26 Miles Through The Snow In The Grand Canyon And Almost Dead

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 1 month ago

LA Times:

The snow was at least 3 feet deep and still falling when Tracy Glover and two other men came upon the fee booth at the North Rim entrance of the Grand Canyon.

The door to the booth was always unlocked, according to Glover, the Kane County, Utah, sheriff. Inside were sleeping bags, food, water, matches — items that Karen Klein could have used on this particular Christmas Eve as she and her family found themselves stranded in a remote region of the National Park near the Arizona-Utah border. It was an oasis of warmth within a freezing forest.

“I thought she might’ve made it there,” Glover said.

But after walking 26 miles, dragging a bad left leg with no shoe through the snow, Klein had found another shelter instead — a cabin nestled in the trees about 100 yards away with no power and just a few blankets. She had to break a window to gain entry.

About 5 hours after entering the park, Glover reached the cabin. When he found Klein, she had stripped off her wet beanie and outer layers of clothing and was lying on the bed. She was exhausted. Dehydrated. She had been hallucinating. Frostbite had gotten to her toes and fingers. Glover said they quickly built a fire in the cabin and called a dispatcher to relay the message to her husband and son, who had been rescued hours earlier: Karen Klein was alive.

Klein, 46, of Easton, Pa., was on vacation in Las Vegas with her husband and 10-year-old son when they decided to hit Bryce Canyon and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on Christmas week. But on the drive to the North Rim, their GPS alerted them to the closure of Arizona Highway 67.

It diverted them onto a Forest Service road that is mostly gravel. The car eventually got stuck. Worry settled in.

With no cellphone service and Eric Klein recently recovering from a back injury, Karen Klein, a triathlete, decided to hike for help as snow kept falling. She ended up traversing 26 miles over the course of about 36 hours before Glover found her in the small cabin.

She told “Good Morning America” that as she hiked in search of help, she forced herself to stay awake at night and ate twigs from an aspen tree. She put snow in her cheek to try to stay hydrated.

I don’t care is she was superwoman.  She was unprepared for this, at this time, in these conditions.  We have discussed the bare minimum for being out in the bush: (1) heavy rubberized poncho, (2) 550 cord, (3) gun, (4) tactical light, (5) fire starter, (6) knife [serrated edge], and (7) water and fast food energy.

In these conditions, you can add the right kind of boots (very expensive and not routinely taken on car trips), wool clothing, Gore-Tex, insulated cover (e.g., wool hat), heavy insulated gloves, and eye protection (Goggles and perhaps sun glasses during the daylight hours to prevent snow blindness).

I’m not a big fan of staying where you are, and I’m a much bigger fan of taking what you need or may need.  But in this case, the woman should have stayed where she was.  She’s no good to her family dead.


Comments

  1. On December 29, 2016 at 10:26 am, Fred said:

    I’ve been on and around the North Rim. One mistake, one silly mistake and you’re done. The roads are hard packed desert, couple of drops of rain and you ain’t going anywhere without 4 wheel drive AND knowledge of how to use it properly. When I went out there I had 30 days worth of food and lots of water, tools and equipment in the truck for up to 130 degrees down to minus 30. The place is dangerous.Wild temperature swings, freak snow storms, mountain lions, snakes. It’s between the Grand Canyon and the Utah border but still in Arizona. There ain’t no law out there and oh by the way, some folks live back there and they like it that way. They don’t want you there. It’s um, rather inhospitable environment to say the least. Beautiful territory and well worth investigating in freestyle mode but be prepared.

  2. On December 29, 2016 at 7:57 pm, TheAlaskan said:

    Not to mention the elevation is over 8,000 feet…

  3. On December 29, 2016 at 10:37 am, Blake said:

    Why people abandon the perfectly good shelter of a vehicle is beyond me. Run the engine once in a while, if needed, for warmth. A vehicle in and of itself will make a perfectly good base camp to start with and give one time to plan. Jumping out and “doing something” is more than likely going to get one killed.

  4. On December 29, 2016 at 4:46 pm, Blake said:

    I noticed after I wrote this that Klein’s husband and son were rescued hours before she was. Yet, Klein is getting the media attention.

    Great, let’s gloss over the fact that people had to put their lives at risk to look for her when she needlessly left shelter.

  5. On December 29, 2016 at 11:48 am, Archer said:

    Right. Every rendition of this story I’ve seen portrays the wife/mother as a superwoman heroine, bravely venturing out to save her family. No mention of how dangerous and/or ill-advised that is, and only glossing over how unprepared for the conditions she (and the family) were.

    By glorifying unpreparedness and poor decisions, the news agencies are ensuring this will happen again and again, and often with less fortunate outcomes. Put simply, people will die when they assume they can overcome, too.

  6. On December 30, 2016 at 1:20 pm, Duke Norfolk said:

    Girrrrrrrllllll power! The nonsense never stops.

  7. On December 29, 2016 at 3:51 pm, Iustinianus said:

    Klein is yet another recent example of lost hikers who make a bad situation even worse by drinking urine.

    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Lehigh-Valley-woman-ate-twigs-drank-urine-to-survive.html

    The media, unfortunately, continues to perpetuate the myth that this is a valid survival technique.

  8. On December 29, 2016 at 4:29 pm, fatebekind said:

    I never understand that in every one of these stories about people stranded in their cars is why no one ever uses some gasoline to burn a spare tire putting very black smoke up to signal for help. There are four more tires to try this on if the first one doesn’t work. Instead everyone tries to hike for miles in the snow or desert looking for help until they die of hypothermia or thirst.

  9. On December 29, 2016 at 4:48 pm, Blake said:

    Another recommendation I’ve seen: car seats burn. If you get cold, burn the seats for warmth. It also gets you another dense cloud of black smoke, too.

  10. On December 30, 2016 at 1:24 pm, Duke Norfolk said:

    Because we don’t teach people how to think these days (govt/politicians find it inconvenient to them). You’d really think that making an assessment of what you have at hand that could keep you alive and communicate, etc. would be pretty standard, but if people don’t see it on the TeeVee they can’t think of it.

  11. On December 30, 2016 at 4:11 pm, Fred said:

    Yup, inventory is the VERY FIRST thing to do when stranded. Inventory helps one to 1) calm down, 2) think instead of act, 3) realize the actual value of what you have. Having done inventory, later on, your mind will recall the items and will offer alternate, potentially life saving, uses. But inventory isn’t just stuff, what do you know about your situation, what don’t you know ie; do I, in fact, know my way out of here, what survival knowledge do I posses relevant to this environment, etc.

    Had they done inventory the true value of the vehicle might have been realized. Some advocate a secondary inventory, not just a knife, but a hammer handle on one end and saw teeth, etc. It’s good to think and even to say the items out loud by name.

    Then 100 meter sweep inventory of the immediate area. Inventory is the details of the assessment.

  12. On December 30, 2016 at 1:35 pm, Duke Norfolk said:

    She supposedly had wilderness survival training. Yeah, that did a lot of good (or it was terrible training). How could you go into that environment totally ill-prepared for this situation after taking such training? I could go on and on juxtaposing the training with her actions.

    And then there’s the total reliance on GPS, and blindly following questionable directions.

    They are extremely lucky to be alive, no doubt.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Survival and was published December 28th, 2016 by Herschel Smith.

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