, small beacons in the You
Yangs, Dandenongs, and in Lysterfield.
On 15/01/2010 J Qui wrote:
>Lastly, and I mean this with no disrespect, perhaps statements regarding
>safety, and when to and
>when NOT to carry something that can and will save lives, should be left
>to those with the bona fides
>and credentials to back up their recommendation.
Firstly and i mean this with no disrespect, perhaps you should try not sounding like an arogant git.
Different people have different attitudes to risk and the need to carry a beacon. Sure express your opinion on the matter. But please at the same time recognise that just because others are not as EPIRB paranoid as you doesn't make them wrong.
>One of the main principles of remote area first aid is to implement management
>plans when 'definitive care' is greater than two hours away. Yes, only two hours away >from hospital, not first aid.
Sure, next time we go for a short stroll with my family at Tidal River Campground I'll make certain i create appropriate 'manamagement plans' should the need arise. Seriously man 2hours from hospital covers a many towns and holiday locations in Australia.
>Tell me, do you know how to manage this confidently knowing you still have to drag
>your best mate for another four hours whilst unconscious?
Why exactly would I be dragging my unconcious best mate for hours? (I do multiday hikes with larger groups than just two.)
>Yes, I do carry a beacon on single pitch climbs when I am a reasonable
>time frame from definitive care.
And you would be in the minority. Not that there is anything wrong with carrying an EPIRB climbing but surely you should recognise that your approach isn't the only 'right' approach.
>Personally, I recommend that people adhere to a tighter rule.
Good I'm glad you agree it is a personal choice then. The majority of multiday hikers I know and meet on trails do not carry EPIRBS.
Sorry if I upset/ pissed you off. Tissue? :-)
It's not arrogance mate, and I am not a git. I do understand this issue quite well however. I merely
think that your suggestion to Gordoste was self limiting. It was also illogical, considering the topic of
Yes, it is '2 hours', seriously man!... based on whatever method of transport that you were using before
the accident. I know plenty of day hikes in Vic that are much farther than two hours from towns. I
know many that are closer than two hours too!
Why would you be dragging/carrying your unconscious mate? It was hypothetical - I am sure you knew
that. Who knows, perhaps those canyoners sadly tried to do something similar when helping their
I also know I am in the minority when it comes to carrying a PLB - I am well aware of that. And, yes,
my approach is not always the right approach. It's a darn sight better than your empty suggestion. I
also acknowledge the other important factors that you mentioned...for sure. The thing is, saying
beacons are not necessary for day canyoning is inappropriate, considering the topic of this thread, and
considering they were missing for days. To make it worse, it took emergency crews over a day to
locate them due to bad weather. If one person went for high ground, activated the beacon (such as
those with GPS), then perhaps they would have been located days earlier. Perhaps. It is the realm of
the 'perhaps' scenario that decisions should be made toward preparedness.
Tidal River? You probably get phone reception there, so a beacon would not be necessary. Happy
I'm trying to understand your rationale, but I am struggling...."seriously man". You contradicted
yourself, saying that minor mishaps can spiral out of control when there is cold water involved. Can
they? Too bloody right it can. A drop in core body temperature of only 1 degree, in a traumatic
scenario, can increase mortality by up to 60%. I am sure you knew that though happy camper. But
hey, as you say, canyon accidents don't have time for beacons.
I too find that the majority of hikers that I meet, even on multi-week hikes do not carry beacons! Cool.
I don't think that a thread relating to a deceased person belonging to a group of missing canyoners is
the place to be saying that canyon accidents don't have the time for beacons.
Beacons always have been a great topic for discussion/argument. Perhaps the issue needs to be
visited more often - considering the annual increase in numbers hikers, climbers, canyoners and
related accidents, maybe they have a place?
A police spokesman calling for EPIRB's to be mandatory for anyone going into the bush is simply code for the rescue personel not knowing how to navigate nor having local knowledge of the area needing to be accessed and not willing to call on those who would know the area.
On 15/01/2010 Phil Box wrote:
>A police spokesman calling for EPIRB's to be mandatory for anyone going
>into the bush is simply code for the rescue personel not knowing how to
>navigate nor having local knowledge of the area needing to be accessed
>and not willing to call on those who would know the area.
It could also be referring to the person/people being rescued not knowing how to navigate nor having
local knowledge and not willing to call on those who would know the area. If that's the case, they
should get over themselves, learn, ask those who know, and/or carry a beacon.
I personally know some of the S&R chopper pilots. With 15-20 years of local area knowledge of
Victoria, you would feel somewhat confident in knowing that they well and truly possess those
attributes. I also know that the S&R pilots and ground crew, as boring as it may seem, study topo
maps and execute dry/mock scenarios in their spare time. Local area knowledge is up there. They're
pretty qualified and friggin fit. I am only speaking for police and ambo S&R teams.
On 15/01/2010 J Qui wrote:
>Sorry if I upset/ pissed you off. Tissue? :-)
I'm neither upset or pissed off. This is chockstone isn't it?!
Your tone certainly comes across as arrogant. And you continue you to speak of this 2hour rule with supreme authority. I disagree with this notion whatever authority you wish to associate this rule with.
Anyway I have said what I have wanted to. Open your eyes mate and realise that your way isn't the only way. And people who choose not carry a beacon need not be in anyway more 'reckless' than those that do. Many consider lead climbing as 'reckless'.
P.S. I don't carry a mobile phone on my beach walks either! (Oh golly gosh how reckless!)
Unless the poor kid had an EPIRB strapped to the top of his head, he would still be dead.
A helmet on the other hand....
I certainly don't have an exaggerated sense of my own importance or abilities. Am I important, no, and
my abilities are far from superior. Moving along.
The two hour rule (not a rule, a guide - and I never said it was hard and fast) come from many WFA
and RAFA courses. These concepts form the basis for wilderness guides. The basis for it, when it is
broken down, is because after heaps of research, they realised that anything over this time frame has
the potential for more serious consequences. Beyond two hours first aid must be implemented, which
includes consideration toward more expedient retrieval, which may include the use of beacons.
Your response each time is merely stating assumptions of arrogance and, letting people do it their own
There is no supreme authority with it. I mentioned it once and attached some rationale with it. The
sense of supremacy... it's all yours.
Not once have I stated that this is the only way, so stop banging on about it. It merely has the
potential to be a safer way in many circumstances.
I agree with you, those who choose not to carry one need not be more reckless that those who do. In
fact, the other side of the argument suggests that those who choose not to carry one are often more
prepared, better equipped, better educated in self rescue, navigation and all skills - not having to rely
on a beacon. This unfortunately is not always the case, obviously.
I'm glad you're not pissed off (not really, i don't really care :-)), your tone certainly implied a sense of
You keep diverting from the point in note, and that is, that perhaps the canyoners, in this situation,
may have benefited from carrying one. Perhaps others would too, even on single day hikes.
No mobile phone on beach walks, that is reckless.
We had five pages of the "to EPIRB or not to EPIRB, that is the question" crap when that young pommie bloke spent however many days walking around in circles up in the Blueys, last year.
It's all here.
Have a read.
But wait there's more wallwombat!
Apparently we've had the helmet discussion before too! And guess who started that but claiming that people who don't wear helmets are:
"Bloody disgusting, irresponsible, ignorant and selfish"
**Disclaimer: I wear a helmet
Hmmm....I'm not very perceptive but I think I see a pattern here.
I'm disgusting, irresponsible, ignorant and selfish AND I own a helmet.
Does that make me OK?
i go lots of places more than 2 hours from a hospital but i only carry a mobile phone and warm clothes (when in subalpine environment). if something bad happened i would not try to move the patient. Most places I climb have mobile phone coverage and the ones that don't, it would only take 30 minutes to get to a place with reception. Then I could call someone and tell them exactly where I am and what the situation is. If there's only 2 of us climbing we always leave a jugging rope for single-pitch abseil-in climbs (most of what we do). So there's not too many scenarios that an EPIRB would offer much help.
Apart form being capsized in the middle of the Southern Ocean or stranded in the Tanimin, an EPIRB is not going to save your life.
What will is promt first aid. But that only depends of the extent of the injury and the knowledge of the person applying first aid.
However an EPIRB will reduce the time you, or a member of your party, spends suffering.
Personally, if I'm going to put myself in a situation that I need an EPIRB, then chances are I'll have a Sat phone too.
And I rarely wear a helmet.
So you need an EPIRB if out of immediate help, presumably you wear a helmet while driving the amount of brain damage in car accidents is large , work safe prohit going more than 2 metre up as falls may lead to death etc etc , so presumably you wouldnt rely on placing proctection every 2 metres but would need BOMBER bolted protection . I have known many people who have died or been injured in outdoors and away from easy ambulance care and the only one that may not have occurred was one who disaapeared on the south coast track (it was thought ) but then beacons didnt exist then anyway. getting out of bed in the morning always puts you into situations of danger and if you took all necessary precautions for all eventualities then getting out of bed would hardly be worth it also from what I have heard and seen people that carry such thing rarely need them and the ones that dont do . eg people that need to be searched for rarely do what they would be expected to do
Ignoring all this risk and safety talk, which I believe we've had before, has anyone seen the official report yet?
The following was posted on OzCanyons:
It's by no means official but, unitl the coroner is done, there won't really be one.
Not sure exactly where the accident occurred but the group were liloing/swimming for about 7-8 hours. Obviously this would have taken them well past the exit and I can't understand why they just didn't backtrack. But they did exit on the correct side on Tuesday but were obviously very lost. The spent the night in an overhang huddled together and continued up at sunrise. They eventually found a track and followed it and ended up back in the canyon! Then the strangest thing, they swam across the river to the other side and began climbing again. There was some rain later, so they drank out rock pools of picked up some water but ran out again later. The spent the night in another overhang and it rained heavily overnight so they collected plenty of water in a lilo. The next day, Thursday they decided to climb to a high point and try to attract a helicopter. Two of them were at this point and the other 4 including Nick and Allan were in the overhang. Nick decided to walk up to the point, only about 100m up from the overhang, but never got there. Allan went up 20mins later to see him and discovered he wasn't there. The others left Allan there and began a search. They had heard a "thud" earlier but did not realise what it was. The discovered Nick twisted and crushed under the boulder about 50m away, already deceased. They couldn't move the boulder and ran down to the overhang to get Chris and Beth to help. The 4 of them managed to get him out and tried to perform CPR but realised it was futile. They were spotted by a chopper about 3 hours later. A real tragedy. Much speculation will continue over this I'm sure, but it was just a terrible tragic accident. He is now at peace. My thoughts are with his companions and his family.
Based on some recent hearsay and experiences with potential rescue experiences in the blueys, there is one really significant difference that a beacon will provide you with - it tells the emergency services people in no uncertain terms that you need rescue. I.e. they have no excuse to dither around trying to figure out if you really need help - the signal goes straight and clear. Also, it immediately provides the authorities with a location that they can send a chopper to, rather than having to get a team into wherever you are on foot to figure out if it's necessary. It also avoids having to go through the 000 scenario of having to provide a street address before they will even think about contacting the guys that might ultimately come to your aid.
I'm far from convinced that this is the best state of affairs, but from what i've seen to be the current state of affairs, if you want rescue then a beacon probably the best way to make sure it gets to you in time for it to do any good.
So at roughly $500 each are we all expected to go and buy one before we go on a day hike?
If they want more people to have them, them maybe the government should be subsidizing them. A lot.
There are 55 messages in this topic.
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