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Man survives two weeks trapped in snow-covered car!

Daryl Blake Jane knew he was in trouble when his Jeep Cherokee became snowbound
Uncle describes man's survival

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. -- Daryl Blake Jane knew he was in trouble when his Jeep Cherokee became snowbound on a remote U.S. Forest Service road west of Mount Adams.

Jane, 37, rationed his small supply of water, rice cakes and banana chips and ran the engine for just seven minutes a day, enough to defrost the vehicle. He kept the snow from piling up on the vehicle and spent a lot of time meditating in his sleeping bag. When he ran out
of food and water, he drank from puddles.

On Saturday, after being stranded for nearly two weeks and writing goodbye messages to friends and relatives, he was found by a snowmobile-aided search party and was rescued without even the loss of any fingers or toes to frostbite.

"Thankfully, he persevered," said Tim Wilkins, Jane's uncle and fellow resident of this island in Puget Sound west of Seattle. "He was very methodical. He knew exactly what to do to survive."

On Tuesday, with Jane still too exhausted to be interviewed, Wilkins described his nephew's ordeal to the Kitsap Sun.

Jane left on Nov. 18 to attend a "spiritual gathering" in Trout Lake, planning to return the next day to watch football with family.

When he didn't return and failed to appear for work two days later, a Monday, Wilkins went to authorities, but the investigation was slot to get started.

"We had nothing to prove where he was," Wilkins said.

The family obtained a list of about 30 people who attended the gathering, but none recalled seeing Jane, and an initial search around Trout lake proved fruitless.

Credit card receipts showed Jane had purchased a drum in Tacoma the day he left the island, apparently to use in a drum circle at the gathering, then bought groceries in Morton that afternoon.

That meant he was headed south toward Trout Lake through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, and by Nov. 30 Wilkins said relatives had a "feeling" he was on Forest Road 23.

He said sheriff's deputies said the road already had been searched, but relatives were dubious and enlisted the aid of Jim Meslow of Packwood, who heads a snowmobile team called the "Drift Skippers."

On Saturday, two weeks after Jane headed for Trout Lake, they forged their way through snow as deep as seven feet and many downed trees to find Jane, exhausted and hungry but still alive, in his vehicle 33 miles along the lonely 57-mile road.

"No one could really believe it," Wilkins said. "I don't think anyone's ever lasted in freezing temperatures that long."

The family gained some important lessons from the experience, he said.

"We learned to appreciate every day and make the most we can out of every day," he said, "and also always let people know where you're going and the route you're going."
Information from: Kitsap Sun,


What can be learned from this current event?

The primary purpose of these TraditionalMountaineering experience reports (and the American Alpine Club's Annual Report's of Accidents in North American Mountaineering) is to aid in the prevention of accidents.

We have not had an opportunity to interview any of the individuals involved in this event. Any preliminary observations we make below are based on news reports, text books relating to safe back country travel and the experiences of others who have been lost in deep snow. Some survived; some did not. Some survived with the loss of feet and fingers.

Daryl Jane new exactly where he was when he became stranded on a remote Forest Service Road near Mt. Adams. He was in his vehicle 33 miles along the lonely 57-mile road. He decided to stay with his car which contained a sleeping bag and warm dry clothing. He had water and food in the SUV to keep hydrated and fueled with simple carbohydrates (candy and energy bars). He was dry. He had insulation and an intermittent heat source. He kept his SUV visible from the air by brushing the snow from the bright blue roof of the Jeep Cherokee. He knew friends knew where he had been and that they would call 911 when he did not return to home and work.

If your way to self rescue is not clear and feasible, it is always best to stay in one place and mark the location. If you begin to get cold, keep exercising to maintain body heat generated from use of large muscles and seek shelter from wind. Eat and drink to enlist heat producing bodily processes and the blood thin and freely circulating.

The so called "Ten Essentials" for each person are easily carried in an automobile. Read more about the  Ten Essential Systems. Jane had food and water, sleeping bag, warm clothing and reading material!

It is important to keep your emergency cell phone off and to protect the batteries from cold. At this time, I do not know whether Daryl Jane had a cell phone.

Daryl Jane had not left a specific Responsible Person with the understanding that the person should call 911 with specific information if he did not return at the expected time. The first Search and Rescue call out was not made for several days after he did not report to work according news stories. Read the Basic Responsibilities.

We are glad Daryl Jane did not know that a man had died of starvation after 53 days stranded in his car in deep snow in the coastal wilderness of Oregon a few years before. We are glad that he had a friend and family who would "not take no for an answer":

"He said sheriff's deputies said the road already had been searched, but relatives were dubious and enlisted the aid of Jim Meslow of Packwood, who heads a snowmobile team called the "Drift Skippers."

On Saturday, two weeks after Jane headed for Trout Lake, they forged their way through snow as deep as seven feet and many downed trees to find Jane, exhausted and hungry but still alive, in his vehicle 33 miles along the lonely 57-mile road."

Hypothermia was avoided by this young man. Hypothermia causes an insidious  loss of mental and physical ability. Hypothermia can be avoided by using simple information, training, proper gear, and knowledge gained through the experiences of others. Read now about Hypothermia.

Note: There are striking similarities between the stranding of Daryl Jane and the tragic story of the Kim Family visiting Oregon from San Francisco. The Kims were found after days of delays by Oregon officials,  by private searchers hired by their family. Unfortunately, the Kims used up their gasoline in the first few days. They might have been able to drive out after the light coastal snows had melted. Unfortunately, James Kim elected to hike out for help and followed the "old and discredited recommendation that you walk down a stream to find help". He died alone from wet clothing induced hypothermia in a frigid box canyon. The official Oregon response to the Kim family tragedy is under investigation by Oregon's Governor Kulongoski. --Webmeister Speik


A suggested minimum standard news advisory for all backcountry travelers

"We would like to take this opportunity to ask our visitors to the backcountry of Deschutes County to plan for the unexpected.  Each person should dress for the forecast weather and take minimum extra clothing protection from a drop in temperature and possible rain or snow storm or an unexpected cold wet night out, insulation from the wet ground or snow, high carbohydrate snacks, two quarts of water or Gatorade, a map and compass and optional inexpensive GPS and the skills to use them, and a charged cell phone and inexpensive walkie-talkie radios. Carry the traditional personal "Ten Essentials" in a day pack sized for the season and the forecast weather.

Visitors are reminded to tell a Responsible Person where they are going, where they plan to park, when they will be back and to make sure that person understands that they are relied upon to call 911 at a certain time if the backcountry traveler has not returned. If you become lost or stranded, mark your location and stay still or move around your marked location to stay warm. Do not try to find your way until you are exhausted, or worse yet - wet. Wait for rescuers.



"To provide information and instruction about world-wide basic to advanced alpine mountain climbing safety skills and gear, on and off trail hiking, scrambling and light and fast Leave No Trace backpacking techniques based on the foundation of an appreciation for the Stewardship of the Land, all illustrated through photographs and accounts of actual shared mountaineering adventures."

TraditionalMountaineering is founded on the premise that "He who knows naught, knows not that he knows naught", that exploring the hills and summitting peaks have dangers that are hidden to the un-informed and that these inherent risks can be in part, identified and mitigated by mentoring: information, training, wonderful gear, and knowledge gained through the experiences of others.

The value of TraditionalMountaineering to our Friends and Subscribers is the selectivity of the information we provide, and its relevance to introducing folks to informed hiking on the trail, exploring off the trail, mountain travel and Leave-no-Trace light-weight bivy and backpacking, technical travel over steep snow, rock and ice, technical glacier travel and a little technical rock climbing on the way to the summit. Whatever your capabilities and interests, there is a place for everyone in traditional alpine mountaineering.




Mountain climbing has inherent dangers that can, only in part, be mitigated


Read more . . .
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  About Alpine Mountaineering:
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  Basic Responsibilities       Cuatro Responsabiliades Basicas de Quienes Salen al Campo
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