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Snowshoer, "lost" near Wanoga snowpark, rescued by SAR

From KTVZ.COM news sources
March 15, 2010

Searchers found an 86-year-old overdue snowshoer near Mt. Bachelor Monday night, close to seven hours after he grew tired and unable to continue his travels, officials said.

Deschutes County Sheriff's Search and Rescue crews had been looking for Gene Buswell of Bend since a 911 call around 5:30 p.m. reporting an overdue snowshoer in the Wanoga Sno-Park area, said Deputy Rhett Hemphill.

SAR team members responded and began searching the area on snowmobiles, ATVs and snowshoes, Hemphill said.

They had found his car in the parking lot of the sno-park, off South Century Drive, with snowshoe tracks leading away from it.

Around 9:30 p.m., Buswell was found by a snowshoe team, about two miles from where he'd left his vehicle, the deputy said.

Buswell told rescuers he had become fatigued and was unable to continue on his journey earlier in the day.

So he did as authorities recommend - and stayed put until searchers arrived, about seven hours later.

Buswell was taken back to the sno-park, where SAR and Bend Fire medics treated him for minor injuries, Hemphill said.


Here is the rest of the story

I spoke on the telephone with Gene Buswell this morning. He asked me to explain that he was not lost!

Gene was snowshoeing on Road 14 as it runs off Road 46 (also known as Cascades Lakes Highway) near Virginia Meissner and Wanoga Snowparks, to one of the four bird feeders he and his wife maintain in the Deschutes National Forest. Gene fell at the bird feeder and decided to wait there, sitting on a bench at his birdfeeder for his wife to sound an alarm when he did not return in the early afternoon.

He was properly clothed for the possibility of sitting in place in the forecast weather and "as always" he carried a day pack with extra clothing, snacks and water and traditional Essentials. He carried an insulating pad and he sat on the pad on the bench below the bird feeder.

He started a little "warming fire" as the hours passed, but found that, without a saw, he was unable to find enough fuel in the winter landscape, to keep it going.

Mrs. Buswell, his Responsible Person, waited two hours beyond when he was expected back home and then she called 911. She notes that SAR suggested she wait a bit longer, but she insisted they check to see whether or not his car was parked on Cascades Lakes Highway, at Road 14. It was found parked on Cascades Lakes Highway and Volunteers were called out by SAR.

Gene Buswell noted that he blew on his essential outdoor whistle when he heard the snowmobiles coming down Road 14 from Cascades Lakes Highway.

Of course, I asked him if he had a cell phone and GPS. He said he was now considering a cell phone. I suggested he obtain a free quality cell phone from Verizon and sign up for a $10.00 or $20.00 per month program like I have. I explained that Verizon has more cell towers in the backcountry of Central Oregon than any other Service Provider. Verizon uses CDMA technology and other service providers (who mainly use GSM technology) can not use the Verizon proprietary cell towers. (Verizon's coverage of the Deschutes National Forest was tested recently for the 160 mile long Bachelor Butte Dog Derby. There are few spots where a call will not go through.) Gene will continue to stay found without a GPS.

News Releases were not really accurate, according to Gene Buswell and his wife. They really did do every thing right!

There have been several individuals who have become lost in the forests on the shoulders of Mt. Bachelor, who did not do everything right. I have a theory and here it is: Most novices fail to look in the rear view mirror as they walk among the wonders of nature. They follow an easier way here and there, and soon lose all track of direction and distance. Folks just end up lost even though they did not plan to become lost! Read about this anomaly here: Lost climber hikes 6.5 miles from South Sister Trail to Elk Lake and Read More under Lost and Found below.
--Webmeister Speik


What can be learned from this incident?

1. Practice the Four Basic Responsibilities of the Backcountry Traveler. It works!  Basic

2. Carry the new Ten Essential Systems, sized for the forecast weather and the adventure in a light day pack. This includes a map, compass and GPS and the skills to use them. In the winter, this includes enough extra insulation and waterproof clothing to keep you dry and warm if you become stranded. In snow, you must have a shovel and insulating pad and the skills to make a shelter in the snow to avoid hypothermia and frost bite damage. It works!  Essentials

3. Carry a fully charged digital cell phone and periodically check where it can communicate with any cell towers to assist authorities to triangulate your position from cell tower pings. (Most cell providers do not use cell phone GPS signals to locate customers under FCC E911 regulations - they use triangulation). Cold disables batteries. If the weather is cold, carry the cell phone in a pants pocket near the femoral artery. Report your UTM NAD27 coordinates, your condition, the conditions where you are and discuss your plans with SAR.  Cell Phones   If you may be out of cell tower range, carry a SPOT.  SPOT Satellite Messenger

4. Always stay found on your map and by being aware of major land features such as Mt. Bachelor. If visibility starts to wane, reconfirm your bearings with your map, compass and GPS and quickly return to a known location (Cascade Lakes Highway, Mt. Bachelor, a Nordic Shelter, etc.) A GPS is the only practical way for a trained individual to navigate in a whiteout or blowing snow.  Lost Mt Hood Climbers


A suggested minimum standard news advisory for all backcountry travelers

"We would like to take this opportunity to ask our visitors to the backcountry of Oregon to plan for the unexpected.  Each person should dress for the forecast weather and take minimum extra clothing protection from a drop in temperature and possible rain or snow storm or an unexpected cold wet night out, insulation from the wet ground or snow, high carbohydrate snacks, two quarts of water or Gatorade, a map and compass and optional inexpensive GPS and the skills to use them, and a charged cell phone from a Provider that has the best coverage of the area. Carry the traditional personal "Ten Essentials Systems" in a day pack sized for the season and the forecast weather.

Visitors are reminded to tell a Responsible Person where they are going, where they plan to park, when they will be back and to make sure that person understands that they are relied upon to call 911 at a certain time if the backcountry traveler has not returned. If you become lost or stranded, mark your location and stay still or move around your marked location to stay warm. Do not try to find your way until you are exhausted, or worse yet - wet. Wait for rescuers.



"To provide information and instruction about world-wide basic to advanced alpine mountain climbing safety skills and gear, on and off trail hiking, scrambling and light and fast Leave No Trace backpacking techniques based on the foundation of an appreciation for the Stewardship of the Land, all illustrated through photographs and accounts of actual shared mountaineering adventures."

TraditionalMountaineering is founded on the premise that "He who knows naught, knows not that he knows naught", that exploring the hills and summitting peaks have dangers that are hidden to the un-informed and that these inherent risks can be in part, identified and mitigated by mentoring: information, training, wonderful gear, and knowledge gained through the experiences of others.

The value of TraditionalMountaineering to our Friends and Subscribers is the selectivity of the information we provide, and its relevance to introducing folks to informed hiking on the trail, exploring off the trail, mountain travel and Leave-no-Trace light-weight bivy and backpacking, technical travel over steep snow, rock and ice, technical glacier travel and a little technical rock climbing on the way to the summit. Whatever your capabilities and interests, there is a place for everyone in traditional alpine mountaineering.




Mountain climbing has inherent dangers that can, only in part, be mitigated

Read more . . .
Gear grist, an article written for The Mountaineer, the monthly newsletter of The Mountaineers
Robert Speik writes: "Use your digital cell in the backcountry" for The Mountaineer
Snowshoer, "lost" near Wanoga snowpark, rescued by SAR
Snowboarder lost overnight near Mount Bachelor, rescued by SAR 
Woman leaves car stuck in snow near Klamath Falls, dies from exposure
Man rescued from crevasse just off South Sister climber's trail
Climbing South Sister: A Prospectus and a Labor Day near disaster
Trail runner survives fall on ice with cell phone call
Once again, hypothermia kills stranded Oregon driver
Lessons learned from the latest lost Mt. Hood climbers
Lessons learned from the latest lost Christmas tree hunters
FREE Clinic on Real Survival Strategies and Staying Found with Map, Compass and GPS together
What do you carry in your winter day and summit pack?
Why are "Snow Caves" dangerous?
Why are "Space Blankets" dangerous?
Why are "Emergency Kits" dangerous?
How can you avoid Hypothermia?
Missing climbers on Mount Hood, one dies of exposure, two believed killed in fall
Missing California family found, dad dies from exposure and hypothermia
Missing man survives two weeks trapped in snow-covered car
Missing snowmobile riders found, Roger Rouse dies from hypothermia
Olympic Champion Rulon Gardner lost on snowmobile!
Lost Olympic hockey player looses feet to cold injury 

Expert skier lost five days near resort in North Cascades without map, compass, gps or cell phone 
Mount Hood - The Episcopal School Tragedy
Mount Hood - experienced climbers rescued from snow cave
How can you learn the skills of snow camping?   Prospectus

Lost and Found
Missing man survives two weeks trapped in snow-covered car
Missing snowmobile riders found, Roger Rouse dies from hypothermia
Lost climber hikes 6.5 miles from South Sister Trail to Elk Lake
Hiking couple lost three nights in San Jacinto Wilderness find abandoned gear
Expert skier lost five days in North Cascades without Essentials, map and compass
Climber disappears on the steep snow slopes of Mount McLaughlin
Hiker lost five days in freezing weather on Mount Hood
Professor and son elude search and rescue volunteers
Found person becomes lost and eludes rescuers for five days
Teens, lost on South Sister, use cell phone with Search and Rescue
Lost man walks 27 miles to the highway from Elk Lake Oregon
Snowboarder found after week in Wilderness
Searchers rescue hiker at Smith Rock, find lost climbers on North Sister
Girl Found in Lane County after becoming lost on hiking trip
Search and rescue finds young girls lost from family group
Portland athlete lost on Mt. Hood
Rescues after the recent snows
Novice couple lost in the woods
Broken Top remains confirmed as missing climber
Ollalie Trail - OSU Trip - Lost, No Map, Inadequate Clothing

 Your Essential Light Day Pack
What are the new Ten Essential Systems?
What does experience tell us about Light and Fast climbing?
What is the best traditional alpine mountaineering summit pack?
What is Light and Fast alpine climbing?
What do you carry in your day pack?      Photos?    
What do you carry in your winter day pack?       Photos?    
What should I know about "space blankets"?
Where can I get a personal and a group first aid kit?      Photos?

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Is running the Western States 100 part of "traditional mountaineering"?
What's wrong with GORP?    Answers to the quiz!
Why do I need to count carbohydrate calories?
What should I know about having a big freeze-dried dinner?
What about carbo-ration and fluid replacement during traditional alpine climbing?   4 pages in pdf  
What should I eat before a day of alpine climbing?

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BLM guidelines for Geocaching on public lands
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