Hiker in distress refuses assistance (Mt Barney)

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Hiker in distress refuses assistance (Mt Barney)

Postby Kuhr » Mon 27 Jun, 2022 12:40 pm

Hello Everyone

Yesterday a group of five of us went up SE Ridge of Mt Barney, obviously the first group to ascend there that day. At the point where you reach the summit plateau and are walking across to the summit, the track was blocked by a large full mummy sleeping bag and a pack. We were not sure anyone was in it, and it took repeated and more and more loud calls for us to stir the person within to talk to us.

They said they had been aiming to reach the campsite in the saddle, but had been too slow and night had fallen (it was 2 degrees when we started, so I imagine it was below zero at that altitude overnight). They seemed disorientated, sluggish and slow to respond. When I asked about their supplies, they had plenty of food, but no water. I thought they looked quite dehydrated. I gave them 250ml water and offered to take them with our group to the saddle creek where they could top up and use our water treatment tablets, but they refused saying they would slow us down.

Later at the summit, they showed up and again had no water left, and seemed still vague, unresponsive to dialogue and disorientated. I asked if they knew where they were going to get down to the saddle creek, and they said they had been here seven years ago. Again out of water, and one of our group gave them 500ml of water. Again, I offered to escort them down to the saddle creek and treat their water, but again they refused - in fact they put in headphones and tuned us out with music.

We left the summit, they seemed in no hurry to leave, and paid no attention to anyone else there who had arrived after we did (we seemed to be the first people there, even before a group who arrived going up Logans).

Today I am wondering if there is more that I should have done - obviously I cannot compel someone to accompany us with them to a water source, or out of danger - and calling in a rescue when I am unsure if its needed (but he did look very disoriented and disconnected from reality, maybe even on the spectrum) might have been a waste of valuable rescuer resources?

Any thoughts?
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Re: Hiker in distress refuses assistance (Mt Barney)

Postby Lamont » Mon 27 Jun, 2022 1:10 pm

Call the cops.
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Re: Hiker in distress refuses assistance (Mt Barney)

Postby CBee » Mon 27 Jun, 2022 1:32 pm

It all sounds very psychedelic. I like it. But I have seen things waaaay more weird on Mt. Barney...
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Re: Hiker in distress refuses assistance (Mt Barney)

Postby sandym » Mon 27 Jun, 2022 5:18 pm

I'm old so this colours my comment that just about everyone is "on the spectrum" in some way. What age? Were they stoned? I am not sure there is much else you could do. Putting in headphones implies they know what they are doing and simply do not want to listen to you or your friends.

I must admit, however, had I given them water once I am not sure I would be inclined to again.
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Re: Hiker in distress refuses assistance (Mt Barney)

Postby Aardvark » Mon 27 Jun, 2022 6:44 pm

Sounds like i would have felt satisfied with myself had i just passed the sleeping bag without stopping or saying anything.
I have in previous years encountered such seemingly hapless individuals and thought 'there's an accident waiting to happen', only to find they have appeared later having completed their venture without any mishap or obvious difficulty.
Sometimes it's better to be humble and not necessarily think you're better off than others.
Ever on the search for a one ended stick.
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Re: Hiker in distress refuses assistance (Mt Barney)

Postby andrewa » Mon 27 Jun, 2022 7:11 pm

Um..don’t many of those symptoms add up to hypothermia?

Whilst you can’t force someone to do be escorted off the mountain, I think I’d have advised the police that you ran into a confused person in the bush.

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Re: Hiker in distress refuses assistance (Mt Barney)

Postby Kuhr » Mon 27 Jun, 2022 8:48 pm

Hello everyone.

As a follow-up, the scenic rim SES today rescued an injured hiker from Mt Barney, described on their Facebook post as lost, broken and alone.

Not sure if it is the same guy, but glad we have those angels on earth doing the terrific work they do.
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Re: Hiker in distress refuses assistance (Mt Barney)

Postby gbagua » Tue 28 Jun, 2022 2:42 pm

Kuhr wrote:
Any thoughts?


I can only imagine the cold they experienced that night. In July 2014 I recorded -6 deg. C on top of the East Peak but it was also very, very windy so take into account the wind chill factor...Here's the math:

https://www.math.wichita.edu/~richardson/windchill.html

Probably -50 deg. C in my case. I was wearing a gore-tex jacket, two layers of fleece, gloves, beanie, neck gaiter, boots...gear suited to an alpine environment in winter. And I see people wearing shorts in Barney in winter; I do hope they never encounter what I did that day! ;) Queensland? It felt like Banff. :)

Dehydrated, exhausted, probably borderline hypothermia...typical behaviour of unprepared hikers.
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Re: Hiker in distress refuses assistance (Mt Barney)

Postby gbagua » Tue 28 Jun, 2022 3:08 pm

Quite possibly. How many of them was in that group?

Glad we have SES here. You get lost in Karakoram, Pakistan ---> goodbye! No angels in sight. ;)
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Re: Hiker in distress refuses assistance (Mt Barney)

Postby CBee » Tue 28 Jun, 2022 4:57 pm

Strange that these things happen. There is a huge panel board at Yellowpinch carpark with all sorts of warnings that if you dare to climb the mountain you'll have a good chance to die, etc. After all we are talking about a 1300m tall mountain in Queensland. And still...
But jokes aside, I have come across many unprepared people on Barney, but the father who starts SE ridge in winter at 3pm, with a 12 yo daughter, no backpack, only a litre of water to share, in shorts and t-shirts, wins the gold medal.
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Re: Hiker in distress refuses assistance (Mt Barney)

Postby sandym » Tue 28 Jun, 2022 5:11 pm

Kuhr wrote:Hello everyone.

As a follow-up, the scenic rim SES today rescued an injured hiker from Mt Barney, described on their Facebook post as lost, broken and alone.

Not sure if it is the same guy, but glad we have those angels on earth doing the terrific work they do.


Thanks for the follow-up. It would be interesting to know if it was the same guy. "Lost, broken, alone" is quite a description.
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Re: Hiker in distress refuses assistance (Mt Barney)

Postby Kuhr » Tue 28 Jun, 2022 8:04 pm

sandym wrote:Thanks for the follow-up. It would be interesting to know if it was the same guy. "Lost, broken, alone" is quite a description.


I have confirmation it is the same guy we met who was rescued (with a broken leg).

Also from the facebook hiking groups - another party encountered him at the old hut site. He was stumbling all over the place getting there. It was possible his leg was already injured at this point. He stated he was just happy exploring, but they were all concerned for him.
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Re: Hiker in distress refuses assistance (Mt Barney)

Postby Lyrebird » Tue 28 Jun, 2022 9:15 pm

Over the past few months there have been several reports about a person being rescued multiple times from Mount Barney. Is this the same guy?

Either way, I think you did all you could. You can’t drag him down the mountain by force. If you call the police they’ll file it in the ‘possibly interesting’ pile and wait for further reports. You offered assistance which was refused. That’s all you can do.
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Re: Hiker in distress refuses assistance (Mt Barney)

Postby gbagua » Wed 29 Jun, 2022 2:21 pm

CBee wrote:but the father who starts SE ridge in winter at 3pm, with a 12 yo daughter, no backpack, only a litre of water to share, in shorts and t-shirts, wins the gold medal.


I really feel sorry for her for having a dad like that!

This sort of experience would be traumatic and doubt she'll ever go back to a mountain ever again.

Broken leg? I bet he sustained a fall in the final steep section just before summiting the East Peak.
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