Wouldn’t it be great if it was this easy? People got lost and you simply went to the lost and found box. There, amongst discarded gloves, the scarf ole Grandma gave you for Christmas that year and who knows what….were the skier, snowboarder, hiker, etc. snug and warm. Smiling, you reach in and pluck them out.
Alas...that is unfortunately not the case. Oh, that is not to say that on some searches we don't get lucky. As we get ready to search.... we find them. Some random gal wandering down a road. A miscellaneous hitchhiker picked up enroute.
Or for that matter, they find us when they approach our gathering forces around the truck. “Hey what are you guys up to?”
But mostly it is a high adrenaline, highly coordinated effort of many individuals in an attempt to achieve that snug and warm. For ultimately we want them, and our team, back safe and sound. And the sooner the better!
For two things play against us as we well know here in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in winter. Those are time and temperature.
Time is key and waits for no man (or woman). Time to get notified of a search, time to get out the door, time to get to the truck wherever that may be, time to get brought up to speed on the details of the search and time to hit the snow. Tick, tock. And those calls rarely come at a convenient time. More often the dead of night as opposed to when you are just grabbing your gear to go adventure although that would be convenient. Just saying.
And temperature. As the time ticks by, again usually at night, the temperature is typically dropping. One of my favorite signs at a ski area back East reminds skiers to stay in bounds by showing a silhouette of someone huddled under a tree and the verbiage “It is going to be as cold tonight as it was 200 years ago”. Makes the point. Even with all the new gear, being outside overnight is no fun. Temperature dropping means potential frostbite and hypothermia. Hypothermia means unclear thinking and exhaustion. Which means mistakes might be made. And those mistakes might prove fatal.
Inevitably, the race is on. Not the GSR with a band and beer at the finish line but the race to save lives. The most important race there is where we all win if succesful. And we all lose if not.
So NOW is the time as the forecasts finally speak of snow to take the time for us to be ready. Repack those packs that you may have used this summer for hiking or climbing. Toss out that old PB&J. Change out those batteries in GPS units and personal radios. And beacons. Don’t forget the beacons. Check those ski boots for any creatures that may have set up shop over the summer. Double check those bindings and find those poles. And of course, change out the old fuel in those infernal snowmobiles and make sure they are ready to go on the first pull.
The faster we move, the better chance we have of pulling them “out of the box”.
Attempting to follow in the frozen footsteps of those before me,
PS- Speaking of which, one of our past Scribes, Randall Osterhuber is in the news again. Check out:
- No meeting this Monday due to the Winter Sports Injury Symposium at Squaw. Next meeting is Monday, December 8th at 6:30 at Granlibakken.
- Stay tuned for details on another TNSAR fundraiser, scheduled for Friday December 12th, at Moe's Original BBQ in Tahoe City