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Thread: What's the Number 1 greatest risk in the Alaskan Back-country?

  1. #21

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    Great info and advice from all thanks.

    Personally I would have thought falling or injuring the feet/ankles/legs. You often here of the most fatalities caused by just getting swallowed up by natural obstacles in one form or another. Whether it be fast flowing water, crevasses, cliffs etc. That's my thought anyway.

  2. #22
    Moderator Snyd's Avatar
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    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don’t have one, you’ll probably never need one again

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    This is useful thanks. Drowning/falling is where I expected it, quite high up.

    But poisoning? What by?

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    What's the Number 1 greatest risk in the Alaskan Back-country?


    TESTOSTERONE .......need I say more?




    But poisoning? What by?
    Alcohol and drugs, I would think.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tustumena_lake View Post
    Feeling pressured for time and taking risks you wouldn't normally take because you feel you have to be back at work on XXXX morning.
    Too true.
    I get a kick out of the corniness of the Circle of Safety ads on TV, but the premise is correct: Don't court fate or push the envelope. Don't push others or let others push you into uncomfortable circumstances. Bad stuff happens no matter what, even in the best of circumstances, but intentionally going out in bad stuff has many unfortunate endings.
    The smaller that government becomes, the bigger my support for it will be. The opposite is also true.

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Hypothermia and Gravity are the two biggest threats to outdoorsmen in Alaska.
    When confronted with multiple solutions or hypotheses, the simplest is usually the most correct (Occam's Razor) and Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by stupidity (Hanlon's Razor)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK View Post
    Hypothermia and Gravity are the two biggest threats to outdoorsmen in Alaska.
    Love it Gravity! Stupidity is the biggest problem in any out door situation. Just being unprepared and thinking you can do more then you are ready for.

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    Default The Seward Highway Greatest Threat

    I'm going to expand upon a previous post and mention that travelling the Seward HWY trying to get to the wilderness is the greatest threat to life and limb.

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    BEARS! Sleep in a tree at least 100 yards from you food or a salmon stream. Best to just camp when most bears are hibernating, but even then, there might be a wakeful one. Never know. After bears, getting wet and cold, drowning, falling.

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    I'm surprised no one mentioned "getting lost" so far , that would be my personal biggest concern in completely trailless backcountry wilderness, especially in case of poor visibility, I'm not sure that my compass using skills would be sufficient.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Northcrazy View Post
    I'm surprised no one mentioned "getting lost" so far , that would be my personal biggest concern in completely trailless backcountry wilderness, especially in case of poor visibility, I'm not sure that my compass using skills would be sufficient.
    It's a good point but I think most of us utilize GPS and that's why we didn't think of it. There are a lot of places in Alaska that it's easy to get lost esp. in the interior away from the mountains. Mountains make good reference points. Hills that all look the same do not. I always have a compass and map with me but tend to use my GPS for navigation unless I'm in an area I'm familiar with.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    WELL! i sorta gotta disagree... to a teeny bit... there are an awful lot of educated, knowledgble people... that can,t tell the north end of them self from the south end... when they are sitting on it..

    Academics i think they are called... they may know what to do.. but when it don't do what it SUPPOSED to do... then theres the problem..
    Vince: I totally agree with you but that is where the difference between knowledge and education comes in!

    Honestly it is different here from anywhere I had hiked before (including Idaho and Montana) and the weather changes threw me off. I got lost hiking with a dog my first winter here at far North Bicentinial Park (yes in Anchorage). A snow storm blew in and I could not tell which way was what! I had a gun, ammo, knife- but not much else. Got totally turned around and felt like an absolute fool! I hunkered down till the storm was over and realized I was less than a 30 minute walk from my truck. I had gotten turned around on the trails when I should have just sat tight to begin with. I learned then that a day hike in Alaska calls for taking some basic gear with you at all times.

    That was 12 years ago but it was a humbling experience to realize that I could have had a bad outcome right off of Tudor road!
    BEE

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by BTK View Post
    BEARS! Sleep in a tree at least 100 yards from you food or a salmon stream. Best to just camp when most bears are hibernating, but even then, there might be a wakeful one. Never know. After bears, getting wet and cold, drowning, falling.
    Ahh now you're just tryin to be funny................right???

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    Hypothermia and exposure aren't a factor for most guys who go out prepared and properly dressed. They become an issue after an injury or illness hits you. Break a leg stepping into a hole, slip on some scree and slide into a boulder field, slip and take a tree limb to the head, etc. Or drink a little creek water and get a case of giardia when you're miles from camp. Those are game changers that will turn a good day into a survival exercise for even the most capable guys.

  15. #35

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    Greatest Risk..........Stupid "City People" who think they are "Outdoorsmen". Which really boils down too the inability to moment by moment assess Risk in a Wilderness environment. This is not meant as disrespect, for there are few who made more mistakes in learning about the wilderness than I have, in truth I am lucky to have lived.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EagleRiverDee View Post
    but I think most of us utilize GPS and that's why we didn't think of it.
    GPS is fine, but I wouldn't completely rely on electronic stuff in situations like these, when you can get in serious trouble without the device. That's why I - and you as well - mentioned the compass, and there you need much better skills and experience to get along with it than with a GPS. Of course, mountains are very helpful, as long as you can see them. The worst "nightmare" I could imagine is to get stuck in thick fog, with a huge swamp area in the intended walking direction, something like that.

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    It's funny, I noticed that comment right off, that, "most of us utilize GPS,....."
    (and I did like ERDee's full post on the idea, he was making a good point...),...but, that sure caught my attention

    myself, having just bought my first handheld GPS unit recently,
    (thinking it might be entertaining, to see how far I've traveled, etc.)
    tho I've traveled extensively across the woods and tundra for a long time,...

    sure hope I'm not alone in still working it out by, "eyesight navigation"

    and as one who has used GPS for Marine navigation, usually several thousand hours a year, since the very first year they were commercially available, this has got to be said clearly,...

    One of THE KEYS to navigating, I think either the Ocean or the Woods,....is NOT relying too much on GPS, or "any one device"

    That concept is maybe on the tops of the list for answering the original post question if you ask me,
    most Risky thing to do, Out There,...
    get too hung up on GPS, just a recipe for real trouble, and so seductive a reason to slack off on the rest of it

    and believe me I know how tempting it is,...to just, "set the Autopilot, by GPS Plotter,...don't even need to look out the window anymore,....it is soooo reliable,...(?)"

    but I sure hope "most of us are not just utilizing GPS," missing out on a lot of the fun of wilderness travel,

    My two boys, will probably not even see one for a long time, til they are confidently, "Knowing where they are,
    and how to survive Fog Banks, Rain Squalls, Blinding Snow,....by their understanding and attention to details of the natural kind."
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Just thought I would add this article that was published a few years back in Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, 18, 20-25 (2007) that specfically looked at hunters and their injuries/illnesses. The research was done in Colorado but some good information to think about. It was an 8 year observational study at a rural emergency room. Here are the results: Results.—A total of 725 ED visits—an average of 80 per year—were recorded. Nearly all visits were in the prime hunting months of September to November. Twenty-seven percent of the hunter ED patients were Colorado residents, and 73% were from out of state. Forty-five percent of the visits were for trauma, 31% for medical illnesses, and 24% were labeled ‘‘other.’’ The most common medical visits (105) were for cardiac signs and symptoms, and all of the ED deaths (4) were attributed to cardiac causes. The most common trauma diagnosis was laceration (151), the majority (113) of which
    came from accidental knife injuries, usually while the hunter was field dressing big game animals. Gunshot wounds (4, 1%) were rare. Horse-related injuries to hunters declined while motor vehicle– and all-terrain vehicle (ATV)–related injuries increased. The five out-of-hospital deaths were cardiac related (3), motor vehicle related (1), and firearm related (1).

  19. #39
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    This winter, my biggest adversaries were a severe windstorm with windblown snow that turned the lee side of every object into a snow drift and buckled our portable ice house. The only thing that held up, was my four season tent with a wood stove. We waited two days for the wind to stop, and we lost some gear due to the instant snow drifts. We eventually gave up waiting for the wind to stop and gave up on the ice fishing trip. In the midst of our escape, we had snowmachine troubles with my buddy's machine. The wind was an 80 mph constant, and oftentimes gusting beyond that. One of the locals on this remote lake, had his entire roof blown off last year.

    This past summer coming back up the Yukon, we got caught in an instant lightening storm unlike anything I've ever seen. The winds turned the river into a heavy chop, and the lightning was hitting everywhere around us. The banks were too tall to get off the water, so we kept motoring across the river to get to a small island. My fuel hose unconnected from the motor and was dangling in water. Bad timing, and the current on that particular section of the river was too strong as it split to go in two different channels. I got the motor running while the winds and current took the boat towards a big pile of driftwood. Even with good rain gear, we were all soaked from the cold rain/heavy wind combo, and simply huddled under a tarp on shore to wait out the storm, the lightening continued to hit around us.

    We were only 15 river miles from a friend's cabin, it was so nice to start a fire and get dry. powerful winds combined with rain or snow seem to make life difficult for me sometimes.

    matnaggewinu


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    Awwww, WIND,...
    Now that,.... could be the simplest, and most complete answer to the OP's question yet

    Complicates Everything,...just a bit
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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