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Skier Dies after days lost - I'm embarassed - Page 2

post #31 of 100

I had a cute little coyote follow me half way up Mt. Hood one spring morning.  It seemed like he wanted to play, but probably he just wanted to pick my bones from my boots.

post #32 of 100

Blackburn furious at botched rescue efforts

 

 

 
 
 

Gilles Blackburn, the LaSalle man who survived nine days in the B.C. wilderness after getting lost while skiing at the Kicking Horse resort, is furious that rescue efforts to find him and his wife took so long to begin.

Blackburn's wife, Marie-Josée Fortin, died before help arrived after the two got lost after going out of bounds at the ski resort.

SOS messages in the snow were ignored for days and Blackburn feels rescue efforts should have started sooner, he told the Journal de Montréal. Blackburn is now home in Montreal.

The 51-year-old Blackburn is also upset by comments blaming his wif and him for the failed rescue because they went out of bounds.

He is also contemplating a lawsuit.

 

 

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Blackburn+furious+botched+rescue+efforts/1348133/story.html

 

 

post #33 of 100

Ummmmmmmm, think this through a bit.

 

It ain't just the big critter that gets you .... it all of the critters that come afterwards.

 

Little critters can get into boots and have their way with what is left of you.

 

And things get carried and scattered part by part and bit by bit.

post #34 of 100

I've been a resident of Golden BC for 55 years. I spent all my working life in the ski business and that includes some touring in the region. I have to admit I've never seen a wolf in the wild, summer or winter in the Columbia Valley, although I've heard rumours that they are there. The thing is, there isn't much of anything wading around in 10 feet of snow up in the alpine during the winter, there's no food. All the food is down in the valley bottom and that's why hundreds of elk and deer winter around Golden. Then of course the predators like cougars show up in the valley because that's where their food is. 

However, although I know the region where they went missing I wasn't there so maybe he really was fending off wolves with his skis. It's easy to say going out of bounds in that region with only a granola bar shows inexperience but it didn't have to result in death. It appears that the ball was dropped by a number of people. What a disaster. 

post #35 of 100

According to Blackburn, he hadn't really eaten anything for days, so it's also possible he was hallucinating about seeing wolves.... As with most of these high-profile stories, there are a lot details missing in what's being reported in the press.... I found it interesting that the "cause of death" for Blackburn's wife was not obviously apparent when the rescuers found them.... Something there doesn't add up... I'd hope that if I were in a similar position as Blackburn, I'd just be grateful that somebody eventually found me, even if it took 10 days.

post #36 of 100
post #37 of 100

It's hard for me to imagine being lost for 10 days.  The sun rises in the East.  It sets in the west.

post #38 of 100


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post

 

I had a cute little coyote follow me half way up Mt. Hood one spring morning.  It seemed like he wanted to play, but probably he just wanted to pick my bones from my boots.

What does it say about your technique when a coyote follows you, expecting you to become a meal?
 

post #39 of 100

It pisses me off that this guy has the gall to blame his and his wife's misfortune on Search & Rescue and RCMP, when they did everything wrong that they possibly could have, both before and after they went into the back country.  Their SOS signs were spotted twice by a heli-guide who was out touring in the back country on his time off, who called out and did a local search, but the lost couple were nowhere to be found because they had continued to move (covering 30 kms) rather that stay put where they had left signs.  Had they stayed by their original sign they would have been rescued on the second day, even though nobody knew they were missing at that point.

 

The reason he was found is that he finally stayed by the last SOS sign he made, and was spotted during a flyover.  It's the same reason people are told to "stay with the boat" if it capsizes.  When they stay with the boat they tend to be rescued.  When they try to swim for it, they die.

 

Stupidity like this, and then refusing to take personal responsibility for your actions, just burns me

 

Quote

From a March 3 newspaper story:

 

He says it's too soon, the death of 44-year-old Marie-Josee Fortin too fresh, for him to offer much in the way of details.  But 51-year-old Blackburn is ready to discuss one thing: He's angry over accusations that he and his wife should shoulder the blame for the botched search-and-rescue

 

The couple ended up, according to police, lost and wandering a river valley behind the resort, travelling nearly 30 km as they searched for help.

 

As they wandered in the bitter cold, the couple left SOS signs trampled into the snow.

The first of those mayday symbols was found on Feb. 17, by an off-duty heli-ski company employee, who reported it to his office before heading off into the wild.

 

Notified by Purcell Helicopter Skiing, Kicking Horse Resort checked for obvious clues such as missing guests and unreturned rentals, but none was found.

 

The same helicopter company employee saw more SOS signs four days later as he returned from the backcounty and he called his bosses again.

 

 

 

Finally, on Feb. 23 -- two days after Fortin died as a result of hypothermia -- a helicopter spotted yet another SOS and a man waving from the ground.  It turned out to be Blackburn.


 

post #40 of 100

It's a tragic and sad story, condolences to the family who lost their mom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by exracer View Post

 

It pisses me off that this guy has the gall to blame his and his wife's misfortune on Search & Rescue and RCMP, when they did everything wrong that they possibly could have, both before and after they went into the back country.

 

The reason he was found is that he finally stayed by the last SOS sign he made, and was spotted during a flyover.  It's the same reason people are told to "stay with the boat" if it capsizes.  When they stay with the boat they tend to be rescued.  When they try to swim for it, they die.
 

 

 

Two days staying with the boat:


 

"A man identified by the U.S. Coast Guard as Nick Schuyler (L) sits atop an overturned boat as Coast Guard crewmembers speed towards him in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of St. Petersburg, Florida March 2, 2009. The U.S. Coast Guard rescued Schuyler on Monday, one of four boaters missing in the Gulf of Mexico since Saturday, and continued the search for two National Football League players and another man. " REUTERS/U.S. Coast Guard/Handout


http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/NFL-players-lost-sea/ss/events/sp/030209nflplayersboat#photoViewer=/090302/ids_photos_ts/r480024782.jpg


 

But 51-year-old Blackburn is ready to discuss one thing: He's angry over accusations that he and his wife should shoulder the blame for the botched search-and-rescue, because they were the ones who skied out of bounds.

 

"What I did was my fault, but only on the first day, on the 15th, not after that," said Blackburn, his voice going from weary to sharp in an instant.

"My fault is on the 15th, but not on the 17th; not on the 21st.

"Then it's is not my fault."

 

February 15 is when Blackburn and Fortin made the mistake he admits to -- they left the marked boundary at Kicking Horse Resort, entering the unpatrolled backcountry where pristine snow beckoned.

 

http://calsun.canoe.ca/News/National/2009/03/03/8599526-sun.html


There is always the possibility that the above is  misquoted by the reporter.

 

Taken as is, though it's hard to agree with him. Why does someone else always have to be at  fault? They got lost in the wilderness in winter.  It was not a 'Wilderness Park' run by an entertainment company that monitors their whereabouts. Had they been rescued it would have been fortunate or lucky. Instead they were unlucky. Either way to the wilderness it doesn't matter, it's just there. 

It is not someone else's fault even though things could have been done better.

 

 

 

post #41 of 100


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

 

It's hard for me to imagine being lost for 10 days.  The sun rises in the East.  It sets in the west.


 

I can guess by this, you've not done much backcountry packing - skiing or not.  Mountains (or any wilderness area) are very easy to get lost in, especially if you are not familiar with traveling under such conditions.  Yeah, the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.  It takes a lot more knowledge/experience than that to find your way around.

post #42 of 100

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsproul View Post

 

I can guess by this, you've not done much backcountry packing - skiing or not.  Mountains (or any wilderness area) are very easy to get lost in, especially if you are not familiar with traveling under such conditions.  Yeah, the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.  It takes a lot more knowledge/experience than that to find your way around.


Amen. It's no day hike out there, even if you're young and strong. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by exracer View Post

 

Stupidity like this, and then refusing to take personal responsibility for your actions, just burns me
 

The man lost his wife. And you're pissed off at him because he's displaying classic grief? Yeah, he made a bad call. Good thing you've never made any bad decisions that could have gotten you or people you love killed. 

post #43 of 100

Back to the original point of this post. God bless Gilles and his family. RIP Marie.

 

The failure to enact the rescue is mindboggling.

post #44 of 100

Actually I've been for a few  "long walks" using my skis to trample brush while having thorns rip at my jacket and pants to make my way back after searching out and skiing my "perfect" line.  I have never been on a multi-day ski trip though.  I take note of things, topography, dominant trends in landscape, predominant wind direction and it's affect on trees, growth pattern differences and snow on north and south facing slopes, how the snow has been shaped by the wind, where I am, where other important things are like roads, rivers, lakes, dominant peaks, cliff bands etcetea.   

 

 

Maybe I just have an infallible sense of direction, and underestimate the skill required.  Granted there are things that will get in ones way and finding a pass is not always easy, but come on, 9 days?  When you knew what side of the road your were on to begin with?

 

Stories that I have read in the news say he was a fairly experienced outdoorsman as well.  Maybe not used to mountains? 

 

Maybe, he...NO. I won't say it (let the RCMP do it if they dare).

 

post #45 of 100

 

Quebec man whose wife died suing Mounties, B.C. resort, for mountain ordeal

Last Updated: 8th May 2009, 11:30am

 

VANCOUVER — A Quebec man who watched his wife die during nine frigid days lost in the B.C. backcountry is suing for negligence.

In a statement of claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court, 51-year-old Gilles Blackburn is seeking damages from the RCMP, Golden Search and Rescue and the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.

He claims that, between Feb. 17 and 21, all three organizations were informed of SOS signals he stamped into the snow in the mountains near Golden, 300 kilometres west of Calgary, but a search was not launched.

On Feb. 24, the pilot of a helicopter flying overhead spotted Blackburn frantically waving for help and he was rescued.

Blackburn’s wife, 44-year-old Marie-Josee Fortin, died of hypothermia during the ordeal.

His lawsuit seeks damages for permanent loss of parts of both feet as well as nervous shock, depression and anxiety.

 

 

http://www.calgarysun.com/news/canada/2009/05/08/9397411-calsun.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #46 of 100

Mistakes were made, but in going into the backcountry, he assumed responsibility for his safety and safe return.

 

I am surprised to see kicking horse on the list. I guess there was a car in an underground park that wasn't reported, but with shops, restaurants, and hotels on hill, I can see how that would be overlooked.

post #47 of 100

Good time for folks to get trained for Search and Rescue (SAR) and then volunteer to do searches. 

 

In NY state SAR is run by NY Department of Environmental Conservation. (DEC).  The DEC runs SAR courses every so often usually associated with a fire department.  Its a 1 and half  day class, which gives the DEC SAR instructors  an idea who you are and what your capable of doing.  Sometimes it takes a number of trips up and down the same mountain off trail through extremely thick brush to search the area.  The last  thing the DEC wants is to have one of their searchers have a medical problem or get lost. 

 

If your up for it, volunteer for SAR in your area.

 

newyorksearchandrescue.org/photos/index.html

post #48 of 100

You elect to go into the backcountry(not inbounds ski area, you are on your own) without following the rules it is a possibility that you may die.

You elect to ski on piste (patrolled) you have people looking out for you (hence rules you may not like). When these rules are broken, you may just lose you lift ticket and not your life. although.........

 

post #49 of 100

Last summer, I held the door open for a kid walking out of the restaurant behind me. He was missing the lower part of his arm-and it didn't look like a surgeon did the amputation. The stump was pretty irregular. I was in Moab at the time and realized that this guy was Aaron Ralston, the hiker who went out alone, had his arm pinned by a boulder and cut it off himself with a pocket knife. This guy was glorified as a hero, but, to me as an experienced backpacker, I thought he was an idiot. You never go backcountry alone. You always let people know where you are and when you'll be back. You never wander off if you're lost-you wait for rescue. I feel terrible for the kids left mother-less by this misjudgment. The guy really doesn't have much of a case. In fact, if the Coast Guard had been tasked to rescue him,he would have been the recipient of a large bill. Of course,when you live in a sociey that trains three times as many lawyers as doctors, you'll get someone to take the case. Everybody wants to eat-even coyotes. For the guy in California, I vote a mountain lion as the cause of his dismemberment. I vote hypothermia as the reason he died.

post #50 of 100

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by csavage View Post

Last summer, I held the door open for a kid walking out of the restaurant behind me. He was missing the lower part of his arm-and it didn't look like a surgeon did the amputation. The stump was pretty irregular. I was in Moab at the time and realized that this guy was Aaron Ralston, the hiker who went out alone, had his arm pinned by a boulder and cut it off himself with a pocket knife. This guy was glorified as a hero, but, to me as an experienced backpacker, I thought he was an idiot. You never go backcountry alone. You always let people know where you are and when you'll be back. You never wander off if you're lost-you wait for rescue. I feel terrible for the kids left mother-less by this misjudgment. The guy really doesn't have much of a case. In fact, if the Coast Guard had been tasked to rescue him,he would have been the recipient of a large bill. Of course,when you live in a sociey that trains three times as many lawyers as doctors, you'll get someone to take the case. Everybody wants to eat-even coyotes. For the guy in California, I vote a mountain lion as the cause of his dismemberment. I vote hypothermia as the reason he died.


I can agree with quite a bit of your post, but I draw the line at the NEVER in the backcountry alone part.

 

There are plenty of times when alone is good.  You just have to be smart about it - and willing to take full responsibility for your stupidity (or bad luck) if something goes wrong.

post #51 of 100

Darwin was right. the problem is that the dumb ones can still produce and the lawyers can profit from from it. Accidents do happen, and thats what they are, unfortunately.  With being too insensitive, most people to do not take responsibility for their own actions nor are accountable to themselves anymore.

Part of excitement of these activities is the inherent "risk".  One must willing to accept them when partaking in them.

post #52 of 100

Most folks these days don't feel laws of nature or business apply to them.  Everyone expects to be bailed out for their own mistakes, incompetence, and just plain stupidity.  It all started with wearing helmets

post #53 of 100

I have to disagree with the idea that no one should go into the backcountry alone. I know that much of my skiing, hiking and mountaineering experience has been solo. I would agree absolutely that it is not as "safe" as going with a partner but at the same time point out that safety is a relative term and an illusory quality. None of these activities is ever absolutely safe under any conditions. Actually understanding the danger and dealing with the hazards objectively while accepting the personal risk involves preparation of a kind that is perhaps rare. Going into backcountry or engaging in risky activity without that kind of mental preparation and with the expectation that someone is going to rescue you is irresponsible whether you are solo or part of a team.

post #54 of 100

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

Most folks these days don't feel laws of nature or business apply to them.  Everyone expects to be bailed out for their own mistakes, incompetence, and just plain stupidity.  It all started with wearing helmets

 

 

 

Contrary to your premise there are many more people that knowingly put themselves in jeopardy. They don't expect a bailout, operate on their own, never come close to whining and escape/avoid/slip bye.  You never hear of them or from them. 

 

Don't understand the Helmet correlation.  When I enter grizzly country I carry the BIG bear pepper spray can, wear a life preserver if the water get rough when on the boat, carry a .357 when in high crime areas, watch where I go in unknown cities.  I always thought this was just good judgement.

 But you may be right,   but no all of us, still a few holdouts left.

post #55 of 100

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post

 


I can agree with quite a bit of your post, but I draw the line at the NEVER in the backcountry alone part.

 

There are plenty of times when alone is good.  You just have to be smart about it - and willing to take full responsibility for your stupidity (or bad luck) if something goes wrong.



 YES.  Being alone, away from humans and civilization can be an inspiring and awesome experience.  Are there risks, sure, but they're worth taking.  Use common sense, good judgement and the chances are very good that you will be ok.  This life experience can be unique and well worth experiencing, not vicariously but first hand. 

post #56 of 100

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post

 



 YES.  Being alone, away from humans and civilization can be an inspiring and awesome experience.  Are there risks, sure, but they're worth taking.  Use common sense, good judgement and the chances are very good that you will be ok.  This life experience can be unique and well worth experiencing, not vicariously but first hand. 

I agree.  When I was 17 I drove up to the Adirondacks and backpacked by myself for 5 days over the range trail, Haystack, Mt Marcy,, Alogonquin.  My mom was pretty cool about the whole thing or it seemed at the time.   I had a ton of experience backpacking all over the Catskill mtns where I lived at a young age.  I was an expert self taught at topo map and compass.  I loved backpacking by myself and it was great talking to others on the trail. My college girl friend was a little surprised when I went backpacking by myself in the Dacks by myself.  

 

Years later I found out just how scared my mom was when I did this stuff by myself.  My mom was great.

post #57 of 100

This morning there a news story about  folks suing doggie door manufacturers because their 2 year old crawled through it to get to the back yard where the kid drowned in their pool.  SRSLY!  We have a large doggie door that I knew our kids would eventually try to go through as soon as they were mobile.  Maybe this guy's going to sue the resort for not having razor ribbon barbed wire to prevent them from venturing off the resort patrolled terrain.

post #58 of 100

Yeah, just to echo prior remarks, going solo can be quite safe and is a very accepted mode of travel for a variety of backcountry pursuits.  The safest absolute # may well be two and no more than 2 but that's a totally different thread.

 

One issue with the types of incidents like those of these "lost" skiers is that society at large doesn't seem well-equipped to handle the aftermath of these accidents.  The guy made a long chain of incorrect judgments but also suffered a horrible loss and shouldn't be blamed for anything going forwards.  (It's more visible than say, a car rollover due to tires being in bad shape, but lots of private tragedies have their share of judgment issues and are still tragedies.)  It does not follow that someone else needs to be blamed for something going forwards.    Most communities at large are so safe that it may be they've lost the ability to just bury it as a coping skill.

 

 

post #59 of 100

Quote:

Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

This morning there a news story about  folks suing doggie door manufacturers because their 2 year old crawled through it to get to the back yard where the kid drowned in their pool.  SRSLY!


What would the remedy for that be? Canine DNA detector? There's no way they can win that case. I hope.

post #60 of 100

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

Quote:


What would the remedy for that be? Canine DNA detector? There's no way they can win that case. I hope.


They actually have one with a sensor that detects a chip on the dog's collar now.  But the kid could probably still follow the dog out the door.  Also, the commercial ones also have a locking cover.  Don't keep a pool open when there are people in the household that can't swim.  Don't go beyond the ski area boundary without being certain you know how to get back and letting someone else know you are going.

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