A Mountaineering Accident on 08/13/2017 rescue on 08/20/2017 山岳遭難事故

A 74 year old man, suffering a mountaineering accident, survived in the mountain in Northern Alps for 7 days before he was rescued. This incident captured the attention of the whole nation, though it is not an epic in a regular sense.

 

[Summary of Nikkan Sports article]

He approached Shirouma (white horse) mountain (2932m) from the north on August 10. He traversed along the ridge line, and reached Karamatsu Dake (larch tree mountain, 2695m) August 12. He stayed in Karamatsu Mountain Hut overnight. On the next day, he was planning to go to Babadani Onsen (Grandmother’s Valley hot spring), but around 16:00, he was walking in Nankoshizawa area, slipped and fell from a trail to the river valley 10 meters below. He could not climb back up.

 

The family contacted the police on August 18. The police department started the rescue operation on August 20, and found the guy waving a towel at helicopter at 9:00 am on the same day.

 

According to Karamatsu Mountain Hut staff, the hut to Babadani Onsen is 12 km. From the altitude of 2600m the trail descends sharply, and goes back up by 300m, and descends again to Babadani Onsen which is at 900m altitude. This stretch takes 9 hours on an average, and some people stay overnight in the shelter hut halfway. Nankoshizawa is a steep slope of wet dirt and it is slippery.

 

The police department says they could swiftly find him because the submitted mountaineering plan clearly showed the route he is going to follow, and he did not move away from the point he first fell.

 

From here on is my opinion.

Well, he is not an amateur mountain climber. He has 25 years of experience and the route he took the day before (Shiroumadake to Karamatsudake) is an expert route. He was wearing a helmet when he fell and not injured from the fall. He lived on chocolates he had, and drank the runoff water from the stream.

 

Only if he could make somebody notice his predicament, he could have been saved instantly.

Unfortunately, mobile phone connection was not available, and probably nobody walked the trail above him (but is it possible?) Just to wait for a rescue for 7 days is incredible. He must be mentally strong to endure it without going nuts. What else could he have done to get help more quickly?

 

How about taking a whistle with him. Or a portable transceiver?

Making a fire as a signal might work.

If it is a mountain stream, if you go up or go down a little bit, you might be able to find a slope covered with trees and bushes, in that case you can grab them and might be able to climb the slope to the level of the trail.

 

Anyway, he is strong and prudent, but he was a bit apologetic in an interview after the rescue. I hope he will continue hiking as a hobby, and even go alone when he cannot find a partner. He failed once, but he should have a second chance.

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