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Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

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Another Death in the Bend

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Re: Another Death in the Bend
« Reply #30 on: June 21, 2017, 01:52:29 PM »
Noel Coward has bragging rights.

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Another Death in the Bend
« Reply #31 on: June 21, 2017, 01:57:49 PM »
Noel Coward has bragging rights.

Even better.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Another Death in the Bend
« Reply #32 on: June 21, 2017, 03:09:26 PM »
Here's some info from an Army survival manual: https://archive.org/details/Fm21-76SurvivalManual

· Conserve your sweat. Wear your complete uniform to include T-shirt. Roll the sleeves down,
cover your head, and protect your neck with a scarf or similar item. These steps will protect your
body from hot-blowing winds and the direct rays of the sun. Your clothing will absorb your sweat,
keeping it against your skin so that you gain its full cooling effect. By staying in the shade quietly,
fully clothed, not talking, keeping your mouth closed, and breathing through your nose, your water
requirement for survival drops dramatically.
· If water is scarce, do not eat. Food requires water for digestion; therefore, eating food will use
water that you need for cooling.

All kidding aside, I've been thinking about the manual that Marufo posted. The above two points are very interesting. Last week, I hiked without a t-shirt on, only a long-sleeved shirt, and I kept debating whether or not to roll up my sleeves. Mostly as an argument between staying cool (I seem to radiate a great deal of heat from the inside of my elbow, so exposing those to the air always make me feel cooler) and not getting sunburned (I knew the shirt would protect me). In the end, I opted to roll up my sleeves, but I fried my arms and I'm paying the price.  Now, reading the army manual and really thinking about it, I'm wondering whether keeping my sleeves rolled down would have actually been cooler in the long run as they soaked up my sweat and provided prolonged evaporative cooling. I'll try it next time. I did use a wet bandanna around my neck and a wet hat on my head, and those helped a lot.

On the food question, I went no-cook and ate very little. GU (which contains electrolytes and caffeine), gorp, homemade jerky, sausage, crackers, peanut M&Ms. It worked out fine. All my water went directly to my stomach for immediate absorption and I never had to worry about hot cooked food heating me up from the inside out. I never felt hungry or nauseous or discomfited by my food choices in any way.  On short, hard, hot trips, I think no-cook, low cal, is the way for me.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 04:48:30 PM by RichardM »
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline DesertRatShorty

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Re: Another Death in the Bend
« Reply #33 on: June 21, 2017, 07:11:56 PM »
Here's some info from an Army survival manual: https://archive.org/details/Fm21-76SurvivalManual

· Conserve your sweat. Wear your complete uniform to include T-shirt. Roll the sleeves down,
cover your head, and protect your neck with a scarf or similar item. These steps will protect your
body from hot-blowing winds and the direct rays of the sun. Your clothing will absorb your sweat,
keeping it against your skin so that you gain its full cooling effect. By staying in the shade quietly,
fully clothed, not talking, keeping your mouth closed, and breathing through your nose, your water
requirement for survival drops dramatically.
· If water is scarce, do not eat. Food requires water for digestion; therefore, eating food will use
water that you need for cooling.

All kidding aside, I've been thinking about the manual that Marufo posted. The above two points are very interesting. Last week, I hiked without a t-shirt on, only a long-sleeved shirt, and I kept debating whether or not to roll up my sleeves. Mostly as an argument between staying cool (I seem to radiate a great deal of heat from the inside of my elbow, so exposing those to the air always make me feel cooler) and not getting sunburned (I knew the shirt would protect me). In the end, I opted to roll up my sleeves, but I fried my arms and I'm paying the price.  Now, reading the army manual and really thinking about it, I'm wondering whether keeping my sleeves rolled down would have actually been cooler in the long run as they soaked up my sweat and provided prolonged evaporative cooling. I'll try it next time. I did use a wet bandanna around my neck and a wet hat on my head, and those helped a lot.

On the food question, I went no-cook and ate very little. GU (which contains electrolytes and caffeine), gorp, homemade jerky, sausage, crackers, peanut M&Ms. It worked out fine. All my water went directly to my stomach for immediate absorption and I never had to worry about hot cooked food heating me up from the inside out. I never felt hungry or nauseous or discomfited by my food choices in any way.  On short, hard, hot trips, I think no-cook, low cal, is the way for me.
Along similar lines, I believe it's also good to avoid those backpacks that allow your back to breathe. Not only do they put your center of gravity further behind you, but you also lose moisture.
I roamed and rambled, and I foller'ed my footsteps
   To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
   And all around me a voice was a'sounding
   This land was made for you and me

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Offline mule ears

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Offline Jalco

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Re: Another Death in the Bend
« Reply #35 on: June 21, 2017, 08:29:51 PM »
I think we might learn a thing or two from the Bedoins - loose clothing, covering everything, but allowing room to "breathe".  I work outside (construction) and typically wear shorts and short-sleeved shirts.  However, on those days with blistering sun, I've learned to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts.  I stay cooler and my skin doesn't fry.

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Another Death in the Bend
« Reply #36 on: June 21, 2017, 08:41:01 PM »
I think we might learn a thing or two from the Bedoins - loose clothing, covering everything, but allowing room to "breathe".  I work outside (construction) and typically wear shorts and short-sleeved shirts.  However, on those days with blistering sun, I've learned to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts.  I stay cooler and my skin doesn't fry.

Yeah, pants never seem to bother me, no matter how hot it gets. I always prefer something between me and the prickly sticklies of the desert. Unlike Robert, the heat has never compelled me to hike in my underwear (which ALMOST qualifies for National Hike Naked Day). But longsleeved shirts seem to drive me crazy. I'm going to have to break that habit.

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/national-park-news/another-death-in-the-bend/?action=dlattach;attach=19423;image

Are you sure you are not part Yeti?

Mule Ears, as far as Yeti, that is in fact what my wife calls me. But really I'm just from Irish stock, genetically adapted to the harsh cold of the Irish Sea. My hair begins at the crown of my head and doesn't stop until my toenails.  I'm lucky I don't have to shave my forehead. It's a wonder that heat doesn't bother me more than it does, given that I'm always wearing a fur suit.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline presidio

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Re: Another Death in the Bend
« Reply #37 on: June 25, 2017, 08:04:26 AM »
CARLSBAD, N.M. -- The remains of two hikers have been located near Carlsbad Caverns, according to the New Mexico State Police.
It wasn't a particularly hot day on Monday. Certainly not the RGV level...

Factors:

a) Health
b) Acclimation: Corpus is at sea level, the park is at 4,400'. Not a particularly high elevation unless you are from a moist sea level environment.
c) Physical condition: doesn't take much effort to walk around at sea level, takes quite a bit more in mountainous terrain that is hot.
d) Humidity: if you don't have much experience in the desert, the lack of humidity and the insensible perspiration it produces quickly leads to not recognizing how much water you are losing.

Great quotes from the article about the incident:

Quote
At Carlsbad Caverns National Park, there are no warnings posted on the trail that can stretch miles through the Chihuahuan Desert informing hikers of the dangers of extreme weather, park officials said.

Well, heck, the NPS signs everything else.

Quote
Gohlke said the trails are maintained when staffing numbers permit it, but for years the park hasn’t had the personnel needed. Gohlke said the deaths of the Plutas were not related to trail maintenance at all.

Nope, not a bit. A surprising bit of factual information that had no relevance at all to the situation.

Quote
... Gohlke said visitors take to the trails at their own peril.

Another surprising admission of fact, but not one you'll see in visitor centers or trailheads.

Quote
“People that do enter national parks do so at their own risk. We can’t control people when they come in. We can offer parameters and boundaries and make suggestions, but we can’t force people to do things," Gohlke said.

Yes, you do enter at your own risk, but the public really doesn't understand that due to NPS zealousness about attracting the inept and downplaying the reality of being outdoors. However, the NPS does FAR more than offer parameters and boundaries. And, they CERTAINLY DO control people and force them to do things. Witness trail closures due to bear sightings, mandated permits and equipment. Yeah, there's a lot in that statement to take exception to.

Quote
Family said they were experienced hikers, but they failed to check in with the park before heading out at the Rattlesnake Canyon trail head.

Experienced hikers? Apparently not. Reminds me of the statements by those two lucky survivors at BBRSP.

Quote
In August 1999, a pair of hikers got lost in the park.
David Coughlin was found dead, and his companion told investigators that he had begged to be stabbed to death.

See the last quote below.

Quote
“We wish we could prevent all of them,” he said. “The parks are on public lands and people have a right to them. We certainly provide that to them.”

Yes, you have a right to public lands, but in the case of the NPS your rights extend only as far as the agency believes your use is acceptable to them. That's not very far.

Quote
For hikers to ensure their safety Gohlke said they should check in with the park rangers, alerting them of when the hike will begin and when they expect to return.

That didn't work out so well for the 1999 lost hikers (in the same canyon). They filled out the required permit and when they became overdue no one knew it because the permit was tossed into a drawer (such permits have far more use as statistical data generators than as the perceived safety net they imply). It only was after a volunteer casually mentioned to an employee that a car still was parked in the backcountry that the permit was found and someone sent out to investigate.

Read "JOURNAL OF THE DEAD: A Story of Friendship and Murder in the New Mexico Desert" for insights into the case and the expectation that completing a backcountry permit was entering into a contract with the NPS to hold their hands.
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline presidio

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Re: Another Death in the Bend
« Reply #38 on: June 25, 2017, 08:12:59 AM »
Last week, I hiked without a t-shirt on, only a long-sleeved shirt, and I kept debating whether or not to roll up my sleeves. Mostly as an argument between staying cool (I seem to radiate a great deal of heat from the inside of my elbow, so exposing those to the air always make me feel cooler) and not getting sunburned (I knew the shirt would protect me). In the end, I opted to roll up my sleeves, but I fried my arms and I'm paying the price.  Now, reading the army manual and really thinking about it, I'm wondering whether keeping my sleeves rolled down would have actually been cooler in the long run as they soaked up my sweat and provided prolonged evaporative cooling. I'll try it next time. I did use a wet bandanna around my neck and a wet hat on my head, and those helped a lot.

Yes, you would have fared much better.

Folks that live and work in the desert wear long pants, long sleeve shirts, hats and sturdy shoes. Year round, regardless of temperatures.

Tourists visiting the desert wear flip flops/sandals, shorts, t shirts and no hat.

It's no mystery why tourists (including the "experienced" ones) go down.

Covered skin loses water at a reduce rate and provides a critical microclimate around you. The idea that a long sleeve shirt and long pants are hot is negated by experience.
_____________
<  presidio  >
_____________
Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline dprather

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Re: Another Death in the Bend
« Reply #39 on: June 25, 2017, 08:42:08 AM »
Gus and Capt. Call always wore long sleeves, long pants, and a big ol' cowboy hat.  That's good enough for me.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline Hang10er

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Re: Another Death in the Bend
« Reply #40 on: June 26, 2017, 07:11:07 AM »
Hiking in skivvies?  Traveling in underwear is not appropriate for desert hiking.  It does, however, get you through TSA at most airports quicker. 

I buy into long sleeves, pants, bandanas, etc., in the heat.  Look at roofers, lawn people, etc. 

One thing Shorty said though puzzles me.  Backpacks with frames that keep the pack off your back allow moisture to escape.  That's what the body is trying to accomplish though, cooling through evaporation.  He also said it moves the weight farther back off your hips and back.  I'm agreeing to that.  Maybe it needs to be another thread but I wonder what everyone thinks about that.  I've had my eye on a Osprey pack for some time and one of it's selling points is the way it stays off your back.

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Offline DesertRatShorty

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Re: Another Death in the Bend
« Reply #41 on: June 26, 2017, 09:07:53 AM »
One thing Shorty said though puzzles me.  Backpacks with frames that keep the pack off your back allow moisture to escape.  That's what the body is trying to accomplish though, cooling through evaporation.  He also said it moves the weight farther back off your hips and back.  I'm agreeing to that.  Maybe it needs to be another thread but I wonder what everyone thinks about that.  I've had my eye on a Osprey pack for some time and one of it's selling points is the way it stays off your back.

You're right, cooling is a key factor that I did not mention, and upon further reflection my statement doesn't make much sense.

I have never been bothered by back sweat, but this is one of those things that is largely a matter of personal preference. I'm sure some people swear by the ventilated packs.
I roamed and rambled, and I foller'ed my footsteps
   To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
   And all around me a voice was a'sounding
   This land was made for you and me

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Another Death in the Bend
« Reply #42 on: June 26, 2017, 11:38:20 AM »
I have an Osprey Aether 70-liter pack. I used it during my solo 14-day cross-park hike in December 2016. I like it a lot, though for my tastes it has a bit too many unnecessary extras (mostly straps and buckles and loops that Osprey included so it can be a jack-of-all-trades backpack). It weighs 4lbs 15oz and could easily have been kept to a tad over 4lbs if it didn't have so many bells and whistles. I would have preferred it at that weight. It's an extremely easy pack to organize and does do an outstanding job of carrying heavy loads up to about 65lbs. That was about the heaviest load I carried during my December hike (21lbs baseweight, including some climbing and self-rescue gear, 10lbs food, and 33lbs water during my longest dry stretch). I do sweat like a pig when I hike, but I've grown used to it over the years. Any time the temperature is above 65 degrees, I'm going to get soaked with sweat no matter what.  But the trampoline back on the Osprey definitely improves ventilation and keeps the back much cooler. I could see how that would be a huge bonus for some folks.

Incidentally, on my recent 5-day desert backpack through the park, I replaced several pieces of gear and left some things behind and cut my baseweight to just a bit above 9lbs and my total packweight with 5 days food and a gallon of water, to under 25lbs. That allowed me to use a new Granite Gear Crown V2 pack at 2lbs 4oz (only 2lbs without the top pocket). Before buying it, I had debated buying one of the Osprey EXOS packs instead (either a 38- or 48-liter), but when I tried on the EXOS packs and looked closely at them, they just seemed too flimsy to survive the challenges of Big Bend, or sustained off-trail hiking anywhere.  And even though the Granite Gear Crown V2 is slightly lighter than the EXOS, it is a bomber pack.  I expect to use it on trips requiring less than 35 pounds total weight, for many, many years.  For full winter trips when a full complement of gear is needed, I'll still use my Osprey Aether or perhaps replace it with Seek Outside's Unaweap 4800 pack. The Unaweap, at less than 4lbs, has an external frame suspension rated to 100lbs. Can't imagine ever needing that much load capacity.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Another Death in the Bend
« Reply #43 on: June 26, 2017, 11:35:41 PM »
Gus and Capt. Call always wore long sleeves, long pants, and a big ol' cowboy hat.  That's good enough for me.

Amen. During my most recent foray into the desert, the Wilsons and the Dodsons and the Daniels and all the other former residents of the Bend kept coming to my  mind. What a bunch of weanies we are in comparison to them, I had to say to myself. They weren't just visiting, they LIVED here. Year round. Without modern amenities.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: Another Death in the Bend
« Reply #44 on: June 28, 2017, 06:37:02 PM »
This is a great discussion.    I'm learning and laughing much.

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