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Abyss Lightning - Now that sounds like a memorable Bierstadt

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Abyss Lightning - Now that sounds like a memorable Bierstadt

Postby 54summits » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:52 pm

If you want the short version, just watch the video. If you want the longer, more detailed version, read the rest of the entry here



-54s

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Re: Abyss Lightning - Now that sounds like a memorable Bierstadt

Postby rickinco123 » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:01 pm

I keep a kitchen trash bag in all of my packs, they can be used for a lot of emergencies, rain coat, pack cover, stuff with debris for a ground pad or...... hauling out some trash. They are always there just in case, weigh almost nothing and take up almost no space.

I wonder if that (mylar?) emergency blanket would appreciably increase your conductivity though I understand in your situation wanting to throw it away from you.

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Re: Abyss Lightning - Now that sounds like a memorable Bierstadt

Postby 54summits » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:16 pm

rickinco123 wrote:I keep a kitchen trash bag in all of my packs, they can be used for a lot of emergencies, rain coat, pack cover, stuff with debris for a ground pad or...... hauling out some trash. They are always there just in case, weigh almost nothing and take up almost no space.

I wonder if that (mylar?) emergency blanket would appreciably increase your conductivity though I understand in your situation wanting to throw it away from you.


I don't recall exactly what the emergency blanket is made out of. I just know that it's one of those ones you can get for $1 at Wal-Mart. It sure looks like some kind of aluminum foil / plastic hybrid, though.

I asked one of the SAR members about the conductivity of it. He said he wasn't too sure himself, but he had a pretty good insight that I realized I didn't include in the blog entry -- he said that having something like that around you in a thunderstorm doesn't make you any more of a target to lightning than wearing big rubber boots would make you less of one. Kind of makes sense, I suppose. A little bit of metal may not do any more harm than a little bit more insulator would do any more good.

Brilliant idea about the trash bag! That's perfect! And I feel like such a maroon bells for not thinking about that earlier myself! That's definitely going in the pack for the next trip!

I also made a stop to REI to pick up some iodine tablets. It frustrated me to no end that I was dying of thirst right beside this lake of fresh water, but couldn't drink any without risking illness. The people there strongly dissuaded me from iodine, and I myself decided against a chemical treatment due to the duration of time needed to sanitize the water. Four hours for chlorine tablets? Heck, I was out of the gully and back on the road within 4 hours!

So I picked up something I've been thinking of getting for a while now -- a SteriPEN. It was in the clearance bin, it sanitizes against bacteria, viruses and pathogens in just moments, and is only an ounce or two heavy.

This story would have been a lot different if I had that with me. I would have had a replenished source of water, stayed hydrated, and moved faster.

Now I just have to remember the big trash bag :lol:

-54s

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Re: Abyss Lightning - Now that sounds like a memorable Bierstadt

Postby Jim Davies » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:25 pm

Holy cow, I hope you're learning faster than you're making mistakes. I'm a little worried that you're heading for a fall, literally.

And do you really think that keeping your location "secret" in your blog is really increasing the commercial value of your project? :roll: I mean c'mon, dude, Bierstadt, 800 foot gully to your car, gee, where else could you have been? ](*,)
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Re: Abyss Lightning - Now that sounds like a memorable Bierstadt

Postby centrifuge » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:35 pm

I have been in one lightening storm, and it was a horrible place to be and the good news is you didnt have to be rescued and those guys didnt have to take the risks they so selflessly take to save others. Glad you made it out safe, and I have to applaud the fact that you have the stones to post a video about it on the site so others can learn from your mistake. People need to know when to use those things, and when not to, as it does not seem to be as common sense as a lot of us would think and posting it here really does help others learn from your mistakes.
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Re: Abyss Lightning - Now that sounds like a memorable Bierstadt

Postby rickinco123 » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:40 pm

54summits wrote:Now I just have to remember the big trash bag :lol:
-54s

I am talking about this as a backup precaution only, keep them in all of your packs so you do not have to remember them. They would be for the time when you forget or drop the rain gear that you are going to buy.

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Re: Abyss Lightning - Now that sounds like a memorable Bierstadt

Postby Dex » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:49 pm

It also appears you didn't have rain gear, wool cap, fleece pullover and a whistle - is that correct?
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Re: Abyss Lightning - Now that sounds like a memorable Bierstadt

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:07 pm

Jim Davies wrote:Holy cow, I hope you're learning faster than you're making mistakes. I'm a little worried that you're heading for a fall, literally.

This is exactly what I thought when I listed to your blog. You might want to do a bit more planning before you hit the trail. Know the distance, difficulty, etc. and merge that with your predicted speed to determine safer start times. I'm not sure how many peaks you've climbed, but we all want you to be able to climb as many as you want.

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Re: Abyss Lightning - Now that sounds like a memorable Bierstadt

Postby 54summits » Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:50 pm

BillMiddlebrook wrote:
Jim Davies wrote:Holy cow, I hope you're learning faster than you're making mistakes. I'm a little worried that you're heading for a fall, literally.

This is exactly what I thought when I listed to your blog. You might want to do a bit more planning before you hit the trail. Know the distance, difficulty, etc. and merge that with your predicted speed to determine safer start times. I'm not sure how many peaks you've climbed, but we all want you to be able to climb as many as you want.


As do I, Bill and Jim. It's "54 Summits" - not "13 Summits and DOA". Getting home safe is the top priority, and this trip was a painful lesson in what happens when you plan poorly.

I am, however, a fast learner. I've identified numerous points in planning this weekend's trip that should have been decided differently, and I aim to make sure I abide by the lessons learned.

Now, just to address a few other items related to this --

Jim, I know it looks bad, but I promise you that for every mistake you see, there's several smart choices that aren't quite as publicized! I appreciate the concern because I know it's legitimate, and it really does mean a lot to me that others (especially people I've never met before) want me to come out of every hike unscathed. I understand those well wishes because I understand the sorrow from reading about people I never met, but didn't make it.

"54 Summits" isn't about me trying to play Les Stroud or Bear Grylls. It's not about me trying to pretend I'm some kind of mountaineering expert who knows all the answers, and makes every summit flawlessly. Instead, it's about documenting the experience of getting into this activity from the rookie stages of relatively no experience, and progressing into the harder ones. It's meant to show growth, and that includes documenting the mistakes as well as the successes -- though, in the case of this last one, I didn't document it on film because I wanted all forms of metal away from me! As the "About" video states, the primary target audience is my daughter when she's older. Everyone else, well, you're welcome to enjoy it, too! :D

As far as keeping what mountains have been made (or not) a secret, well there are some cases where I'm just not able to pull that off when I'm surrounded by people who have forgotten more about mountaineering that I currently know! Many of you have an impressive list of peaks summited, and I'm not going to live under some delusion that I'll be able to conceal the mountain from you guys! People who know little to nothing about this, though... Well, if I can preserve a surprise for them, I'll give it a shot.

14ers.com has been an invaluable resource for all my research and route planning, and mountaineering in general. In fact, I'd say the only resource it's second to is the 7th edition of "Mountaineering - The Freedom of the Hills" that I have right here beside me.

I'm looking forward to sharing many, many successful hikes (that being those where I return safely) here in the future!

-54s

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Re: Abyss Lightning - Now that sounds like a memorable Bierstadt

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:59 pm

Have fun!

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Re: Abyss Lightning - Now that sounds like a memorable Bierstadt

Postby EmmaM » Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:37 pm

It looks like you have the newer version of Spot.

If receiving a "cancel" signal is so disconcerting for the rescue squad, why manufacture the "cancel" button to begin with?

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Re: Abyss Lightning - Now that sounds like a memorable Bierstadt

Postby 54summits » Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:44 pm

EmmaM wrote:It looks like you have the newer version of Spot.

If receiving a "cancel" signal is so disconcerting for the rescue squad, why manufacture the "cancel" button to begin with?


I actually asked the SAR guys about this.

They advise against canceling it once activated because (1) even if it's canceled, they're still going to respond, and (2) as they're still going to respond, an active unit that continually transmits GPS coordinates makes it easier and faster for them to find you.

My guess would be the ability to cancel the distress call via the device simplifies things on their end. Just push and hold a button, and it's off, instead of having to call dispatch and relay the information all the way back to GEOS to cancel it. It's also entirely possible they built it into the device in case someone accidentally activated it - kind of like a built in "Oops, sorry, wrong number" if you dial 911 instead of just hanging up. This last part, though, is just mere speculation on my part.

-54s

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