Mt. Hood Tragedy Recalls "Near Death" for Dr. Bernie Dahl on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire

Reading the Clouds: Weather Watching

As the Mt. Hood tragedy of three misplaced climbers performed out in Oregon and in the media, I discovered myself as soon as once more pressured to revisit my very own Mt. Washington near-death expertise.

I used to be very fortunate when Mike Pelcher, the rescue staff chief, made the pronouncement to his beleaguered staff, “There is a man dying up there. Let’s give him five more minutes.”

It really was a darkish and stormy night time, maybe the darkest and stormiest night time of my life, for I got here inside 5 minutes of loss of life . . . my loss of life . . . as a result of my rescuers had been about to surrender! As a doctor and a pathologist for greater than 30 years, I had developed a detailed skilled relationship with loss of life and dying . . . however not with my dying . . . definitely not with my very own loss of life.

Rescued from his near-death expertise, I — now a motivational speaker and seminar chief — went on to share my “Lessons for Living from a Mt. Washington Misadventure.” In my inspiring talks about self-discovery, he warns: Be ready to die! Have a plan to reside! Do it now!

In New Hampshire, Mt. Washington is thought for its fierce, unforgiving climate, and the media in New England, prompted by the Mt. Hood story, have contacted me about his mountain rescue.

Their calls have reignited my curiosity in ending my e-book, a hybrid e-book on the mountain story, the admonitions and the philosophical half, ‘Journey Into The Self.’ I’ve offered my story at keynotes and workshops greater than 50 occasions. From the scripts, I’ve crafted a draft of a e-book, tentatively entitled merely ‘Misadventure.’ “

My story of being misplaced on the mountain, the profitable use of my mobile phone and my dramatic rescue was the topic of a subsequent reenactment which was filmed by The Discovery Channel Network for its Storm Force sequence on The Learning Channel.

Here is the start of Chapter 1 — A Simple Hike . . . a Deadly Quest:

Without a second’s hesitation, I flip onto the brand new path. Now I’m ascending into the screaming wind in direction of the summit. This just isn’t the objective of the brand new plan: the objective is to seek out the Auto Road and get down off the mountain, as quick as doable.

Snow stings my face with its fury. Rime ice, shaped from frozen fog or clouds by the blistering wind, covers my garments, face, and glasses. I discover that the cairns, the piles of rocks that mark the path, are actually wider and better and are spaced nearer and nearer collectively, an ominous signal that this space should expertise actually harsh winter climate. I take every step slowly and thoroughly, for this path is now a lot rougher; it appears to be composed of huge rocks lined with an growing and ranging depth of snow and ice.

My coronary heart is thrashing quickly, extra out of worry than exertion, for my ascent could be very sluggish, very deliberate. In spite of the roaring wind, I can hear my heartbeat pounding in my ears. Although I do know I’m near the Auto Road, I additionally know I’m in massive hassle. I feverishly search for the second signal, the one that ought to direct me onto the Auto Road. Where is it? Is it lined with rime ice? Has it been taken by some hiker as a memento?

I need to proceed climbing regardless that I’m nonetheless ascending into the wind. Worse but, it’s now late afternoon. Soon, the night time will envelop the mountain and me. My wide-open world is now closing in. A robust blast of wind and snow all of a sudden strikes me…then once more, just like the icy breath of an indignant mountain god. I’m now in true white-out situations. Where is the subsequent cairn? I desperately proceed — 5 paces, then ten. No cairn. I retrace my steps to the final cairn. I discover it. If solely I had a climbing associate, we may take turns discovering the subsequent cairn, that are normally inside 15 to 20 toes of one another. Together, we may leapfrog our option to the Auto Road and residential. I begin this course of once more…and once more… I can’t discover that subsequent cairn.

I’m solo. I’m caught. I cease.

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