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Chockstone Forum - Accidents & Injuries

Report Accidents and Injuries

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3 hypothermic rescued from Mt Bogong
WM
9/08/2004
10:37:48 AM
on radio this morning - anyone know more?

jono
9/08/2004
10:53:21 AM
from "mr bent knee" on ski.com.au/forums/backcountry

I just spoke to the wife of one of the members (long time friend, incredably experianced BC skier/walker) and the three people reached the top yesterday and dug a snow cave. They set off the EPIRB and waited. SES came up at around 4 and kept them warm and awake until the chopper comes in today to get them and takethem to hospital.
Best off luck Shane, Al and Dan, I hope everything works out fine.
-Bogong Jack-
------------------------------------------------------------------------
WM
9/08/2004
12:21:09 PM
Aha thanks.
thought it might have been climbing related what with all you silly people going out in the cold.

Alex
10/08/2004
1:08:07 PM
Could be argued that it was a climbing trip, they were carrying crampons and ice tool, no idea about ropes though. Full report is here.
JohnK
10/08/2004
1:49:41 PM
shit......scary report! Defenitely worth reading even if you dont venture into the alpine country for your climbing. Just shows you even the old Aussie Alps can turn nasty and can kill you even if you are experienced and well prepared. I would say that had these guys not called 000 we propably would have found them next summer.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
Online Now
10/08/2004
2:20:08 PM
You are right JohnK.

It makes me curious that such experienced and well prepared people succumbed to hypothermia like they did.
I know hypothermia is no respector of ability etc, but I assume they had good gear and they obviously knew how to recognise its (hypothermia) onset; ... so what went wrong?
Simply too knackered from the ascent, or did the conditions exceed the gear they were using??

My limited knowledge of hypothermia suggests that once they took remedial action which was fairly early in this instance, then it should have been a good chance of recovery, rather than a continued decline??

Any thoughts?

Romfrantic
10/08/2004
2:22:10 PM
it also goes to show just how humbling it is when dealing with mountain weather, no matter what experience/gear being carried....if white-out prevails and one has the chance to decide to 'postpone' for a sunnier day then perhaps is best to succumb to that humility...the weather does not discriminate between experienced versus non-experienced ones out there.

nmonteith
10/08/2004
2:26:51 PM
I presume they had stoves? Could they not have melted some snow and drunk warm liquid all night long? That has always warmed me up when I have been 'stuck out'... but hey I don't really know the entire story.

climbau
10/08/2004
8:15:30 PM
On 10/08/2004 Alex wrote:
>Could be argued that it was a climbing trip, they were carrying crampons
>and ice tool, no idea about ropes though.
from what I hear it gets pretty icy on the way up to Bogong and crampons are a good idea even for snowshoers and skiers.
climbau

climbau
10/08/2004
8:17:40 PM
On 10/08/2004 A5iswhereitsat wrote:

>It makes me curious that such experienced and well prepared people succumbed
>to hypothermia like they did.
>I know hypothermia is no respector of ability etc, but I assume they had
>good gear and they obviously knew how to recognise its (hypothermia) onset;
>... so what went wrong?
>Simply too knackered from the ascent, or did the conditions exceed the
>gear they were using??

Just wearing too many layers and not having drunk enough or eaten enough for a couple of days before hand can dramatically increase the chances of getting hypothermia.


Climbau
kieranl
10/08/2004
9:00:06 PM
On 10/08/2004 A5iswhereitsat wrote:

>It makes me curious that such experienced and well prepared people succumbed
>to hypothermia like they did.
>I know hypothermia is no respector of ability etc, but I assume they had
>good gear and they obviously knew how to recognise its (hypothermia) onset;
>... so what went wrong?
>Simply too knackered from the ascent, or did the conditions exceed the
>gear they were using??
>
>My limited knowledge of hypothermia suggests that once they took remedial
>action which was fairly early in this instance, then it should have been
>a good chance of recovery, rather than a continued decline??
>
>Any thoughts?
Not knowing what happened I can't be definitive but hypothermia can set in very quickly in cold, windy conditions. I would guess, as A5 has, that they were fit, well-equipped and moving fast and the condition crept up unnoticed.
Hypothermia is different to being cold and exhausted. People will recover quickly from cold and exhaustion if given shelter and warmth. People who are hypothermic are ill and do not recover quickly. People I have known who have been hypothermic have just gone down and been incapable of moving for around 24 hours.
It's just great that everyone came out OK.
gfdonc
10/08/2004
9:22:36 PM
I have been over that ridge in winter several times, including a wind so strong that I had to crawl over the top (not exaggerating) and very icy conditions where crampons and axes were essential. I've also followed the snowpole line in a blizzard. I know exactly where they were, and have a fair idea what it would have been like.
The main criticism I have is for leaving the ascent so late. 4pm is no time to be stuck out on that ridge, let alone in adverse conditions. It is a long way across to Cleve Cole, even with skis. They would not have made it by dark even in a better weather.
My second criticism is for not extricating themselves to a better position. About 4 poles of distance is all it usually takes to get out of most of the wind in that spot, and I believe if they had done so they may have been in a position to regroup, reorganise and make a plan. Alternatively retracing their steps back down the first part of the Eskdale (there are poles) would usually have been enough to get them out of the wind, depending on direction.
I also do not believe that a well prepared and equipped party need be subject of hypothermia in Australia. Yes it can get very wet, cold and windy, but by having the right fitness, clothing, food and drink and not doing anything silly (like 4pm ascents..) there is no need to allow the body to deteriorate to a dangerous point.
On the plus side, well done to the guys for having EPIRB and CDMA to get them out of a tight spot.
- Steve
kieranl
10/08/2004
9:29:19 PM
Sorry gfdonc, you seem to have some knowledge of what happened so you are one up on me. Care to fill us in.
dalai
10/08/2004
9:34:16 PM
Hi Keiren.

Check the posts by the rescued people on ski.com.au. (link attached in Alex's post above)

Cheers Martin
kieranl
10/08/2004
10:38:42 PM
Thanks Dalai, that makes things a bit clearer.
Looking at that report they actually did pretty well. You could criticise them for pushing on at 4pm but I would usually expect to get to Cleve Cole in about 30 minutes from the junction with Eskdale even if the weather was a bit narky.
They started to dig in before things went pear-shaped so there's not too much to pick on there.
I've been up Bogong many times and blown off it once or twice so I have some idea of how it can be up there.
They seem to have gone up there well equipped, started digging in when it was indicated and recognised hypothermia when it set in.
They sound like the sort of people I'ld want to have along on a serious trip.

There are 15 messages in this topic.

 

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