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Backpacker's Health & Safety The Backpacker's Health & Safety forum is for the discussion of health and safety/survival issues that directly relate to backpackers.

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Old 03-29-2012, 10:22 PM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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Backpack: Gregory Shasta, Deuter ACT Lite 65+10
Sleeping Gear: REI ThermoPod +0 mummy, MH 3D +40 mummy
Shelter: SD Superflash, GoLite Hut 1
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: California
Posts: 436
An example of survival despite age and health

James Klemovich just missed spending his 48th anniversary with his wife. Oops.

He and a friend drove into the Nevada desert to investigate some mines in the area, but their car got stuck. With no cell reception and that part of Nevada being largely deserted, the situation quickly became a survival scenario.

Klemovich (a 76 year-old diabetic with a pacemaker and triple bypass surgery) and his friend lit signal fires, melted snow for drinking water, and strained ditch water and snow through a towel as a filter and water collector. Klemovich credited skills learned as a boy scout for his survival. He also journalled, and wrote his wife a letter each day. He survived 10 days this way. His friend, who left camp to find help, was not fortunate and perished.

Military personnel on training found Klemovich and saved him. His wife forgave him for missing spending their anniversary with her.

The story isn’t about backpacking issues per se, but the remoteness of the area and the problems faced seem like things we can relate to. I’m sharing this because I think it’s encouraging to find a 76 year old diabetic with heart issues is still getting out into wild places for recreation. I know a number of us have encountered health issues with age, and I think Klemovich is a good reminder that age and health needn’t stop us.

Klemovich was also prepared with survival skills. I think it’s more common to hear of survival scenarios with unfavorable outcomes - certainly this one wasn’t perfect, since his friend didn’t make it. Despite that, I do find it encouraging to hear of someone who was prepared, knew what to do with a very few implements, and made it. Sort of encourages one to re-read all the threads on bug-out bags, survival kits, and pre-learned emergency skills.

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Old 03-30-2012, 04:36 AM
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Ralph Ralph is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 503
In SAR training we are told the two groups most likely to survive are the very young and the very old. Kids don't have a lot of preconceptions about what is possible and what isn't and aren't shy about snuggling under a pile of leaves or drinking from puddles. The elderly have to be pretty tough to have lived as long as they have and have accumulated a lot of skills over the years. The point is - don't give up the search just because of the age of the lost.
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