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22 августа, 11:21282

She Survived 36 Hours Lost on a Canyon Trail Run

Hailstorms, no water, and a dying cell phone meant Dawn Rohde was in serious trouble. Following these tips helped her stay calm and get out.

Dawn Rohde, a runner since high school, logs miles two or three times a week on the mountain trails near her home in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. When she went out for a morning run on the Fourth of July in nearby Little Cottonwood Canyon, she planned to be back after three or four hours—in plenty of time to watch her neighbors shoot off fireworks that evening.

Instead, Rohde, who just turned 42, spent the night on a ledge next to a river, covered in a thin thermal space blanket, lost in the Utah canyon.

She’d started off on a trail she knew well—Red Pine Lake—but found it crowded with other hikers and runners that holiday morning. 

When she spotted another runner turning off to the nearby Maybird Gulch Trail, a route she’d long wanted to explore, she followed him. “It was more secluded. Red Pine was so overpopulated,” she told Runner’s World afterward. “Plus, it was like, been there, done that.”

Soon, though, she couldn’t quite keep up with the other runner’s pace. She followed his foot tracks in the snow to a lake, then lost them. Eventually, she realized she didn’t know where she was or how to get back.

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Nearly every runner who logs time off-road becomes lost or disoriented at some point, said Liza Howard, an elite trail and ultrarunner, coach for Sharman Ultra, and a wilderness medical instructor at the National Outdoor Leadership School.

According to statistics in Lost Person Behavior—an app used by first responders to better understand who they’re rescuing—about 59 percent of runners who require assistance are lost. Another 36 percent are overdue. “That means darkness falls and they’re stuck out there,” says Andrew Herrington, who leads search and rescue teams for the National Park Service through a non-profit called Team BUSAR and teaches survival courses through Big Pig Outdoors

Fortunately, 95 percent of them are successfully found within 24 hours. Rohde needed a bit longer: Helicopters rescued her around 3:30 p.m. the next day—nearly 36 hours after she’d departed—across the river from a campground. She was sunburned and tired, but uninjured.

Rhode’s ordeal, while frightening, serves up an important point for runners, especially those who tend to hit the trails by themselves. Some preparation before you head out and smart decision making mid-run can reduce your odds of veering too far off your path, Howard and Herrington said—and boost the chances that your story, like Rohde’s, will have a happy ending. Here’s what you need to know.

Before Your Run

Educate yourself.

Most people who trail run don’t come from a background in something like mountaineering, where principles of navigation and wayfinding are more familiar and ingrained, Howard said. If you’re new to the sport, consider taking a course in navigation, survival, or wilderness medicine to learn the basics. 

Also do some homework on your surroundings. Besides your route, consider things like the weather conditions you’re likely to face and the wildlife you may encounter, Herrington said. After all, the way to handle an attack by a grizzly bear—playing dead—is the opposite of what you should do if you’re besieged by a black bear (try to run away or fight back). Being able to ID it correctly could save your life.

Print a map.

This is one thing Rohde said she’ll do differently next time. From chatting with the runner she followed off her initial path, she knew he had a trail map. Rohde had an app she tried to use, but hadn’t downloaded maps for viewing offline, and couldn’t access them on the mountain.

Howard recommends toting along a paper map, too, so “you don’t have to rely on something that has a battery.” Take one even if you’re thoroughly familiar with the area. You never know when you might encounter someone else who’s lost or hurt and need to find an alternate route.

Communicate your plans (and consider your contacts).

Ideally, you’d leave a detailed plan including your route, the amount of time you plan to be gone, and other pertinent details with one or two people who care about when you return, Herrington said. His website offers a template to fill out and share.

Practically speaking, not every trail runner may go into this much detail for a shorter venture. But her biggest lesson to others, Rohde said, is to tell someone where you’re going. She talked with her husband David about her planned route—even calling him when she’d changed course—but when she texted later that she was truly lost, he never received it. (When police tried to call her after David reported her missing, her battery was too low to answer.)

Think through the best person to contact if you do lose your way—perhaps it’s a running buddy who knows the trails rather than a family member who’s more likely to freak out, Howard said. And consult the policy of the park you’re in regarding what to do in an emergency. Some prefer you to call the ranger station, while others suggest dialing 911; that information may be posted online or in the park, or you can ask a ranger in person, Howard said.

Pack wisely.

You’re likely traveling light, but a few small essentials tucked into a belt or fanny pack go a long way if you do get lost or hurt. Of course, take water, or at least know how to source it—you can also take chlorine dioxide tablets for purification purposes, Herrington said.

Rohde’s mylar space blanket did double-duty as a way to stay warm and later, when helicopters flew overhead, a way to attract attention. A trash bag also works—the bright-orange contractor variety is highly visible and large enough to serve as shelter, Herrington said.

Your phone is often your best signaling device; even if you don’t have service, the pings it sends to nearby towers can offer information about your location. And if you dial 911, any carrier that picks up the signal legally has to transmit it, Herrington said. In Rohde’s case, they were only able to ping her location until about 4:00 p.m. the day she got lost, possibly because her phone’s battery was so low.

For a high-tech layer of insurance, companies like Garmin and ACR now make relatively affordable personal locator beacons that regularly link to satellites to update your location, Herrington said. On the low-tech end, you can bring a tiny mirror to reflect light back up at planes and helicopters overhead, Howard said.

Rohde also carried a whistle and a personal alarm, which she used both to try to attract attention (it only failed because nearby campers couldn’t hear her over the rush of the river) and to ward off wildlife (she saw several pairs of red eyes glowing at night—perhaps coyotes, she said). A whistle often carries better than a human voice, and three blasts is a universal distress call, Howard said.

You’ll also want a few basic medical supplies: think a pressure wrap or athletic tape for sprains or to seal up wounds. Herrington also suggests toting a lighter wrapped in orange or bright-yellow duct tape. If you do wind up outside overnight, fire can provide warmth and boost your mood. The tape keeps it dry and can serve other purposes, such as sealing wounds shut, he said.

On the Trail:

Pay attention.

It’s easy to get lost in your thoughts midstride, but take some time to inspect the scenery. Beforehand, and midroute, take note of handrails, Howard said. These are natural features you can easily follow or use as reference points, such as shorelines you can run alongside or peaks you can keep to the east.

If you’re doing an out-and-back, glance backward frequently to take in the view from the other direction. “A lot of times that’s when it’s easy, on the way back, to get lost,” Howard said. “You’re more tired at that point and it’s easier to make a mistake.”

Roche would agree. She tried to turn back and retrace her steps after she lost sight of the runner ahead of her, but it proved difficult. “The way the landscape looked completely changed from the morning to afternoon; the colors changed,” she said. The patchy snow didn’t hold footprints, and soon enough, she was back at the same lake she’d passed earlier. “I totally got lost, turned around in a circle.”

Hydrate.

Rohde had two bottles with her, but lost them both by the time she was rescued. If you’re lost or out for longer than you’d planned and run out of the water you brought, don’t let fear of illness prevent you from drinking, Herrington said.

The latency period of most waterborne pathogens is longer than a week, and you’ll likely be back home before then and able to get treatment if you do pick something up. However, if you’re dehydrated, you’re less likely to think clearly, and you might make decisions that endanger you.

Slow down.

Once you start to feel disoriented, throw fast paces and workout plans out the window. “The less sure you are, the slower you should move,” Howard said. If you’re completely lost, stop—preferably near an open area with a good view—so you can calmly develop a plan.

There’s no hard and fast rule for whether it’s better to keep moving or to stay where you are and wait for help, Herrington said: “You have to use critical thinking.” The right answer will depend on variables such as whether someone knows where you are; how close it is to nightfall; and the type of gear you have with you.

If you think you can, work your way back to the last place you felt confident of your location, Howard said. Just don’t do anything you can’t reverse, such as descending in a spot you wouldn’t be able to climb back up. If you’ve brought bright duct tape, you can even use it to mark your route, Herrington said—that way, you can find your way back, and rescuers can track you.

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Once it’s dark or you’ve been gone so long search and rescue teams might be looking for you, consider staying put: “It’s always harder to hit a moving target,” Herrington said. Pick other priorities, including signaling and staying warm if it’s chilly, which you can do by getting in the trash bag, doing air squats or other simple exercises every few minutes, and starting a fire if you have a lighter.

Watch the weather.

Rohde’s scariest moments came when she began heading down the mountain toward a road, in part to reach civilization and also to get away from storm clouds that eventually dumped hail onto her.

“I was trying to run really fast to get off that mountain. I guess I slipped about three times,” she said. The spikes she had snapped onto her running shoes broke her fall and kept her from sliding into the river. That’s the point at which she decided to stop moving for the night.

Lightning does pose a risk, Herrington said, and it’s wise to move off exposed ridge lines and away from large trees. Also step away from any metal you might be carrying, such as trekking poles.

Stay calm and positive.

Mindset is key to making it through challenging circumstances. Fear and anxiety are normal, but “calm is going to get you found,” Howard said. That’s another good reason to pause when you first get lost: You can take some deep breaths to dissipate the ensuing adrenaline rush. Herrington recommends box breathing to neutralize your body’s stress response: inhaling to a count of four, holding for four, then exhaling for four.

If you have tough moments, find a way to anchor yourself. Think about your family, your dog, or in Rohde’s case, her husband and the pizza she wanted to eat later. She also called on her faith: “A lot of people were praying for me, and I felt that,” she said.

A Happy Reunion

Not only were they praying, they were taking action—unbeknownst to Rohde, her large search party included family, neighbors, and members of her church, along with search and rescue teams.

In the morning light, she began searching for a way to cross the river she was beside to get to the road, but couldn’t determine a passable route. Eventually, she was able to attract the attention of a man and his daughter on the other side of the river. They used hand signals to communicate. He went to seek help and brought back members of the search party, who were relieved to see her, and threw her water and Clif bars while she waited for the helicopter.

The view from the air was beautiful, and Rohde tried to take it all in while feeling grateful for her rescue. “It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing—I don’t want to get lost ever again,” she said.

The week afterward, her legs were still a bit swollen and peeling from the sunburn. But it wasn’t too long before she hit the trails again—in fact, on July 27, she completed the Timpanogos Half Marathon, in another nearby canyon.

источник runnersworld.com
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