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Thread: Hypothermia

  1. #31
    Senior Member bonsaihiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demeter View Post
    Once she warmed up, and her kidneys started working better...
    * when you lose your appetite or haven't voided in a while it is already too late. Had I been more alert I would have noticed that she hadn't peed since we started that day.
    Bingo. That happened to me, but I didn't realize it was related until I read this. I was amazed at how much I peed overnight after I warmed up in the car, and I know I was dehydrated. I did try to rehydrate overnight, but I started peeing before I'd had much water.

    I also found that sweets were easier to eat, especially Pop-Tarts, and at 400 calories for two, it's a big chunk when you need it.
    --Scott <><

    "I fish because I love to; because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful... because, in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion; because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience...." --Robert Traver

  2. #32
    Senior Member bonsaihiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos View Post
    thank you for this thread.
    Now I am going to go read your trip thread.
    I'll re-post the report I made on the Mt. Rogers planning thread:

    Thanks, Tim. It did get pretty serious, but we made a good survival plan and stuck to it. A series of good decisions made it turn out well.

    We started hiking after the rain stopped, thinking it was about to turn into snow. Instead, it started raining again and the rain got much heavier by the time we were at the top of Wilburn ridge and had turned to freezing rain. By the time we got to the Wise shelter 3 of us were soaked and the fourth (Chickadee) was tired and hungry. After grabbing some food and water and briefly changing to dry clothing, we decided the best thing was to hike right back out along Wilson creek to the campground. That's when the rain changed to snow and we had several inches on the ground 15 minutes later. The larger of the creek crossings was a raging torrent, which we had to cross, swamping our boots. We made it back to the campground and Golfhiker drove us back to our cars in the middle of a white-out. We made it back to the campground and changed to dry clothes. The others were able to set up camp, but the snow was so heavy and so wet that everything you touched got soaked. It took me at least 2 hours [EDIT: actually, now that I think about the timing of events, I think it was more like 3 to 4 hours] just to get my tarp and hammocks strung up but I just ran completely out of energy (and I'm used to pushing hard). Everything under the tarp just got covered in snow no matter how well sealed it was. I couldn't get the insulation hung and I eventually just gave up and got back into the van, which was still running with the heater on, thank God. Chickadee and I covered up in down and went to sleep. I ran the engine and heater periodically through the night to stay warm, and because I had gassed up at Damascus I had plenty of fuel. I just made sure to keep snow away from the exhaust and engine, which wasn't easy. We had at least a foot on the ground by morning, drifting twice as high in some areas.

    Even though I had dry clothing and a warm vehicle, I was still recovering from flu and because of lack of sleep, exhaustion, and dehydration I just couldn't keep myself warm and I didn't have the energy to make hot meals or drinks. Thankfully we had ready-to-eat food and lots of extra water which was still warm from home. Doctari's Scotch eggs helped a lot, and Hickery's coffee gave me a jolt back to normalcy. He really knows how to make a serious pot of coffee!

    I had planned to wait in the car until the plow arrived, and then to follow it out, which I did. I almost hugged the operator and the ranger who followed him in. I told him our situation and plan, and he made sure to clear my car and waited until I was on the pavement before leaving. I didn't even catch his name, but I'm very thankful for his help. I'm also very fortunate and thankful for everyone that looked out for us there and who helped in any way. I was not completely coherent during much of the time, so I hope I don't forget someone, but BFGMofo and others checked me constantly, Doctari, who was also in trouble, made sure I was still functioning and, along with Hetairoi dismantled my camp, golfhiker shuttled us to our cars, HomeRun shuttled equipment, Hetairoi, Angrysparrow, and others who I couldn't see helped push my car out of the snow, and of course Hickery brought me some awesome coffee.

    A slow and careful drive back down the mountain got us back to Damascus without incident, where we were able to get something to eat and drink. I felt good until Gate City, when the caffeine high wore off and I was back to my previous state. I got another cup when I refueled and was fine until dinner time at home, when the caffeine died off again. However, I was home, and a hot shower and good night's sleep in a warm bed helped a lot. When I got up, I weighed myself and I lost SIX POUNDS since the morning before we left! Chickadee and I are still exhausted and are lying around the living room in front of a roaring fire. We will rest today and eat and be fine, I'm sure.

    We learned several powerful lessons, including the importance of avoiding hiking in rain in that type of weather, simplifying all equipment, carrying extra gear including extra rain shells, keeping simple, ready-to-eat high calorie foods handy, the power of caffeine, having safe, reliable backup plans, and having good friends around you to help.

    I realize that, even though this is the oldest winter Hammockforums hang, we can no longer claim the title of having the coldest hang. However, I submit to the forums that this trip could easily claim the title of the hang with the absolute worst weather! I would rather deal with deep, intense cold than being soaked in those temps. BTW, my wife told me about a man and his two sons, 8 and 10, who died while hiking on an Ozark trail that same night, in the same type of conditions. When I think that could have been me, it gives me great pause and I'm so grateful to God for pulling us through. I'm glad He doesn't get tired of hearing us talk to Him, because I certainly kept up a lively conversation.

    So, in the end, this story turns out well. I'm deeply sorry that I missed seeing many of you, and really wish I could have spent more time with the others, and part of me wonders how it would have turned out if we had just gone to a Damascus laundromat to dry our things, bought Chickadee a new pair of boots, and returned. However, as worn out as I still am today I know we made the right decision. The weather was beautiful when we left, and I hope everyone there has an awesome, safe time.
    --Scott <><

    "I fish because I love to; because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful... because, in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion; because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience...." --Robert Traver

  3. #33
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    Is this thread the beginning of the story, or is it referring to another trip report where things went somewhat awry? This looks like a very interesting thread, but I want to read it with the full story if there is more back ground.
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  4. #34
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    My hard learned lesson

    I learned about Hypothermia years back when I was a new paddler. I only had a farmer john wet suit with a fleece top and a spray top over that on. It was an October run on the Russel Fork river with snow on the ground and overcast when we put on. There was a storm brewing and this is where we screwed up.

    I've been a WW paddler now for 17 years and after that experience I wait until storms are over to go out & play. That day not knowing how much it was going to rain or how much the river would rise we got into serious trouble when it went into flood stage. I took a swim when I went into a hydraulic that I tried 3 times to pull out of but got landed on by another paddler that didn't know I was at the bottom of the drop! He was on top of my upturned boat so I couldn't roll up. I washed out and down the river then over another drop before my buddy's could get me out. So by then my core was seriously chilled and I was shivering.

    I had to paddled out (which was the only way out) and only remember a few small rapids after that until I got to the take out not remembering the several class III rapids I had to have paddled through to get there! I was on automatic pilot to just get to my dry clothes, hot chocolate and peanut butter sandwich in the truck. Thank goodness I didn't drive and was riding with others who took care that I ate & drank and got into those dry clothes.

    The moral of my story is to wait the storm out and not go into the face of it. Or at least wait until the river crests and starts to come back down before putting on. And also to have the proper gear. After that day I bought a dry suit and wear poly fleece or capaline under it. And something warm on my head under my helmet.

    After what I've been reading here I think I should apply those same lessons to hiking when its cold. And hunker down somewhere and get warm with food & water and wait it out. I am so glad you guys are OK and having this open discussion. Only good things can come out of it, we all need a plan!
    Love many, trust few & always paddle your own canoe. American Proverb

  5. #35
    WV's Avatar
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    Further reflections

    Before we started hiking I took off my down parka, so I started cool, with only a poly t-shirt and a light fleece hoodie under my rain parka. That's probably why I didn't have a problem with condensation. It also meant that I had a dry down parka in my pack to put on at the shelter, along with the dry pants.

    I wish that I had heated some water to make hot cocoa for all of us at Wise, but I use a wood stove and the cocoa was buried in my food bag. I carry an ounce or so of dry wood, so I could have done it, but we were in a hurry to make a decision and act on it. I don't use alcohol in my stove out of choice. It spills too easily. I've never used Esbit tabs, but I'm thinking that in the future I'll pack one or two with the stove, along with some cocoa packets, so a hot drink can be fixed in short order. Some of the buckles on my pack were iced up, so getting stuff out and then packing up again was made more difficult. I forgot to mention that my DIY sil overmitts weren't seam-sealed, so my possum down gloves were wet. Cold fingers + frozen buckles are not a good combination. Fortunately, using trekking poles gave my hands enough exercise to keep the circulation going. They felt okay on the hike out.

    "God lives in detail," said architect Mies van der Rohe. I'm grateful for all the useful bits of information that have been shared in this thread.

  6. #36
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    Something that I always carry when out hiking is a Bothy Bag, which is essentially a big bag that 2 or 3 people can get in and provides a dry shelter that gets warm really quickly and whilst they were originally designed for use as emergency shelters they are ideal for anytime you want to get out of the rain, wind or snow. I also bought a 12 man version for when I am out with the cubs. A link to something similar /http://http://www.terra-nova.co.uk/t...erson-bothies/

  7. #37
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    Doctari it can happen to the best of us. A bunch of us in 2002 was kayaking a whitewater festival in Va. that year, and we were camped out (tents) and woke up to about 3 inches of snow on us unexpectly,,,and got up that morning to a winter wonder land, changed into our dry suits with all our layering and stuff for cold water kayaking and made the run that day. I never warmed up from the git go,,drove 7-8 hrs home that afternoon with the car heater on full blast and liked to never made it home as was still hypothermic. And was sick for about 4 days recuperating from coldness. So we all can get caught with our guard down if we don't prepare. I was counting on warming up thru kayaking and the exercising from it and was cold from getting up in the snow with no fire that morning or heat of any kind, and it bit me too. Worst case I ever experienced and I was the only one in the group that had it happen. First time ever in my life,,but it can happen to one in your group,,or all,,you just never know and have to prepare no matter what. We had previously kayaked breaking ice to get out to the rivers with same gear used and was always warm before. Getting up tho, and getting cold from the start,,was the cause as we never warmed up to begin with before getting into the wet stuff. Stay warm is the game plan.
    Last edited by Acer; 01-26-2013 at 07:41.

  8. #38
    L.D. Cakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acer View Post
    Doctari it can happen to the best of us. A bunch of us in 2002 was kayaking a whitewater festival in Va. that year, and we were camped out (tents) and woke up to about 3 inches of snow on us unexpectly,,,and got up that morning to a winter wonder land, changed into our dry suits with all our layering and stuff for cold water kayaking and made the run that day. I never warmed up from the git go,,drove 7-8 hrs home that afternoon with the car heater on full blast and liked to never made it home as was still hypothermic. And was sick for about 4 days recuperating from coldness. So we all can get caught with our guard down if we don't prepare. I was counting on warming up thru kayaking and the exercising from it and was cold from getting up in the snow with no fire that morning or heat of any kind, and it bit me too. Worst case I ever experienced and I was the only one in the group that had it happen. First time ever in my life,,but it can happen to one in your group,,or all,,you just never know and have to prepare no matter what. We had previously kayaked breaking ice to get out to the rivers with same gear used and was always warm before. Getting up tho, and getting cold from the start,,was the cause as we never warmed up to begin with before getting into the wet stuff. Stay warm is the game plan.
    And this is exactly why I don't paddle whitewater in the winter anymore.
    Acer, If that was the Gauley Fest in 2002 I was there!
    Love many, trust few & always paddle your own canoe. American Proverb

  9. #39
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    I read the trip report, this is a great follow up thread.

    Cold wet is the very worst conditions for Hypo
    I hope everyone can take away from this a safety message.
    Travel in at least pairs, if well below 0f even more are better.
    Be able to make a fire fast, in any condition. Keep this kit on your person at all times.
    Anticipate exertion, and undress to avoid overheating
    Summer gear, buckles, straps, and tarps don't function well frozen or wet, if necessary have a knife available to get into your pack or out of a frozen shelter zipper.
    Knots freeze so tight they can not even be salvaged until warmed.
    Life's A Journey
    It's not to arrive safely at the grave in a well preserved body,
    But rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting,
    Woo Hoo!....What a Ride!

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  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by L.D. Cakes View Post
    And this is exactly why I don't paddle whitewater in the winter anymore.
    Acer, If that was the Gauley Fest in 2002 I was there!
    It was in the fall before Gallie Fest,,on the Cranberry R. I think,,we did so many festivals back then, But it was also the opening day of bear season as I remember alot of pickups with bear hunters moving around everywhere too..and a very early wet snow that caught us off guard even tho I was very well equiped for car camping in sub zero weather. Adding the water to it in a kayak in cold temps,,a kayak is a refridgerator on the lower extremeites for sure in cold water,,and while kayaking it was still snowing big white fluffy flakes. You just have to know your limits and keep from pushing yourself, and have to think about the "what if's" sometimes no matter how macho you want to be or hypothermia can sneak up on the best of us. A definite learning lesson for me after all, in life, I had experienced in mt. climbing in snow and ice, sleeping in snow and ice, and playing in snow, cold and ice, all my life. I have even scuba ice dived under 12" of ice in winter and enjoyed it wearing a 3/8 sharkskin wetsuits as they were called. When you get out of the water, will be your coldest experience to overcome very quickly as your totally wet.

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