“Bumbles” don’t just “bounce,” they can kill you!

(I know. Silly reference to the 1964 animated movie, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” but I couldn’t help it!)

Altitude Sickness

What do they have in common?

The patient will present with


…ok, the last one is not on the official list of their signs & symptoms, but maybe its inclusion and the memory of the Abominable Snow Monster, later referred to as a “Bumble” in the movie, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” will help people remember what to look for when people suddenly start acting irregular in the wilderness backcountry.

The subject of what to do when wet and cold while hiking in a cold environment came up, today, and that led, naturally, to talking about Hypothermia on the PCT.

Those of us who have been following this trail’s hikers from year to year are surely to remember the saga and sad demise of John Donovan on Mt. San Jacinto a few year’s back.

Hypothermia is one of those ailments, like dehydration, hypoglycemia, and altitude sickness, that you may not notice happening to you, if you travel alone. If you travel in groups or with a partner, the other people around you may notice changes in your behavior, thinking, and speech while you may not.

When I was working as a Pro Ski Patroller at Heavenly for a few years, it was not uncommon for the public to knock on the Ski Patrol door on the top of the hill at 10,000-feet to complain of dizziness. It was our job to figure out why!

Each of these four metabolic compromises present with similar signs & symptoms, that’s why the rescuer treats all four with re-warming, re-fueling, rehydrating, and returning them to a lower altitude, and see which helps.

Don’t forget this, you guys! These four dis-eases are silent and insidious killers with easy solutions.