Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
Today is particularly inauspicious—it’s Friday the 13th. Hopefully everyone is being careful out there on their wild adventures, because the dangers of Mother Nature are far more real than any hockey-mask-wearing serial killer.
Let’s take a look at this week’s outdoor predicaments and see if we can’t learn a little something (you too, Jason—remember the lake?):
Hiker dies on Grand Canyon’s Bright Angel Trail: A 63-year-old man hiking with his family on Grand Canyon’s famous Bright Angel Trail fell behind, and his family moved on ahead of the slower man. After he failed to catch up, they returned and found him unconscious and with a bleeding head. 911 told family members how to perform CPR, but by the time rescue personnel arrived, he was declared dead at the scene. A helicopter airlifted the body out, and an autopsy will hopefully figure out the as-yet-undetermined cause of death.
Lunchbox’s lesson: Splitting up can be a very risky proposition. Had the family left even one person with him, the man might’ve had a better chance of getting help sooner, or avoiding the danger altogether.
College hikers rescued after night on Camel’s Hump. Two college teens from Massachusetts and New York went hiking and camping on Vermont’s popular Camel’s Hump, but they were unprepared for that night’s early darkness and cold. They made camp above treeline, but got wet from rain and couldn’t start a fire to warm up. When crawling into their tent and sleeping bag didn’t work, they called 911 for rescue. They had no working flashlight with them, so rescuers provided headlamps when they arrived and escorted them down at about 11:30 p.m.
Lunchbox’s lesson: Preparation is everything. If they’d checked the local weather report, they could’ve anticipated the harsh weather and brought more appropriate clothing or, better yet, canceled their trip. Even popular spots like Camel’s Hump can get wild quickly, and not having working flashlights for an overnight trip sounds like a rookie mistake that indicates these two probably shouldn’t even have been out for a night. As for their fire-building skills, I’m prescribing these remedialvideos.
Father and seven kids survive two snowy nights in Oregon wilderness. A father who went camping with his seven kids, ages 3-14, near Breitenburg Lakes, Ore., tried to leave when snow rolled in, but he couldn’t get his minivan through. As 30 inches of snow buried them, they camped in the van, stayed warm with proper clothes, and had plenty of food. Two nights later, rescuers found them and drove them out on snowmobiles.
Lunchbox’s lesson: The father of seven didn’t bring a cell phone, which could’ve speeded rescue. But he did a lot of things right. The man is described as an experienced outdoorsman, and it sounds like he did mostly the right thing—he kept his family warm, fed, didn’t panic, and waited for rescue. Well done, dad.