A retired local (SFO Bay area) broadcaster who retired to that area called into a Bay area radio station yesterday. They were asking him questions about the road and the conditions. He explained that even the locals up there have a tough time finding their way on that road in those conditions. He also thought that the guy had an incorrect map, although I wasn't fully listening to this part of the discussion.
The area in question is not that isolated in the summer. In winter there is no snow removal. There is a sign posted that says :No snow removal beyond this point.
Mr Kim made several mistakes that pretty wll set him up for failure.
1. Left his planned route and did not notify anyone. That alone would have made the difference in locateing where they where. they had two cell phones, and could have called back home, to tell them they were trying a new route.
2. Sat for a week, before deciding to leave the car and go for help.
3. Walked in exactly the opposite direction that he should have: He walked further into the wilderness, seeking what he thought was a small setelement close to their location. He was wrong. Walking back down the road they came in on, would have broght him to help in 15 miles, Leaving at first light would have had him fresh, rested, and still at his full strength.
4. He left the road, and dropped into a drainage that was so steep, you could stand erect, and touch the ground at shoulder level without stooping.
5. He got wet, and began leaving clothing behind. Getting wet, under survival conditions, speeds the rapidity of hypothermia by 10-fold. Taking off clothing is almost always a sign of impending demise.
6. The bears were tracking him. He was stumbling around in thick forest, so he made sounds like an impared animal. that attracts predators.
Note that there where many searchers out in the exact same environment, including those who slept the night on the trail, and they didn't lose a soul.
The wife is the real hero of this situation.
She stayed in the car only up till the set deadline ("I'll be back tomorrow").
She breast fed BOTH kids to extend her resources.
She took an umbrella with her to make her appear larger to overhead rescuers. Easily carried, multiple adaptive uses.
She was walking back down the road they came up (the correct direction).
Lessons to be learned:
1. The woods are NOT happy to see you, Bambi, Thumper and Flower are not going to sing you songs. The bear WILL eat you. You can die up here.
2. Carry what you need to live, not just survive.
3. TELL someone when you change your plans, especially route.
4. The world ISN"T going to save you from your own stupidity. Putting family members at risk only makes that stupidity worse. Make a constantly evolving plan to extricate yourself from what ever situation you are in.
I've driven that road twice in the summer; mostly one lane , a lot of tight turns, you travel a lot of mile on the ground with-out making much distance as the crow flies. Also it's not very steep from the side they went up so the trouble kind of sneaks up on you.
Actually Kim and family had gotten off the main road and went up a side road for several miles before getting stuck. The local rescurers will not say Kim did anything wrong, they consider his actions heroic. Theve said that after a week, they couldn't say they wouldn't have tried to do the same thing.
He was within a mile of a resort that could of helped him when he passed away.
Now we have three climbers from out of state lost on Mt Hood; and more storms coming in tonight.
Reference reply #6. Kim did what he thought he had to do to save his family. Sitting at a computer keyboard second guessing his actions is rather despicable and very unkind. I could use stronger words, but it would not bring Kim back to life.
Appreciate the comment Wendy. I strongly suggest learning from this man's actions.
I worked SAR for years, and pulled people out of the most idiotic situations, imaginable. in fact, we constantly ran into situations we NEVER imagined.
When not RVing, I spend most of my time in the woods, winter or summer. I've paid my dues, and I earned the ability to critique Mr Kim's failure to survive.
I taught mountain rescue, and survival, and also taught EMT's.
If I take a hard look at situatons like this it is from long years of having to deal witht he reality of how people get them selves in trouble, and then expect us to get them out.
The climbers in Mt Hood used a very risky technique: climb lite, climb fast. minimal equipment, and time, which does not allow for any wiggle room when something happens to monkey wrench everything. One guy got hurt, so they could not leave someone with him, they buried him, and two climbed together into the teeth of a very bad storm, with 70 mile an hour winds.
I have heard the type of bragadaccio that goes on before a climb: "We'll travel lite, up stay overnight, and get back in the morning, Miller time by 2:30, On the road by 5." Lots of yeahs, and high fives all around, and off they go. three days alter, my team has to go up to drag them out.
I'm glad I am retired, and don't have to do that anymore.