Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Day Hiking & general trail related

Moderator: HAZ - Moderators

Linked Areas none
User avatar
Thoreau
Posts: 273
Joined: Mar 10 2008 12:19 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by Thoreau »

Meeting is tomorrow, July 13th...

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/lo ... 945916002/

"The Phoenix fire union is asking the city’s Parks and Recreation board to consider closing several challenging Valley trails on days with an excessive heat watch.

During a public meeting on Tuesday, members of the United Phoenix Firefighters Association will request restrictions to three trailheads at Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak when outside temperatures reach 105 degrees."

Some of my best times on those trails were very much above 105 degrees. It's the only time the crowds thin out enough to get a good pace going.
User avatar
friendofThundergod
Posts: 1165
Joined: Jan 21 2013 10:47 am
City, State: AZ

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by friendofThundergod »

@nonot
My obvious disagreement with closures or even limited access to heat is that these policies and practices always seem to miss their mark, no matter the intentions. Its usually the people not calling for rescues and usually the people most capable of recreating in extreme heat etc that are hurt the most. And that was one of my main contentions with that article link I provided. In the Grand Canyon for example, heat related rescues are simply not a backcountry problem and its not a backcountry climbing problem. However, it would not surprise me to see the backcountry closed long before anyone will consider actually holding the irresponsible tourists in the corridor responsible.

Your link does give me some hope though, it appears in the case of the Grand Canyon that they are fully aware of the problem and its causes, overcrowded parks and the lowest common denominators that go along with that.

I think the easiest way to close something is to say its too dangerous for SAR and its too dangerous for the helicopters, because then people like me who dare to question that premise can be dismissed as selfish whiners etc. I am not questioning the science behind helicopters not being able to operate in extreme heat, but I am curious if this is an equipment issue? Every time we left the wire in Iraq we were briefed on the availability of air support. During dust storms we usually left the wire knowing we had no air support, however, I never remember hearing of air support being limited because of heat. Does SAR just need military grade choppers? Or am I missing something? Are their helicopters simply not equipped for the heat in the same way that ours obviously must have been?

If the GC ever uses the helicopter argument to close access in the Canyon during the heat, then I think we have the right to question why the river will not also be closed to boaters from say June to September, as there is no area hotter than those beaches along the CO in the summer time. This is anecdotal, but it appears it has been a pretty tragic summer on the river for boaters up there. Are they not all relying on choppers to get the deceased out and etc? A boater just died at Deer Creek, fell 50 feet in the narrows they say. A swift water rescue team was flown in from Phoenix to recover the body the next day.

My point is that if trails, or the backcountry is closed due to heat and the consideration of SAR and their equipment, then those closures should also extend to rafting parties on the river. Because unless they start doing Viking funerals on the CO, they will also from time to time need the assistance of SAR and choppers, as the most recent death clearly highlights. Something tells me though, that it will be harder to sell a river closure due to heat, as I assume a few hundred thousand dollars of business is tied to that industry (even during the hotter season).
Last edited by friendofThundergod on Aug 31 2021 9:40 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
xsproutx
Posts: 73
Joined: Sep 15 2020 7:37 am
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by xsproutx »

friendofThundergod wrote:Because unless they start doing Viking funerals on the CO
Honestly, I think you just thought of a new revenue stream for NPS
User avatar
sidhayes
Posts: 167
Joined: Feb 04 2002 10:17 am

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by sidhayes »

Perhaps this question has already been asked and answered ,but is the NPS liable for injuries/deaths?
User avatar
chumley
Posts: 8066
Joined: Sep 18 2002 8:59 am
City, State: Tempe, AZ

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by chumley »

@sidhayes
This is America. All it takes is one judge to say yes.
33s over 45s
User avatar
Canyonram
Posts: 358
Joined: Jun 01 2006 9:03 pm
City, State: Page, AZ
Contact:

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by Canyonram »

Unless you are from Krypton and have an “S” on your chest and wear a cap, the Heat Index applies to EVERYONE. We all have a crash-point where we will suffer the impacts of physical exertion in extreme heat.

Those who are heat-acclimated and in great physical conditioning can last a little longer—it doesn’t mean they have total immunity to the heat. They also have more experience monitoring their own physiological cues as to when to shut things down and call it a day. They are better able monitor their fluid intake, electrolytes, speed on the trail, etc. But realize that you can have all those positives on your side and still go down from excessive environmental heat burden. At some point, you will reach the limits of human tolerance. It is why the NPS warns the ‘testosterone fueled adrenalin junky young male ‘ about pushing it during extreme temps. They will assume that they have that ‘S’ on their chest and are above such warnings. That’s what the Heat Index is all about.

Since the original concern was the closure during 105 deg F temps of 3 favorite hiking trails, ask yourself this question. How many times can you hike/jog, etc up Piestewa Peak trail before you call it a day? Once, twice, three times? Why do you stop? Because you know you are bumping up against your tolerance level. Now imagine a SAR responder who gets the call that someone is down with possible cardiac arrest. Up the trail you go (usually at top speed) to save a life. Once you get to the person, you are doing a litter carry and going down the trail (as fast as you can safely do it) under the weight load, and just as important, under extreme environmental temperatures. That one rescue would be enough for many to call it a day. Imagine getting a second call soon after, then a third call, etc. At some point, you will max out the most physically fit SAR person—the human body hits the wall on intense exertion in extreme heat. Even if you make it through day 1, you have to report to work the next day. You may not have recovered from day 1—it can take time to get hydration, electrolytes, etc back to optimum level--- now you have to do it again on day 2.

As to the dude from Krypton with the ‘S’ on his chest—Kryptonite will stop him, Consider extreme heat as EVERY athlete’s Kryptonite. Heed the science behind the Heat Index.
"I shot a werewolf once. But by the time I went to retrieve it, it changed into my neighbor's dog." D. Schruete
User avatar
xsproutx
Posts: 73
Joined: Sep 15 2020 7:37 am
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by xsproutx »

I dunno, I'm pretty much the opposite of "good shape" (just check out some of my trip reports) and I've done a couple of backpacking trips in the supes this summer at around 108 degrees and "enjoyed it". I appreciated that I was able to enjoy the public lands that my tax dollars go towards and is one of the reasons I moved to Arizona. I was also in the military where I made the choice to put myself in harms way: that was my choice. Just the same as it's a fireman's choice/SARs choice to choose a job that they know has extreme physical requirements in our particular climate. We all have seen tooooooooons of cops and fireman that we know aren't able to pass the physical fitness test that they probably had to take to join anymore. Your argument is, essentially, "No matter how prepared you are, at some point people hit a limit and that limit is lower when it's really hot." This is, of course, true but it's not a very good argument when these people should be taking measures that allow them to push that limit much farther than the average tourist passing out on camelback.

Personally I'm not certain closing urban trails would change a whole ton anyway. I'm probably a communist next to most of the frequent posters on here, but I agree with them on this and think data is important when it comes to limiting access to public lands. The same type of person that's hiking up with no water/out of shape is likely the same type that thinks rules don't apply to them anyway so will walk around a sign. Then when they pass out, no one will be around to call SAR or, prior to passing out, they'll be afraid to call for help until it's too late. This has also been a major reason so many advocate keeping SAR at no cost to the people being rescued.
User avatar
azbackpackr
Posts: 8365
Joined: Jan 21 2006 6:46 am
City, State: Flagstaff AZ

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by azbackpackr »

@Canyonram
You should have said shuttle bus. Tour companies are not allowed to take their guests hiking without a specific permit that comes with their concession contract, with stipulations. A tour company is not allowed to drop off a bunch of people and tell them to walk down Bright Angel Trail. They would lose their concession.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.
User avatar
Canyonram
Posts: 358
Joined: Jun 01 2006 9:03 pm
City, State: Page, AZ
Contact:

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by Canyonram »

@azbackpackr

I never said the tour bus company was going to take a group hiking. I never said that a tour bus company was telling people to go hike the Bright Angel. I have seen a tour bus swing by the BCO and drop off backpackers/hikers who are going in to pick up a permit. Tour buses routinely park below the El Tovar and allow guests off to walk the rim.
"I shot a werewolf once. But by the time I went to retrieve it, it changed into my neighbor's dog." D. Schruete
User avatar
Canyonram
Posts: 358
Joined: Jun 01 2006 9:03 pm
City, State: Page, AZ
Contact:

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by Canyonram »

The basics of Search-and-Rescue helicopters:

https://mra.org/wp-content/uploads/2019 ... _Basic.pdf
"I shot a werewolf once. But by the time I went to retrieve it, it changed into my neighbor's dog." D. Schruete
User avatar
Canyonram
Posts: 358
Joined: Jun 01 2006 9:03 pm
City, State: Page, AZ
Contact:

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by Canyonram »

sidhayes wrote:Perhaps this question has already been asked and answered ,but is the NPS liable for injuries/deaths?
Good question. http://www.georgewright.org/1302breen.pdf

http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/o ... -35287.pdf
Last edited by Canyonram on Aug 31 2021 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"I shot a werewolf once. But by the time I went to retrieve it, it changed into my neighbor's dog." D. Schruete
no avatar
ShatteredArm
Posts: 142
Joined: Nov 30 2015 2:07 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by ShatteredArm »

Canyonram wrote:Unless you are from Krypton and have an “S” on your chest and wear a cap, the Heat Index applies to EVERYONE. We all have a crash-point where we will suffer the impacts of physical exertion in extreme heat.

Those who are heat-acclimated and in great physical conditioning can last a little longer—it doesn’t mean they have total immunity to the heat.
This is such a pointless comment, it's like saying it's too hot to go running on the surface of the sun. Like, no crap, of course everybody has a limit, but that doesn't mean you need to be jealous of those who are more heat-acclimated than you are, and denigrate them with insults like "adrenaline junkie young male". I think it's a pretty sure bet that I personally know more people who run in the heat, so I can assure you your characterization is completely ignorant and off-base.
Last edited by ShatteredArm on Aug 31 2021 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
friendofThundergod
Posts: 1165
Joined: Jan 21 2013 10:47 am
City, State: AZ

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by friendofThundergod »

To bring it back to valley, why couldn’t they just make camelback open to locals only from June 1 to Sept. 1 every year? Or any city park for that matter?

The state parks charge extra for out of state visitors. Why couldn’t a city limit non resident use of their parks for safety during summer months? Some of the busier peaks and accompanying trail systems may benefit from a period each year with less people anyways…
User avatar
xsproutx
Posts: 73
Joined: Sep 15 2020 7:37 am
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by xsproutx »

@friendofThundergod
I like this idea in principle but it introduces a cost element (have to pay someone to check ID or whatever because otherwise it's "honor system" that won't work) that I'm not really a fan of; the state parks already have that logistical element of someone collecting fees. I suppose you could have a low fee of a dollar or something that would probably cover the cost with how many people go, but it still doesn't sit quite right
User avatar
Canyonram
Posts: 358
Joined: Jun 01 2006 9:03 pm
City, State: Page, AZ
Contact:

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by Canyonram »

ShatteredArm wrote:This is such a pointless comment, it's like saying it's too hot to go running on the surface of the sun. Like, no crap, of course everybody has a limit, but that doesn't mean you need to be jealous of those who are more heat-acclimated than you are, and denigrate them with insults like "adrenaline junkie young male". I think it's a pretty sure bet that I personally know more people who run in the heat, so I can assure you your characterization is completely ignorant and off-base.
I'm not jealous of those who suffer heat stroke. As to the 'insult' that is from a NPS warning flyer and sign that I happened to agree with. If you dont, well BOO-HOO. You need to contact the following sources and let them know they got it all wrong.

https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/health/ ... at-stroke/

https://runnersconnect.net/hot-weather- ... at-stroke/

https://www.wired.com/story/elite-athle ... reme-heat/

https://www.foxnews.com/story/heat-shut ... spitalized

https://www.podiumrunner.com/training/h ... race-pace/
"I shot a werewolf once. But by the time I went to retrieve it, it changed into my neighbor's dog." D. Schruete
User avatar
chumley
Posts: 8066
Joined: Sep 18 2002 8:59 am
City, State: Tempe, AZ

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by chumley »

friendofThundergod wrote:To bring it back to valley
This discussion began because a city agency chose to prohibit use of public trails for the stated purpose of protecting rescue personnel. The prohibition was enacted as a reaction to several incidents where rescue personnel were injured while on duty. No data was presented establishing the cause of the injuries to rescue personnel, nor those people who were being rescued during the incidents.

I could type more words, but it's really exactly that simple.

Any solutions ... based on temperature, heat index, AQI, age, BMI, place of residence, or whatever other metric somebody might invent is speculative conjecture until or unless data is gathered -- you can't solve a problem if you don't know the cause.

But it sure makes for an entertaining forum thread. I haven't laughed so much in weeks. :sweat: :lol:
33s over 45s
User avatar
Canyonram
Posts: 358
Joined: Jun 01 2006 9:03 pm
City, State: Page, AZ
Contact:

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by Canyonram »

chumley wrote:No data was presented establishing the cause of the injuries to rescue personnel, nor those people who were being rescued during the incidents.
From Thoreau's original post:

"This appeal comes nearly one month after 12 members of the fire department’s Technical Rescue Team were sent home for heat-related injuries following multiple mountain rescues on June 16. Temperatures that day reached 115 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Two firefighters were hospitalized that same day with acute renal failure because of dehydration and exhaustion experienced during the rescues, according to a statement from the union."

Sounds pretty clear to me that extreme heat was the cause of the injuries??? Do you want to see the medical charts and doctor reports for those who were hospitalized before you believe???
"I shot a werewolf once. But by the time I went to retrieve it, it changed into my neighbor's dog." D. Schruete
User avatar
chumley
Posts: 8066
Joined: Sep 18 2002 8:59 am
City, State: Tempe, AZ

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by chumley »

Heat-related injuries do not have to be heat-caused. Nor do dehydration and exhaustion, clearly. I can speculate on any number of other factors that could contribute to these outcomes. But I won't.
33s over 45s
User avatar
Canyonram
Posts: 358
Joined: Jun 01 2006 9:03 pm
City, State: Page, AZ
Contact:

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by Canyonram »

@chumley

You should contact the doctors who took care of those in the hospital with your wisdom. Perhaps they will change the diagnosis and the whole business about closing trails during periods of Extreme Heat Index will be taken care of. (PS---your comment was my best laugh from this thread.)
"I shot a werewolf once. But by the time I went to retrieve it, it changed into my neighbor's dog." D. Schruete
no avatar
ShatteredArm
Posts: 142
Joined: Nov 30 2015 2:07 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by ShatteredArm »

@Canyonram
I guess you didn't actually bother to read the articles you posted, and just found headlines you liked, because:
The biggest factor in heat stroke is the heat you generate yourself – and the faster you move, the more heat you create.
If this is true - and it came from the very articles you linked - outside temperature is not even the most important factor, and one can experience heat stroke in relatively mild temperatures just by exerting yourself more.

I guess we'd better ban hard exercise!
User avatar
nonot
Posts: 2189
Joined: Nov 18 2005 11:52 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by nonot »

friendofThundergod wrote: Aug 31 2021 8:32 am @nonot
My obvious disagreement with closures or even limited access ... Its usually the people not calling for rescues and usually the people most capable of recreating in extreme heat etc that are hurt the most.
Agree, I dislike permits and closures, but I unfortunately do have to admit that permit and access controlled systems (and the small cash amount associated with them) do seem to prove effective in greatly reducing the unpreparedness problems.
friendofThundergod wrote: Aug 31 2021 8:32 am Does SAR just need military grade choppers? Or am I missing something? Are their helicopters simply not equipped for the heat in the same way that ours obviously must have been?
I believe flight operations for both planes and helicopters are only tested/certified to about115-120ish degrees (depending on model and manufacturer). This is because it is very difficult to test above this, as it is very hard to arrange (or wait for) the natural conditions under which to test and continually (yearly?) certify proper operation above this temperature. (Without flying the vehicle and test crew to Saudi Arabia or Death Valley which gets rather expensive.) It is not expected that a plane or helicopter will suddenly fail at 116 degrees, but since those conditions are not tested, there is a risk. You may recall the occasional news where planes can't take off from Sky Harbor because it is too hot mid day. It's the same reason.

I suspect (without research) that the military just chooses to take the risk of flying above 115 knowing there isn't likely anything that will go wrong, and they have the experience to build upon to set their own operating limits which would exceed the manufacturer limits. The military can pretty easily generate enough data to justify higher limits. Sorry to tell you, but military people are often used as guinea pigs in the grand scheme of things... With commercial stuff people don't want to take the risk of lawsuit whereas the military usually can't be sued (?) if it goes ass-end-up and people die.
friendofThundergod wrote: Aug 31 2021 8:32 am My point is that if trails, or the backcountry is closed due to heat and the consideration of SAR and their equipment, then those closures should also extend to rafting parties on the river.
Not a bad point. However, river rafting parties are subject to permits and mandatory preparations inspection checks already. Backpackers are given warning/preparedness literature when applying for the permit and do have to sign on a dotted line that they promise to be prepared and follow guidelines, but there isn't a mandatory inspection anymore (I am under the impression that in the 70s-80s a backpacker did have to undergo a mandatory weighing of your pack and gear inspection under the supervision of a ranger). Day hikers have almost nothing at all: no warning literature, no signature/disclaimer paperwork, no inspections, only a few signs at the top of BA and SK. Since the signs are not proving effective, that's probably why they are considering day hiking permits and the associated warning and paperwork.

As you point out there are occasionally backpackers and boaters that get injured and/or die despite the restrictions. There isn't a perfect system to prevent all injuries (besides completely closing the area and forbidding anyone within the GC boundary), and I don't think anyone at the GC is trying to do that, but if they can do things to force people to be more prepared then they will reduce the rescue rates.

In the case of Phoenix Parks the signs have also not proved effective in forcing people to be prepared...I'm sure they'd be interested in alternative options besides closure if people have any good ideas... Perhaps permits certifying you as a "prepared hot weather hiker" once you attend a short briefing on the importance of bringing enough water?
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!
Post Reply

Return to “Trail Chat”