Natural Hazards

Survival: Lightning Attire

What not to wear in a lightning storm.

If I Only Knew Then (Feature Narrative) | Recognize Grizzly Behavior | Save Yourself in Whitewater | First Aid Emergencies | Unsafe Snow Conditions | Unexpected Accidents | Make Good Judgment Calls

My friend Betsy and I were on the final pitch up the Grand Teton when a huge lightning storm blew in from the west and began striking the rock around us. We tried to find cover but couldn’t on the exposed monolith. While hunkered down, we were both struck multiple times: me, in the foot, leg, torso, and left biceps. For Betsy, the most powerful strike went straight through the metal backing on her watch. The strike came out the end of her finger, and the digit had to be amputated.

When lightning is near, remove watches, jewelry, any metal.

Sea Kayak Flip

Casey Lyons, BACKPACKER associate editor

No Water in the Desert

Annette McGivney, BACKPACKER Southwest editor

Sea Kayak Flip

Casey Lyons, BACKPACKER associate editor

Predict a Flash Flood

Ken Phillips, Chief of Emergency Services, Grand Canyon National Park

Ventilate a Tent

Shannon Davis, BACKPACKER senior editor

BYO Survival Gear

Chris Thomas, mountaineer