Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, Inc. Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, Inc.


November 2011

1000 Lumens? John Muir, inimitable explorer, naturalist, and reluctant author, had a distinct mistrust of books. Mr. Muir called books, “…piles of stones set up to show coming travelers where other minds have been.” I have a distinct mistrust of Wikipedia, the online information source for all things, period. Have a question about equine diabetes? Wikipedia has information about it. Ever wonder what kind of toothpaste Albert Einstein favored? Wikipedia will tell you. Wikipedia is the 21st century’s rabbit hole of information. Step too close to the edge and you risk falling into encyclopedic oblivion. And if that’s not bad enough, you will eventually surface and will feel not enlightened, not collegiate, not at all scholarly, but embittered. Yes, embittered. Not too long ago, within the last 12 minutes actually, I looked up the word lumen. I was curious about it because I just spent a small fortune on a helmet-mounted light for mountain biking that boasted, “…1000 lumen…” brightness. It certainly sounded impressive in the advertisements, though I have no idea how bright even 20 lumens actually are. Hence my need for a Wikipedia search. And what did I learn? Well, for starters:
“…If a light source emits one candela of luminous intensity uniformly across a solid angle of one steradian, the total luminous flux emitted into that angle is one lumen ( 1 cd•1 sr=1 lm ). Alternatively, an isotropic one-candela light-source emits a total luminous flux of exactly 4π lumens. If the source were partially covered by an ideal absorbing hemisphere, that system would radiate half as much luminous flux—only 2π lumens.”
Of course I already knew all of that, but then I discovered that my hyper-expensive, 1000 lumen, helmet-mounted mountain bike light is about as bright as a 20 watt compact fluorescent light bulb; $4.99 at the local Ace Hardware. Yes, embittered. Sour, even. Well by all means, do whatever needs to be done to avoid this dim-witted catastrophe yourself and scurry on over to the Granlibakken Hut, Monday, November 7th, for the next meeting of the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team. The meeting starts at 6:30pm and will adjourn immediately if someone mentions anything favorable about the evil contributors to Wikipedia.

Gear Up! Tis the season for sloth, bloat, and shameless spending. No, I’m not talking about Black Friday or Grey Thursday or Puce Tuesdays (yes, it’s really a color and no I did not learn about if from Wikipedia). I’m talking about essential backcountry gear for you and the upcoming search season. On Saturday, November 12th, Tahoe Cross Country will host their annual Ski Swap at the Nordic center, 925 Country Club Drive, from 10am-3pm. This is a great venue for backcountry gear and all things Nordic. Rumor has it that Doug Read will be serving waffles from the mobile kitchen. They are also raffling off a season pass and other goodies. Also, on Tuesday, December 6th, from 5:30pm-8pm, Tahoe Mountain Sports in Kings Beach will be hosting their annual Pro-Nite. This is also a “not to miss” event. Make sure you have room on your credit card because you will need it. Dave and folks open their doors to all SAR, Ski Patrol, Firefighters, and Mountain Safety Personnel for binge-spending. It’s like speed dating for your checking account. There will be discounted prices on skis, boots, bindings, clothing, beacons, shovels, helmets, etc., etc., etc. Even if you think you don’t need anything, I guarantee that you will buy something. Great prices, great gear, great folks.
And speaking of…getting geared up, it is also time to get your bodies geared up for the winter. If, like myself, you’ve been sitting on the couch all summer watching QVC, now is the time to get outside and get yourself back into shape. There are many venues for tuning up the old cuerpo. For those of you who need to get in touch with your inner caveman/cavewoman, try Tahoe Peak Endurance’s Primal Fitness class. This is an outdoor fitness class offered Tuesday afternoons by TNSAR’s own Colleen Connors-Pace. Guaranteed to make you grunt. Call Colleen for exact class times and locations 583-1806. Another good way to beat yourself silly is a few rounds with Julia Mancuso at her new gym in Truckee called Performance Training Center. Formerly Elevation Fitness, this new gym is purported to be quite the fitness mecca. In totally unrelated news, Julia Mancuso is also starting to sell her own line of women’s lingerie called Kiss My Tiara. Not at all sure about that. And last but definitely not least, there are several CrossFit venues for people who are truly psychotic about their fitness. Myles and Travis at Tahoe Vista’s CrossFit Avalanche regularly abuse TNSAR folks and are more than willing to add more victims to their roster. If you haven’t tried CrossFit, you have no idea what you’re missing. Bottom Line: Get in shape, no matter which brand of Kool-Aid does the trick. It’s no joking matter. A prolonged search will hammer you senseless and oftentimes that’s just from the snowcat ride to the drop-off point. Trust me, you do not want to be a liability on a search. It’s your responsibility to be the rescuer not the rescuee.

Responsibilitas…another responsibility we take pretty seriously here at TNSAR is our ongoing education. Coming up on Saturday and Sunday, December 3rd and 4th, TNSAR will host a Wilderness First Aid course. Seating is limited for this crucial and very popular training. The course will be at the Squaw Valley Fire house and you must pre-register to save a spot. Check out TNSAR’s training page for more info. Also in December, there will be the 2011 Winter Sports Injury Symposium at the Resort at Squaw Creek. This event is on Monday, December 5th, from 3pm-9pm. Follow this link for registration and event info: http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1000555 TNSAR is also hosting numerous upcoming trainings which can be found here: www.tahoenordicsar.com Check it out, call the coordinator, get involved, stay current.

Blink…of an eye. That’s about as long as it takes for a disaster to unfurl. And I’m not talking about Herman Cain winning an election while wearing Julia Mancuso’s new line of lingerie. I’m talking about a seemingly safe, fun afternoon ATV ride in the rain. A few weeks ago a foothill couple decided to venture out onto the ATV trails during a showery afternoon rainstorm. Unexpectedly, as is always the case, one of the riders crashed and suffered an innocuous broken arm. Nothing life threatening, more of a hassle than anything else. She was, however, unable to ride out to their parked truck. The husband then rode his ATV up the muddy canyon road to get their truck and planned to quickly return to load the victim and the other ATV. Unfortunately, on the return trip the would-be rescuer lost control of his pickup truck in the mud and went careening 800 feet down the side of the canyon. He was ejected somewhere along the way and suffered far more serious head and neck trauma. In the blink of an eye the rain, mud, diminishing daylight, and an innocuous broken arm became an instantaneous life and death rescue scenario. And all of this occurred before the actual rescue unfolded. To make matters worse, that muddy canyon road proved impassable for SAR rescue trucks, fire trucks and paramedics. Foot travel was sketchy, slow, and understandably sloppy. And a nightmare, nighttime helicopter long-line retrieval was deemed the only option to rapidly extricate the victims from the narrow, steep-walled canyon. As if that were bad enough, during the long-line retrieval in the pouring rain, with the victim on a back board and wrapped up in a Bowman bag, the tag line got wrapped around one of the rescuers’ legs and nearly ended this entire episode for all parties concerned, pilot, paramedics, rescuers and rescuees. Luckily and thankfully, the whole incident ended safely and without further complications. This is, however, a wonderfully horrible example of how quickly adventures can go awry and how quickly bad things can snowball out of control. Blink. Breathe. The unexpected, unfortunately, is lurking in the shadows. And just think, Halloween is over! Scary stuff. We cannot prevent these types of search and rescue scenarios but we can train for them, prepare our bodies and our gear for the worst of worst conditions, and hope to high heaven that the truck has plenty of snickers bars on board.

Please Note: Due to the Winter Sports Injury Symposium on December 5th, the December TNSAR meeting will be on Monday, December 12th and not on the first Monday, December 5th. We are encouraging all folks to attend the symposium on the 5th and the general meeting on the 12th. Please check the TNSAR website for more details www.tahoenordicsar.com.

Just happened to glance outside and noticed that the sky is falling…whiteness all around.

B. Wright

The goal of TNSAR is to conduct fast and safe rescues, and to help educate the public on winter safety. If you would like to help TNSAR in this cause, please use the following PayPal donate link. Thanks!

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