Help relive my current obsession.


by Integral
Tags: current, obsession, relive
Integral
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Dec8-06, 03:47 PM
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Both Google Maps and Microsoft Streets and Trips plotted this fatal course. This gives a whole new meaning to the term "Killer Ap".

The mapping software should define regions as non plot-able. That means that they forbid plotting a destination inside of, or a path through these regions. I will bet that all states west of the Rockies that have regions where this should be true. As far as Oregon goes you would start by blocking out the whole state then allowing the few main thoroughfares.

The problem remains and next week someone else somewhere else may attempt to follow Goggle map to their death. The question is, how do you safely use an internet maps? There needs to be a set of common sense rules to follow when using these maps.



The road was marked as impassable in the winter, so Mr. Kim must take the responsibility for putting his family in danger. I do not see this as the action of a hero.. Sorry..

Let me share a bit of my history. I was born and raised in Roseburg Or, about 100 mi north of the Rogue River Valley. My dad loved the outdoors and driving, we had a Willys Overland in 1960 and spent a lot of time in the woods of Southern Oregon hunting, hiking and exploring the endless net of logging roads. So I am familiar with the terrain and conditions the Kims were facing.


First let me address the snow and weather. this region is not snow covered for the winter until you are well above 5000'. During the day (and most nights) the temperatures are typically above freezing. the low average may be 35 and the high average 45.

The Kims got caught in the last in a series of storms that passed over the region in November. it was a cold front that dropped the nighttime temperatures into the 20's. By Dec 1 the weather was beautiful (maybe day time highs in the lower 50's or upper 40's. It is not really very cold, frost bite is not a big problem in most of Oregon. If you look at the pics of their car when the wife and kids were rescued there is very little snow, if they had not disabled their car I bet they could have driven out.

The Rogue River Valley did not get that name lightly. There is a hiking trail along the Rogue River that is known as the roughest most dangerous trail in the state. In the summer you must carry water, navigate narrow stretches of trial threading across cliffs with fatal drops to rocks and river below on one side, with your shoulder against a vertical cliff on the other. This region is world class rugged. It is very easy to go down and can be anywhere from difficult, to impossible to go back up. I am sure that in many regions going down is the right thing to do. Unfortunately in the Pacific Northwest that is the absolutely worst thing you can do. You need to stay high, the ridge lines are where the navigable game trails are, the creeks and bottoms are brush filled and usually impassible. In this day and age going up also can get you cell phone service. The mountains shield cell signals from getting into the canyons but if you can get to a ridge top it is very likely that you will get cell service. We will never know why James left the road. He should not have, had he kept walking the road he may well have found help and actually been a hero, now he is just dead.


A good safety rule in the west would be: Do Not lose the center line. If you drive on for 2 miles with no center line you should turn around and return to a known point. In Oregon, and I am sure other western states, roads with no center line have no guarantee of coming out. They may not be used for weeks at a time between hunting season and spring.

If you want to see first hand what getting to the Rouge River means check this link out

Mailboat to Agness
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Integral
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Dec9-06, 12:54 AM
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I cannot get James Kim out of my head.

The death by technology aspect alone fascinates and horrifies me all at the same time.

Then it happened in my back yard. I grew up in the Umpqua valley, that is the next watershed region north of the Rogue. Zane Grey wrote a story about the Rogue River, and fished the North Umpqua.

I find it interesting that Mr. Kim had booked a motel in Gold Beach where the main attracting is a Jet boat ride up the wild Rogue river to Agness, its the mail boat ride.

Mr. Kim left road and headed down to find the Rogue River, .. Oh why, oh why did he ever leave the road.
Moonbear
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Dec9-06, 01:26 PM
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Quote Quote by Integral View Post
The death by technology aspect alone fascinates and horrifies me all at the same time.
...
Mr. Kim left road and headed down to find the Rogue River, .. Oh why, oh why did he ever leave the road.
I don't see it as death by technology. It's death due to his own stupidity, plain and simple. The online maps are no different than paper maps.

There have always been what are called "paper roads" that show up on maps, but in reality, don't exist as a road because nobody paid the bill to finish the road.

If you're traveling to a new area, you confirm directions on more than one map, get a larger map that includes alternate routes in case you need to take detours or the planned route is impassable (anything from weather conditions, to road construction, to the road doesn't exist or you missed a turn and wound up somewhere unexpected, or you're sitting in stand-still traffic on the interstate and need to get off to go around a major accident).

Especially in winter, or when driving through mountains, you check weather forecasts. Taking back roads when snow or ice are predicted should be avoided if you don't know them, because you can't be sure they'll be clear or passable...stick to interstates under those conditions. In mountains, you also want to know if there is fog forecast. Again, taking unlit back roads that are hard to see in the first place can be really treacherous in heavy fog...better to wait until daylight.

Those maps often give you a choice between the shortest route or fastest route...the shortest is not always fastest.

So, that was the first part of the stupidity...not looking where he was actually going and using some common sense to decide the roads were not safe ones to be traveling in bad weather.

The second part of the stupidity was that once lost and stuck, he left the car. If you haven't passed a house or gas station in miles, and 15 min of walking the other direction doesn't find one (maybe less depending on what the temperatures were like when he left the car), return to the car to wait out the storm, you don't just keep wandering aimlessly in snow (as evidenced by the fact that the wife and kids survived by staying in the car).

Third part of the stupidity was leaving the road. It's stupid enough to leave main roads, but even more stupid to wander entirely off the road into fields or forests. Even if you ARE familiar with an area, in snow, things can look entirely different than on a clear day, and you're unlikely to recognize familiar landmarks. It also makes it harder for someone to find you when they do come looking for you.

Astronuc
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Dec9-06, 01:53 PM
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Help relive my current obsession.


Mr. Kim and his wife and children have paid a high price for his bad decisions.

This seems to be a case of someone from an urban area going out into Nature with little or no experience with the wilderness. It was reckless.

I've visited several National Parks in the west. The rangers and staff are adamant about respecting the wilderness, which means keeping distance with wild animals. However, every year, someone gets seriously injured or killed by elk or bison, rather than bear, because they get too close and the animal reacts defensively. Also, people go hiking without sun screen, proper clothing or water. I saw a young woman hiking on the Bright Angel Trail in shorts and short sleeve shirt. Her thighs had a red/purple hue, which indicated severe sunburn, and she was about an hour down from the rim. She was already in a lot of pain. All I could do was suggest she cover her legs and get to the infirmary ASAP.

James Kim--family man, gadget fan
James Kim was a respected expert on cutting-edge digital devices, an owner of a trendy clothing store and a lover of the futuristic-sounding music known as electronica.
Is this selective intelligence? They guy was apparently tech savvy, but knew nothing of the dangers of being exposed to the elements.

If I go to an area where I have never been, I get maps (particularly USGS or equivalent terrain maps which show contours) and study them. I learn landmarks and the terrain. I know orientation of the sun, moon and stars. And very importantly, I study the weather in advance, especially in winter time, and I know that ambient temperatures decrease with altitude.

Integral, try not to obsess over this situation - we can't turn back time and the decisions of others are out of our hands. Hopefully, others will learn from Kim's mistakes.
Integral
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Dec9-06, 01:56 PM
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I am running on the assumption that he never would have found the road if Google Maps had not pointed it out to him. As far as I know this is a relatively new phenomena, tourists finding there way back into our logging road network. If Internet maps can be shown a root cause then something needs to be done.

Signs don't work, turns out that the road they were on was gated, but the lock had been broken and the gate was open (or did Mrs Kim get out and open it?)

Such vandalism is hard to deal with in this region. As the Kims discovered there is no traffic for weeks or even months up many of these roads. Then we have a large population of jerks with 4x4 s, chain saws, and rifles. How do you stop someone from breaking open gates in these conditions?

Did you happen to check the jet boat link?

Is it irony that this man, a technology guru, was heading for Gold Beach, whose main tourist attraction is a Jet boat ride up the Rogue River, the original purpose of this boat was (and it still does) run mail up the river to Agness....Why would they use a (now) a jet boat to get mail to Agness... Because there are no roads that the mail service will drive on!

Mr. Kim choose to hike down into a river gorge that is virtually inaccessible from anywhere!

Mr. Kims decision to leave the road cost him his life, and endangered dozens more in the effort to locate his body.
russ_watters
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Dec9-06, 02:31 PM
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Quote Quote by Integral View Post
I am running on the assumption that he never would have found the road if Google Maps had not pointed it out to him. As far as I know this is a relatively new phenomena, tourists finding there way back into our logging road network. If Internet maps can be shown a root cause then something needs to be done.
Perhaps, but if Google Maps hadn't existed, how would he have planned his trip? Would he have looked at a real map? If he had, he may have made the same mistake, but even if he wouldn't have, in this case he ceded his responsibility to a computer program. He of all people should know that the technology is only as good as whoever wrote the program and neither are infallable.

I didn't know about this aspect of the story, but it is truly a cruel irony.
verty
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Dec9-06, 02:44 PM
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I don't know much about this but it seems to me that due diligence was not paid to understanding the route. Now that we have things like Google Earth, I like to use it if there is some part of the route that I'm not sure of, like if I want to see what a junction looks like or whatever. It also helps to survey the terrain.

For instance, when I planned a trip to Liverpool from Lincolnshire, Google Earth was very helpful in helping me understand how the road lay around Sheffield, and how it ran through the peak district.

So anyway, technology needs to be used well to work well. The onus is on us to use technology well because the people that sell it only care that we buy it, that's what disclaimers are for.
turbo
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Dec9-06, 02:48 PM
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Quote Quote by Integral View Post
Such vandalism is hard to deal with in this region. As the Kims discovered there is no traffic for weeks or even months up many of these roads. Then we have a large population of jerks with 4x4 s, chain saws, and rifles. How do you stop someone from breaking open gates in these conditions?
I let the local snowmobile club maintain a 1/2 mile long trail on the eastern boundary of my property with the understanding that they keep it gated whenever the trail is not passable by snowmobile. The reason for this is that there is a fairly steep grade down to a brook about halfway in, and another steeper grade up the other side of my property and both grades have spring-holes that keep the trail wet. I do not want 4-wheelers ripping up that trail and causing soil erosion into that little brook, nor does the snowmobile club want to spend thousands of dollars a year to repair the trail. Though the trail across the road is not legal for 4-wheeler traffic, it is not gated, and groups of these idiots routinely show up on this trail. Despite the sign at the crossing on my property that says "No Vehicular Traffic Beyond this Point" there is always at least one person in every group that rides his 4-wheeler past the sign and on down to the gate, to see if they can open the gate or get around it. When I confront them, they are sometimes apologetic, but more often surly and argumentative. I own a 4-wheeler and use it with a dump-trailer to haul manure, peat moss, firewood, etc. I will not register it and use it on trails because I do not want to be lumped in with these destructive creeps.

Every bit of technology, whether a special-purpose machine, a gun, or a mapping system (in Kim's instance) carries positive and negative potentials. In the hands of the clueless, very bad things can happen, especially when compounded by emotion. Apparently, Kim lacked survival training and common sense. His vehicle was shelter, a source of heat, possible means of escape if weather conditions moderated, and a large target for aerial searchers. The smartest thing to do would have been to stay with his family, start a good bonfire and keep throwing fresh boughs on it to produce smoke. If he had done these things he would be alive.
scorpa
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Dec9-06, 02:55 PM
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If the road was that bad anyone with common sense would have just turned back. I feel bad for the family but it's really hard to feel sorry for someone that acts so stupidly.
Integral
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Dec9-06, 03:11 PM
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Quote Quote by Astronuc View Post
Mr. Kim and his wife and children have paid a high price for his bad decisions.

This seems to be a case of someone from an urban area going out into Nature with little or no experience with the wilderness. It was reckless.
Evidently he did not realize that he was heading into wilderness. Many out of staters have contempt for the Oregon woods, the elevation is low, less then 5000' (~1500m) they are not snow covered except during and shortly after sever storms. They look soft due to the extensive forest coverage and thick brush. But the slopes can be and are frequently greater then 45deg. The brush can hide drop offs that can be any where from 1m to 100m. The brush is thicker then you can comprehend. I have been in Rhododendron (yes Rodys grow wild here) thickets that I was throwing my whole body at in an effort to break through.
I've visited several National Parks in the west. The rangers and staff are adamant about respecting the wilderness, which means keeping distance with wild animals. However, every year, someone gets seriously injured or killed by elk or bison, rather than bear, because they get too close and the animal reacts defensively. Also, people go hiking without sun screen, proper clothing or water. I saw a young woman hiking on the Bright Angel Trail in shorts and short sleeve shirt. Her thighs had a red/purple hue, which indicated severe sunburn, and she was about an hour down from the rim. She was already in a lot of pain. All I could do was suggest she cover her legs and get to the infirmary ASAP.

James Kim--family man, gadget fan

Is this selective intelligence? They guy was apparently tech savvy, but knew nothing of the dangers of being exposed to the elements.
To make matters worse he may have been a weekend camper and may have thought he knew what he was doing. I for one think he was in way to big a hurry to disable the car. If you have dry material to start a fire wood is plenty full and easy to get. The local woods are fir, hemlock and cedar. These are some of the easiest wood to get burning. They had a fire, without burning the tires.
If I go to an area where I have never been, I get maps (particularly USGS or equivalent terrain maps which show contours) and study them. I learn landmarks and the terrain. I know orientation of the sun, moon and stars. And very importantly, I study the weather in advance, especially in winter time, and I know that ambient temperatures decrease with altitude.
Clearly knowing something about the country you are traveling through is important. I find in incredible that this guy had no idea he was driving into a road-ed wilderness.
Integral, try not to obsess over this situation - we can't turn back time and the decisions of others are out of our hands. Hopefully, others will learn from Kim's mistakes.
It is an easy thing to say.. "don't obsess" but the very nature of oppression makes that a difficult thing to do.

Again I urge you to look at the Agness mail boat link in my first post. It has some good pics of the local terraine.. this is where James was headed.
Astronuc
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Dec9-06, 03:15 PM
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Quote Quote by Integral View Post
Did you happen to check the jet boat link?
The Rogue River area looks very cool. I am hoping to get out that way next year.

During winter, I keep a pair of insulated boots in the car, and I make sure I have a shovel. I usually take a parka and insulated mitten and gloves when I am out. I have an Artic parka which is very warm even at -30F (-34.4C) and moderate wind. It was designed for winters in northern Alaska.
Integral
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Dec9-06, 03:24 PM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
Perhaps, but if Google Maps hadn't existed, how would he have planned his trip? Would he have looked at a real map? If he had, he may have made the same mistake, but even if he wouldn't have, in this case he ceded his responsibility to a computer program. He of all people should know that the technology is only as good as whoever wrote the program and neither are infallable.

I didn't know about this aspect of the story, but it is truly a cruel irony.
The road may not even show up on your typical gas station maps. Google Maps and MS Streets and Trips (I have a copy with a GPS Locator, I love it) also maps the fatal route. It should NEVER be suggested as passable at ANY time of the year. Perhaps Oregon is unique in the number of roads into the woods. Much of the Oregon Coast Range has been logged, there are few areas that cannot be driven to, if you have a 4x4. The fact that mapping software seems to treat these roads as equal to a US Highway is criminal.

What now concerns me, could MS Streets & Trips send me on an equally fatal route though the wilds of Los Angeles? In this terrain I am concerned about ending up in some neighborhood where the local gangs my resent my intrusion. How can I know?
Integral
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Dec9-06, 03:42 PM
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Quote Quote by Astronuc View Post
The Rogue River area looks very cool. I am hoping to get out that way next year.

During winter, I keep a pair of insulated boots in the car, and I make sure I have a shovel. I usually take a parka and insulated mitten and gloves when I am out. I have an Artic parka which is very warm even at -30F (-34.4C) and moderate wind. It was designed for winters in northern Alaska.
One of the hardest things in the Oregon woods is keeping dry. The brush is generally a waxy leafed variety likeSalal , Manzanita, Rodadendron, and Poison Oak. You could find any combination of these plus others. All have in common the ability to trap and hold water on the leaves, this means, in the wet season that you get soaked walking even a short distance (30m will do it). I read one report that the searchers who were dressed appropriately were soaked to the skin in 30mins.

It is very hard to dress appropriately, if you cover yourself with waterproof rain gear, you now run into the trouble that it is 45-50 deg out and you are soon sweating. So you get wet from the outside in, or the inside out.. take you pick. If you are planning on spending a night without a fire hypothermia is inevitable.
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Dec9-06, 03:51 PM
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Quote Quote by scorpa View Post
If the road was that bad anyone with common sense would have just turned back. I feel bad for the family but it's really hard to feel sorry for someone that acts so stupidly.

I am thinking that a basic survival rule for driving in Oregon is never leave the center line. If you do not know where you are going, ie have never driven the road, and have traveled for 2mi without a center line, turn around ASAP and go back to the last road with a center line. Follow the center line back to civilization.
chroot
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Dec9-06, 04:31 PM
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I did search and rescue for several years up in the mountains of Virginia, and still keep my full bivouac kit in my car here in sunny California. I can't imagine anyone driving on logging roads up in Oregon not having the presence of mind to realize it's a bad idea, or going so unprepared in the first place. The difference between survival and death can sometimes literally come down to having a half pound of gear.

I'm also amazed at his foolishness in continuing to walk, further and further, for days. Anyone who's done any real hiking knows what to do when you realize you're seriously lost: hug a tree. That's right, just sit your *** right down in the first sheltered spot you can find and try to take care of your basic survival needs without moving away from the spot you first recognized you were lost. Every step you make from that point dramatically decreases the likelihood that you will be found alive.

The SAR people found all kinds of discarded items, like pants and so on, along the route taken by Kim. Perhaps he thought he was stringing them along like breadcrumbs, but I can't help commenting that if he had just stayed where he had left those pants, he would probably have been found alive.

I can forgive him for not knowing the road was so treacherous beforehand. I can forgive him for not having the right kind of gear to survive unsheltered in that environment. I cannot believe, however, that an educated man would leave the shelter of a car, and walk down a ravine -- non-stop, for days -- ensuring that all the SAR people on his tail stay far behind him.

- Warren
Integral
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Dec9-06, 04:50 PM
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Quote Quote by chroot View Post
I did search and rescue for several years up in the mountains of Virginia, and still keep my full bivouac kit in my car here in sunny California. I can't imagine anyone driving on logging roads up in Oregon not having the presence of mind to realize it's a bad idea, or going so unprepared in the first place. The difference between survival and death can sometimes literally come down to having a half pound of gear.

I'm also amazed at his foolishness in continuing to walk, further and further, for days. Anyone who's done any real hiking knows what to do when you realize you're seriously lost: hug a tree. That's right, just sit your *** right down in the first sheltered spot you can find and try to take care of your basic survival needs without moving away from the spot you first recognized you were lost. Every step you make from that point dramatically decreases the likelihood that you will be found alive.

The SAR people found all kinds of discarded items, like pants and so on, along the route taken by Kim. Perhaps he thought he was stringing them along like breadcrumbs, but I can't help commenting that if he had just stayed where he had left those pants, he would probably have been found alive.

I can forgive him for not knowing the road was so treacherous beforehand. I can forgive him for not having the right kind of gear to survive unsheltered in that environment. I cannot believe, however, that an educated man would leave the shelter of a car, and walk down a ravine -- non-stop, for days -- ensuring that all the SAR people on his tail stay far behind him.

- Warren
My bet is that he did most of his walking, if not all the first day. I have trouble seeing him survive the first night, soaking wet and 35deg. I do not think you could spend a night (a long night at that) in those conditions and survive. You call it a ravine, that is what I call a canyon, and a "bottomless canyon:" at that. I guess to appreciate the term "bottomless canyon" you have had to stand at the top of one looking down.
Ivan Seeking
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Dec9-06, 08:21 PM
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Dec. 9: Ten years ago, a father turned down a snow-packer Oregon road, became trapped and starved to death. This week, a Calif. man died trying to save his family after it got stuck on the same road. NBC's John Larson reports
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16107451
[see the video]

Finley starved to death in his truck after waiting for 66 days "in almost the same spot".
Evo
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Dec9-06, 09:43 PM
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What's more incredibly stupid is the statement he made 'I'll be back in 5 hours". Yet he had no idea where they were, which direction to go, and if any help was within walking distance.

"Back in 5 hours" means he thought that , in the snow, with no idea of where he was going, he'd reach help in less than 2.5 hours. Realistically, how far can you walk in rough terrain with heavy snow? A couple of miles?

When I lived in upstate New York, the grocery store was 8 miles away, on heavily trafficked, familiar highway. Yet I still had that car loaded with enough blankets, food, sterno, matches, laterns, etc... so we could have survived 3 weeks if an accident drove us down a ravine.


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