Lost Person Behavior

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Canyonram
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City, State: Payson, AZ

Lost Person Behavior

Post by Canyonram » Dec 07 2010 8:39 pm

Here's some "Lost Person Behavior" demographics as collected by author Robert Koester. One of his categories is on the behavior of lost hikers (a total of 3,837 missing hikers included in the anaylysis). An abbreviated list of lost hiker behavior:

"Hikers are oriented to trails. Errors typically occur at decision points (trail junctions, obscure trails, game trails, social trails, head of drainages). Other common errors include heading the wrong direction down a trail. Errors at decision points account for 56% of lost cases. Errors can be active (standing at a trail junction and making the wrong decision after reading the map upside down) or passive (not noticing they left the trail). Hikers are guided by terrain to other linear features once they are lost. Many follow path of least resistance. Poor navigators fail to notice landmarks. Youths and some young adults will also cut switchbacks. This often results in missing the trail. It may result in the subject moving uphill, even up and over a ridge line. Among hikers, 32-48% will be found uphill in relation to the IPP ( initial planning point used to plan the search incident). A recent phenomenon is lost subjects moving uphill or leaving trails to move uphill in order to obtain cell phone coverage. Many attempt to reorient themselves by trail running or finding a high spot. Hikers in dry domains stay mobile twice as long as in temperate domains and typically travel farther.

Being overdue accounts for 16% of search incidents. Hikers are often delayed because of poor estimates of fitness/travel time, lack of light, and blisters, especially in carrying heavy packs or hiking for the first time. Many discard equipment when lost or in trouble. Many lack skills for remote areas."

The book covers about 34 other 'Lost Person' subject categories, from 'Abduction to Workers.' A good read . . . if one is interested in this type of profiling statistics. A must have book for anyone conducting SAR.
Last edited by Canyonram on Feb 13 2012 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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azhiker96
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Re: Lost Person Behavior

Post by azhiker96 » Dec 07 2010 10:35 pm

Ah, I feel much better now. It seems like trails account for a large number of lost hikers. I prefer to travel off-trail when I can. ;)
"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it."
~ Mark Twain

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Al_HikesAZ
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Re: Lost Person Behavior

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Dec 07 2010 10:41 pm

Canyonram wrote:Here's some "Lost Person Behavior" demographics as collected by author Robert Koester. . . .A good read . . . if one is interested in this type of profiling statistics. A must have book for anyone conducting SAR.
Thanks. Going on my reading list. http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Person-Behav ... ikearizona
I wasn't lost. I knew exactly where I was. The trailhead, the truck and the campground were lost!! :sl:
Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
Not if we can help it UNCLE JACK. http://www.sleepingdogtv.com/reel/Uncle-Jack.aspx Not if we can help it.

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big_load
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Re: Lost Person Behavior

Post by big_load » Dec 07 2010 10:50 pm

Very interesting indeed. One of my biggest frustrations is how poorly the general public deals with this kind of information and fails to sufficiently value it.

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autumnstars
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Re: Lost Person Behavior

Post by autumnstars » Feb 12 2012 8:39 am

Going on my reading list...
"Let it ride / Let it roll / Let it go"

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kingsnake
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Re: Lost Person Behavior

Post by kingsnake » Feb 12 2012 11:03 am

To me, lost isn't being temporarily misdirected, or not quite sure where I am, which both happen fairly often, but instead it is that *plus* not knowing how to correct the situation, to return myself to a known point or line. For instance, being misdirected in Black Canyon, but knowing that if I headed east, eventually I would intersect the main dirt road. (That happened.) I think one of the keys is being able to navigate without any device at all. You may not be pinpoint precise, but if you know -- and everyone *should* -- what the time of day is, and where the sun is in the sky, you can at least eyeball your way to a better situation. It also helps to be aware enough to realize that you've gone off track, and if you did so from a known point/intersection, for heaven's sake turn around and return to that known point rather than turn an amusing anecdote into something more serious by continuing deeper into the problem situation. :M2C:
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.

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hikerdw
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Re: Lost Person Behavior

Post by hikerdw » Feb 12 2012 6:57 pm

“I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks”
Daniel Boone

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AZLumberjack
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Re: Lost Person Behavior

Post by AZLumberjack » Feb 13 2012 10:26 am

A real testimonial for GPS and SPOT, Cell phone is OK assuming you're within range.
On every trip into the Superstitions, I find another Gold Mine. Today the mine was filled with Memories. I can not wait for the next trip.

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Al_HikesAZ
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Re: Lost Person Behavior

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Feb 13 2012 10:49 am

Here is a brief article I wrote for HAZ on Survival Tips.
http://hikearizona.com/article.php?ID=34&O=0
The best tip if you think you might be lost is S.T.O.P.
If you are lost, stay calm and stay put. If you are lost, remember the acronym S.T.O.P. Sit -Think - Observe - Plan.
SIT: When you realize that you are lost take the time to sit down and collect your thoughts. You are not lost, you are right where you are, your camp, vehicle and everyone else is lost.
THINK: What do I have at my disposal both physical and mental that can help me in this situation. Take an inventory of your survival kit items and how you will use them. Take an inventory of your mind, remember what you always thought you would do if you got lost. Most of all remain positive, you will survive.
OBSERVE: Look around, is there shelter, water, high ground, an open area so the searchers can see you. It will be easier for those searching to find you if you can stay in one selected location that will allow you to build a fire, provide shelter, set out signals and be in an area that can be seen at a distance or from aircraft.
PLAN: Now create your plan of action. Be positive and take care of yourself. If it is late in the day build a fire for heat and signaling, find or make a shelter against the weather, and most of all remain positive, you do have the ability to survive. You have conquered the major danger of not allowing panic to cast your fate you can now conquer anything else that confronts you.
Many times the best solution is to backtrack to your last known point or junction. Above all, don't make your situation worse.
I am looking forward to reading this book after tax season.
Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
Not if we can help it UNCLE JACK. http://www.sleepingdogtv.com/reel/Uncle-Jack.aspx Not if we can help it.

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RedRoxx44
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Re: Lost Person Behavior

Post by RedRoxx44 » Feb 13 2012 11:12 am

Something to consider---and only if in a certain comfort zone for folks---is to hone the skills we were born with, and our ancestors used. Not so much the survival guides, the practice of it.
Every few years I pick an area I do not have background on, and set out with just the basics on my back. A little food, water, usually a tarp or not, and that's pretty much it. The purpose is to walk and stay out for several days. If you wander you don't burn a lot of calories, use what you know to locate likely water, and shelter. Sun and moon locations. The lay of the land and what it means. I don't take any electronics, maps or compass on these trips. The geology, and how rocks can tell you where things are. Animal tracks and trails. How the wind blows. When you aren't distracted a lot of this stuff is second nature and makes a lot of sense. Looking forward,around and back. Absorb the big and little picture of your surroundings. Being lost is really the last thing I worry about.

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WilliamnWendi
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Re: Lost Person Behavior

Post by WilliamnWendi » Feb 13 2012 11:48 am

RedRoxx44 wrote:Something to consider---and only if in a certain comfort zone for folks---is to hone the skills we were born with, and our ancestors used. Not so much the survival guides, the practice of it.
Every few years I pick an area I do not have background on, and set out with just the basics on my back. A little food, water, usually a tarp or not, and that's pretty much it. The purpose is to walk and stay out for several days. If you wander you don't burn a lot of calories, use what you know to locate likely water, and shelter. Sun and moon locations. The lay of the land and what it means. I don't take any electronics, maps or compass on these trips. The geology, and how rocks can tell you where things are. Animal tracks and trails. How the wind blows. When you aren't distracted a lot of this stuff is second nature and makes a lot of sense. Looking forward,around and back. Absorb the big and little picture of your surroundings. Being lost is really the last thing I worry about.
Being a "City Boy" from Cincy' I have been slowly attaining the knowledge that most here would consider second nature. Hopefully I will one day be able to just what you discussing but the hardest part when it comes is how to break the news to my wife that she is going on "Survival Scenario" adventure. It wasn't that long ago that she told me that she absolutely never sleep outside...ever! Look at her now! Thanks Hike Arizona! :D
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"

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Al_HikesAZ
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Re: Lost Person Behavior

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Feb 13 2012 5:56 pm

WilliamnWendi wrote:. . . but the hardest part when it comes is how to break the news to my wife that she is going on "Survival Scenario" adventure.
So don't call it that. Just call it a hike. :A1:
Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier.
Not if we can help it UNCLE JACK. http://www.sleepingdogtv.com/reel/Uncle-Jack.aspx Not if we can help it.

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WilliamnWendi
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Re: Lost Person Behavior

Post by WilliamnWendi » Feb 13 2012 6:16 pm

Al_HikesAZ wrote:
WilliamnWendi wrote:. . . but the hardest part when it comes is how to break the news to my wife that she is going on "Survival Scenario" adventure.
So don't call it that. Just call it a hike. :A1:
I am not sure I could survive that scenario! :lol:
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"

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