Over the past few days NWW has been peripherally involved in two incidents on Mt. Hood, both which were covered extensively in Oregonian and other media. The 19 year old man who got separated from his group was lost for over 24 hours but as it turned out walked himself out and all ended well. Not so for Sebastian Kinasiewicz, a Polish man visiting Oregon. Sebastian died attempting to climb Mt. Hood. The members of Craig's Cooper Spur hike saw him and Shakul even took the picture that was used by media.
These two incidents bring to the forefront the importance of emphasizing safety during our events. As leaders we do what we can to create events that are safe but as members you should be proactive as well, of course. Accidents seem to fall under two categories: People either fall or get lost. Many more people die from getting lost then from falling. To avoid falls, don't get in over your head. Almost always the reason for a fall is that someone did just that. If a situation feels dicey you should rope up or choose a different route.
The by far easiest way to avoid getting lost is to stay with your hiking group. Our hiking policy is to wait up at all trail crossings if the group gets separated. I personally like to keep the entire group tight all through the hike which gets annoying for the faster hikers but minimizes the risk of losing a member. As a member you should always bring the ten essentials but many don't. If you do you can blow your whistle as soon as you realize you are lost with a decent likelihood that someone will hear you. Having a map and a compass greatly increases the chance of you walking yourself out and having a tarp to build a shelter, should you need to spend the night makes the night more comfortable. If you are one of those who does not bring the ten essentials, maybe now would be a good time to revisit that decision?
A final word about the Cooper Spur fall. I'm very impressed with the way the NWW members handled themselves. During the hike there were several discussions within the team pointing out that Sebastian should not be where he was when he was there and that he had created a dangerous situation. As soon as it was clear that he was missing several members called the sheriff independently and gave information that I think sped up the process of finding the body. Nice work, team. RIP, Sebastian.
On to more fun topics. I've never hiked Nesmith Point but I'm checking the hikes off one at the time this year and this is the weekend to check off Nesmith Point. The stats are similar to Ruckle Ridge but my hunch is that this hike will be quite a bit easier.
Distance: 10.6 miles
Elevation gain: 3,800 feet
Difficulty: Difficult due to elevation gain
Time on trail: I'm guessing six hours car to car
Pace: My hikes tend to end up at 1.8 mph as an average pace with a 2.5 MPH moving average
Bring: Ten essentials, snacks, food and water. Non cotton clothing.