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  1. #26
    Senior Member TacomaSailor's Avatar
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    I don't know the trails involved in this tragedy but the riding conditions, based on NWS data and what the sheriffs and family are reporting, would be normal winter riding conditions in the Pacific NW. I spent 20 years riding all winter in 34 degree rain and 29 degree sleet with standing water everywhere. I have been on six or eight hour rides in miserable driving rain, cold and wind. Those rides were on steep tight switch back Cascade Mountain trails where you hope the slope is only 20 degrees. I have even seen 29 degree rain and sleet on July 4th at 6,000 feet while riding in the Cascades. That's mountain biking at 47 North.

    I'm not trying to brag about riding skills but am just pointing out that IF you are well equipped and experienced then rain, fog, cold, snow, sleet, wind is no big deal and in some places, is considered a normal riding situation.

    I think the accident victim was foolish to go with so little equipment or preparation. And, even though I did a lot of winter time solo riding in Washington - that trail in those conditions would not be a place I would solo. But, this rider did solo, did hurt himself, did call for help and did need help. Then someone made a decision to not provide that help and that I do not understand.

    Given all the above - I just don't see how the local rescue folks were able to say the conditions were too difficult and dangerous for them to try to find the rider. Oregon and Washington rescue groups regularly spend two or three nights in a row searching in sub-freezing rain, snow, sleet, and very heavy wind. I just don't understand what the rescuers in this event were so concerned about. Pacific NW rescue teams go on foot and hike dozens of miles in terrible steep, wet, slippery, and pitch black trails on a regular basis.

    A close friend was a dog handler for Search&Rescue and thought nothing of spending a couple days walking, slipping, and sliding in mud, snow, and wet vegetation while searching day and night. I know of at least a dozen rescues she went on that commenced at mid-night with exactly the same phone call this victim's wife made to the sheriff. She and her dog would then spend the whole night searching on foot because there was no possible access for any wheeled vehicle.

    My reading of the Sheriff's response was that they were counting on mechanical devices for access and did not consider a hiking approach. Experienced S&R hikers, with modern lights, can easily cover 3 miles an hour and would certainly have found the rider in the early AM - if they had been dispatched when the wife first called to say her husband had called her to report he was lost and dis-oriented with a head injury. S&R should have been on the trail hiking by 10 PM at the latest.

    Sorry to be so negative but my extensive experience tells me this tragedy did not need to happen for many reasons.
    Last edited by TacomaSailor; 03-06-14 at 01:42 AM.

  2. #27
    Senior Member Jed19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sam21fire View Post
    The OP's words must come very easy to someone who's never had to go out and do it. Until you've been there, walked the walk, and directly faced the situation...shut up.
    For your information, I am an experienced hiker and backpacker. And I have hiked and backpacked in inclement weather all over California, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Chile. So, do not tell me I have not been there. I understand that it was dangerous out there, but if Mr. Marin's wife could organise a foot posse to go out at 3.45AM or before daylight, then the rescue pros have absolutely no excuse not to have set out earlier. This is one death that could have been prevented.
    Last edited by CbadRider; 03-06-14 at 11:32 AM. Reason: Not gonna go there.
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  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
    I don't know the trails involved in this tragedy but the riding conditions, based on NWS data and what the sheriffs and family are reporting, would be normal winter riding conditions in the Pacific NW.
    Sure, but the Pacific NW doesn't go 10 months without a drop of rain, then have 5 inches dumped on the parched land in 48 hours. Mudslides and rockslides are common in the steeper areas.

    Additionally, the search and rescue teams in the Pacific NW are probably equipped for those types of weather situations, since as you say, that's the winter norm.

    The real issue as you pointed out was the riders preparedness for what could happen under such poor conditions.

  4. #29
    so cal com John R's Avatar
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    That route could of been covered by motorcycles with lights in couple of hours. I've ridden up to Santiago peak in the rain and seen trucks at the towers doing repairs. We spend millions of dollars on our emergency services. They should of been there for Andres. I feel really bad for his kids and wife.
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  5. #30
    The cat says Merry Xmas Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdp8 View Post
    Skyline Drive (turns into Blackstar Canyon Rd. then into Main Divide Truck trail) climbs from Corona to Santiago Peak. It is anything but fairly flat. There are stretches that exceed 20%.
    I ride the route fairly often... any climb to Main Divide is steep and tough. Main divide is difficult - it's almost more difficult than the climbs... it is series of steep up and downs, severe rollies with loss gravel, big rocks and alot of clay... as one approaches Indian Truck Trail it gets alittle more level (relative term) but no one will ever say any part of this course is "flat"...

    that said this is all about a series of bad decisions on the part of the rider and his wife. I can only hope that we can all learn something from this tragedy. FIRST off as if you are a father or mother responsible for 4 small children, you don't take unnecessary risks PERIOD!!! Allegedly an experienced rider, the man went off in severe weather without food or proper gear. His wife let him. I get they planned this ride for months but something sh*t happens ( We need never to be married to a plan if something comes up that effects the outcome. There's always another day for a ride.

    I still can't wrap my head around the man went out for what he assumed to be a 9 hour ride (again in severe weather) without food... no food! What was he thinking???? No clothing.... it was raining... at 5000 temperatures can drop to the 30's. Again what was he thinking? I also get perphaps this is the first time he attempted such a strenuous ride... maybe doing it the first time with a buddy makes more sense.

    Anyway I realize I could go on and on and on... it's just so tragic and so stupid and just so unnecesary... and so sad.

    I have been following this on socaltrailriders.org... I in no way fault first respondsers - it was severe weather, the trail as muddy and wet, conditions were foggy and rainy... no way for any reasonable rescue at night... remember the call didn't come in until 6pm and it takes time to scramble...
    Last edited by Pamestique; 03-06-14 at 12:29 PM.
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  6. #31
    so cal com John R's Avatar
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    Should emergency response be based on the bad judgement of the victim? I don't think so. I've ridden Main divide many times in the rain and in the dark. How hard would it of been to cover his route on a motorcycle? I know the Sheriffs dept. has them. They use them to catch illegal offroaders.
    Last edited by John R; 03-06-14 at 12:52 PM. Reason: grammer
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  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by John R View Post
    Should emergency response be based on the bad judgement of the victim? I don't think so. I've ridden Main divide many times in the rain and in the dark. How hard would it of been to cover his route on a motorcycle? I know the Sheriffs dept. has them. They use them to catch illegal offroaders.
    They say that roads were slippery after 2 days of raining. And most roads there are wide enough for regular cars. (There's a video of a Toyota Tacoma driving down Indian Truck Trail on Youtube, in better weather conditions though.) I can agree on ATVs, but motorcycles? That's just silly and would put the SAR in unnecessary danger.

    And the response should be based on the severity of his condition, wouldn't you agree? TacomaSailor reports that these would be considered normal winter riding conditions in Pacific NW. I'm pretty sure that MTB'ers aren't dropping like flies left and right every winter in Washington. Contrary to what people in Southern California might believe, spending a night outside in that weather, even without proper clothing, would make you mad and miserable, but it normally would not kill you. I think it was a judgment call. Based on available information, rescuers had no reason to suspect that the person would be in imminent danger and would not survive till morning.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by John R View Post
    Should emergency response be based on the bad judgement of the victim? I don't think so. I've ridden Main divide many times in the rain and in the dark. How hard would it of been to cover his route on a motorcycle? I know the Sheriffs dept. has them. They use them to catch illegal offroaders.

    Every single person on here and STR that questioned the Sheriff's decision launch a night search has failed to address a significant issue: Assuming SAR could have found Mr. Marin alive, in the middle of the night, could they have saved him?

    The poor man was confused, slurred his speech and had to be asked questions multiple times at 5:30pm when he spoke to his wife. He was already suffering from hypothermia at that point and his condition would have been much worse several hours later. Assuming SAR could have located Mr. Marin in the dark (a HUGE assumption), what then? There was no way to evac him. The man needed to be in an ER at 5:30pm, not treated in the back country in a rain storm six hours later.

    The odds that SAR 1) could have found him in the dark, 2) before he died, and 3) kept him alive until a chopper could get him out on Sunday morning seem very very long to me. I'm guessing the Sheriff was balancing those odds against the safety of his people when he made his decision.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdp8 View Post
    The odds that SAR 1) could have found him in the dark, 2) before he died, and 3) kept him alive until a chopper could get him out on Sunday morning seem very very long to me. I'm guessing the Sheriff was balancing those odds against the safety of his people when he made his decision.
    You are approaching this from the wrong direction.

    You're saying that the Sheriff thought "he'll probably die in the next few hours, if he's not dead already, and there's no point of rushing there because we won't be able to save him anyway, let's wait till morning." If true, this would be even more reprehensible than the original line of thought - that the Sheriff was simply incompetent - and would allow the widow to sue the county government for a lot of money. If they _think_ that he won't be able to make it through the night, they have to move heaven and earth to get to him, regardless of whether anything can be done. Besides, if he was only suffering from hypothermia, he could be stabilized in the field with some blankets and warm fluids before he can be transported to the ER.

    Even though we know now (hindsight is 20:20) that the guy was in mortal danger, it's far, far more plausible that the Sheriff thought "he'll probably spend a night in the mountains, he'll be cold and hungry, and that will teach him a lesson, but he is not in any particular danger and we'll go get him tomorrow morning, if he does not walk out of there on his own sooner."

  10. #35
    The cat says Merry Xmas Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdp8 View Post
    Every single person on here and STR that questioned the Sheriff's decision launch a night search has failed to address a significant issue: Assuming SAR could have found Mr. Marin alive, in the middle of the night, could they have saved him?

    The poor man was confused, slurred his speech and had to be asked questions multiple times at 5:30pm when he spoke to his wife. He was already suffering from hypothermia at that point and his condition would have been much worse several hours later. Assuming SAR could have located Mr. Marin in the dark (a HUGE assumption), what then? There was no way to evac him. The man needed to be in an ER at 5:30pm, not treated in the back country in a rain storm six hours later.

    The odds that SAR 1) could have found him in the dark, 2) before he died, and 3) kept him alive until a chopper could get him out on Sunday morning seem very very long to me. I'm guessing the Sheriff was balancing those odds against the safety of his people when he made his decision.
    I know more will come out about this but I understand he was found very near or on Skyline where he started. I am the slowest climber in the world and can do Skyline in about 1 1/2 hours maybe 2 if I stop and take photos and rest alot. Young strong fit rider - I assume could do it in an hour or so. He called his wife at 5:30pm after starting at 7am. He hadn't gotten far (although he had no clue). I have to suppose he had an accident, hit his head and was knocked out for a lengthy period of time (maybe 4 - 5 hours). I assume if lying in the wet and cold, by the time he called he was suffering from hypothermia. Doesn't take long to go downhill from there. If thinking clearly I'm sure he would have just turned around and come down skyline. Assuming rescuers could have scrambled and been ready in a hour, they still have to either hike or drive up Skyline (which is probably the best way to go) not knowing at all where the Plaintiff was. Plaintiff's wife assumed he was closer to home, near Indian Truck Trail... a long way down. It took someone on a ATV 6 hours to find Mr. Marin... I don't get at all why people are blaming first responders for someone's poor judgment. He took a very serious risk. He went out in bad weather, ill prepared without provisions. Nothing good was going to come of all that...
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  11. #36
    The cat says Merry Xmas Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    Even though we know now (hindsight is 20:20) that the guy was in mortal danger, it's far, far more plausible that the Sheriff thought "he'll probably spend a night in the mountains, he'll be cold and hungry, and that will teach him a lesson, but he is not in any particular danger and we'll go get him tomorrow morning, if he does not walk out of there on his own sooner."
    I think the truth is closer to the sheriff thinking "good grief, WTF? Why was someone out there... it's a real mess up there. Helicopters are useless in darn fog and rain so I don't want to put them at risk. It will take hours to hike up whatever trail and there's no guarantee we will even find him (remember he is somewhere between Skyline and Indian Truck Trail or who knows since he was lost)... and last thing is putting someone's else life at risk..."

    I've ridden up there in the rain as well... I didn't like it - it was cold and the trail slippery and the rain was the usual light, drizzling stuff, not the downpour we had the 2 days before and especially heavy on Sat. No one should have voluntariy gone out in that weather... that is the bottom line. It was a foolish choice and a price was paid. Someone has to say it...
    Last edited by Pamestique; 03-06-14 at 02:49 PM.
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  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
    I know more will come out about this but I undersatnd he was found very near Skyline whee he started. I am the slowest climber in the world and can do Skyline in about 1 1/2 hours maybe 2 if I stop and take photos and rest alot. Young strong fit rider - I assume could do it in an hour or so. He called his wife at 5:30pm after starting at 7am. He hadn't gotten far (although he had no clue).
    This is not accurate. He went up Skyline and they found him somewhere near Santiago Peak, about 30 miles from the starting point and after 6000-7000' of elevation gain. That still does not explain where he's been for 10 hours, but that's a lot more room for something to go wrong.

    Someone at STR mentioned lightning. Could have been at least the cause of the initial injury, if not the cause of death.

  13. #38
    Senior Member TacomaSailor's Avatar
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    I must say that most of the folks down here in SoCal have different attitudes about Search and Rescue than do those in the Pacific NW.

    As a background to establish my perspective -

    I began serious mountaineering, ski-camping, ice climbing, ski-mountaineering, long distance hiking in the early 1970s and mountain bike riding in 1981. All of this was in the Washington, BC, and Alberta mountains. I have spent quite a few "un-expected" nights out in the wet, cold wilderness and have done several self rescues after "unfortunate" incidents. Additionally, my friends and I have spent several very cold and nasty days searching for missing friends or unknown fellow back county adventurers.

    It would be unthinkable to us, law enforcement officials, or community based Search & Rescue to even consider not launching a rescue under almost any conditions. The only times I have seen a S&R launch postponed was due to severe avalanche conditions or whiteout conditions.

    I have been riding SoCal mountain, canyons, trails, valleys many times a week since 2010 and the only thing I have encountered that would stop S&R, as I know it, from launching is the threat of imminent fire. Other than that - I can not imagine what would be so dangerous that rescuers, who as others have said - signed up for something "above and beyond common service", would willfully choose not to go forth and do the job for which they volunteered.

    I am not familiar with SoCal S&R and don't know anyone doing that job down here so maybe I am really missing something that is going on with the local ethos of S&R. I hope someone can explain to me that ethos of which I am so ignorant.

    But - I know with 100% certainty - any S&R team in the Pacific NW would have considered last Saturdays conditions, weather, terrain and unknowns, as a rather standard variety of S&R work they do on a weekly basis.

    AND - I am appalled that anyone would suggest "the victim chose to take a risk - therefore why risk other's life to make the rescue?"

    We fought those wars many years ago and I thought the consensus answer was twofold:

    1) Deciding not to go because the victim endangered themself is a slippery slope that we can not start down

    2) Only VOLUNTEERS, either paid or free, are asked to do the rescues and if they do volunteer they should carry through

    Sorry about the heat of my comments - but the attitudes I see here are scary to someone who has spent a good part of 40 years in the mountains in some desperate and scary situations.

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    An autopsy was performed, so more will be known when it is finished. Reports from when Mr. Marin was found indicate some scratches. There was no report of a damaged helmet. If there was helmet damage, it likely would have been reported. I think a concussion is unlikely.

    Hamster, I do not believe it is reprehensible at all. Are you saying that SAR and first responders should not weigh the odds of a successful rescue against the danger to the rescuers? I'm pretty sure that is a standard part of the equation. I would hope that Sheriffs, Fire Chiefs, heads of SAR, etc. weigh the likelihood of a positive outcome, before sending their charges into harm's way.

    Nor do I think it was 20-20 hindsight that Mr. Marin was in mortal danger. The Sheriff had to know at the time that Mr. Marin was in mortal danger at the time. Mrs. Marin described classic symptoms of hypothermia; the difficulty speaking and sluggish thinking are signs of severe hypothermia. That was known at the time to the Sheriff. Also known at the time was Mr. Marin's lack of food, his inappropriate lightweight clothing, the strenuous nature of his route, the weather and the very important fact that they did not know his location.

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    Taco, our local mountains do not receive regular/constant rain like the mountains in NW. It's been over 2 years since SoCal has had a storm system like that move through. Our local mountains don't like heavy rain; mudslides and landslides are common. You mentioned whiteout and avalanches as the only thing that stops SAR in the NW. Well, Saddleback was encased in storm clouds and look over at STR, someone posted pics of fallen trees and other debris from a trail near the Main Divide that Mr. Marin rode. You should know by now having been here for nearly four years that these mountains are dangerous even in good weather. In April 2013, in good weather, two people (a volunteer SAR and a reserve Deputy) suffered severe injuries on the western side of the Santa Ana's while searching for two lost teenagers. The risks are very real and I am glad the decision makers take those risks seriously.

    Should rescuers consider whether the victim chose the risk? No. I think you are over reacting to what you have read; I don't see that. Everyone agrees it was Mr. Marin's bad decisions that put him in harms way; I don't think I've read a comment that said SAR should not attempt a rescue because of that. However, should the person(s) in charge of rescue consider the likelihood of a successful rescue vs. the risk of injury to personnel sent into perform the rescue? Absolutely.

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    Senior Member eja_ bottecchia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoJoe View Post
    Too bad. Sorry for the family's loss.

    This little bugger could have saved his life.

    http://www.amazon.com/SPOT-Satellite.../dp/B002PHRDO2

    One of my daughters is a long distance trail runner. I bought one of these for her. It makes me feel more secure knowing that she is out on the trails using one of these.
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    The men and women at the Sheriff's S&R in my county live and train for the moment when they can engage in a rescue operation. It is in their DNA.

    They really hate it when they lose a person that cannot be rescued.

    I am sorry for the rider's family, but he took a grave risk when he went solo on a ride under dangerous conditions. He seemed to have been a great guy, one whom I would have liked to have as a friend.

    But he gambled with his life and lost.

    RIP
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  18. #43
    The cat says Merry Xmas Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    This is not accurate. He went up Skyline and they found him somewhere near Santiago Peak, about 30 miles from the starting point and after 6000-7000' of elevation gain. That still does not explain where he's been for 10 hours, but that's a lot more room for something to go wrong.

    Someone at STR mentioned lightning. Could have been at least the cause of the initial injury, if not the cause of death.
    I don't know the facts as much as you... I have seen his ride was between 18 - 58 - 88 miles or someway inbetween. I have read on numerous occasions he was found on Skyline but I assume that's because a reporter doesn't know the difference between Skyline and Main Divide... I heard he was near Santiago and I heard he was near Skyline... I have no confirmation either way. Bottom line something happened between 7am and 5:30pm (10 hours) that does not make sense. I assume the lightning thing is just speculation. Most likely cause of death was hypothermia excerbated by the lack of food and warm clothing (from what I understand he was wearing a light jersey and shorts, neither of which was hi-viz - there was no way to find him on the trail unless someone just accidently fell over him - at least not until daylight).

    All I can hope is a lesson is learned by us all... things can happen... we cannot take undue risks - we should always assume the worse nad plan accordingly...
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    Senior Member Jed19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post
    The men and women at the Sheriff's S&R in my county live and train for the moment when they can engage in a rescue operation. It is in their DNA.

    They really hate it when they lose a person that cannot be rescued.

    I am sorry for the rider's family, but he took a grave risk when he went solo on a ride under dangerous conditions. He seemed to have been a great guy, one whom I would have liked to have as a friend.

    But he gambled with his life and lost.

    RIP
    We all kinda agree that Mr. Marin made some bad decisions. The real issue for me is that I kinda feel the Riverside Sheriff captain in search of S&R made a judgement call that is questionable. If a professional rescue operation had been mounted right after his wife contacted authorities, he might have made it. Let us all wait for the autopsy, then we'll see where this goes. If the autopsy can pinpoint how and when he died, then maybe we can then see if Mr. Marin's family have a basis to sue Riverside County.

    And anybody who has experience in the back country knows that people make dicey decisions all the time. If I have a penny for all the times I have seen people unprepared in the mountains, I'll be stupendously wealthy. It would be nice though to have competent and able S&R teams to work those rescue details.
    Last edited by Jed19; 03-06-14 at 05:16 PM.
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  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdp8 View Post
    Taco, our local mountains do not receive regular/constant rain like the mountains in NW. It's been over 2 years since SoCal has had a storm system like that move through. Our local mountains don't like heavy rain; mudslides and landslides are common. You mentioned whiteout and avalanches as the only thing that stops SAR in the NW. Well, Saddleback was encased in storm clouds and look over at STR, someone posted pics of fallen trees and other debris from a trail near the Main Divide that Mr. Marin rode. You should know by now having been here for nearly four years that these mountains are dangerous even in good weather. In April 2013, in good weather, two people (a volunteer SAR and a reserve Deputy) suffered severe injuries on the western side of the Santa Ana's while searching for two lost teenagers. The risks are very real and I am glad the decision makers take those risks seriously.

    Should rescuers consider whether the victim chose the risk? No. I think you are over reacting to what you have read; I don't see that. Everyone agrees it was Mr. Marin's bad decisions that put him in harms way; I don't think I've read a comment that said SAR should not attempt a rescue because of that. However, should the person(s) in charge of rescue consider the likelihood of a successful rescue vs. the risk of injury to personnel sent into perform the rescue? Absolutely.
    Sure - you can always find reasons not to go and that is my point - SAR is done by folks who do go when it is dangerous and inconvenient - if it were not so then the SAR would not be necessary.

    SAR folks do get hurt and that is a known fact when you signup - it is dangerous work! If your concern is personal safety then SAR is probably not the right choice.

    Mudslides and Rockfall are objective dangers, can be quantified and mitigated. Again, it is part of SAR, part of being in the mountains in bad weather, and part of the nastiness of SAR work. Again - that is what a SAR member signs on for.

    The response to those three facts are what I find disturbing -
    - there is always a reason to not go on a rescue
    - it is dangerous under many conditions
    - there are many objective dangers

    Maybe we fools from the PacNW, coming from dumb Scandanavian stock who don't know better about bad weather, rush into situations the more refined individual from SoCal might not. But hiking up a jeep trail or even a wide single track in heavy rain, blowdown, slippery mud and rocks, wind and darkness is just a normal day in the NW and should not be an excuse used to avoid helping a person in desperate trouble.

    7 PM Saturday March 1 39 degrees SW 10 G 21 with 1.12 inches of rain in the prior 24 hours at 3900' on Santiago - those are not conditions that should prevent a SAR launch - even after a California drought.

    I am familiar with many dozens of successful and unsuccessful rescues in conditions much the same or even far worse than on Santiago Peak on March 1. I am pretty sure they occur many times a month in Washington and Oregon, SAR team members do get hurt, and others leap in to replace them.

    I do not think the SAR folks felt that the victim made a choice and should not be rescued but several posters here alluded to that or made that implication.

    A BIG difference of opinion here so I suspect there is no need for me to continue this discussion.

    PS - even on the hottest day in the mountains I have warm pants, shirts, hat, and extra high calorie food with me just in case I need to spend another night in an remote and unexpected location.

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    Senior Member Jed19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
    Sure - you can always find reasons not to go and that is my point - SAR is done by folks who do go when it is dangerous and inconvenient - if it were not so then the SAR would not be necessary.

    SAR folks do get hurt and that is a known fact when you signup - it is dangerous work! If your concern is personal safety then SAR is probably not the right choice.

    Mudslides and Rockfall are objective dangers, can be quantified and mitigated. Again, it is part of SAR, part of being in the mountains in bad weather, and part of the nastiness of SAR work. Again - that is what a SAR member signs on for.

    The response to those three facts are what I find disturbing -
    - there is always a reason to not go on a rescue
    - it is dangerous under many conditions
    - there are many objective dangers

    Maybe we fools from the PacNW, coming from dumb Scandanavian stock who don't know better about bad weather, rush into situations the more refined individual from SoCal might not. But hiking up a jeep trail or even a wide single track in heavy rain, blowdown, slippery mud and rocks, wind and darkness is just a normal day in the NW and should not be an excuse used to avoid helping a person in desperate trouble.

    7 PM Saturday March 1 39 degrees SW 10 G 21 with 1.12 inches of rain in the prior 24 hours at 3900' on Santiago - those are not conditions that should prevent a SAR launch - even after a California drought.

    I am familiar with many dozens of successful and unsuccessful rescues in conditions much the same or even far worse than on Santiago Peak on March 1. I am pretty sure they occur many times a month in Washington and Oregon, SAR team members do get hurt, and others leap in to replace them.

    I do not think the SAR folks felt that the victim made a choice and should not be rescued but several posters here alluded to that or made that implication.

    A BIG difference of opinion here so I suspect there is no need for me to continue this discussion.

    PS - even on the hottest day in the mountains I have warm pants, shirts, hat, and extra high calorie food with me just in case I need to spend another night in an remote and unexpected location.
    I agree. Maybe simply incompetence.

    Mr. Marin was in desperate trouble per what his wife related to the authorities, and not to move heaven and earth to launch an immediate rescue just looks unreasonable.
    Regards,

    Jed

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    Senior Member timvan_78's Avatar
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    Total speculation, but based on my own experience: the severity of the head injury was understated.

    If I tell my wife via cell phone that I'm hurt, it means I'm ****ed. Like, really hurt and send the cavalry cuz I can't make it out on my own.

    I broke my leg in the mountains once. I got helped out, and when I called my wife while I was being driven home, that "I decided to stop early for the day."

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    Quote Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post

    Mudslides and Rockfall are objective dangers, can be quantified and mitigated.

    Maybe we fools from the PacNW, coming from dumb Scandanavian stock who don't know better about bad weather, rush into situations the more refined individual from SoCal might not.

    A BIG difference of opinion here so I suspect there is no need for me to continue this discussion.

    PS - even on the hottest day in the mountains I have warm pants, shirts, hat, and extra high calorie food with me just in case I need to spend another night in an remote and unexpected location.
    I guess our big-city SAR aren't as tough as you boys from the NW. I would love to know how you quantify and mitigate mudslides and rock falls. Is there an excel function for that? I agree with your PS; I carry all that stuff when I head out on my mtb.

    http://www.rmru.org/missions/2014/2014-006.html

    Interesting read. Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit, the local volunteer SAR group, received the call about a lost mountain biker at 8:30pm. The Sheriff tried to drive up the dirt road with no success. It sounds like RC Sheriff and RMRU made the decision to wait until morning jointly.

    Assuming the facts in the RMRU report are accurate, I don't see how they could have possibly located Mr. Marin before 3am even if they had gone out on foot that night.

    I'm a little surprised they decided to wait until 8am to start their search. Civil Twilight was 5:53am that morning and sunrise was not long after 6am.

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    Senior Member TacomaSailor's Avatar
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    " I would love to know how you quantify and mitigate mudslides and rock falls. Is there an excel function for that? "

    Mudslides and rock falls are a constant, everyday threat during winter riding in the Cascade Mountains. One is always aware of the threat and keeps a close eye above and below the trail. Those events do not spring, un-foretold from the ground. They warn you with sound, trees tipping, bushes sliding, small rocks rolling. When in a slump, slide, or rock fall zone one is always vigilant and ready to move quickly one way or the other.

    We have been riding for decades in areas with constant slumping, sliding, and falling and I don't know anyone that has been struck by or stuck in such an event.

    My comments have nothing to do with toughness - but I do think NW SAR guys and riders are just more cognizant of slides and more resigned to dealing with them. As we are to cold wet rain, the threat of trees falling, widow makers plummeting, and creeks flooding. When it happens every ride, or during every rescue, one becomes accustomed to anticipating the event and dealing with it efficiently and non-emotionally.

    A couple years ago while riding in Tacoma, WA - we went 66 consecutive days without seeing the sun and had measurable precipitation on 45 of those days. If we waited for the weather to allow us to ride with no threats from rain and wind problems - we would not ride during the winter. And, winter in the NW lasts from late October thru early July. I have spent at least five 4th of July weekends riding in falling sleet and snow.

    Maybe an analogy would be:

    When I started riding in SoCal I was astounded at how good riders could so easily and gracefully handle rock gardens. I had hardly every seen such a thing and they scared the bejesus out of me. But, I was surprised at how much trouble folks here had with roots crossing trails at oblique angles. Those nasty roots were something I had seen many times a mile for many years and seemed normal and hardly noticeable.

    The way we deal with adversity is a function of our recent and long term experience.
    Last edited by TacomaSailor; 03-06-14 at 09:02 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdp8 View Post
    I guess our big-city SAR aren't as tough as you boys from the NW. I would love to know how you quantify and mitigate mudslides and rock falls. Is there an excel function for that? I agree with your PS; I carry all that stuff when I head out on my mtb.

    http://www.rmru.org/missions/2014/2014-006.html

    Interesting read. Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit, the local volunteer SAR group, received the call about a lost mountain biker at 8:30pm. The Sheriff tried to drive up the dirt road with no success. It sounds like RC Sheriff and RMRU made the decision to wait until morning jointly.

    Assuming the facts in the RMRU report are accurate, I don't see how they could have possibly located Mr. Marin before 3am even if they had gone out on foot that night.

    I'm a little surprised they decided to wait until 8am to start their search. Civil Twilight was 5:53am that morning and sunrise was not long after 6am.
    Notice the wording of the mission report. As far as SAR units knew, the victim was "lost", "not sure where he was", and "had fallen". The word that's NOT there is "injured" (not even "possibly injured"). "Having fallen" is probably not seen as life-threatening for a 34 year old. None of it makes any indication of the feeling of urgency. Both the decision not to go in ASAP on foot, and the decision to sit around and gather resources till 8 instead of starting at first light, are consistent with that. Though of course the report could have been worded with retroactive knowledge of the situation.

    Searching for a guy on foot in the middle of the night is harder, more expensive and involves more risk than waiting till morning and searching for him on ATVs. This being Santa Ana Mountains and not Denali or Everest, even worst-case-scenario risks for a well-organized and equipped SAR team are low. The question is about payoff. If the victim is presumed injured, hypothermic and may not survive the night, that more than justifies extra man-hours, overtime and a possible sprained ankle or two. If the victim is presumed to be a healthy 34 year old who's strong enough to ride a mountain bike from Corona to Santiago Peak in a rainstorm and has no known injuries, that changes the risk-benefit ratio immensely.

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