Lost and Found

Monday, August 23, 2010

Q: Where are people most likely to get lost?

A: The Great Smokies

The online version of the August issue of Backpacker Magazine has an outstanding article that offers 33 essential tips to remember if you or your partner goes missing, including "ways to stay found," and what to do if you do become lost. I highly recommend reading this; whether you're a hiking newby or a grizzled outdoor veteran. Hey, everyone needs to brush up on this invaluable knowledge every now and then.

The magazine also published a pretty good video on how to get "Un-Lost" using a GPS and a topo map.

The typical person who gets lost is a male, age 38, hiking solo, during the months of July or August, in the mountains, and often lacking a map and/or compass.

Finally, Backpacker posted a very interesting Q & A with SAR Statistician Robert Koester. Koester has spent the past seven years creating the International Search and Rescue Database. With 50,000 documented incidents, it's the largest, and first, compendium of its kind in the world. He uses the data to analyze risk, and predict who will live, who will die, and, most importantly, where lost hikers may be found.

Further reading: Top 10 Items to have on a Day Hike



Joe said...

it is often those inexperienced and slightly cocky gentlemen who think they know better than anyone else. Sad thing is they waste a lot of time and resources when we have to look for them.

The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

Joe - that profile didn't really surprise me, however, I thought the average age would have been much younger.

I've read some incredibly stupid reasons why people have been rescued in the past - totally agree that they're wasting resources and putting rescuers at risk.

Bill said...

I've been hiking off trail for 50 years, much of it in wilderness areas. It is my opinion that any one can get lost, at least temporarily. The resources you post here are excellent.

These days with the advent of GPS no one should travel without one, and those that use one should know how to use it before they go into the woods. That being said, we should never go into the woods without a map and compass given that technological devices fail when least expected.

One other piece of advice that oft goes not done, always tell at least two people where you are going and when you are expecting to return (preferably with planned maps of your expected routes).