P. Edronkin

Emergencies during wilderness trips (II).



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"Both on individual as well as groupal levels, survival is based on the same principles. However, by being totally on your own you usually confront more psychological problems because you have to deal with the situation all by yourself and thus, it is no wonder than isolated survivors tend to give up and often die when under similar circumstances but within a group, that would almost never happen.

However, groups have their own problems such as conflicts related to dominance and leadership, guilt, and the daily organisation of activities.

Under many circumstances, someone will adopt the posture of a natural leader and pretend to assume control over the group in order to manage it. This could plausibly present some opposition by part of the other members of the group.

In the case of groups and organisations prepared to deal with such situations, it is likely that some sort of ranking or hierarchical systems would be already in place, so there would be less problem to appoint a leader or determine the roles of each member during the emergency.

While such discipline might not avoid all instances of trouble, in general it minimises them. If the members of a group or party know each other, and each other’s capabilities and knowledge, it is then more likely that someone will question the authority of a previously-appointed “official” or that belonging to someone who evidently has some sort of credentials regarding the issue.

Sliding downhill at the glacier of tears, Cerro Bolsón, Argentina.
It seems that most accidents occur while going downhill, especially
in glaciers and snowed terrain, where the increase of speed and
the lack of references make a rapid evaluation of danger and the
consequent reactions difficult. Mountain snow is basically dangerous.

For example, not many would question the authority of a doctor in order to give aid to wounded people, or the knowledge of a military officer to organise a group and prepare it to -say- cross a desert in order to reach help."





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