4 crucial tips when going backpacking solo
Backpacker Gregg Hein, who spent six days in the Sierra Nevada waiting to be rescued after breaking a leg, listed four crucial tips for going backpacking solo. They are backpacking solo tips are as crucial as water and food.
Hein, 33, was backpacking solo in King’s Canyon National Park in California. On Saturday, July 5, he was descending the 13,600-foot Mount Goddard mountain when he dislodged a boulder that crashed into the back of his right calf, causing a fracture.
He slide down several ice fields, drank melted ice, ate crickets, moths, a few of ants and some water bugs, and thought about losing his leg, and possibly even his life.
Hein had told his father he wouldn’t be home until Monday afternoon. He sdaid the soonest someone should come out and look for him,would be Tuesday as search and re3scue deem someone missing after a day. The search eventually began on Wednesday, the day his father called the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office to report him missing.
Hein had abandoned his backpack on the side of Mount Goddard and taken with him a poncho, pocket knife, cords, whistle and bivvy sack as he crawled to a lower location.
For four days he lay near the edge of a small glacier, icing his leg, which he stabilized with hiking poles wrapped with a belt and cord. On Wednesday, he crawled about a mile toward Davis Lake, hoping his new location would help rescuers find him.
On Thursday, he saw helicopters, but rescuers didn’t spot him.
“Having been flown over multiple times that day, it was kind of wrenching, and not being able to be seen,” he told local reporters. “I’m waving my bivvy sack like a smoke signal trying to get people to notice me. Both the helicopters flew within a 100m of where I was and were not able to find me, and when people are flying over you and you are not noticed is kind of hard”. At around 7:30 p.m. Thursday night, a Park Service helicopter landed to deploy rescuers on foot. The crew finally spotted him.
King’s Canyon National Park
Here are the 4 crucial backing solo tips:
1. Include a signal mirror among his essentials. Signaling rescuers would be far easier than attempting to wave a bivvy sack.
2. Take a GPS transponder devise. NOAA reports that through July 18, there have been 57 people who have been rescued this year thanks to the use of such devices. Hein could have avoided spending six days waiting to be rescued.
3. Make sure to have more medical gear.
4. Apply for a wilderness permit so there is documentation of a proposed route, and make sure loved ones are aware of that route, too.
Of course, most backpacking tips–hiking tips, too–begin with the instruction of never going alone.