Thursday, October 4, 2012

Nevada: Remains of Canadian, 59, Found After Getting Lost in 2011, Preparation Essential

Elk hunters in the rugged mountains of northern Nevada found the body of Canadian  Albert Chretien, 59, who left the van belonging to he and his wife, Rita, 56, on Sunday (September 30), after he set out to find help on March 22, 2011. Upon finding Mr. Chretien's remains, the Elko County Sheriff's Department was promptly notified.

Tragically, Mr. Chretien body was recovered seven miles from where he his wife became stranded, while they unsuccessfully attempted to orient themselves with a GPS device. 
COMMENT: The couple, traveling from Penticton, British Columbia by camper van got stuck in the mud on a primitive road near the Idaho-Nevada border, at which point Mr. Chretien eventually set off on foot to seek help. 

Chretien's wife, Rita, 56, relied on melted snow and a meager supply of snacks until she was found by hunters seven weeks later [May 2011]. 

The incident prompted authorities to warn travelers in the Western United States NOT to rely on technology such as a GPS device for navigation. 

Sadly, at the time Mr. Chretien set out on foot to get help, the area he and Rita were lost in was blanketed by ten feet of snow. 

As most of our regular readers know, I frequently cover life-threatening events involving hikers and trekkers who were ill-prepared for the environment they found themselves in. 

Frequently, in my orienteering classes I strongly urge those traveling in wilderness regions to never depend solely on a GPS device, but rather depend PRIMARILY on a reliable compass and a topographical map along with a roadway map. 
Additionally, it is essential to carry a personal locator beacon (PLB) that when activated will enable first responders to reach those in distress.

Moreover, travelers in rough regions should also have a cell phone with a back-up battery and sufficient provisions to sustain each person for at least  seven days.