Saturday, August 16, 2014

Survival - How Not To Do It - UPDATED

Moron Thwarts Darwin

For one California man, what began as a day fishing trip quickly turned into a five-day fight for survival.

Mike Vilhauer, 58, went fishing Aug. 6 at Lower Sunset Lake in Alpine County when he noticed he wasn’t catching any fish. Deciding he needed more bait, Vilhauer, butterfly net in hand, left on what he thought would be a short trip to find some grasshoppers.

“I was just zigzagging up and down the mountain,” Vilhauer told ABC News. “I didn’t see anyone for quite a while.”

After a few hours, Vilhauer said it began to get late, and he decided he should probably head back to the fishing site. “That’s when the fun began,” he said.

Vilhauer began to make his way towards what he thought was the fishing site. But with darkness upon him at about 8 p.m., he decided to make shelter under a pine tree, covering himself with pine needles and willow branches in an attempt to stay warm. Vilhauer attempted to call 911, but a weak signal thwarted his efforts.

Vilhauer continued his search for the help on Thursday. Weak from his lack of food and water, he adapted what he called his “survivor man routine,” drinking water out of puddles, regardless of what else was in the puddle.
Unaccountably, the CHP, using helicopters, and local SAR groups on the ground found him after five days in the NorCal/Tahoe area Mokelumne Wilderness, at the 7800' level in the alpine forests about 25 miles south of Lake Tahoe.

Let's score his efforts:

The 2003 version of The Mountaineers Ten essentials:

1.Navigation (map and compass) -Doofus had a raggedy old topo map, allegedly of the actual area in question, but NO idea how to use it, and no compass
2.Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)- Nope
3.Insulation (extra clothing) - Nope
4.Illumination (headlamp/flashlight) - Another fail
5.First-aid supplies - Fail
6.Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles) - Fail
7.Repair kit and tools (incl. a knife or multitool) - No
8.Nutrition (extra food) - Total fail
9.Hydration (extra water)- Total fail
10.Emergency shelter - Absolute fail

Final score: 5% (I'm being generous) out of 100 -- Too Stupid To Live, Too Lucky To Die.
This is the military equivalent of TARFU.

Seriously, it is a true wilderness genius who can leave a lake, by definition and physical necessity the lowest terrain feature in a place, wander off, and be utterly unable to follow gravity back to it a few hours later, and then lose himself completely wandering around for four additional days.

The fee for rescue in such situations should include 10 days in the public ankle stocks, with a dunce cap, a billboard detailing your exploit, all while local scouts and such are allowed to come by and throw fruit at you and put their chewed gum in your hair.

It's hard to say the planet wouldn't have been better served had this guy ended up as mountain lion scat, but evidently his family still wants him, for reasons passing understanding.
He should also have his driver's license amended to read "not allowed more than 500' from pavement".

This gets better still, per CBS-13 in Sacramento:
He was rescued Sunday afternoon after a helicopter spotted Vilhauer’s ‘Help’ sign. He was uninjured, but exhausted. He said he was only four miles from the lake when he was rescued, but he travelled in circles during his ordeal.

“That’s when they told me, by-the-way, there's no fish in that lake,” said Vilhauer.
                                                                {emphasis mine. -A.}

He needs to sue his grammar school for malpractice, and give his 6th grade diploma back. What a total oxygen thief.


RandyGC said...

I understand that the National Parks Service used to annotate reports accompanying the rescue of such folks as "INS", Interfering with Natural Selection.

Aesop said...


There should be a Forest Service regulation allowing him to be fined for attempting to feed the animals with himself, and I hope they at least bill him for the helicopters.

That this turns into a non-event if he'd had a compass and the wit to learn its use, and a non-problem even without that if he'd had so little as a canteen and a few purification tablets, knife, BIC lighter, space blanket, and a few trail bars, only underlines how truly stupid and unprepared you have to be to end up starring in one of these tales.