Panic the Backcountry killer! What is it?
Panic is the body's built-in alarm system to the threat of danger.
- shallow breathing
- racing heart
- dilated pupils
- sweaty forehead
- hand tremors
In a crisis, these symptoms will develop faster than you can say, "I want my Mommy."
According to Mark Jenkins’ writer for Backpacker Magazine, “There’s a backcountry killer on the loose and, "It is not hypothermia, grizzly bears, or rock fall its panic. And you can prevent it!"
The thing most likely to maim you is living inside your head
We’ve all panicked, right? Turned around on a trail, flipped a kayak, lost a child in the grocery store,
Here is a typical example of the physiology and psychology of how your body and mind work under high stress situations. A must read.
"January 27, 2007. A group of three friends headed up into the Pemigewassett Wilderness of New Hampshire to summit Mt. Lafayette. The strongest of the three, after a hike to the summit, decided he, (let’s call him Bob), would go ahead and they would all meet again at a rendezvous location at tree line later. However, when the slower two men reached the rendezvous point, Bob was nowhere to be found they waited an hour. However, because of the bad weather they dropped down to their car and called for help immediately.”
What's wrong with this picture?
Never ever leave your wingman, or in this case your hiking partner(s), read on.
“The three never hooked back up. Ahead of the other two, he became turned around, lost, and with the weather deteriorating, began bushwhacking his way through thick brush where he lost his tent. He was fully equipped for a night out: a tent, (though he lost it), a minus -30 below sleeping bag, a foam pad, a GPS unit, cell phone, food, and a backpacking stove.”
"He could have been out there a week without a problem," says Rick Wilcox, president of the New Hampshire Mountain Rescue Service.
Why didn't he stay put?
You guessed it, PANIC.
"Bob spent two nights in below freezing temperatures before Search-and-Rescue found him. He was lying in his sleeping bag in a frozen stream.
His sleeping pad was 10 feet away, along with the contents of his backpack. He spent the night out, and then called his friends in the morning.
Despite having a GPS in his backpack, (He did not even get it out.) He could not tell anyone his position. Perhaps because of the wind, he could not get his stove started, so he could not melt water.
Bob eventually decided to sit down and wait to be rescued."
"He lived, but he had frostbite from his neck to his butt," says Wilcox. "It’s a clear case of how bad judgment and panic can combine to create a deadly predicament."
What is the moral of the story?
Don't panic the results are undesirable.
Here is how you can prevent panic, find a great survival school, Lifesong Wilderness Adventures and enroll.
We want to see you in camp not on our roster for Search and Rescue. The life you save may be your own.
Where to start your survival training
First Circle Camp is a great place to start.