Great story from Pemi Rescue

5:54 a.m. on January 8, 2019 (EST)
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10:06 a.m. on January 8, 2019 (EST)
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sure was, thanks for that

11:37 a.m. on January 8, 2019 (EST)
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Wow! That is a great read.

Thanks for sharing, LS.

11:54 a.m. on January 8, 2019 (EST)
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Very interesting. 

The weather on Mt Washington is well known.  There is a met station there with good up to date info.  So who in their right mind goes up there with wind predictions of 50-80 mph in winter?

One answer is a person trying to commit suicide.  That makes sense. 

So why is Pam up there?  That makes no sense at all. 

1:51 p.m. on January 8, 2019 (EST)
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I have hiked up and around that area for nearly forty years. The weather they experienced was what a prepared and experienced hiker/climber would anticipate, and that wasn't real winter - it was October.  I tend to be up there in January/February the past several years and have seen much colder temps and meaningfully higher winds than she experienced. The way she proceeded - brought clothing that anticipated bad weather, pre-planned alternate exit routes, decided to turn around due to the weather - textbook. She's more experienced than most.  

A couple of years ago, we turned back because the summits were getting winds over 100 mph and wind chills in the -60f range. Better off on trails where the trees and lower elevation kept it marginally better. 

Why do that? It's physically challenging, invigorating, beautiful in its own way. and when I lived up there, a day hike up and down Mt. Washington or one of its neighbors is a good day.  

For me, what sticks out about this article is the mental health angle the author explores at the end. thanks for posting it.  

 




3:11 p.m. on January 8, 2019 (EST)
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And the closest I have come to freezing to death was in Alaska in late August. 

3:21 p.m. on January 8, 2019 (EST)
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I loved how prepared she was. She knew her bailout options, multiple, not just one. She also had enough clothes to deal with the changing weather plus enough for a person in need, plus a bivy bag. The hand warmers really made me smile because I carry a couple even in Summer. In the snow I have a bunch with me, just like she did, because you never know. They don't weigh much or take up a lot of space, but they can be real life savers.

8:02 p.m. on January 8, 2019 (EST)
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A number of years ago, Barbara and I lived in New England. During that time, there was a man who was well-known all over the area and particularly the Mt Washington  area. I forget his name, but he was known for his expertise in the area. At some point, he decided he had lived as long as he wanted. He climbed to one of the peaks near, but slightly lower in height to Mt Washington, with just enough gear to stay at the peak, again I forget which. He timed his going to the peak in an extreme winter storm such that only a couple of his relatives or friends knew what he was doing, and accepted his wishes - according to the newspapers the relatives or friends alerted the authorities indirectly and surreptitiously that he had passed. Supposedly, the friends or relatives managed to keep the secret completely from the authorities until they received a letter and the body was found.

Whether this was a separate event from the one that Lone Ranger referred to or not or not, I don't know.

3:09 a.m. on January 9, 2019 (EST)
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The man was Guy Waterman, the peak was Lafayette, his story is told in the book Good Morning Midnight by Chip Brown, a worthy read. Waterman's wife, Laura, wrote her own book about her life with Guy, Losing the Garden, which I have not read yet. My wife crossed paths when she worked at the AMC in the early 80s. They lived off the land on a property in Vermont for decades, and together wrote a history of the White Mountains and a book on Wilderness Ethics, neither of which I have read. Guy Waterman's suicide is an interesting story that raises difficult ethical issues about the right die -- and how you should go about it. 

11:07 a.m. on January 9, 2019 (EST)
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The concept of glamorizing suicide by bad weather or idolizing people that deliberately go out in terribe weather is beyond me.   Suicide is legal in many states and it should be.  My Mom checked out when she had enough of health problems.

10:47 p.m. on January 9, 2019 (EST)
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https://www.nytimes.com/2000/02/20/us/guy-waterman-dies-at-67-wrote-books-about-hiking.html

He and Laura worked early on with Bill Kemsley on Backpacker Magazine

11:29 p.m. on January 9, 2019 (EST)
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I post this with great reservations.

As someone who has battled for decades the legacy of a severe head injury sustained in my youth, I have volumes on this topic to share, but frankly have no desire to disturb forum members with some really dark insights to this topic.  You all need to be able to sleep in peace.  But I will offer a few experiences and the lessons borne from these events.  Hopefully none of you will ever have to ponder this proposition; likewise you may find this insight useful if you ever have to coach someone else out of a mental dead end.

About 18 months after my injury I was that guy, John.  At the time I was working the Alaskan Pipeline project.  It was February.  I was no longer willing to endure the mental raging, the humanity I lost to my injury, the mental handicaps and the daily battle it took just get through the day.  I found severe challenges were what helped keep me in the game, but even outdoor work in Northern Alaska no longer sufficed to keep me grounded.  I had enjoyed all I could stand - got stinking drunk, and walked off into the arctic night, lightly attired.  I was found just off the ice road a few hours later, doing my best Popsicle imitation.  The company turned me over to the authorities, and I wasn't allowed to leave their custody unless kin accompanied me, or by order of a mental health professional.

My parents came to claim me.  When I saw the mortified look on my mom's face I realized how wrong it was of me to act accordingly.  A new survival trick I have since leaned hard on throughout my life was an adaptation of the evangelical notion of a purpose driven life.  Mind you, I haven't the slightest belief in God or a Creator.  In my case the purpose was to outlive my parents.  I owed them that.  I have used other obligations in similar fashion to justify staying around long enough to see these commitments through.  The trick for me is finding compelling commitments then, owning them.  I cannot die - I have people that rely on my support!

A few years later, a friend committed suicide on the same day I last visited him.  It carved a void I have been at a loss to fill.  I still cannot dwell much on this particular event, other than to state it provided insight to a deep, moral lesson I think most people haven't considered.

People who commit suicide are not evil.  They are not intentionally harming others.  But they are bad people, if their actions leave no doubt as to their intentions.  There is a karma math at work, here, and most crazies only consider balance from their side of the equation.  All they see is the cancellation of grief occurring as their life is terminated, and they no longer suffer.  But what they don't realize is whatever suffering they bore on their shoulders is not eliminated, its full measure is transferred onto the shoulders of each person who cared about that soul.  Thus the crazy's pain and suffering is multiplied by the number of people making up their inner circle.  And as many people who deal with the aftermath of suicide will attest, the wound remains raw your entire life.  From that perspective even a crazy with a modicum of ethics would come to realize leaving such a legacy is selfish to say the least.  It is not an evil deed, but only a bad person would have so little regard to rationalize it is OK to mess with the karma balance in such a manner.

Many folks choose John's way of taking their own life.  While this may not cause the karma math outcomes just described; the trauma kin and friends experience over the disappearance of the person is scaring, nevertheless.  Humans need a body to bury; going missing deprives survivors this courtesy. 

Obviously I have spent way too much time wandering around this dark space.  Much more to share, but my intent here is sharing two very important conclusions arising from these experiences:

If you find yourself one day committing to an action that takes your own life, choose a method that looks accidental. And make it convincing.  Guns, jumps, overdoses and similar, obvious modus operandi will create scars in the hearts of all you know. And however you choose to go, make sure your corpus can be located quickly so your social circle and kin don't languish with your un-reconciled disappearance.  And don't leave a stupid note!  Do whatever talking and explaining you have to do while still alive.  Your conversation may make little sense to others, in which case perhaps the less said the better.  But a suicide note never makes sense and usually creates far more issues than it resolves.

Ed

                 

5:44 p.m. on January 15, 2019 (EST)
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Thank you for sharing your personal thoughts and experiences with what I know must be a very difficult topic, Ed.

I wish you all the best and am glad we have you here at Trailspace.

 

8:10 p.m. on January 15, 2019 (EST)
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Ed's words are always ones that take me days to digest. I can read, find meaning, re-read and find different intention altogether. He's one of those people who can (unintentionally) make you question your own intelligence (it takes me multiple read overs some times to stay with him) but then feel smarter for having reflected on his experiences and knowledge. I've said it to you in private, but again, thank you, Ed!

7:55 a.m. on January 16, 2019 (EST)
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I posted that story because it struck me as the tale of a strong woman of the mountains. She headed out in the face of approaching weather prepared to take what Nature would allow. Being in the moment, she adjusted to the changing weather, remaining aware of her environment and thinking about it.

When she saw something that didn't make sense she didn't shrug it off. When faced with an unbelievable challenge of getting a cold, wet and unknown to her not particularly willing, person down that mountain as the storm built around them, she calmly used all the tools she'd thought to pack including her wits and succeeded. To me this was an amazingly inspirational story about the value of preparedness, awareness and determination.

Many of you folks seem to have seen it as a story about a guy who wanted to kill himself. We each see the same world through the lens we choose I guess. Having passed through deepest darkness I prefer to focus on the light, but you folks do what works for you.

11:15 a.m. on January 16, 2019 (EST)
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We in the middle of a series of storms here in northern Nevada.  The Sierras are receiving over 5 feet of snow and the avalanche danger is extreme. 
Winds will be over 100 mph on the ridges.  I would not go up there if you paid me. 

If someone wants to commit suicide by going out into winter weather with few clothes, I say let em. 

Thanks Ed for sharing some powerful thoughts. 

1:22 p.m. on January 16, 2019 (EST)
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ppine said:

We in the middle of a series of storms here in northern Nevada.  The Sierras are receiving over 5 feet of snow and the avalanche danger is extreme. 
Winds will be over 100 mph on the ridges.  I would not go up there if you paid me. 

If someone wants to commit suicide by going out into winter weather with few clothes, I say let em. 

Thanks Ed for sharing some powerful thoughts. 

 that is turn around and go home weather.  

3:00 p.m. on January 16, 2019 (EST)
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LoneStranger said:

I posted that story because it struck me as the tale of a strong woman of the mountains. She headed out in the face of approaching weather prepared to take what Nature would allow. Being in the moment, she adjusted to the changing weather, remaining aware of her environment and thinking about it.

When she saw something that didn't make sense she didn't shrug it off. When faced with an unbelievable challenge of getting a cold, wet and unknown to her not particularly willing, person down that mountain as the storm built around them, she calmly used all the tools she'd thought to pack including her wits and succeeded. To me this was an amazingly inspirational story about the value of preparedness, awareness and determination.

Many of you folks seem to have seen it as a story about a guy who wanted to kill himself. We each see the same world through the lens we choose I guess. Having passed through deepest darkness I prefer to focus on the light, but you folks do what works for you.

Sorry if I hijacked the intention of your thread.  I am glad for you that your dark moments were a stage in life, and that you have the means to move on.  But for others darkness is an inescapable mindscape, due to fate of biology wiring them differently, or physical trauma that wipes out the ability to experience the light side, as you call it.  It doesn't work to focus on happy thoughts for those thusly afflicted, no more so than thinking sunny thoughts will make a bad storm go away.  For those folks, biting down hard on the mouth piece and engaging their demons with resolve and grit is how we get through life, one day at a time.  (I have literally cracked a few teeth over the years gritting out the darker moments.)  Imagine one of your particularly bad days, and realize that is what our average day is like.  There is really no other way to describe it, often it is beyond the grasp of people to fathom what is like to live in a nonstop storm raging between the ears.  At some point you have to embrace what you are, as denying it sets one up for a psychic dysphoria which will lead to no good.  Not everyone has the ability to experience the light side of life, and Life does not present everyone with the same options. 

As for addressing your original intent: The way Pam focused on problem solving and not wasting energy on blaming or judging, and the the way she used a mental jujitsu of sorts to redirect the mental momentum of John so he could be lead off the mountain was a excellent response to the specifics of this situation.  I think John was lucky she came along at the time she did; another ten or fifteen minutes alone out there may well have put John beyond the efforts of a recuse. 

Ed 

3:29 p.m. on January 16, 2019 (EST)
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You should stop now Ed.

9:42 p.m. on January 16, 2019 (EST)
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Stop what?!

6:12 a.m. on January 17, 2019 (EST)
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You remember how in the past when you were being really offensive and told me that it isn't your fault because you don't know any better and have no clue that you're doing it. You're doing it again and I thought you might notice it if you stopped to think about it.

Read what you posted up there Ed. You vomited those words at me without any knowledge or idea of what my current or past mental state might be. You clearly can't begin to imagine the path I've walked or walk today. You don't know how deep the darkness I've seen nor the demons I deal with every single day. Despite that complete lack of understanding of  the topic, you babbled on about how much you knew. Perhaps if you were just entirely wrong and off base it wouldn't be so offensive, but layering on the condescension really adds to the effect.

One thing I've learned in this life of madness is that the only thing that remains in the end is choice. When you strip away everything else and stand in the black void of nothingness, all that remains is choice. Don't tell me that there is no choice because I know better. In the end all we have is what we choose whether we want to take responsibility or not.

So now you have a choice Ed. You can argue with me about my mental health, a subject you clearly know nothing about, or perhaps you could once again tell me that it isn't your fault because you don't know what you're doing or maybe, just maybe, you could take my advice and stop. The choice is yours.

4:11 p.m. on January 17, 2019 (EST)
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Lonestranger:

Yea, we had a go around a while back - I remember it was that trekking pole discussion thread.  At that time we hashed out our personal differences off line, via PM.  Many on that thread disagreed with my position, but you were the only individual who choose to direct  personal comments in my direction, having nothing to do with the topic.  Perhaps the PM approach would have been more appropriate now, but if you choose to do this here, on a public thread, well I can deal with that too.

----------------------------- 

I am sorry I have offend you.  My words were directed more so to a wider audience, I did not mean to troll on you.  As others can attest, when I choose to make comments directly to or about a person, I do so via PM.  Otherwise my public forum statements are directed to the entire forum, as well as whatever post compelled my comment.

As for my comments that directly addressed your situation, I can only comment on what you share with us.  You stated you choose to look at the bright side of things, having passed though the deepest darkness.  I took that to mean you had a bad experience in your past, and that you learned from it to use a positive mindset to mange you daily life.  But if you are still dealing with depression,  you have my sympathy.  And when you stated you chose to look at the bright side, I was assuming that was working for you.  That works for many, but not at all for those who brains don't process that type of experience.  I sincerely hope it is working for you.      

You are so right stating, in the end when everything else has been taken away from us, we still have choice.  But what options we each have to choose from differ; for some it includes willfully focusing on the bright side.  For others the choice is limited to enduring their suffering or end it all.  Whatever your challenges, I do hope the latter is is not your situation, it is very dreadful. 

Please don't misconstrue my comments to imply I think I know what you confront.  The one thing I have learned from conversations with chronically depressed persons is they each live in their own personal hell of sorts.  People may say, I feel your pain,  understand your challenges; the truth is no matter how much you share with others, including others who deal with depression, they really have no idea what life is like between the two ears of the afflicted.  It is not their fault they don't understand; I am inclined to believe in fact there are no words that sufficiently describe what is is like to live with this condition.

When I read you comments, at some level I get the impression you think I am talking nonsense, and have no idea what I am talking about.  I have been a participant in ongoing, long term research projects that tracks the lives of TBI survivors.  I have learned (and forgotten!) a whole boatload on the factors affecting the lives of those thusly affected.  I have been invited to speak to TBI recovery groups in my area throughout the years, to comment on the topic as someone the professionals consider a one of their "success stories" (only 5% of those with the magnitude of damage I sustained are able to lead a "normal" life).  Public speaking and participating in research as a subject is my way of paying back what others did on my behalf.  Thus I speak not only from a subjective POV, I also speak as someone who has invested a lot of time learning about the subject from academic texts as well as from participating in research for the last 40 years. 

Again, let me state I am sorry to offend you.  Despite our differences I have and will continue to regard your thoughts and comments on the forum with high regard, and regret the feeling isn't mutual.  As I said in our prior exchange, the chemistry apparently just doesn't work between us.  That's life.

Ed     

6:34 p.m. on January 17, 2019 (EST)
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Not surprised in the least at your choice Ed. Enjoy!

November 17, 2019
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