Wilderness Hazards – risk evaluation

Wilderness Hazards – risk evaluation

 or staying in the low risk category

risk evaluation cobra-coral

Risk evaluation “Red on yellow kill a fellow, red on black venom lack.” Yep, a Corral Snake, but what are the “real” Risks?

Fact is, we are surrounded by risks, things around the house, while driving to work, while at work, and while at play, there are risks.  Learning risk evaluate skills adds to the enjoyment, and reduces the actual risks, in life in general, and in the wilderness.

The wilderness, or back country, along with the out of doors in general, has its own unique risks or hazards.  Our understanding and awareness to these hazards is a key to our safety, and enjoyment.  In the following paragraphs I will mention a few hazards and ways to deal with them, but the main point of this post or article is about hazards and safety in general.  These skills are part of our everyday lives, including the out of doors.  The following is a suggested strategy to assist us in noticing and avoiding or controlling hazards, or basically, learning how to evaluate risks.

First thing I would like to point out is, “there is no such thing as safe,” only situations with more or less risk.   Due to this fact I have been developing and refining a new way of looking at safety in general.   As near as I can tell, there are two parts to a hazard or safety situation, and the product of these two tells us the risks we are exposed to, or “Risk Exposure (RE)”

Risk Potential (RP), or the possibility of the event happening.  If it does not happen, then there is no danger or hazard.

Risk Factor (RF), or how serious or damaging it will be if it does happen.  This is like risk potential in that, if there is no injury or damage, then there is no hazard or danger.

The importance of this fact is that if we eliminate either one of the above two things, there is not a hazard or danger.  I have found that as humans, it is easy to look at either risk potential, or risk factor, all alone.   Since both deal with fear, which is a negative, and consequently very powerful, it can suck us into “feeling” something is worse than it really is.

An example of this fact is shown when you consider laying a 12 inch wide by 15 feet long plank on the ground.   Now, step on to it and walk back and forth, the full length of it.  No problem.

Now, lay that same plank across a gap between two buildings which are thirty feet above the ground.   Now, walk the plank to the other building’s roof top?

Everything is the same as when it was on the ground, other than the “fear” involved.   The majority of people would never walk across the plank, under those conditions.  Some may crawl along it.   The point I am making is, the only thing which has tangibly changed is fear.   By all rights, we should be able to walk the plank, just as easily as we did while it was on the ground, but . . .

I hope I have communicated the fact that in hazard evaluation, and safety in general, it is easy to look at either Risk Potential (the possibility of it happening) or Risk Factor (how serious it will be if it does happen), and consider something to be either safe or dangerous solely on one or the other.

Another example might be: I know of a person who is so deathly scared of getting a mosquito bite and getting one of the deceases associated with mosquitoes.  Consequently, he will NOT go into the back country at all.

He is so scared of the RISK FACTOR that it controls his life, although he does not think twice about driving to work in the morning?   Chances of him being hurt or killed in an automobile accident are way higher than being bit by a mosquito and getting lime decease, or some other decease.

To get a true picture of the “real” risks involved, or “Risk Exposure (RE)” we need to look at both the Risk Potential and the Risk Factor.   RE is the thing we need to be concerned with.  I have found a close correlation between RP and RF, thus I have developed a system which takes into account both sides of the equation.  RP x RF = RE, the diagram below explains it much better than words.

A person may ask, “WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT to me?”    Well, it is NOT important to everybody, but it is important to those who are involved in activities which are associated with RISKS.

In order to judge or determine how close you are to the invisible line between serious injury or damage, and a positive outcome, one must be able to weigh things out, determining a positive outcome, verses a negative one.

Is this a good system?  Well, I use my many decades of experience, training, skill, knowledge, and study of the subject as a foundation.  Over the last fifty years, or five decades, I have be actively involve is high risk and safety.   I carefully say, we have been fortunate enough to have never had a serious accident.

Considering the variety of situations we have operated in, and the many high risk scenarios we have experienced, I believe it is something to seriously consider.   If after studying the system well, you consider otherwise, then I would very much like to hear your thoughts, and at the least, you have had an opportunity to look at a different view point.   At the best, you have learned a new skill that very well may save your life, and the lives of others.

*Below is a diagram of the correlation of the various parts of risk evaluation. Refer back to this as you complete the quiz.  When you have completed the quiz you should have a basic understanding of how to determine how close you are to that fine line between, injury and damage, and an enjoyable and successful adventure.

Risk Exposure Diagram web Douglas S. Hansen

Risk Evaluation –

Risk Potential is 0 -10

Risk Factor is 0 -10

Risk Exposure is   RP x RF = Risk Exposure (RE)

My experience has shown products of

0 – 24 is reasonably low risk

25 – 50  is high risk, but acceptable under certain conditions

50- 100 Questionably High Risk.  Since we do not live in a black and white world, this area is questionable, but not necessarily unreasonable.  Each situation is different so I feel it is not possible to give a black and white determination.

________________________________________________________________________

Examples seem to be the best way to communicate things, so via a quiz I will use some examples.   Here’s a quiz to assist in learning and understanding risk evaluation.

(Still building the quiz, but you can take part of it now, and come back later.)

*Risk evaluation is NOT an exact science.  Consequently, the reader must assume all and any risks associated with the adventure, event, or operation.   One key part of maintaining a low risk situation is study and get good training, carry the proper equipment and know how to use it; and exercise good judgement.

Risk Evaluation Skills Training Quiz

The purpose of the quiz is to assist in communicating a new concept to maintaining a low risk operation or outing.

Red Rock Sport Climbing Area

*Red Rock Sport Climbing Area, Draper, UT

Red Rock, Draper, UT,52_6858 webJust South of Salt Lake City, Utah is Draper, UT, on a ridge formed by Lake Bonneville is a chunk of red Quartzite, there is a great little sports climbing area.  It seems pretty stable, and it has a number of bolted routes to the top and some top rope anchors.

They even have the route’s name attached to the rock.  I have my own opinions about a number of things, as you may have noticed.  Bolted climbing routes, in the natural environment is one of them.    Some may feel bolts should stay in the gyms, but I figure it is probably reasonable to have a few of them in places, in the outdoors; especially in more densely populated areas.

Red Rock, Draper, UT, 4_6858 web

Climbing on the Red Rock Buttress

One thing I noticed when climbing in Europe, Switzerland, France, and those places, is there is very little trash in the mountains and in the wilderness areas; although, real wild wilderness is rare.  They do take good care of the trails.  They have a hut system where you don’t have to bring you tent and the heavy camping gear.  You pay the hut keeper a small fee, and you get a warm hut style bed for the night, and tea and or breakfast in the morning.

This Red Rock Sport Climbing Area, where the Bonneville Shore Line Trail intersects with the trail up to the Red Rock Sport Climbing Area.  It kind or reminded me of some of the trails in Europe.  The Bonneville Shore line trail traverses the of the Wasatch Front Area around Salt Lake City, and Utah Valley.

Maple, Rocky Mountain_6824

Rocky Mountain Maple, usually found in shaded areas Notice the lobs like the Big Tooth Maple, but the Rocky Mountain Maple has little teeth around the outside

*Of course, be sure to seek quality climbing instruction before doing these things.  One can learn climbing on their own, but the risks are much higher, and one progresses slower.   This will serve at the “I told you so section,” just joking, but safety is worth paying attention to it.

Fremont Indians – Nine Mile Canyon

Nine Mile Canyon – a journey back in time

Nine Mile Canyon Sign webAs I looked along the valley floor it was easy to see why the Fremont Indians liked this area. Deer everywhere I looked, water for growing crops, and a climate that was not terribly extreme.

It was fun to imagine sitting along side the canyon and building arrows, for deer hunting. Actually, a dead fall trap may have been a better approach because the bow and arrows they could make were not terribly lethal.

Fremont Indian Writing, Family, webFor me, it was great to enjoy the BLM area, it was winter anbut the temperature was nice for hiking.   I have a book on the Indian writing, written by an Indian, who says rock art, is communication, not just pictures.  As you look at the different panels, it is easy to imagine they were trying to tell a story, much like photographers do as they take pictures.

This canyon holds some of the most spectacular rock art in Utah. It is found in Nine Mile Canyon northeast of Price. Access is via Wellington, or you can actually come in from the north via Myton, along US 40.

Fremont, Grain storage, webThe canyon is actually 40 miles long; do not let the name deceive you. Nine Mile Canyon is remote, hostile, unblemished and roughly beautiful. Called “the world’s longest art gallery” it is home to numerous rock art panels, including the famous “Hunter Panel”. Most of the rock art was created by the Fremont Indians who occupied this area some 1,000 years ago.

They too had to be concerned about others who would rob and steal their food. If you look high in the cliffs, you may find some of their hides. Where they would store grain, and such, this picture is one I found. It can be seen from the road if you are watching carefully.

Indian deer hunting we b Balanced rock, Nine Mile Canyon web  Deer, Nine Mile Canyon

In memory web, Nine MileAnother thing I thought was really cool, was a monument of sorts, which was paying honor to another great human being, named Clifford Rayl. We all have gifts to share, and this gentleman loved showing people around Nine Mile Canyon. People really are the “Spice of Life!”

Apparently, he is buried near a public pavilion, which has tables, rest rooms and all.

If you are looking for a great day trip, or more, this is a great adventure for you and your family.

Gaiters

Gaiters

Gaiter,trail

Trail Gaiters: This is like my first pair of really good ones.

Trail Gaiters:  Are by no means a new idea, but a long proven one which has been over looked.  When I first started using them, I found many advantages, some of which I have listed below.   If you have really long pants, you may get by without them, sort-of, but even then I wear them.

They are especially  good when you have short pants.  I found the most useful was part was keeping the twigs, pebbles, and dirt out of my boots.  I really fought with it.  I would get a little stick or pebble in my boot any I would try to avoid the inevitable stop, sitting in the often heat of the sun, undoing my boot, cleaning it out, and putting my boots back on.   Now Days I use hiking gaiter almost always, especially in the summer.

gaiter, spatsgaiter,spats,navyGaiter,spat,militaryThe concept is not a new one, you may have heard of “Spats.”  They were used by Gentleman, and a more rugged version was used by the military.

Funny thing though, I have been sold on using them for many years, but I vacillated between wearing them and not.  The reason?  Well, a really good one, “I didn’t want to look silly.”  I know, but it is amazing how pier pressure, even if it really isn’t there, effects what we do.  Instead of doing what we know makes sense, it is easy to doubt ourselves and go along with the crowd.

Here’s a strange thought: Did you know over two thousand years ago they knew the world was round? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8cbIWMv0rI   They knew that we were not the center of the universe, and medically, they were really quite advanced.  But somewhere in between, people for fear, greed, or power, etc wiped out that information.  I figure part of it is like me, not wearing my trail gaiters.  Some of the time, I didn’t have the confidence to follow that inner prompting or knowing.  Also, had we not destroyed all that knowledge and built upon it, we very well could have that world of abundance, for everyone.   Carl Sagan gave us one of his gifts, and it can be seen on You Tube.  People want to control the internet, well, really they want to control you, just like has happened in years gone by.   Knowledge, freedom, and love (I know it sounds cheesy) are the way we “all” grow, progress, and live abundantly.  Well, back to gaiters.

Trail Gaiters are becoming more and more common; and for good reason.  They  do a number of things, besides making the wearer look cool.

  • They keep pebbles, sand, dirt, twigs, leafs and other misc. items which do not belong in side your boots, out.
  • Improve comfort, and save time, because you don’t have to stop and clean out the garbage by untying, dumping, taking you sock off and shaking it out, then put it back on, then the boot, and finally tie it; and for comfort, well I don’t know of anyone who enjoys walking with garbage in their boots.
  • When it rains, or if you are walking through dew soaked bushes and such, they keep the water on the outside of the boot.
  • Reduces the chances of getting ticks. Tucking you pant bottoms into the top of the gaiter, effectively closes the doorway to the subway to you groin area, a favorite place for ticks. Add insect repellant to that area and even reduce the chances more.
  • Prevent bugs and snags from sage brush and other small branches, to your pant bottoms. Like the tick idea, tuck them in the top of your gaiter, they also keep out spiders, and other crawlies.
  • And in the snow, they help out as well.
  • I prefer breathable ones, to help keep the moisture and temperature down.  If you are going in a hot climate, white would be a good idea.  Replace

Outdoor Research is one of my favorite manufactures.  They hable under straps are good as well.

Gaiter,high,line drawingKnee high gaiter:   These shine in the winter, or high altitudes.  Unlike trail gaiters, there are many styles and prices.   Even Kevlar ones, so your crampons do not tear up you pants.  Semi snug fit avoids crampon holes.    Breathable Goretex is good here.   Along with a durable neoprene understrap and front lace hook.

Over boot or Super Gaiters.   They come with insulation in them, and the overboot types come with insulation on the bottom.  These would be used with crampons, because using them directly would be slippery and they would wear out sooner..  In the overboot catagory you have NEOs  I think that is the name.  They are an over boot with a durable sole on them, so you can wear your boot or even a tennis shoe in the, and they come in waterproof models.  I have even waded across streams with them, and had no leakage problem

Well, in a nut shell, there is gaiters.  If you like this let me know.  Thanks for stopping by………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Winter Blues . . . Lift Your Spirits!

For some reason, fixing and repairing things leaves me feeling a little better. There are always little things around the house that annoy us, but we are not quite sure the best way to fix them. Well, here are a few ideas to deal with those things.

♣Sagging towel rack or wobbly toilet tissue holder. This is one of the most common, “little” molly bolt 1problems around a house. They are fairly easy to fix, for good. Just unscrew them holder. You may have to use a small hex wrench to undo a set screw on the under side. They use them so you don’t see the screws holding them into the wall. Frequently, you will see simple drywall screws used. It does not take much pressure to pull them loose.

molly bolt 2The best choice, and just about as easy, is a Molly bolt. Molly bolts are my favorite because they are so easy and quite strong. All you do is undo or pull out the old screw or plastic expansion plug. Chance are the hole is already big enough. I like the molly bolts with the sharp end they push right in, then all you need to do is tighten them down until it gets hard to turn. At that point it has expanded and is solid. Now just use those screws to attach you towel rack, tissue hold, or what ever. You won’t be bother by sagging racks anymore!

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Graphite♣Squeaky door and cupboard hinges. This can be eliminated by squirting a little powdered graphite alongside the pin where the hinge turns or in the little openings where they come together. If the door sticks, you may want to check the hinge plates and make sure the screws are tight. If they are you can plane off a bit of the wood, then touch up the paint so the surgery is not noticeable.

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Sqeak no more♣Creaky floor boards. There are two way to deal with these. One is to use some talcum powder into the seam where floorboards meet — the talcum acts as a lubricant to quiet boards that rub against each other. This will last for a while, a more permanent solution is an anti-squeak repair kits, such as Squeeeeek No More ($23), feature specially designed screws that are easy to conceal.

♣Loose handles or hinges on furniture, cabinets, and doors. You can probably fix these with a few quick turns of a screwdriver. But if a screw just spins in place, try making the hole fit the screw better by stuffing in a toothpick coated with glue, or switching to a blister paintlarger screw.

♣Blistered paint on shower ceilings. This area gets a lot of heat and moisture that stresses paint finishes. Scrape off old paint and re-coat, using a high-quality exterior-grade paint. Also, be sure everyone uses the bathroom vent when showering to help get rid of excess moisture.

dryer vent♣Clothes dryer vent.  This is a cause of many house fires.  If the dryer fails to vent properly the heating coils or the heat transfer elements over heat and turn red hot, starting fires.  Depending on house well you vent works, you may need to clean this every year, maybe sooner.  To do this pull the dryer out from the wall, disconnect the power, disconnect the vent pipe from the wall and dry, and vacuum lint out of the pipe, the wall vent and the dryer vent area.  Also, wipe lint off your exterior dryer vent so the flap opens and closes easily. (You’ll need to go outside for that, but it’s quick.)   If you are in video of how to, here is a URL:  https://youtu.be/phLzCTc-1TM

♣Exhaust filter for the kitchen stove. By washing it to remove grease, you’ll increase the efficiency of your exhaust vent; plus, if a kitchen stove top fire breaks out, this will help keep the flames from spreading.

Stop in at Allred’s and talk to their pros about little details you are working with.

Allreds Ace Hardware

Allreds Ace Ad November 15 V 1

 

 

 

Winter Hiking, Snowshoeing, and X-C Skiing

Winter Hiking, Snowshoeing, X-C Skiing

X-C skiing breaking trail

Winter hiking is slightly different than summer

With wintertime fun, one must negotiate new methods for getting from point A to point B, and back. Below I have listed the primary methods of travel when there is snow on the ground. For short distances, a person can jump out of the vehicle and take a picture, or whatever, you can get by with just minor trail breaking, or making your own path. If someone chooses to do anything more, then the picture takes on an entirely new look; a look or process nothing like summertime travel.

I am not going to address the best boots for preventing heat loss, which is an article all by itself. Please check out my new book, “How to Stay Warm,” due for release in the next week or so. The follow information is a basic look at the tools and the methods of traveling in the wintertime.

post holing for winter hiking

Post holing a form of winter hiking

One of the most common, is Post holing. It is great fun, for about two steps. After that, it becomes very tiring, and if the snow is very deep, you won’t be going very far.   If you must use this method, and there is two or more of you, trading leads is the best thing to do.   Taking turns at breaking trail shares the load, and even if you are wearing snowshoes or X-C Skis, trading leading is part of the game.   If you have not guessed yet, “post holing” refers to the hole you make in the snow each time you step into a new area of fresh snow. If the snow is a 0.3 meters (1 foot) deep it is not a real big deal, although if you traveling a long distance it requires a lot more energy, than simple trail walking.

The real fun begins when you post hole, in thigh deep snow. A good pair of gaiters will keep the snow out of you pant leg.   Another treat is even more fun, it is when you are able to posthole, when there is a breakable crust. One, which just almost holds your weight, as you are stepping up onto to it, then it breaks through. If you plan to go very far, you are in for a real treat, lots of hard work.  I would recommend snowshoes or X-C Skis, unless you have masochistic tendencies.

sole, Vibram for winter hiking

You must have sole for winter hiking

Traveling in foot packed areas and trails, these areas are frequented by many people and everybody, sort-of, ends up packing down the area of snow, so you can walk on it. It becomes a compressed snow trail. If it is fresh snow or warm snow, then all you need is a good ®Vibram type, lug sole on your shoes. It bites into the snow good, and catches ridges or irregularities in the snow surface, so you don’t slip around as much. A flat smooth type sole is only good for frustration, and falling on your butt. Even in soft snow, a smooth sole is very slippery.

When the temperature drops, and the snow freezes, there are two situations, which are common. 1. The irregularities, edges, or ridges, which formed while the snow was soft and warm, freeze. When that occurs, these ridges and a good lug sole can be good. 2. If the area is a high use area, those little ridges, and edges in the snow are trampled down, and it becomes smooth and icy. The only choice is to chop steps with your ice axe (which is a pain) or to put on a pair of ice cleats made for icy surfaces, or wear a pair of crampons.   Crampons are kind of like using a 12 gauge shot gun, to swat flies. They are over-kill, are more difficult to walk with, easy to catch a pant leg with, or even spike yourself; they are best for serious ice climbing. For basic trails, ice cleats do the job fine

ice cleats, trail for winter hiking

Chaining up for winter hiking

Ice Cleats are miniature spikes, or shrunken crampons, which fit on your shoes. These work well on icy trails, the spikes are not so long as to stab yourself, or catch on clothing as you walk. They are easy to take off and put on. One difficulty occurs if there happens to be an inch or so of snow over the icy trail, these miniature crampons, may not poke through the snow and bite into the ice below. Shuffling your feet as you walk may help.   It helps clear the snow out from under your cleats.

ice, cleats on boot for winter hiking

chains applied to make winter hiking more fun

A past relative of these is called hobnailed boots. Mountaineers, from days gone by, used hobnail boots for serious climbing. They were the same thing as miniature spikes, except, they were permanently attached to the boot, which made it a problem for the kitchen floor. They eventually gave way to crampons. Crampons are the mini cleats big brother on steroids. They have approximately 12 points, which are roughly 2 to 5 cm (1 to 2 inches) long, with one or more of the spikes facing forward, for vertical ice climbing.

As you guessed, these are made for serious ice climbing and glaciers where you may have an inch or two of snow on an icy layer below. Even with these longer spikes, the snow on ice can be a problem; again shuffling your feet may help.  Another problem is when the snow sticks to your crampons. Silicone and plastic type out soles can help. Another trick is to do the ice axe, crampon jig, where with each step you pop, or hit the sole of your boot/crampon with the shaft of your ice axe. That usually knocks the snow out, and you get a fresh bite on the next step.

Snowshoe,MSR_Ascent_snow for winter hiking

High Tech Snow Shoes the more broad approach to winter hiking

   Snowshoes help you stay on top of the snow, and come in small to very large sizes. The smaller ones are for hard crusts or shallow snow. In addition, the small ones are used for competitive running on packed slopes, or harder crusts. Nowadays, most of snowshoes have spikes on them, so they do not slide around on icy surfaces. Older versions did not have spikes, and the bindings were not as stable as the newer bindings. If you plan to carry a big pack, in (hopefully on) deep snow, then the longer, wider versions work better.   A pair of ski poles can be quite useful for balance, and can help distribute the weight so you don’t break through the crusts as easily.   They also save energy.

I recommend them for backpacking in the summer as well. There are a number of reasons for using them in the summer too.   When used for hiking they are nice, save some energy. If you have a big, heavy pack on, they are essential. Something to note is, even when you are standing still, your body is busy using muscles to keep you upright. Poles help you relax those muscles, thus saving lots of energy.   This small amount actually adds up to a large amount, during a long day of backpacking or mountaineering.

X-C Skis, or Alpine Touring skis are my favorite. They are about three times more efficient in snow when traveling uphill or horizontally, than snowshoes are.   If you are skier, skiing back down is about ten times more efficient than snowshoes! In both cases, taking turns when breaking trail makes good sense, is good ethics, and saves energy. One of my favorite things to do is, find a good slope or fresh snow. Then cut a low angle trail up to the top of it, and spend the day cutting the slope up with telemark turns in the fresh powder.

http://i2.wp.com/hansenspecialities.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/winter18skier-sitting.jpg?resize=625%2C410

fish scales for winter hiking

X-C Skis are the best choice for winter hiking

For travel, there are several ways to prevent the ski from slipping backwards.   “Fish scales” or “staircase” type bottoms give the ski grip or bite the snow. The slide forward, but the edge prevents them from sliding backwards.   In fresh lite snow, they don’t work very well, but are much better than nothing. X-C skis have what is called a double camber so that when your weight is on both skis, the fish scales do not touch the snow. That way you can glide much more easily.

double camber for winter hiking

Like summer hiking, but maybe more so, the way we wait or foot makes for a better winter hiking experience

There are also waxes; you put on the base of the ski. When you stand on the wax, the snow crystal imprints on the wax and it actual sticks to the snow. With the correct wax, which is dependent on the temperature of the snow, you can climb up quite steep slopes, without sliding backwards. Learning to weight, the ski, to make the wax grip better, is important.   When you kick, it grips. When you glide on the wax, it wipes the crystals off and you slide down hill or forward quite easily.  Of course, it you have the incorrect wax, you can ice up, and carry a considerable amount of snow on the base of the skis.

climbing skins on ski for winter hiking

Ski need a boost for winter hiking

The last choice is skins. They stick, or strap to the bottom of your ski. Mohair, or synthetic skins, have little tiny directional hairs on them.   You can slide forward, but when you start to slide backwards, the hairs stand up and stop you. With a good pair of skins, you can climb a packed ski slope of almost forty-five degrees. Of course, powder slopes make that angle difficult to achieve, although the generally climb better than waxes or fish scale skis.

The real advantage of skis is they slide, so you do not have to pick your foot up each time.  You put the inclined plane to work for you. Going down is much easier, if you are a good skier; it is faster and saves energy. If not, the energy wasted by falling down and getting back up will be tremendous. One thing nice though, about having a beginner along with you is, you can send them down the slope first, to “body charge” the slope, and make sure it won’t avalanche on anyone else . . .

Avalanche awareness is another subject in itself. You can find some articles I have done for Summit magazine, or Emergency, the journal of emergency medicine, or maybe some others if you do a search on www.HansenSpecialityServices.com   Be smart though, avalanche kill quite a few people every year.

In a nutshell, this is an introduction to travel in the winter. If you are interested learning more, I facilitate a Wilderness Citizenship Program where you can learn many of these skills in pursuit of your “Wilderness Citizenship.”   What is a wilderness citizenship? “When you have learned the skills required to travel into the wilderness, day or night, winter or summer, good weather or bad, and be “at home,” you will have attained or reached your Wilderness Citizenship.”

Well, now you get to enjoy the out-of-doors, and feel good about it too, because it gives you good exercise, and it provides re-“creation,” both are essential to living a balanced and healthy life.   Dynamic Living, is all about identifying the good things in your life, and making them better; and ignoring or minimizing the negative things. If you are interested in learning more about dynamic living, you can go to www.HansenSpecialities.com

The Martial Arts – Karate the “Art” of Empty Hand Fighting.

The Martial Arts – Karate the “Art” of Empty Hand Fighting.

cropped-Monk-in-temple-Test.jpg

Buddhist Monks or Priests are often touted as being quite good at the martial arts.

This is probably one of the most curious topics out there.  Anyone who has spent much time looking at the martial arts, has likely seen the videos of the early masters of karate jumping walls of great height and all but flying over trees and armies of people.  It seems unbelievable, and of course, it is.  This aura is part of the big picture, which has been around since people first started banging heads (fighting).  Have you ever wondered why warriors of old, dressed up in funny looking masks,  and painted faces to go to war.  They even wore heads and skins of wolfs, bears, and other mean and strong animals.

These people knew there was psychological part to fighting.  “They knew their very lives depended on the outcome.”   They understood there was two parts to fighting or defending themselves.  One was preparing themselves psychologically, so they would be at their best.  Two was breaking down the psychic or mental part of the aggressor.    The wolf head and cape served both.  It made them think they had the power of the wolf, and it scared the aggressors.   History seems to repeat itself, you often find people who just want to live their own lives, but they are forced to defend themselves, thus war happens.

[i]Muhammad Ali, previously known as, “Cassius Clay,” is an American former professional boxer, generally considered among the greatest heavyweights in the history of the sport.  He owed a fair amount success to his physiological game and pregame tactics.  In interviews, you would hear his catchphrases like, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee“.    He is one of the most recognized sports figures of the past 100 years, crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC.

samurai

A picture of a samurai, notice the psychological things, the big horns, etc. meant to scare their opponent. The saying translated is, “Keep close to your friends, but still closer to your enemies.”

The psychological part plays as big of a role as does the physical part.  Consequently, when it came to the fighting “arts” these people spent a tremendous amount of time worrying about it, training, and preparing for war.   The martial arts are no different; these fighting arts were used to defend their families, friends and other loved ones.  If you happen to see incredible things like jumping very high walls, or ninjas flying over groups of people, realize, those were the rumors they spread, which many believed, about the elite warriors.  It was their efforts to seize a psychological advantage.

I have always been one to avoid a fight.  It just did not make any sense to me, although I have been surprised when I have had to fight.  Afterwards, it seemed these people who wanted to kick my ass, now wanted to become my friend?  It appears there are people who may lack self confidence; and feel they have to prove to others and themselves that they are tough.  They do this by choosing a target they feel they can whip, and go about whipping them.

When they find out these targets are willing to stand up to them, they readjust their thoughts or have a paradigm shift and decided to be friends instead of fighting.  I am guessing this happens out of respect for the target, or a desire to make amends for doing something silly.  They are like the rest of us, we enjoy a good friendship, but sometimes we make mistakes in the way we handle life.  Any fighting is a strange thing to me.  It seems we are stuck on this little planet, and instead of fighting we should be learning to work together, making life better for us all.  In reality, we are in a delicate position on planet earth.  If we manage things correctly, we “all” will do well; if we mess it up, well, we won’t be very happy.

Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu’s picture and a quote from his writings.

The orient spent many centuries at war, during which time [ii]Sun Tzu, a great Chinese general, military strategist, and philosopher lived in the Spring and Autumn period of ancient China. Sun Tzu is traditionally credited as the author of The Art of War, a widely influential work of military strategy that has affected both Western and Eastern philosophy. Aside from his legacy as the author of The Art of War, Sun Tzu is revered in Chinese and Asian culture as a legendary historical figure.  In his famous work called “The Art of War,” he points out that war is a terrible thing, and should be avoided at almost all costs.  Saying people should do serious meditation before entering into it.  I realize, as surely he did, there are times when we as people have a tyrant at the helm, or another type of situation, which requires people to take action.  This action can prevent such things as the Holocaust and other types of human tragedies.

Here’s another aspect you have likely heard of.  Martial Artists used to “draw lines in the sand,” suggesting their master had developed the best style of karate.  While the other group felt as though their style was the best.  Both were rout in ignorance.   The best concept I have discovered and agree with is first you do what you can to avoid the fight.  Then at that point there are not styles, rules, or such, it is simply one person trying to hurt another, and another person defending themselves.   Do what works, and gets the job done.  Surely it makes sense to not hurt the other person badly if you don’t have to, but you must survive to live another day.

When it comes to defending your life, the philosophy Bruce Lee taught seems to be a good sytle.  For the need of a name he called it “Jeet Kune Do.”  Bruce would say the name should be stricken if it were to imply, it was this way, or that way.   He frequently pointed out that, “When your life is on the line, you should do whatever works for you.”  You are defending yourself or protecting your life.  He studied boxing, fencing, and all kinds of other skills and “styles” just to learn what worked best for him.  One of his favorite teaching concepts he would talk about was, “flow like water my friend, flow like water.”

I used to consider Bruce Lee to be a good actor and that was all.  After reading his books and such, I realize he was an exceptional Master of the Martial Arts, and as is usually the case with any true master, they are very aware of other skills, possibly even masters of many different skills.  He was confident, he knew he was exceptional.  He did not flaunt it, but he was not embarrassed to show his skills either.

A key point when learning the martial arts is to find a Sensei or instructor.  Find one who is a good communicator, makes it interesting, and sparks an interest in you.   One who can communicate the principles behind the techniques they are teaching you.   Like all things, you find instructors of various skill levels, with different understandings of the art.  Some teach what is called a “hard” style, others styles are more soft and flowing.   Well, be open, because what may seem strange at first may turn out to be exceptional.  If after a while if you are not having a good experience, and not be learning, don’t be afraid to negotiate an exit agreement.  In fact, it would be good to talk about an exit agreement before you begin.   Many places are happy to allow you to experience it for free, for the first few times.

The real martial arts masters are confident, yet friendly, and have nothing to prove.  They often go as far as to appear the lesser in a possible fight, because fighting is dangerous, to both parties.  The martial arts can be a great confidence builder, and the neat thing about it is, the real masters teach people confidence, which translates into an aura to prevent fights.   Most programs I would recommend are based on a natural progression of learning skills, gaining strength and self confidence, learning some of the philosophy’s, and having a good experience; as well as learning how to defend yourself.

Here’s a concept I like, it is called the Covered Fist.  There are two parts to the covered fist, the hand of the scholar and the fist of the warrior.  The fist is covered by the hand of the scholar, so as not to provoke a fight.  The hand symbolizes a scholar who is smart in a life sense, as well as in a fighting sense.   The scholar understands the pros and cons of confrontation, thus they strive to avoid it.  The fist of the warrior symbolizes someone who is strong and capable, and able to fight, if the need be.”

A covered fist is often used when two Martial artists pay respect to one another.  They do it by covering their fist of the warrior, with the hand of the scholar, and bow to each other.  The bow is not a subservient type of a bow, but rather one which shows respect to each other’s heritage, and life efforts.  This is a creed, which will be different depending on the style or school you attend.

covered fist “I stand here with karate, my empty hands and a covered fist.

 I have no weapons, nor do I desire confrontation.

I do have the confidence, which comes with training, practice, and hard work. 

If need be, I have the skills to defend myself,

But I believe you will agree, it is much better to be friends.

“Karate, the “ART” of Empty Hand Fighting.”

If you are interested in learning karate, or know someone who is, you are welcome to give me a call, I can point you towards a good Sensei.  Just dial 719-285-5733, and ask for Doug.

[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Ali

[ii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Tzu

Avalanche Awareness . . . are you beeping?

Avalanche Awareness can make the difference between life and death.   Did you know that  almost always, Avalanche victims are the cause of the avalanche which catches them.  If you are buried for 30 minutes you have about a 50% chance of surviving, if you are buried for 60 minutes it drops to about 20%, after that is goes down quickly.

Avalanche, Beacon Sign

Avalanche Warningi found on a Forest Service Informational Sign

Good to know information.  This is a great approach.  Instead of some silly sign telling us it is against the law to go into avalanche country, this sign suggests we should have the sense to “know what we don’t know.”   Then with this information it reminds us of the hazard so we can get instruction, or take other measures to stay safe.  With this in mind here are a few pointers and suggestions:

Even in high risk times a person can safely go into the back country, IF, they are skilled.  I often hear things like, “they were experienced back country skiers,” or “make sure those you go with are really experienced so it will be safe.”  There seems to be some kind of thing that suggests time in grade equals knowledge and skill.   How about making sure we are skilled, and have good experience as well.   Learning from those who have these skills, and are able to communicate them effectively.    People gain experience by doing.  The problem with experience is it often requires mistakes, and near misses to let us know how close we are to the line.  Unfortunately, these mistakes may cost us our life.  Remember, “School teaches us the rules, experience teaches us the exceptions to the rules.”

For example:  Some snow boarders headed into the backcountry to carve a few turns.   How might a person or group make sure they are prepared?  Probably the best way is to contact the Forest Service, National Park Service or other agency who manage the area you plan to go into.  They may have good information they will gladly share with you.  Also they have a number of brochures and other informational papers you can get for free.  If you can go with a skilled outdoorsman it will be worth a lot.  They can help you learn so you will eventually be the “skilled” person leading the group.   Go online, read books.  Take a recon trip, check out the area, and make some plans.  Mountaineering, the freedom of the hills, is in has more than 8  editions.   It is the bible in this regard, but as always, YOU must use your current information and knowledge to make a good choice, regardless of whether or not a book, or a person tells you this or that.  “IT IS OUR RESPONSIBLITY TO STAY CONSCIOUS AND MAKE GOOD CHOICES.

Formal Instruction Verses Learning from a Friend, Father, Aunt,, Uncle?  Well if they are skilled in both communication and avalanche knowledge you have a good combination.  The only thing lacking is: A, B, C. D. E. F . . . and so on, or a well developed, flowing course so you can grasp the concepts.   One of the first schools I went to was a ten day course in the Tetons.  We talked about everything from “Tidal Effect, to sublimation, to well a lot of things.  Back then formal avalanche training was fairly young, and one of two things happened in the course I attended: 1. Either I was to green to grasp much, or it was presented in such a way that it failed to communicate these principles and concepts in a way I could understand them and remember them; or maybe a little of both?   Just someone who know avalanches is not good enough by it self.  There is an art to teaching as well.   A good instructor keeps your interested and teaches you as well.  Some of us can learn by just listening, but usually it is better to have it explained, then see demonstrations, do hands on, and ultimately you teach someone else.   NO ONE learns more than the instructor . . .   Any pre study you can do will pay you dividends.  There are lots of videos, books, articles, etc. that will be well worth the time spent.

For more information on Avalanches click one of the below links:

Natural Hazards: Avalanche . . .Training, Consultation, Forecasting, and Mitigation

Avalanche!!! . . . an article authored by Hansen on Emergency Rescue in Avalanche Country

With a friend or someone else teaching you, rather than learning from a well develop school or person: you will learn, and maybe a lot of good things, BUT all too often parts are left our, or it looks like this: A, B, E, C, A, R, T, C . then is it time to go skiing.   You may learn some but they are there for the skiing, not necessarily to teaching you, all day, or week, using their teaching aids, course outlines, handouts, pretests, practical exercises, and so on.

Unfortunately, these snow boarders over looked some of these ideas.  They climbed up a large chute, couloir, or gulley (Learn to read the mountains: What created the gulley?  Water mostly, what does avalanche debris flow like?   Where would a gulley take a snow avalanche?) on a North Facing slope, in mid winter, while it was snowing.  Well, unfortunately, it wasn’t long before they gained some experience. Three were buried, a few got lucky and ran for help.  The SAR team found one body, but had to wait until spring to find the other two.    Here are some thoughts and ideas.  For more information give me a call and we can share some ideas about classes, presentations, and more.  719-285-5733 or email me at: doug@HansenSpecialtyServices.com

KNOWLEDGE AND SITUATIONAL AWARENESS

First, be in good health.  If you are feeling well you will perform better and think more clearly.  Eat and drink plenty.

Call the avalanche forecast center:  888-999-4019 before you go and after you return.  They have a program where they collect information from people who are out and about, so they can share what they are seeing.

Along with good winter attire

You will want an avalanche beacon for each person.  Make sure they are on the same frequency, with fresh batteries, but that is not good enough if you would like to stack the deck in your favor.  Check the batteries, with a battery tester, to make sure they have a good charge on them,  and lastly, do a beacon check as your group leave the parking area.

Beacon check:  Separate by a good distance, maybe 15 to 20 meters.   If your not able to hear or transmit more than fifteen to twenty meters, your beacon has a problem that could cost you dearly.   Now: One person turns their beacon to transmit, everyone else listens to make sure the hear that beacon.  Now one by one, the person who transmitted first turns their beacon to receive and listens, while the next person turn theirs to transmit.  Repeat this until everyone knows their beacons are receiving well at a distance, and transmitting well, at a distance.

An avalanche probe for everyone, Practice mock searches with the beacons, mock rescues before you go on a trip.  Make them as life like as possible.

An avalanche / snow shovel.  How big and what quality?  What do you want your partner using when they are digging for you?

Next watch for the combination to come together.  This is what is required for an avalanche to occur:Avalanche, Slope, and layers

1.  A snow load  figure how deep the snow is and multiply it by the size of the slope.  It can get pretty big quite fast.  four to six inches plus is where it starts to get serious, depending on the run-out area.

2. An angle of roughly 25 degrees to 60 degrees, with 38 being the prime angle that create the most frequent and largest sized one.

3. A running surface.  If there are tons of trees, boulders, and other things that could anchor the snow, it will have a harder time to get going.

4. A lubricating layer  Typically, you have a layer (slab) about a foot deep (load), sitting on TG Snow (lubricating), which is sitting on an old snow layer (running surface).

Gulleys and Chutes are a particular hazard.  It does not take much snow to bury you if you are in a Gulley.

Dig a snow pit on a representative slope in a safe place.

Heavy snow fall builds faster than it can Settle and bond.  An inch or more per hour is considered Red Flag time.

About 80% of the avalanches occur during or shortly after a snow storm.

Winds transport snow from one point to another and create slabs.  Are you on a Lee or windward slope?

Whumping is the collapsing of the TG layer  By the way, if you don’t know what TG is, you should keep studying more.  There is much more to learn.    Private instruction, private group instruction, or presentations are available.

Look for terrain clues: Missing trees or broken branches on the up hill sides of trees.  , and the trees, paths made down the mountain side from prior activity.

Cross one at a time if on a suspect slope.  Have a check list of what to do in an emergency.  We have some available if you contact us.

South facing slopes avalanche less in early to mid winter, but avalanche more in the spring.  North North-East slopes avalanche more in the early winter to mid winter, and are fairly stable in spring time.

Avalanche awareness suggests cross slopes as high as possible, then have an escape route in mind, so if one happens you can go for it.

Watch the history and type of things going on, on the slopes you intend to ski, beginning with the first snow and through to the end of the season.   Are crusts building, surface hoar, depth hoar, temperature gradients, and more.

I hope this is of value to you, and helps prevent the tragedy of even one death.  Every year there seems to be a half a dozen or so people in each state.  Learn by reading about what happened.  Then program those things into you mind, so where these condition are there you subconsciouss will alert you.   Check out Mental Training For Mountaineering for more on programming you mind.

Winter Principles or Techniques, you choose?

Winter Principles or  Techniques, you choose?

Header,Timp,Miller

High Altitude training for Mt. Everest. The same principles apply when trying to stay warm at low altitude.

I will explain the difference. When I was young, people would teach me things. I would feel like I knew what they taught me.   The next day, or the next week, I would try to do use what I thought I had learned, but I could not.

Puzzled by the fact I could not remember these things, I started studying and trying to figure out why. I tried different ideas related to the thing, I had been taught and eventually, I learned it, and at that point I could easily recall the technique or skill I had been taught. That made me wonder why I was it, that when taught I could not make it skill better so I could use it later?

This is what I learned, “people were teaching me techniques, or ways of doing something.” This worked, when everything was exactly as it was when they taught me, but if conditions were different, it often did not work. I learned that, “Ways, Methods, Techniques, and Means Change.”

With time, I learned the “principle” behind the technique. The best way I can teach or share this idea is to tell a story. This story, which I experienced, explains the difference between working from a principle-based standpoint, verses working from a technique or technician based standpoint.

A technique for keeping your feet warm is to put on an extra pair, or two, of socks, better yet, good wool socks. An Uncle who went deer hunting with me did just that.

This story is full of novice mistakes made by both of us. These are the kinds of mistakes, which can turn a situation of concern, into a serious emergency. As I retell the story, put yourself in our shoes, and see what you think, or what you might have done at various points in the story.

It was late October, and we were in pursuit of our trophy bucks. We were near the top of the mountain, covered with patches of snow. While sitting on a point, watching for deer, my uncle approached me and told me his feet were cold.   I did not think much about it because I was younger than he was, and he had more deer hunting experience than I had.

I noticed him trying to start a fire and again did not think too much about it. Instead, I just “assumed?” all was OK. I simply continued to watch for a big buck. As I did, I noticed how he was trying to start a fire; he was having problems getting it going.     I should have, consciously noted it was not working well, and given him a hand, but I did not.

I will give myself a break, I was only 16 or 17 and he was in his 20’s. Ultimately, he was unable to get a fire going. He had used a small amount of paper, and damp kindling, which did not work well at all.

Fire,survivalA short time later, he approached me again about his cold feet. It was obvious his feet were seriously cold, so I kicked into more of an active role to help.   We had two choices: 1. take off his boots and put his feet on my stomach, or in my armpits to get them warm and prevent frostbite; or 2. build a fire.

We elected for number two, build a fire, but we did not have a fire starter. This is before I started carrying a five-minute fusee. They make great fire starters—even in the wind and rain.

We did not have any paper, and all the natural kindling quite damp, we were in kind of a mess. We did a quick inventory of our resources, and then began solution finding.   First, we needed some type of fire starter, the question was, “What did we have that would burn well?” We had our clothes, which may not burn all that well. We had the wooden stocks on our rifles, which we could have shaved with our pocketknives, to create kindling, and we had gunpowder, which was inside of the 30-06 rifle cartridges.

We figured burning our clothes as a fire starter did not make sense, and turning the stocks of the rifles into fuss or flakes with our pocketknives did not sound very good either. Our other choice was to use the gunpowder inside of the cartridges; but the problem with that was, getting the gunpowder out of the casings. We came up with the idea of sticking the bullet in the end of the rifle barrel and cranking it side to side.

It worked well; we were able to lift the bullet out of the casing with ease, but I knew enough about fire starting, especially in an emergency, to think of the first rule of any emergency “do it correctly the first time.” Therefore, we gathered plenty of small damp kindling, then slightly bigger kindling, and so on, until we had a basketball size or pile of kindling.

Then we gathered slightly bigger kindling and then bigger branches, and wood, and so on. We also made sure that we had enough and wood branches to get it burning well and to keep it going, while we gather more wood. Once we had prepared things well, we found a dry patch of ground and poured the gunpowder, from a dozen cartridges, in a nice pile on the ground. Then we put the kindling on the gunpowder, and lit it. It worked great; we had a good fire going in hardly any time at all, and his feet were warm in short order.

A quick note, if you do this with black powder it will all but explodes.   FFFFG type black powder burns very fast, and even the lesser burn rates (FG, FFG, etc.) burn very fast, too! The new smokeless rifle powder in 30-06 rifle cartridges burns much slower.

“If you like this piece you will like the book it is from, click here to learn more about it.”

Cover, HQ,Urban Survival Home Emergency book 1crop

Click the picture to learn more about this new book

Later I realized what had happened; even though he was wearing big rubber pack boots, with several pair of wool socks on his feet, he had violated a principle. He only addressed the technique, and either did not understand the principles involved, or had over looked them. A principle-based approach is best it always works.   Principles are the foundation of the technique.

“Ways, Means, Methods, and Techniques Change, Principles Never do.”

I will explain the difference. One of the key principles which, was part of this situation, was maintaining good circulation from your core or torso, to your extremities, your hands and feet.   Assuming your torso (head, neck, and body) is working well, then we need two things to keep your feet warm. Open pathways for the warm blood to travel to your hands and or feet. In addition, you need insulation, to prevent the blood from cooling down while it travels to the extremities. Then, of course, insulating your feet, to prevent the loss of heat, i.e.: socks, boots, and over-boots, etc., to keep you feet warm.

Another part of the equation is having the proper level, or amount, of fluid in your circulatory system, which is about five liters (6 quarts). Interesting fact is we need about 5 to 6 liters (Quarts) per day. We need to have water in the radiator (cooling system) of your car, or it will not carry the heat from the engine, to the heater core and warm your car. The same is true with your body, fluid is responsible for transporting heat.

The head, neck, and torso account for about 80 to 90% of the body’s heat production, and the head and neck account for about 50 to 75 percent of the body’s heat loss. So, “when your feet are cold, put on a hat.” It also transports oxygen and nutrients to help produce heat. This fluid is also responsible for cooling our bodies during the warm season as well.

_________________________

How the body reacts to temperature change.

Another process or principle, which affects whether you have warm hands and feet, is a natural process. This process occurs when the head, neck, and torso as the body regulates its internal 98.6 core temperature. In this case, the body naturally shunts, or slows down blood going to the skin and the extremities to prevent heat loss. This is our natural climate control system, which works to maintain that all important inner core temperature.

98.6 F. is a critical number to life in general.   If your temperature rises around 109 F, the grim reaper will be stalking you. If it drops below about 80 F again, you are likely to have him knocking of your door as well. Temperature control for your body’s core is critical.   At first temperature, change is minor. In the winter, you will notice the skin turning white and maybe it will look a little waxy because the blood vessels have almost closed.

You notice an exact opposite effect in the summer. The skin turns red, due to the flood of blood going to the skin and the extremities to keep the head, neck, and torso cool.

————————————-

In this three cold men diagram, you will get a better picture of how this process (principle) works.Cold man, normal

The diagram above shows a person with a core temperature of 98.6. There is an average flow of blood to the skin and the extremities.

cold man, 96If the head, neck, and torso temperature starts to drop below the 98.6 F level, say to maybe 96 or 95 F +/- the body shuts down the blood flood to most of the skin and starts to slow the flow to the hands and feet. This helps to maintain that important 98.6 F core temperature.

cold man, 93As your core, temperature continues to drop down around 94 F +/-, the blood to the skin shuts way down, and the body begins to shut the blood flow to the fingers and toes as well.

An interesting thing is that people do not freeze to death; they die long before 32° F. If the core temperature drops to around 80° F or less, chances are the grim reaper is going come knocking your door.

The point I am trying to make is these are the principles we need to work with. The techniques are the tools we use to deal with, or control, these things.

This is why you buy my books, and why I strive to provide top-notch content, so you can enjoy your activities more, reaching a higher level of knowledge, while maintaining a greater degree of safety.

Thanks for reading my content, I hope it is of value to you.

Adventure to Ambiance, Sundance Mountain Resort

Sundance,winter-summer, night-day resort web

A couple enjoys a picnic on the grass around Ray’s Lift (bottom left), and others are sitting around the warming fire (middle right) on this early evening in November.  A few of the resorts buildings can be seen, they blend into the environment below.

Hi, Douglas Hansen here, I just returned from a visit to one of my favorite resorts, the Sundance Mountain Resort.  Snow is starting to stick to the ground, and they have the snow making machines busy making more in preparation for the ski season.

It is always nice to leave the hurried pace of city life behind, and travel to the mountains.

Every time I visit Sundance there is something new, and things are always improving.  It makes me wonder if fine wine and Sundance have a common ancestor, because the resort  seems to get better with time. 

I have interesting memories regarding Sundance over the years, everything from good friends, to spending days on the ski runs, polishing my Telemark Turns, and believe it or not, even learning how to do Eskimo rolls in a Kayak, in Redford’s swimming pool.  It has been fun to see the changes.

Sundance, almost time 2 web

Sundance Mountain Resort. 12,000 foot high Mt. Timpanogos in the background, fresh snow just starting to stick, and a snow machine along with a pile of new snow.

Sundance has always been a key summer and winter destination fun spot, for adventure, and ambiance.  They have the great mountain environment, in which they blend into fairly well.  There are Plenty of trails for hiking:  whether you want to bag, 11,750 feet high Mount Timpanogos, enjoy a hike to Stewart Falls, or just take a mellow walk around the resort, you are pleased with the natural setting and the fresh air.

The Sundance Mountain Resort is owned by Robert Redford, who originated the *Sundance Institute in 1981 to advance the work of filmmakers and storytellers worldwide. The Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theater, film composing, and digital media to create and thrive.

In association with Sundance, each year the institute sponsors the Sundance Film Festival. The next Festival is scheduled for January 21 through the 31, 2016.   It brings original storytellers together, along with adventurous audiences to view dramatic and documentary films, shorts, New Frontier films, installations, performances, panel discussions, and dynamic music events.

sundance ski runs and liftsThe Festival has it own loyal following, who like to attend the showings and meet the various artists, filmmakers, and storytellers.  Since 1985, many films have been launched at the Festival and have gained recognition, received commercial distribution, and reached worldwide audiences. Many of the films break the traditional approach with fresh perspectives and new voices.  

Don’t be surprised if you see a few familiar faces while you are there, because many of the film greats visit, to enjoy the mountain air, hike and ski.  Sundance is located at the base of 11,750 feet high, Mount Timpanogos, and is central to other attractions like Timpanogos Cave National Monument (closed from Oct to Apr +/-) which is about 6 miles away via the Alpine Loop Road (closed to regular traffic in winter time).  The Alpine loop turns into a groomed path for snowmobiles and skiers in winter time.  If you have Nordic blood you will appreciate the Nordic Center and their X-C ski Set track, and skating paths, complete with first rate instructors and gear rentals. Tom Brokaw - Douglas Hansen, Ice Climbing

The Alpine Loop leads to some great sport climbing in American Fork Canyon, and  in the winter months, Provo Canyon sports some spectacular Ice climbing. In fact, a while back I spent the day Ice Climbing on the “Stairway to Heaven,” with Tom Brokaw.  He was staying at Sundance and decided to take a break from skiing and do some ice climbing in Provo Canyon.  If he is as good of skier as he is ice climber, he would have no problem on double black diamond runs.

In the summer months Mountain Biking is hot, but temperatures are usually pleasant.

There are enough trails to please any Mountain bike enthusiast. If that rings a belLogo Zip Linel, then you can buy a lift pass and spend the day doing some first class downhill riding.  They have lots of trails to choose from.

Zip Line Tours (NEW)

Zip Line Tours are big now days, so Sundance decided to add their own unique adventure there. They have  recently added a “state of the art” zip line attraction that is nearly 2 miles long (3rd longest in the US), with a vertical drop of nearly a half mile (2,100 feet) the most vertical drop of any zip line tour in the US.  It is complete with Moon light tours, and it even operates through the winter.  “Put that in your pipe and smoke it.”

Ambiance is in abundance

Sundance, warming fire, vertical, corp lightened web

Early evening sitting around the warming fire, talking about the days adventures and experiences is always fun.

When you have had enough adventure for the day, enjoy the Foundry Grill, or the Tree Room, both have great food.   Sundance also has four plus star rated lodging.  Great for a weekend getaways, or for longer stays.   Set up base camp there to enjoy the Resort’s adventures, and check out the other things in the area.  Whether you are a local looking for a place to have fun, or dine with a special friend; or if you are from out-of-town, wanting to have a  taste of some of that, Natural Utah Splendor, you are be pleased with your experience. The staff and the resort are all about people and making your experience unforgettable.

This is Redford’s thoughts about Sundance:

“To us Sundance is and always will be a dream. What you see, smell, taste and feel here is a dream being carefully nurtured. It is an area whose pledge is to people. What we offer in the form of art and culture, spirit and service is homegrown and available to all.”     – Robert Redford

For more details you can call:(801) 225-4107 or go online to Sundance Mountain Resort

*The Sundance Film Festival is a program of the Sundance Institute, it takes place annually, and is considered the largest independent film festival in the US; in 2012 the festival drew 46,731 attendees.

Navigation, Imagine you are lost . . .

Panic FACENavigation is a fundamental skill, which is of valve to us all.   Imagine your plane has crash landed, and your life depends on being able to navigate back to civilization.   Lucky you, a genie appears and offers you one of the following:

> A topographic map of the area you are in

> A compass

> An altimeter

> A GPS (Global Positioning System) device.

cropped-winter17group-of-skiers1.jpg

What would you choose?

Let’s look at these choices:

A GPS or Global Positioning System Device.

gobal positioningGPS:  A global positioning system uses information from satellites’ that are orbiting the earth.  By knowing the position of the satellite(s) it is possible to use angles, and a little math to figure out your location, on the face of the earth, and what elevation you are at.   These can be quite accurate, to about a hundred feet of your exact location.  Even more so with some other GPS tools and electronics.  GPS’s are like any other electronic gadget.   As long as all is working well, it can be quite useful.   Like all tools, it requires knowledge and skills to use it to your advantage.

There are a number of other down sides.  Batteries for one, if you don’t have extra batteries, which last from a few hours, to several days, or longer, depending on your GPS, it will become an expensive paper weight.

Also canyons prevent your unit from locating the satellites.  It usually needs to be able to find at least three satellites in order to get a good fix on you location.  Some units will use information from two satellites to find your location, but it is not near as accurate as three of more, and your elevation really suffers.  “How Can I Fix My Android‘s Crappy GPS? – Lifehacker”  A common type of thing on the web.

Next question is, do you have a moving map, “of the area you are in.”   And if you do, does it have the degree of detail you need.   For traveling in the wilderness, a scale of 1: 24,000 is required.  1:100,000 are sort of OK but, you are likely not to have trails or even roads shown you may want to follow, also obstacles  which can impede you travel may not be shown.

Oops, #@!*&^, I dropped it.  Now what?   They can break, and Electromagnetic fields may effect the electronics in the unit too.   Driving in a car they are pretty good, if the map is up to date, and all the parameters are set properly.

The Altimeter

altimeterThe Altimeter is really a great tool to have along,  By itself it can be used to forecast weather, measure elevation gain and loss, and display your elevation.  But this is not fool proof, due to the fact they work using barometric pressure, or the pressure of the atmosphere.  You need to set or recalibrate them to the correct pressure, or they may display an elevation different than your actual elevation, and to do that you need to be at a known elevation.

 A storm can cause the readings to change by as much as a thousand feet, or more.  If you have other tools to go with it, it is very useful.  One particularly good feature for navigation is you can travel along a heading, or azimuth, while using a compass to travel in a straight line.  When reach a predetermined altitude, you can change bearings and do the same to the next change.   This is particularly good in fog, white outs, or at night.

You can often do what we call contour navigation. A contour line on a topo map is an indication of your elevation. You do this by traveling at a certain elevation or follow a certain contour, until you reach your intended location or your next change in direction.   For example: Instead of climbing up and over a peak, it is sometimes easier to contour or  travel around to the point to you are headed to.

The Compass:

Compass:  Well, you can use it to go in a straight line and hit the east coast, maybe, or the COMPASSwest coast, but by it self it is not all that valuable.  Oh, you can use it to tell time too.  A compass works by using the magnetic poles of the earth, you can magnetize a needle and it will align with them.   A compass works along that idea.   A compass with a base plate (protractor) is pretty handy.  Like most things, there are lots of choices.   Liquid filled, or some kind of needle dampening is important.  An adjustment to account for declination (or variation) is handy.

The North magnetic pole is not exactly the same as the actual north pole.  Declination is the difference, east or west, to true north.   The two most  common type of bearings, heading, azimuths, are True North, and Magnetic North.   Be sure you know which one was used to obtain the bearings you are using.    For example, here in Colorado, the delination is about 14 degrees east, and in Utah it is about 16 degrees east declination (or variation).   That much of an error, over a distance of ten miles or so, can actually add up to being more than a mile off of you intend destination.

Topographical map:

Topographical map:  of your area, is the best choice.  You can look at the stars, the mountains, and other natural features around you, and the sun, to figure out the cardinal directions of north,  south, east and west.  With the contour lines on the map you could identify certain mountains, rivers, etc. to help determine your location.  Closer contours are to each other the steeper it is at that location.

South, Finding, with hour hand of clockMoss does grow on the north or shady side of trees.  Snow stays on the North side of mountains longer.  North sides of mountains are steeper.   Snow melts away from the south side of big rocks sooner.   Even the limbs and vegetation on trees will be more healthy than on the north sides.

Topographical maps are the single most important tool to the navigator, or for that matter, any map, is likely to be better than the other tools.  Ideally, it is best to have all four of them.

Orienteering Courses and Events are great fun

orienteeringBy the way, Orienteering Courses and Events are great fun, and a good way to hone your navigational skills.   Another neat thing, is that people come together and meet.  Then participate in various navigational games, and challenges, which are great fun, a way to meet new people, and polish your skills too!   A fair amount of strategy is needed to complete one quickly, so even if you happen to be doing one where it is timed, you still have a good chance of winning.

How Do – we reach the world of abundance . . .

Pyramids of Giza

All of us coming together, from all walks of life, and meeting at the tops.  When we assist each other, it is like the top of the biggest pyramid, it creates a bond which helps us stay at the top, notice the lower stones have fallen away.

I have often thought, “How on Earth do we, as a people, engineer or build a world of abundance, the one I often speak about?  I cannot imagine anyone who has the “perfect plan,” although there are people who would suggest they do.  They would even pound on a desk, and speak loudly, to convince you they do; but do they really have a plan to solve the world’s problems, the country’s problems, the state’s problems, the community’s problems, their Neighborhood’s problems, or even their own family’s problems, it is hard to imagine they do.

Why am I so sure of that; because we as people can only solve our own problems?  We don’t have enough information about each other to do such a thing.  I must be a little crazy to even suggest “we can build a world of abundance, good health, good relationships, and love?    Well maybe I am, I must be, if you consider all the time I seem to waste babbling about this wonderful world we can all achieve.  I have been thinking about it for a long time, and I have a plan, well, actually,  “you” have a plan?  Let me explain.

I do not know everything, and I do not know anyone who does, so the one man/woman, or worse yet the one committee plan to fix the world or build a world of abundance is out the door.  Are you with me so far?   It is a “we” thing. Notice the pyramids in the above picture.  They are an incredible accomplishment, even engineers of today marvel at them, but one person could have a plan to build them, so why couldn’t one person have a plan to get us to that, “Tomorrow Land?

It is because building things with inanimate objects, which have no personalities, and such, is pretty easy, because you know what you are working with.  In our case, we are not working with stones, we are working with people, and people have an infinite number of different facets, or sides. We all are different, so what is the answer?   It is up to “we,” each one of us must be a stone.   We must do what works for us, and build our stone as part of the great pyramid of life, ultimately coming together at the top.

Here’s a way to think about it, first we enroll everyone.  Next, we learn to think, be conscious, and find ways to make the world better, make life around  you, and “Jane and John Doe,” a wonderful place to be for you and them.  When you have done that, you have officially created “your,” block. or stone.  Now we unite with other “stones” all working towards the top of pyramid.

In many ways it is like building a pyramid.  At first it is such an incredible task, it is hard to comprehend, or even know where to start.  But as the saying goes, “Started is half done.”   When we do find that first step, we are able to see to the next step, and so on.  Educating ourselves and others is so very important.  I say this because we all lack knowledge and wisdom, and we all have many things within us which are just not true.  When we see things as they are, we are in a good position to make good strides forward.   We learn how to recognize opportunities to move in that direction.

Eventually we create a foundation, or the bottom layer of stones, composed of people who have a good picture, or should I say “lack of a fixed picture,” of how to make life better.  We are already doing many of those things.  Avoid wastefulness, recycle, build renewable energy sources, live balanced lives, assist others to assist themselves, encourage others to step up to the plate and “be” that wonderful person they are inside.  Instead of creating liabilities, damning people, “we” must find solutions, and assist them in becoming a stone.

For example, [i]with less than 5% of the world’s population, the United States holds roughly a 25% or a quarter of the world’s population of prisoners: more than 2.3m people, including 1.6m in state and federal prisons and over 700,000 in local jails and immigration pens. Per head, the incarceration rate in the land of the free has risen seven-fold since the 1970s, and is now five times Britain’s, nine times Germany’s and 14 times Japan’s.

Instead of locking people away, there are many other choices for many of them.  One case, which comes to my mind, and I know is sounds negative, but this sort of thing is going on.  It is our jobs to find solutions, so we can create that solid block foundation of the great pyramid of life.

In this case (according to the media) A person took his little son with him deer hunting.  He left the child in the vehicle while he went hunting for a little while.  During the time he was hunting the little boy got out of the truck and wandered off, maybe looking for his dad.  By the time the search and rescue teams found the boy, he had died of hypothermia.

Our solution:  He was ordered to spend thirty days in jail for child neglect.  I know that does not sound like a lot of time, and the judge likely took into account the father felt terrible about it, it was “his” son.  The guy had made a mistake which would likely haunt him the rest of his life, by neglecting his son’s welfare, so he must be punished by the system also?  I am guessing, it is because we as a society feel like there is some kind of debt to pay to society for making a mistake, and the judge felt that pressure.

Well, a few days before the father was to show up to spend his days in jail, he took his hunting rifle and went into the mountains, and ended his life.  Maybe I am way out in left or right field, but the way I see it is we lost a soul, who had unique talents to share with us all.  What if, the judge had asked him, what would be an appropriate thing for the system to require of him, to see if he could come up with a good answer.  Or ordered him to work for thirty days, in child neglect prevention and education?

Had that happened, two things would have likely come from it:  1.  He may have felt some type of therapeutic value for having done it, and would be able to live with himself.   2.  He would have helped to prevent it from happening to other children, and educated other adults about how easily those things can occur.

That solution would have cost us as a society very little, and our society would have benefited and moved closer to “our” goal.   Creative solutions take commitment, caring, thinking, etc., all of which requires focus, work, effort, commitment, . . . and that doesn’t come easily, but the end result creates a better world.

As we get momentum going, we reinforce each other and join others in the effort.  When this happens we start to experience the wonderful world we are working for and it becomes easier, because it has become a way of life, and we are feeling what it is like to live that way.  It is much like in the picture of pyramids, at the top of the main pyramid, you can see how the blocks have not fallen away, like the lower ones.  They are functionally supporting each other “at the top.”

This is where we “really” start to shine, and enjoy the life of “abundance, coupled with good health, good relationships and love.”   When we synergize together in purpose, we get the synergistic benefit of each other or the stone which makes us solid.

So the answer is in a “we” thing.  We each have to do what we can to move us in that direction.   As we get closer, we come together, or start synergizing even better.  “Be the change you want to see in the world.”   If we do that, from a well educated (real education not just one groups view point) stand point with good wisdom, we become a solid block in the pyramid, which ultimately leads to that wonderful goal.

Book, cover, turn the ship around

A good book about how we are all leaders and team too.

Everybody has a need to feel important, because deep inside we know we are “important.”   We are simply looking for a way to express ourselves, or be part of something significant.  Well, we have an important goal or objective, and we need everyone to make it work.   This can take the place of the loneliness and Isolation, many experience.   Enrolling others does a number of things.  Instead of these people ending up with an extremist group, spending their days on the streets, they become an important part of our group.   Once we get our act together, we can become a leader and assist others.

This improves our society.  Instead of sitting home being isolated, they have a purpose.  Purpose can be as simple as picking up trash, and other things around their neighborhood, or they get involved in a community program.  I still do pick up trash that I see laying around, not always, but often enough I believe it makes a difference.   Many times people need a helping hand to get involved.  They want to, but feel inadequate or less than, or maybe they are a little awkward around others.  With your helping hand, they become a powerful block in “our” pyramid.  

If there is not a positive way people can engage in life, they crack, or whatever, and become part of the problem.  That’s where we can make a difference.  Enroll people, befriend people, we have no other choice, we either “risk” making life better, or settle for whatever happens when you ride a runaway freight train.

Well team world, can we do it?  Stupid question, we have no other choice.  Our current situation is not working well, we need some action, each and every one of us needs to get involved.  We need to inspire each other.   We need to turn this into a living passion, one which burns inside the “heart” of every one of us.

“It is something we believe in.”
It is right in front of us, waiting for us to reach out and grab it, if only “we” choose too.  Sure, life is tough for us all, but Life is sure one hell of a lot more rewarding when you are doing something you believe in.”   Like Ellie Goulding sings in, Burn, which seems pretty inspiring to me.  We need to start it burning in our hearts and turn it into a brand new feeling.  Sure that is “only” a song, but we are talking about something very real, powerful, and very important.

“IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS UP TO “WE”

I must admit, although a little cheesy, there is a song with an underlying idea which conveys what has to occur if we want this “World of Abundance, Good Health, Good Relationships, and Love.”

Remember who or what wins in a negative or positive life style for the future?   It is the side that cares the most about it, and feeds their wolf the most.  If we are all complacent and too busy partying, etc. to make our contribution, well, one day we will wake up and realize the party is over, “for good.”

So like they say in “David Hasselhoff – TrueSurvivor (from Kung Fury),

“Crawling from the ashes,

the Phoenix rises again,


 fighting for light,


 for good,


 for all that we believe in.”


go we need some,


go we need some, action!



[i] The Economist, Justice in America Jailhouse nation  How to make America’s penal system less punitive and more effective. Jun 20th 2015