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missing skier at alpental

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Yet more misinformation in the article....we know Alpental has no "rugged backcountry" on the W side.

 

Sure it does.

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No it doesn't. Denny Mountain, or the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, may have some rugged backcountry to the west, but Alpental ski area has some backcountry to the north.

 

The article implies that the ski area has backcountry to the west, and it doesn't.

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Even experienced people make mistakes. We are all human.

 

It is only a mistake/accident if things turn out negatively.

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Here's the thing, Eddie. I think the devil's really in the details when reporting on a story like this. To call the west side of Denny Mountain the "Alpental Backcountry" is going to mislead readers. Sure, it's backcountry, and sure, people ski over on the west side of the mountain, but this guy took a wrong turn in bad light and ended up way the hell where he shouldn't be. To further confuse matters, many ski areas (like Alpental) have their own backcountry. The one with the gates, and the blasting, and the patrols, and the nice comfy way back to the car and the base area.

 

So, to me, to say he was skiing in the Alpental backcountry, on the west side of Denny mountain, well, I think it's misleading. Like maybe that he meant to go over there.

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...- When he got to Hemlock pass (or nearby) he didn't hear the highway and head down in that direction. Instead he went the other direction (100% wrong direction)...

 

You cannot hear I-90 in the winter up there. I don't know about the summer. In fact I was on top of Low Mountain the day before he got lost, which is right next to Tuscohatchie Lake and I did not here I-90 although I could see it.

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Traversing Left off of Upper International is uncontrolled, rugged, out-of-bounds terrain. How is this misleading? I doubt calling any backcountry terrain (i.e. not part of the ski area) "Alpental backcountry" is going to confuse anyone, because we're already talking about backcountry terrain near Alpental.

Edited by E-rock

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Here's the thing, Eddie. I think the devil's really in the details when reporting on a story like this. To call the west side of Denny Mountain the "Alpental Backcountry" is going to mislead readers. Sure, it's backcountry, and sure, people ski over on the west side of the mountain, but this guy took a wrong turn in bad light and ended up way the hell where he shouldn't be. To further confuse matters, many ski areas (like Alpental) have their own backcountry. The one with the gates, and the blasting, and the patrols, and the nice comfy way back to the car and the base area.

 

So, to me, to say he was skiing in the Alpental backcountry, on the west side of Denny mountain, well, I think it's misleading. Like maybe that he meant to go over there.

 

Absolutely the devil is in the details. Just because a run has a name doesn't mean it's "in area". Accessing the Great Scott Traverse to get up-valley, you have to go through a gate which allows you to LEAVE the ski area boundary without losing your lift priviledges. That's all a gate means. No control work is done in the backcountry, nor are there patrollers stationed out there. If the backcountry is closed to in-area skiers, I can still skin up there and go skiing. I understand what you're saying about what is commonly referred to as the ski area's "backcountry", but it's that way simply because of the amount of traffic based on the ease of return to the lifts. Is it lift served backcountry? Sure...but so is the west side if I choose to slap some skins on and walk all the way back around.

 

Is there a difference between a "ski area's backcountry" and "real backcountry"? The risks are all the same, except that you get a ton more traffic at one simply based on geography. If it's a geographical issue...well whatever, but if it's because you think an area's backcountry is safer - well it's not...not really at least.

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Anyway, the story referred to it as "the rugged backcountry west of Alpental". Which pretty much describes it exactly.

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Well, Eddie, I think it's confusing because of the "inbounds backcountry" thing. I didn't know that they didn't blast the inbounds Alpental BC, as I'm simply not a strong enuf skier to go out there. I have skied in Crystal's BC many times and lots of that is blasted and is patrolled. Maybe not as much as Lucky Shot, but more than not at all. A lot of people from the alpine skier background get confused about that sort of thing. Backcountry versus backcountry.

 

In the case of this Dan W. guy, I got an email from my mom, she was all "how dare this guy take those kinds of risks and go unprepared into the ALW blah blah blah" and I realized once again that a lot of people got the (probably) mistaken idea that this guy had just gone over there all on his own for fun.

 

Anyway, who cares. rolleyes.gif I just re-read the article, and maybe it's not all the confusing.

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It's good to see more of the details coming out.

 

the articl states "One time, Witkowski said, he was so tired, he just laid down next to a creek, so he could lean over into the water and drink. He didn't eat snow because he knew it would dehydrate him."

 

Someone please learn me a little bit. how can eating snow dehydrate you?

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Anyway, the story referred to it as "the rugged backcountry west of Alpental". Which pretty much describes it exactly.

 

Like Phil said:

(quote from paper):Witkowski disappeared New Year's Eve while skiing solo in the rugged backcountry WEST of Alpental. Search crews found him Sunday afternoon, miles from where he started, near Tuscohatchie Lake.

 

Witkowski said he had skied the backcountry NEAR Alpental many times before. But on New Year's Eve, he took an unfamiliar route and became completely lost.

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...Someone please learn me a little bit. how can eating snow dehydrate you?

 

I think it has something to do with your body expending precious energy to melt the snow so that you can "drink" it. And we all know that it takes many times more cups of snow to make a cup of water. A lot of energy can be wasted melting this stuff, for not much return, leading to dehydration.

 

Mebbe one of board's medical professionals will speak up on this one...

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At Crystal they control within their ski area boundary. The 'backcountry' you refer to is actually a gate accessed part of the inbounds area called North and South Country. Just because it's ungroomed doesn't make it backcountry - you're still in the area. Outside of the ski area boundary, no control or patrol work is done.

 

At Alpental you are actually considered "out of bounds" if you go past the backcountry gate - you have officially left the ski area. There's technically no "inbounds backcountry" there, unless you're counting an ungrooomed slope.

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So Eddie, you can see how it would be easy to be confused.

 

Anyway, it's all moot now. They ran a short interview with the guy on the news that sure makes it look like he was being a dumbass. Not a lot of details there, but enough. rolleyes.gif

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I can see how it could contribute to hypothermia, but dehydration doesn't make sense to me.

 

I just did some googling on dehydration and eating snow, and the references that come back talk about just what I already said, i.e., using up body heat/energy. From that, I would conclude that eating snow in lieu of drinking water could lead to excessive expenditure of body heat/energy to warm the snow to liquid, which in turn could lower body core temp, leading to hypothermia.

 

Once hypothermic, the tendency towards lethargy could lead one to not drink enough anymore. So you've arrived at dehydration, indirectly, by eating snow. QED

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This topic as fascinating for one reason only: He survived for 4 days without food or water in the wilderness in winter.

 

All of this other bullshit is just that. Bullshit.

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I can see how it could contribute to hypothermia, but dehydration doesn't make sense to me.

 

I just did some googling on dehydration and eating snow, and the references that come back talk about just what I already said, i.e., using up body heat/energy. From that, I would conclude that eating snow in lieu of drinking water could lead to excessive expenditure of body heat/energy to warm the snow to liquid, which in turn could lower body core temp, leading to hypothermia.

 

I think if you look at how we produce body heat through metabolism, you may well find that water is used in that process. If by eating snow to drink water you have to use up X number of calories to melt the snow, and if you in fact use more water processing X number of calories, you would have a net loss. It has been 25 years since I read anything about biochemistry, so at this point I am just making this up, but I bet therein lies your answer.

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i could make up some other bullshit to refute your bullshit but since you just made it up why bother?

 

eating snow does not cause dehydration. it cools you down is all. being cold does not "cause" dehydration. try it some time and see.

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Why don't you try spending four days out in 14 dregrees temps and only consume snow then Dru and see what happens. I'll bet you $100 that you will be dehydrated, especially if you are on the move. You'll be begging for an IV!

 

Eating snow may not directly link to dehydration, but if you are moving, expending energy (sweat) wearing heavy ski clothes than yes, you will get dehydrated after four days of consuming nothing else. The amount of water that you get from snow, especially dry snow, is not enough to balance out the amount of water you lose through sweat and evaporation. This may not be detrimental for a short period of time, but try doing that for as long as this guy did and tell me what color your piss is when you get out.

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ieating snow does not cause dehydration. it cools you down is all. being cold does not "cause" dehydration. try it some time and see.

 

The question is, "does it consume water for you to generate body heat?". It looks to me as if you are arguing for the sake of argument. If you want to refute my speculation, hit the books.

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eating snow to melt it is is demonstrably more efficient than putting snow in your empty nalgene and attempting to melt it through body heat. if melting snow in a nalgene under your armpit doesnt dehydrate you (it doesn't) then eating snow won't either. simple thermodynamics.

 

this "you have to use water to make water" speculation is nothing but piffle manufactured in an attempt to justify an erroneous urban myth/old wives tale. i am telling you you are wrong. try and find some solid data to back up your speculation if you honestly think you aren't. but i will tell you now you are barking up the wrong tree.

 

in the absence of a source of liquid water - best thing the guy (or anyone lost) could have done was eat snow. as long as it wasn't yellow...

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I would think any water would help, frozen or not. Surely just having it in your mouth melting would give some benefit to hydrating yourself. Esp. since hydration is so closely linked to hypothermia. I'm sure I would start sucking on snow in desperation (but he seemed to find some running water)

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