RMRU Report: Another Skyline Summer Death

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RMRU Report: Another Skyline Summer Death

Postby Ed » Wed Aug 03, 2022 7:34 am

The latest RMRU report:

http://rmru.org/2022/07/17/2022-019/

Started at 6am on a triple-digit day.
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Re: RMRU Report: Another Skyline Summer Death

Postby guest » Thu Aug 04, 2022 12:56 pm

Another sad story, and one really has to imagine what mindset folks have to attempt this. I think many are after over the top extreme challenges, very "close to the edge" for differing reasons. I've been guilty, but I also know the elements can bring the most hardcore to their knees. Thoughts go out to family & friends, and to all the SAR's for their hard, dangerous work, (down-climbing Skyline is already plenty brutal, but in those conditions, with all the gear they carry, hiking by headlamp, while searching is truly commendable).
Glad RMRU, ( or at least Eric), included the warning at the end of mission report.
Would be nice to know what elev. they found him at, the helo photo appears to be 4-5k ft. (w Ribbonwood and a fairly flat slope in one area). scott
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Re: RMRU Report: Another Skyline Summer Death

Postby Pyrodude » Thu Aug 04, 2022 4:13 pm

Very sad.
My understanding is this was a 23 y/o male who was a Skyline virgin.
Difficult to understand what went into his planning process.
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Re: RMRU Report: Another Skyline Summer Death

Postby Ellen » Sat Aug 06, 2022 10:53 am

Awful :cry: My heart aches for his family and friends.

Very informative write up by RMRU Eric.

I second Scott with a heartfelt thank you to RMRU and the other agencies (Rescue 9/Star-9, DSSAR, Palm Springs SAR) involved in the search. I'm very glad no SAR member was injured in such brutally hot conditions.

From the heart,
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Re: RMRU Report: Another Skyline Summer Death

Postby Ellen » Tue Aug 09, 2022 3:23 pm

About two weeks after the tragic Skyline death, a hiker posted a video of completing Cactus to Clouds (desert-peak-tram) on YouTube and SoCal hikers :roll:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?fbclid=Iw ... e=youtu.be

The pros and cons of social media :?

Stay safe friends.

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Re: RMRU Report: Another Skyline Summer Death

Postby Hikin_Jim » Wed Aug 31, 2022 5:37 pm

A really cut and dried report, but then I guess there's not too much else to it. Poor guy. 0600 is a pretty late start and 115 Fahrenheit is just plain nuts. I liked Eric's point that the ground temperature might have been as much as 130 Fahrenheit because it just sits there and absorbs the sun. Unlike air, ground doesn't move around and mix much.

I wonder if people just look at the stats and the conditions don't really register. If you're in good shape, the gain is doable, and the mileage is none too extreme. Maybe you've done high gain hikes with similar mileage, so, you might think, "I'm ready; OK, so it'll be a little hot. No worries. I've hiked in hot weather plenty of times." Maybe. I'm not sure. It's just difficult to fathom somebody going out in 115 F heat. I'd be really darned curious as to their thought process. Maybe 115 F is so extreme that they just don't know what to do with it and therefore discount it.

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Re: RMRU Report: Another Skyline Summer Death

Postby guest » Thu Sep 01, 2022 8:20 am

Jim, Nice to see you on the board. I agree with some of the scenarios you mentioned. There's even folks posting their trip up Skyline in summer on utube and other sites, like many who have a need to post their extreme adventures for all the world to see. I understand the need to challenge oneself, and people have been dying doing this probably forever, but to walk that razors-edge kinda throws common sense and self preservation out the window, but the consequences at times, being fatal. Would be interesting to hear from Bluerail or Fern on this, (with all their crazy treks around the local mtns). I remember picking them up at Valley Sta after their summer afternoons treks up Skyline, leaving around 4pm (to make the last trams down), but they were really heat acclimatized and super fit. scott
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Re: RMRU Report: Another Skyline Summer Death

Postby Hikin_Jim » Thu Sep 01, 2022 10:18 am

Hi, SS,

Nice to see you're still on here. I need to stop by more often.

It's interesting how many people don't die on Skyline. Of course a late start as in 0600 is a good way to ensure that you do die. I have to think that the individual just didn't take the heat seriously or perhaps thought that since he was fit that it would be OK. Heat is a great equalizer; even the fit can be slammed hard unless they're really darned careful. There is very little room for error.

Bluerail and Fern knew the trail, knew themselves, and knew the environment. They even came up with a novel approach of starting at 1600 (I would not have thought of that). Pretty smart. The sun is going behind the San Jacintos as you ascend. Therefore you're out of the full sun which will help tremendously (although the ground is no doubt still radiating heat like crazy). If you know the trail well and have it down to a science, then you can "time the tram." Woe betide one who is wrong. Hope you don't mind sleeping out without equipment. Even in the current heat wave it's still getting down into the 50's at night in Long Valley. Such is the case with dry desert air.

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Re: RMRU Report: Another Skyline Summer Death

Postby guest » Thu Sep 01, 2022 11:09 am

Agreed Jim. Heat really can be an equalizer, like cold, (at least for me). With something like Skyline, (which really does have a point of No Return, in some sense), it's west facing with little protection until 7k, with lots of heat-radiating rocks, with few places that are easy, so you have to pretty much stop to get a break. Plus, they both had a few secret stash places with emerg. liquids, just in case. And, some folks figure it will get cooler as they ascend, which, in summer, doesn't happen until 4-6k, if leaving around 0600, and your still exposed until the trees, (plus the Manzanita section is one of the steepest)!

Your right about the dynamic dual, they told me they were only in the sun for the 1st 1k of gain, (I think), and if lucky, the afternoon breeze would help. They told me they would get cold in the trees, (after baking and sweating, and living above 80 degrees the whole summer). I used to really enjoy a weekly ride up the tram around 4-5pm during the summer, for a cross-country trek to Hidden Divide peak, (Landells). Usually had to change shirts and put on a thin windbreaker back to station.
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Re: RMRU Report: Another Skyline Summer Death

Postby Hikin_Jim » Wed Sep 07, 2022 2:30 pm

guest wrote:some folks figure it will get cooler as they ascend, which, in summer, doesn't happen until 4-6k, if leaving around 0600, and your still exposed until the trees
And the trees don't start until about 7000' as I recall. That's a looong time to be exposed in full sun. I remember doing it in December and thinking "dang! It's December, and it's still hot on this trail out in the sun." I think I brought 5 L that day (even though it was December) and was grateful for every one of them.

I did SJ Peak (a far easier hike) two days ago and brought 4 L of water. I drank a bit over 3.5 liters by the time I got back to the mountain station. It was hot overall that weekend -- but not at 10,000'. It was in the 70's. I'm not sure if people realize how much dry air and sun can dehydrate you when you're climbing even if the number on the thermometer isn't that high.

guest wrote:I used to really enjoy a weekly ride up the tram around 4-5pm during the summer, for a cross-country trek to Hidden Divide peak, (Landells). Usually had to change shirts and put on a thin windbreaker back to station.
I think that Divide and Landells Peaks (Landells is also known by some as Luella Todd Peak) are really fun to climb. I've climbed them coming up from the trail that crosses Hidden Divide, climbing first Divide Peak and then traversing to Landells. They're really fun rock scrambling peaks with really grippy granite which makes for good climbing. By contrast the decomposed granite of the San Gabriels that flakes off for little or no reason is horrible. Technically I think Divide and Landells are part of the lake that is hidden preserve and are therefore technically off limits, which is pretty much a crock. Yes, you can argue that the wetlands around a vernal pool are unique and fragile, but you can't make that argument about granite. It's an example of the state park system, frankly, abusing their power -- putting off limits a section of public land for no good reason. I can see a preserve created for the wetlands but there's no justification for granitic peaks.

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