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rmncwrtr

Book help needed

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Putting a call out to see if anyone is interested in helping me with research for another romance novel. Hanging out here at cc.com has ended up giving me a book series! Yes, Jake Porter lives even though his avatar is no longer in use.

 

I've been asked me to write a third Mount Hood set Christmas book featuring mountain rescuers. The second book is out now, and this new one will be out next Nov or Dec of 2011. I start writing it next Monday (currently on deadline with another book that's due the 15th) so am a bit behind with my research.

 

The story's focus is on the budding romance, so the climbing stuff is background, but I like to try to make the mountain rescue and climbing stuff as plausible as I can.

 

This book is about a female mountain rescuer so I'd love to connect with any who are out there as well as female alpine climbers to ask a few questions.

 

She's also a paramedic. I've got a couple of contacts there as well as a doc here who helped with the last book that I'll be pming again, but if any paramedic climbers are out there I'd love to talk to you, too.

 

The hero is a climber and firefighter. Any of you fit that description? Not sure if he's a mountain rescuer or thinking about being one or in the training program already. Still figuring that part out. I have a couple PMR contacts I'll be in touch with, but if anyone has recently joined and gone through MR training, I'd love to hear about your experience.

 

I also need to come up with a couple of climbing accidents that my mountain rescuers would respond to. Although I had to have two climbers die to set up the backstory in the first book, I'd rather not kill off anybody else since it's a romance novel and readers want a happy ending. Injuries, even serious ones, are fine though.

 

So far in the first two books I've had an accident on the Reid Headwall, a snowshoer lost who ends up in zigzag canyon, two injured and stuck overnight, a father and two teen-aged sons injured, lost with bad weather hampering the search. I have a snowboarding camp/school in the series and would love to have those teens end up needing rescue somehow. So if anyone knows of any spots on Hood that would be good to place any accidents or scenarios I might want to play around with, please let me know.

 

There will be more questions once I start writing, but this will get me going.

 

PM or post here. Whatever is easiest for you!

 

Thanks,

Melissa

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Google pulls up a few incidents that may provide ideas. What I don't see right away was a case where a spring boarder rode into a crevasse and survived - and it was caught on video. Anyone?

 

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/03/backcounty_snowboarder_dies_at.html

 

Looks like the Mooz character here has a video loop that might fit with your book:

 

http://www.snowboardingforum.com/back-country-travel/16393-tr-another-mt-hood-climb.html

 

http://www.traditionalmountaineering.org/Report_Hood_Bergschrund.htm

 

 

 

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Thanks for the links, Rad. Especially the TR!!!! :kisss: The book is set at Christmas time. It'll start sometime around or after Thanksgiving and run to perhaps New Years. Still figuring that all out.

 

Are crevasses open all year round? Also is there a place up there where you really can't afford to fall because it would mean a long fall/slide down?

 

Okay after reading the TR, I'm thinking something like this. A group of teen boarders from the snowboard high school (think smaller more intimate Hood version of SMS in Vermont but bigger than what Wendells offers.) These are top riders for their ages. They go somewhere up above Palmer where they really shouldn't be in December. But they think it's okay because it's a bluebird day, and they're young, talented and invincible. They also don't have the right gear for that time of year. It's a great time until one is seriously injured somehow. Weather moves in/changes. They're now all stuck. Would something like that be possible?

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Disclaimor: the highest on Hood I've been is Timberline for the HTC. But it's definitely possible to get stuck in November or December. Avalanches are certainly possible, as are big storms, and if snow is low or late it may be possible to fall into a crevasse or bergshrund. Others will be more knowledgeable.

 

Plenty of accident, signaling, and rescue data and anecdotes here too: http://www.mountaineers.org/nwmj/10/101_Rescue.html

 

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At Outdoor Emergency Care training you have to act out proper procedure when you encounter someone who looks like they need help. One thing you always run into (you're being tested on) is a, "victim," who says, "Oh I'm fine," when in reality they need some help.

 

Problems with altitude are possible high on Hood. Frostbite, Being diabetic and forgetting to inject yourself...

 

Maybe none of that works with your story but...

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Why don't you have a crevasse rescue, but the victim is trapped WAY down in a very tight spot (hurt too), saw a spot on TV about a fellow who was trapped down in NZ and eventually expired before they got him out, very riveting made my stomach turn. You'd have the tension of the crevasse maybe claiming your hero too.

 

As far as the budding romance make sure they are interrupted by partners a few times (build anticipation and uncertainty), certainly that is VERY realistic!

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Thanks Feck and Coldfinger. All ideas and links welcome. You never know where they'll lead!

 

I'm in a bit of a panic mode trying to finish the other manuscript this week so just letting things percolate right now on this book. Once that's off I'll be able to start digging deeper into suggestions.

 

But please keep 'em coming. Thanks!

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Are crevasses open all year round?

Most are bridged over my mid-winter, but the danger of falling through a snow-bridge is very real. Climbers on foot are more likely to fall through than a snowboarder or skier whose weight is distributed over a larger area. Even when crevasses are open, you can fall in if you are standing too near the edge and the edge breaks off. The same goes for cornices. Cornices are very dangerous, especially after recent storms, and late in the season when they are melting and collapsing.

 

is there a place up there where you really can't afford to fall because it would mean a long fall/slide down?

Of course. Every route to the summit has a crux that can be fatal. The standard south route is dangerous for that reason (except in winter and early spring) when the Hogback bergschrund is open. More than a few have slipped in the Pearly Gates and ended up going into the Bergschrund, some with fatal consequences. A common mistake here is to rope up when it's icy w/o placing pro, meaning that if someone slips they will likely take their friends along with them.

 

Two other popular routes that are sometimes skied/snowboarded on the descent are the Sunshine route and Cooper Spur. These are no-fall zones. A few years ago a snowboarder from Argentina tried to descend the Cooper Spur route and fell and went for a long fatal slide.

 

I'm thinking something like this. A group of teen boarders from the snowboard high school ... They go somewhere up above Palmer where they really shouldn't be in December... Weather moves in/changes. They're now all stuck. Would something like that be possible?

 

Of course. (If you aren't aware of the OES disaster Google it) I manage a high school snowboard team and I can tell you right now the biggest problem with high school snowboarders is that they take that "NO FEAR" logo seriously. They have no fear because they aren't educated. Skiing/riding at resorts lulls them into a sense of safety that is not present in the backcountry. Specifically I am referring to three things: avalanche danger, no-fall zones, and weather.

 

The courts have established that resorts are liable for avalanche injury so resorts take avalanche control seriously. However, avalanche control takes place early in the wee hours of the morning before skiers/snowboarders arrive and most just have no clue how much work has been done to make the area safe for them. Any danger is out of sight and out of mind. Often, especially after a big powder dump, it is impossible to make it safe so unsafe areas are roped off and closed by ski patrol. Those are days when you might have some riders head for the backcountry, eager to shred pow, but oblivious to the avy danger. A more likely scenario is simply ducking the rope and going into unsafe terrain. A very common example on Mt. Hood is a gully with a snow-covered creek at the bottom.

 

Skiing/riding at resorts also desensitize you to no-fall zones. Until recently, there were no no-fall zones at resorts. Consequently, skiers/snowboarders don't develop a fear of falling. Sure, they may be on a steep icy slope and start to slide, but after a few seconds they reach a nice safe runout and slide to a stop. (This is starting to change a bit as areas are acquiescing to the demand for more side-country experiences.) In the real world (backcountry) there are often cliffs, crevasses, or rocks to stop your slide. Expert skiers and snowboarders have died on Hood after making just one small slip. You can't do that in a no-fall zone.

 

Resorts also desensitize you to weather. Unless the wind is blowing so hard as to disrupt the operation of ski lifts, resorts stay open through just about any weather, including weather that would have me digging frantically for shelter if I was in the backcountry. The same weather in one scenario is uncomfortable and annoying, and can be remedied by a ten minute ski down a sheltered run to a warm lodge. In the other scenario it can be deadly.

 

The most common scenarios where snowboarders get in trouble on Mt. Hood is starting the day off at a resort, going out of bounds, and then descending below the lift and getting lost. This usually results in them spending a very cold night.

 

Another potentially deadly trap is falling into a treewell.

 

Most skiers and boarders get into trouble after they have left a ski area boundary, and then head into backcountry. This is true simply because few initiate trips that don't begin with riding a lift. It's just too much work for most. Consequently there are more snowboarders and skiers getting in trouble after going out of bounds than there are from something gone awry while climbing Mt. Hood on a purely backcountry outing.

 

The scenario you envisioned could easily happen, however, and many boarders do go up above Palmer when the weather is good. This is mostly true in spring and summer. A sudden storm can put them in a whiteout and result in them going down into White River Canyon (where they can encounter open crevasses) or, more likely, Zig Zag Canyon. If unstable weather moves in and high wind ensues, then everyone could end up being holed up in a snow cave for days. Without sleeping bags and food and fuel, this could turn out really bad.

Edited by pcg

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My climbing partners on this trip are both docs.

http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/802146/TR_tieton_royal_columns_and_th#Post802146

 

Fletch, in addition to being a Doc, is also in Tacoma Mountain Rescue. He is the guy they lower out of the helicopter. I don't think he hangs out on this board...or rarely. I could put you in contact with him...

I know several others from Tacoma Mountain rescue as well, a couple of them are women. They all hang out at the edgeworksclimbing.com gym in Tacoma.

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Oh and fer Christ's sake make sure the female love interest is wavering between our hero (who is pulling her out of her slumber) and a much more financially secure and somewhat cute but somewhat boring dude (hey it seemed to work in those stupid Twilight books and movies).

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Make all the protagonists vampires. They are very hot right now.

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Have her choose between good-hearted but plain Jake Porter and brooding, mysterious Iain Morris. Then have her discover IM's secret life as a shiny-hatted internet troll. Hilarity ensues.

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Sorry G-spotter, I killed off Iain in the first book.

 

markw - will be in touch with you next week.

 

pcg - thanks so much! I will have a couple more specific questions, especially about the teen snowboarders for you next week if you don't mind.

 

Coldfinger - that's close to the book I'm finishing up right now.

 

DPS - Vampires did make Stephanie Meyers a boatload of money, but who would you rather bivy with in the freezing cold? An equally freezing cold piece of sparkling marble with a stalking complex or a 100+ degree shifter who goes from having killer six pack abs to warm, soft fur? Team Jacob all the way. Plus he could carry all the heavy stuff in his pack.

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Sweet, PM me when you're ready to send me a new pair of Quark tools. Your hero should have some connection to Wyoming, but not Jackson, make him a pipe fitter or roughneck who left when his heart was crushed.

 

PS I'd settle for a bottle of Bourbon.

 

PPS Let me know if you need help with the, ahem, dialogue.

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rmncwrtr

 

May could join a mountain rescue group yourself, true insider's

perspective that way.

 

 

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rmncwrtr

 

May could join a mountain rescue group yourself, true insider's

perspective that way.

 

 

DanO - I learned to rock climb researching the first book thanks to John Frieh. Would love to try alpine one of these days. If I had the climbing skill or the time to be an associate member, I would sign up. Not for an insider's perspective, but because I think what PMR and other groups do is pretty amazing or I would have never written that first book!

 

Melissa

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Melissa--

 

Sandy Headwall is a less-traveled route on the west side of hood that some ski/board down after ascending. A fall here can result in a long slide. Iain can offer some insights into this.

 

The scenario you describe involving the stuck snowboarders is similar to what happened with a group of students from the Oregon Episcopal School back in the 80s (I may have the date wrong). One of the worst "accidents" on hood ever.

 

You could have your snowboarders leaving the top of the Palmer and booting over towards Illumination rock for a long ride down, get socked in by poor visibility and go for it anyway (no compass or GPS), only to make the fatal flaw of following the fall line down over the Mississippi headwall. This, in fact, does happen on Hood.

 

Good luck!

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if you where snowboarding above palmer and it got white out, you followed the fall line, then you would end up in the zigzag glacier. which is crevassed and some big drops too!

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You could be a group of n00bs that doesnt understand that 80% PoP in winter translates to nuking, get lost, fall down a slope most people ski, huddle with your dog to stay warm while you wait for PMR to guide you the 45 minutes back to the parking lot, go on the Ellen show and drink beers at the Lucky Lab while others pick up your shit off the mountain!

 

But that doesnt sound probable at all!

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or you could be skiing/boarding at Meadows early season, Heather Canyon closed, not open yet. Yet you see that the conditions are perfect untracked pow into Heather, so last run of the day you duck the ropes and drop in and just tear it up a perfect run to the bottom only to find that what in later season is a ski out is miles of untracked and a series of 7 stream crossings, and you don't have a headlamp and no one knows where you are, and daylight is fading, so your only choice is Go Dog GO!....who would do that I don't know... :blush:

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Thanks all! I'm starting to research this week so have lots of things to look at.

 

Another question. I had an idea and it involves a snowcave. Is building a snowcave something you'd make a specific trip up the hill to learn how to do and maybe ask someone to show you how to build one or is it something you just pick up how to do when you're out and one is needed?

 

Thx!

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Kinda simple, but the dyi types go nuts. You just dig, leave an opening so you don't die from suffocation or Carbon Monoxide from a stove.

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I've gone out to practice snowcave building as a fun activity when the weather was too crappy to do other things. That and some avalanche transceiver practice makes for a fun day. I think we did it once in the boyscouts too.

 

A snowcave isn't complicated, but making a comfy and warm one where you stay dry and don't suffocate does involve a tad more than just digging a hole. Freedom of the Hills has a section on it I think. I don't think it's uncommon to practice with a friend, even if it's not an expert skill you need to be taught.

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