Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th Of July Weeked 2010

Saturday Clear and Low 80's
Sunday Slight Haze Mid 80's
Monday More Haze Upper 80's

Saturday was the best of the three days although because it was the coolest and clearest. Temperatures are headed for recorded highs during the upcoming week. When the temperatures get hot and humid enough I find I need to just substantially slow down. Please bring lots of water and manage the heat you are producing through exertion. Be especially cautious of any infants you may be bringing since they are not able to regulate for heat that well.
ORMS(Old Rag Mountain Stewards) members got to practice their placement artificial anchors.

SUNDAY July 4, 2010
Whenever you see areas totally closed with mesh fences please honor their obvious intent. There are some rare species that are only found on Old Rag Summit or near by outcrops. If they are lost they will be gone forever. The National Park Service has the difficult task of operating under many laws and regulations that sometimes work at cross purposes to each other. On the one hand they are obligated to try and maximize the access and enjoyment of wilderness areas for the general public and on the other hand they are obligated to protect natural resources and wilderness areas. There are currently some natural resources at risk around Old Rag's rock outcrop areas. The current plan involves trying to protect the Old Rag Summit as best as possible while still allowing visitors mostly free access to it. The plan also calls for more aggressive protections for some nearby rocky areas that contain the rare species as the summit but are not of as great an interest to visitors. If we all exercise a little caution and restoration efforts go well some of the restrictions may get relaxed but if things get worse additional restrictions may need to be put in place.
ORMS got to engage in scenario training in which we had to respond to a hypothetical victim of a long fall.

Looking up the Ridge Trail late in the afternoon from the first false summit.

One of several photos that was combined to form the stitched shot above.

I periodically see fairly young children well out of sight of their parents. Of course high on the mountain there are the obvious dangers of the unprotected vertical drops but most parents seem to have close watch of their young children around these risks. On the lower trails we have some risks that may not be as obvious to urban visitors. While rare, we do see bears, venomous snakes, and bees nests in the park. A bear that would be afraid of a hundred pound human might consider a fifty pound lone child an opportunity to grab a defenseless meat meal. The venomous snakes and bees are only dangerous if they feel threatened but 6-9 year old children might accidentally get into trouble and their small size makes them much more vulnerable if bitten or stung. If an accident occurs and you are in the backcountry it is going to potentially take hours before first responders get to your child and then potentially additional hours until your child can get transported to a modern medical facility. If a member of your group has been prescribed an epipen please make sure they have it with them and that it has not expired.
Dislocated Shoulder
The Chute was the location of another dislocated shoulder. There is a spot in the rock scramble that we call the Chute. Most will remember it as the most challenging spot to get up.
As per my plan I arrived at the mountain just in time to check in with the Contact Station before it closed and then start a long slow hike up the Ridge Trail with hopes of watching the sun set after which I would come out in the twilight with the aid of a headlamp.
When I arrived in the upper lot to start my patrol my radio had traffic about an injury in the Chute. It was clear the the PSAR, and SNP medical response resources would have the injury out before I would even make the first false summit so I just made it known I would be available in the event of a carryout. Since someone with a dislocated shoulder can usually still ambulate no carryout was necessary.
For hikers in the rock scramble if you have an injured party who can ambulate and they are near or above the Chute R30 (Chute bottom) or R31 (just above the top of the Chute) please ambulate towards the summit so as to be able to go down the Saddle Trail. In an emergency the park can get vehicles up to the Old Rag Shelter and your victim's quickest way out will be over the top. Much below the Chute and it may (too many factors to make an absolute statement) be easiest to go down the Ridge Trail. Certainly if you have not started the rock scramble and are below R22 it will be easiest to go down the Ridge Trail to the old upper lot.
Once again the consummate SNP professionals mounted a smooth efficient response.

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