Overdue Hiker South Colony - Need Information

Threads related to Colorado mountaineering accidents but please keep it civil and respectful. Friends and relatives of fallen climbers will be reading these posts.
Forum rules
Please be respectful when posting - family and friends of fallen climbers might be reading this forum.
User avatar
Terminally_Chill
Posts: 14
Joined: 6/1/2018
14ers:summits40 
13ers:summits17 

Re: Overdue Hiker South Colony - Need Information

Post by Terminally_Chill » Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:44 pm

The Sangres are sacred ground, the energy there is heavy. I bet that guy saw some scary s**t, I sure as hell wouldn't wanna spend that many nights lost out there.

Glad he came back safe. Once again, props to all the SAR and NG groups.
User avatar
JROSKA
Posts: 380
Joined: 8/20/2010
14ers:summits38 
13ers:summits5 
Trip Reports (10)

Re: Overdue Hiker South Colony - Need Information

Post by JROSKA » Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:42 am

DeTour wrote:Let's all learn from this man's mistakes. I can frankly see how even an experienced climber could descend the wrong way in disorienting weather.
My first instinct was to say “how can you descend the wrong side”. But thinking it through, I can definitely envision how I could do that if I were standing on a summit enveloped in a white fog. I don’t use GPS, generally rely on visual landmarks and when that’s taken away, I don’t really have the greatest sense of direction. Unless there’s some distinctive feature to look for right below the summit (like the V Notch at Sneffels), it’s actually very easy to see how I could descend the wrong way if visibility were impaired. And tired as I get after ascending, if I didn’t discover my error until 300-500 feet or more down the peak, I can also relate to the tendency to just keep descending & deal with consequences later, as opposed to re-climbing back to the summit.
nunns
Posts: 1095
Joined: 8/17/2018
14ers:summits41 
13ers:summits4 

Re: Overdue Hiker South Colony - Need Information

Post by nunns » Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:08 pm

JROSKA wrote:
DeTour wrote:Let's all learn from this man's mistakes. I can frankly see how even an experienced climber could descend the wrong way in disorienting weather.
My first instinct was to say “how can you descend the wrong side”. But thinking it through, I can definitely envision how I could do that if I were standing on a summit enveloped in a white fog. I don’t use GPS, generally rely on visual landmarks and when that’s taken away, I don’t really have the greatest sense of direction. Unless there’s some distinctive feature to look for right below the summit (like the V Notch at Sneffels), it’s actually very easy to see how I could descend the wrong way if visibility were impaired. And tired as I get after ascending, if I didn’t discover my error until 300-500 feet or more down the peak, I can also relate to the tendency to just keep descending & deal with consequences later, as opposed to re-climbing back to the summit.
When I climbed Crestone Needle I was admittedly underprepared for it, especially in terms of route finding. I am embarrassed to say that we descended to COTTONWOOD LAKE instead of South Colony Lakes, EVEN THOUGH WE HAD A COMPASS THAT WAS INDICATING TO US WE WERE GOING THE WRONG DIRECTION. The lakes look a lot alike, and it would be very easy to mix them up (especially if you are as bad with route finding as I am). Not sure if this is exactly the situation this person encountered. Glad they were able to get down OK.

Sean Nunn
Raytown MO
Last edited by nunns on Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Thy righteousness is like the great mountains." --Psalms 36:6
User avatar
Monster5
Posts: 1665
Joined: 8/7/2009
14ers:summits58 winter30 
13ers:summits284 winter51 
Trip Reports (27)
Contact:

Re: Overdue Hiker South Colony - Need Information

Post by Monster5 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:19 pm

JROSKA wrote:
DeTour wrote:.... I can frankly see how even an experienced climber could descend the wrong way in disorienting weather.
... I can definitely envision how I could do that if I were standing on a summit enveloped in a white fog. I don’t use GPS, generally rely on visual landmarks and when that’s taken away, I don’t really have the greatest sense of direction. Unless there’s some distinctive feature to look for right below the summit (like the V Notch at Sneffels), it’s actually very easy to see how I could descend the wrong way ...
Guys. These are not good justifications for having inadequate navigational skills and tools.
"The road to alpine climbing is pocked and poorly marked, ending at an unexpectedly closed gate 5 miles from the trailhead." - MP user Beckerich
User avatar
JROSKA
Posts: 380
Joined: 8/20/2010
14ers:summits38 
13ers:summits5 
Trip Reports (10)

Re: Overdue Hiker South Colony - Need Information

Post by JROSKA » Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:50 pm

Monster5 wrote:Guys. These are not good justifications for having inadequate navigational skills and tools.
Not trying to justify anything, just saying that I understand how the mistake of an incorrect descent from a summit can originate.
User avatar
RyanSchilling
Posts: 128
Joined: 1/19/2005
14ers:summits58 
13ers:summits242 
Trip Reports (1)

Re: Overdue Hiker South Colony - Need Information

Post by RyanSchilling » Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:32 pm

nunns wrote:When I climbed Crestone Needle I was admittedly underprepared for it, especially in terms of route finding. I am embarrassed to say that we descended to Willow Lakes instead of South Colony Lakes, EVEN THOUGH WE HAD A COMPASS THAT WAS INDICATING TO US WE WERE GOING THE WRONG DIRECTION. The lakes look a lot alike, and it would be very easy to mix them up (especially if you are as bad with route finding as I am). Not sure if this is exactly the situation this person encountered. Glad they were able to get down OK.

Sean Nunn
Raytown MO
I am legitimately curious how! Did you find some other way down the Needle's north side?

Or maybe you meant Kit Carson?
Vids
Posts: 118
Joined: 1/9/2012
14ers:summits11 
13ers:summits7 

Re: Overdue Hiker South Colony - Need Information

Post by Vids » Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:01 pm

I'll add my $.02 here:

Aside from having a GPS, good navigational skills, map, compass, etc.....a great idea is to have a contingency plan for when you are hopelessly lost. More specifically - before you hike into an area, read a map and understand fool-proof ways to get out, and carry a compass in case you need to follow a bearing. The Sangres are more/less a straight line mountain range running SE to NW, as far as I can see any basin will drop you down to private land and civilization, and every east facing basin near Crestone has a trail heading down that would get you to the Rainbow Trail. North Colony Lakes (where he was found) are only 4.5 miles from many private homes, ranches, etc. No matter which basin you drop into from Crestone, you can head downstream and end up in civilization and there is no reason to be out there for 5 days unless you are physically unable to continue.

I learned this a long time ago when hunting in northern MN, it was an area where everything looked the same. Rolling hills, ponds, pine and birch trees everywhere. Very few distinguishing landmarks. Before you went out, you looked at a map and determined the direction you would head if you got lost. For instance - There is a N/S road one mile from where I'm hunting, if I get lost I keep hiking west until I hit that. Then I know where I am, or eventually someone will drive by that I can hitch a ride from.

This is not meant to be a criticism of the rescued hiker, I'm glad he was found and all is well. I know nothing of his circumstances, and whether he was able to continue hiking. There is also merit in the game plan of staying put and letting people find you, perhaps that was his plan if he didn't know which way to go.

I'm throwing this out there for people to think about, and add another tool to their "toolbox" when they go hiking.
User avatar
Peak200
Posts: 36
Joined: 6/3/2013
14ers:summits45 
13ers:summits82 

Re: Overdue Hiker South Colony - Need Information

Post by Peak200 » Sat Sep 01, 2018 12:57 am

Picture attached of nw col; maybe in the winter
With a lot of snow climbing experience:
With no snow Not happening Glad he survived
With luck though
Attachments
21FEBC4B-12BE-465C-A4AB-BA61E3CF75D6.jpeg
21FEBC4B-12BE-465C-A4AB-BA61E3CF75D6.jpeg (729.23 KiB) Viewed 1827 times
onebyone
Posts: 498
Joined: 7/27/2012
14ers:summits58 ski1 

Re: Overdue Hiker South Colony - Need Information

Post by onebyone » Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:14 pm

IDK guys. Pretty hard to go down the wrong way. When you reach the saddle, you turn left to summit. Coming back down, you turn right. It's not like there are adjacent couloirs like the Needle.

Having said that, if you have a really bad sense of direction and simply not paying attention, I guess it could happen. Well, it did happen, so there's that. lol

Anyway, he's alive and that's great news. Happy he's okay in the end.
User avatar
LURE
Posts: 1204
Joined: 6/28/2011
14ers:summits32 
13ers:summits11 

Re: Overdue Hiker South Colony - Need Information

Post by LURE » Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:00 pm

onebyone wrote:IDK guys. Pretty hard to go down the wrong way. When you reach the saddle, you turn left to summit. Coming back down, you turn right. It's not like there are adjacent couloirs like the Needle.

Having said that, if you have a really bad sense of direction and simply not paying attention, I guess it could happen. Well, it did happen, so there's that. lol

Anyway, he's alive and that's great news. Happy he's okay in the end.
I'd bet in all your time on earth you've screwed up plenty of things far easier to not screw up than getting turned around in the mountains. Reserve your judgement for yourself, and make sure we know so we can make fun of you.
onebyone
Posts: 498
Joined: 7/27/2012
14ers:summits58 ski1 

Re: Overdue Hiker South Colony - Need Information

Post by onebyone » Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:35 pm

LURE wrote:
onebyone wrote:IDK guys. Pretty hard to go down the wrong way. When you reach the saddle, you turn left to summit. Coming back down, you turn right. It's not like there are adjacent couloirs like the Needle.

Having said that, if you have a really bad sense of direction and simply not paying attention, I guess it could happen. Well, it did happen, so there's that. lol

Anyway, he's alive and that's great news. Happy he's okay in the end.
I'd bet in all your time on earth you've screwed up plenty of things far easier to not screw up than getting turned around in the mountains. Reserve your judgement for yourself, and make sure we know so we can make fun of you.
Sure. I can give you some stories so that you can make fun of me. I have a lot of stories. Doesn't change the fact that this guy screwed up bad. So what. He's alive and that's all that counts. I have a feeling that he's prob telling everyone, "I'm an idiot for going down the wrong way." It's not like I'm condemning him to hell or anything. lol. Lighten up man.
nunns
Posts: 1095
Joined: 8/17/2018
14ers:summits41 
13ers:summits4 

Re: Overdue Hiker South Colony - Need Information

Post by nunns » Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:50 pm

RyanSchilling wrote:
nunns wrote:When I climbed Crestone Needle I was admittedly underprepared for it, especially in terms of route finding. I am embarrassed to say that we descended to Willow Lakes instead of South Colony Lakes, EVEN THOUGH WE HAD A COMPASS THAT WAS INDICATING TO US WE WERE GOING THE WRONG DIRECTION. The lakes look a lot alike, and it would be very easy to mix them up (especially if you are as bad with route finding as I am). Not sure if this is exactly the situation this person encountered. Glad they were able to get down OK.

Sean Nunn
Raytown MO
I am legitimately curious how! Did you find some other way down the Needle's north side?

Or maybe you meant Kit Carson?
Again, I will preface with: I am terrible with navigation, and back then I was even worse. Looking at Roach's map for the Crestones now, it must have been Cottonwood Lake (which makes it even more ridiculous since there is only one Cottonwood Lake). After descending the southeast face route to the end of the class 3 section (which ended up being class 4 due to even more poor route finding), we went west instead of east, thereby ending up at Willow Lake instead of South Colony Lakes. Previous post corrected now.

Sean Nunn
Raytown MO
"Thy righteousness is like the great mountains." --Psalms 36:6
Post Reply