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Scree - October 23, 2010

Mt Holy Cross

It must be the season for being lost. A Chicago man has been missing in the Holy Cross Wilderness near Vail, Colorado since October 03. He was an experienced solo hiker, but did not carry an emergency communication device (a SPOT or a mobile phone). There is only speculation as to what could have happened; but there are no best case scenarios left.

(The Denver Channel), (Vail Daily)

A Knoxville man lost his way in Big South Fork. He left his group and must have taken a wrong turn. A search began but was not able to locate him that night. The next day he was found about five miles from where he was last seen.


On Monday, a group of adventurers from Omaha attempted to climb Mount Whitney. They split into three groups and the first group summited in a snow storm. They met the second group while they were descending. The second group continued to climb and the third group turned around. The weather grew worse and the second group turned around short of the summit. On descending they lost their way. They ended up staying a couple of extra days on the mountain in a shelter before they were rescued.

(Omaha World Herald)

In New Hampshire a group of 29 (yes, twenty-nine) hikers contacted 911 needing assistance. After the hikers were safely back at the trailhead, the incident commander talked to the group about hiking safety. He advised that they should "have a trail map, water, food, proper footwear and to know the area where they are hiking in the future."


In each case it seems that egos played a major role in creating a situation where the groups needed assistance.

In the first article - the hiker was not an experienced mountain man. Yet, he planned for an aggressive mountain loop hike which included cross country travel.

The second story - the man separated from the group and just went the wrong way.

The Omaha bunch - they planned a way too big adventure. Without acclimating they planned on riding their bikes in Death Valley and the climbing Mt Whitney. Spending the night at that altitude they are lucky no one got seriously sick.

And the 29 - they were told to stay put, but still they tried to rescue themselves, causing more work for the rescuers.