Missing Hikers on Mt. Rainier-What Precautions for Emergency You Can Take

by Joslin Fritz
( January 28th, 2012 )

Mt. Rainier Two separate groups of hikers are still missing at Mt. Rainier National Park since leaving for their individual trips nearly two weeks ago. This story has dimmed from out of the limelight in the last few days, as no news has been reported and bad weather has held back search and rescue personnel.  Mark Vucich, 37 of San Diego, CA and Michelle Trojanowski, 30, of Atlanta, GA, were expected to be back at the visitors center on January 15th. Korean natives Sork Yang, 52, of Springfield, OR, and Jin Seol Hee, from Korea, were expected on January 16th.

These folks have been on my mind. Quite a bit. On the snowshoe tours I lead up at Mt. Rainier, the weather changes frequently. I can only imagine what it must be like for search and rescue, much less the hikers themselves. Although these folks were experienced, there are always unexpected situations. It’s almost guaranteed on Rainier. My thoughts go out to their families during this difficult time.

If you choose to participate in the outdoors (which I hope you do), be it a day hike or a multi-day backpacking trip, take the necessary precautions. Always, ALWAYS, tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to return. Check on my my top 5 non-essential essentials for camping for a quick reminder of items to make sure to pack. Here are some other gadgets to think about adding to your gear for your trip.

GPS satellite messenger1) Personal satellite GPS messenger.

This device works anywhere, even when you’re out of cell phone range. Retailing for $170, SPOT has a help button for non-life threatening emergencies, sending out your GPS location via email and text message to your designated go-to emergency contact. It also has an SOS button for life threatening emergencies, which will not only let your emergency contact know, but also alert the appropriate emergency responders in your location. You can learn more about this device here.

2) Compass.

This is a no brainer. Sure you may have a good sense of direction, but in a snowstorm you can’t rely on that. Invest in a high quality one, this is a piece of equipment you don’t want to break on you when you need it. Here’s a quick recap on how to read a compass.

There are many more emergency add-ons to consider, such as a detailed map, flashlight/headlamp, dehydrated food, flint or waterproof matches. Really though, the two items that I always come back to are a compass and a GPS messenger. What other items would you add to your emergency list?

Photo courtesy of SPOT GPS Messenger and Mt. Rainier photo to Stan Shebs at Wikipedia.

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On January 28th, 2012 at 3:12 pm, Beth Whitman said:

Wow! I’ve been on a news diet of late and didn’t even hear about these hikers. Thanks for sharing this and providing some tips on how we can all avoid getting lost!

On January 31st, 2012 at 3:40 am, Joslin said:

Thanks Beth! Yes, it’s so unfortunate that STILL there is no news. Please be safe out there!

On February 1st, 2012 at 5:22 pm, pianinka said:

Thanks for that lesson on how to use a compass. I got ours out of the drawer and had my first lesson on how to use it. Will look at your instructions again to refresh my memory before my upcoming trekking trip to Ethiopia :)

On February 4th, 2012 at 4:52 am, Joslin Fritz - Lady Sherpa said:

Great! Glad you enjoyed the article! It’s always a good idea to make sure you remember how to use one of those!

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