The Track Record: 19-25 Feb 2018

The past week was a busy one, during which hundreds of outdoor users were tracked.

 

On Tuesday evening, a regular hiker, Kosta from Lion500, reported that he came across an injured hiker just below the summit.  We put him in touch with Metro Rescue Control, who activated a response.

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On Wednesday morning Kosta was out on Lion’s Head again, doing his thing, when he came across a hiker who was suffering from dehydration due to the extreme heat conditions at the time. WSAR, who had already been dispatched to Lion’s Head for an earlier call regarding an ankle injury, was alerted as well.

Thank you, Kosta, for being at hand and assisting with these three mountain calls in less than 24 hours.

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On Thursday evening, a party who was being tracked by us at the time, reported that they had seen some  “suspicious” men who were hiding, off path. The authorities were immediately notified and they sprang into action. No further details are at hand.

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On Saturday morning, a group who had checked in earlier, alerted us to an incident where a member in their party had taken a fall and was badly injured. The Metro Rescue Control call center (021 9370300) was notified, and they subsequently activated the Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) for an immediate response. It was decided that a Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) by helicopter was best.

WSAR helicoper rescue featured image)

During this rescue, another call came in for a dehydrated patient. WSAR was again activated and the helicopter responded to do the necessary.

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We wish the injured hikers a speedy recovery, and we would like to thank our members who volunteered re the upkeep of our tracking service, as well as  their time monitoring as the members who responded to the various rescue calls this week.

Be out and be safe.

The Track Record 12 – 18 February 2018.

12 – 18 February 2018

The week behind us has proven to be another busy one with hundreds of outdoor users being tracked. Here are some of the incidents that were attended to.

On Monday afternoon, a member of our Paragliding Tracking group reported a fire on the lower slopes of Lion’s Head, just above the residential area on the Clifton side.

Picture Paragliding Safety

 

Fire Services were in attendance, and we put in a request for the traffic department to manage the road which was congested as a result.

A safety alert was put out to inform hikers of the situation, as well as pilots of the paragliding fraternity. The fire was successfully taken care of by the on scene fire crews.

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Later on in the afternoon, we were asked by the Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) whether we were tracking any hikers in the Northern section of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP). VWS were receiving reports of smoke blowing down into the Camps Bay area from Table Mountain (TM).

We contacted pax who were on Lion’s Head, Platteklip Gorge and India Venster who had earlier checked in via our system. We asked them whether they saw and/or smelt any smoke in the area. They confirmed smoke, however, no flames were spotted.

This was relayed to VWS, and the alert was withdrawn when it was discovered that the smoke was from a fire somewhere to the south east of TMNP.

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On Tuesday afternoon, a regular trackee asked whether he should rather wait for the pending lightning to pass, before he commenced his trail run up Platteklip Gorge. We advised him that it was best to wait it out. Once he set off, he was also able to provide an update re a “walk out” rescue that was being executed by members of the volunteer Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) team, halfway up the gorge.

Later in the evening, one of our members on the Paragliding Tracking team reported that there were two small fires, one on Devil’s Peak, and the other on the front face of Table Mountain.

Picture Paragliding Safety

 

This was as a result of the lightning. The necessary services where then notified.

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On Wednesday morning, again from the Paragliding Safety team, a report of a different fire lower down on Devil’s Peak was received.

Picture Paragliding Safety

The necessary services were once again informed.

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On Thursday afternoon, a trackee who was routing up Skeleton Gorge on his way to the Upper Cable Station (UCS), did an update check in at the ladders. This area can be a bit hazardous due to the slippery moss, as this section of the gorge is mostly in the shade which renders it very moist. A couple of minutes later, he messaged again. Thinking that there may be an incident, we examined his message.

Funnily enough, he posted a picture of mature male Himalayan Tahr. There is an unknown number of these animals which are alien to Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) and the continent for that matter, still roaming around in the park.

 

Picture C. de le Harpe

 

 

Picture C. de Le Harpe

 

It is the first time that I learn of a sighting this far south.

Please click      here      for an article by Ridgway Ramblers.

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On Saturday morning we learnt of another violent mugging attack on Noordhoek Beach.

The assailant escaped and the victims required medical treatment as well.

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The CoCT is drilling for water into Table Mountain aquifer at the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak. This work creates dust and water spray which looks like smoke when viewed from a distance. The authorities are receiving loads of reports of wild fires in the area, which after investigation proves to the the drilling site.

Should you wish to report any wildfires, please take a photograph and forward that with your complaint when reporting. This will not only assist the authorities as far a location and wind direction goes, they will also be able to clarify whether it is indeed a wildfire or not.

Having said that, a false alarm is much better than no alarm.

We thank all the members who were involved with these incidents, and we continue to pledge our support to outdoor users in the name of safety.

Please sign up for this service      here    if you are not already a member,

Be out and be safe.

The Track Record

We have again serviced hundreds of mountain users, including groups in the Eden District Southern Cape this past week.

On Saturday, one of our trackees called in to report that a member in their party had injured an ankle, and was unable to proceed any further. They were on the Contour Path above Kirstenbosch Gardens at the time.

Metro Rescue Control was alerted, who in turn activated the Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) for a response and recovery.

On arrival at the incident location, the patient’s ankle was immobilized, after which the person was assisted to a 4 X 4 vehicle and then transported to the exit of the gardens, after which the person was taken to a medical facility via private transport.

Later in the afternoon, a party we were tracking commenced their hike up the India Venster route. Shortly after they left the Contour Path, they met up with a party of three who reported seeing five men (who were not dressed as hikers) lying in some vynbos not too far up from their location.

They took the advice from the three males to turn around, and reported the matter to SafetyMountain as well. The TMNP Visitor Safety response unit was notified, together with the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway company. These and other parties were able to maintain visual contact with the suspicious five men, until they left the National Park, without incident.

On Sunday morning, a party that had checked in via SafetyMountain Tracking reported that there may be a possibility of  a missing elderly person who was for some reason separated from the group. Metro Rescue Control was immediately informed. Shortly afterwards, the party reported that the “lost” hiker was reunited with the party. The rescue services were then stood down.

Later on Sunday, a party that was being tracked on the Jonkershoek Mountains above Stellenbosch, reported that one of the members in their group was experiencing signs of being dehydrated.

The party was asked to stay put, while Metro Rescue Control was alerted. They then activated the Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) Winelands unit, who responded to the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. A field team was dispatched up the Kurktrekker Kloof route, which the party in difficulty were busy descending at the time of the incident.

On arrival, the patient was attended to, after which the party was then escorted down the kloof, and safely out of the reserve.

Thank you for continuing to make use of SafetyMountain Tracking, and well done to the rescuers, as well as our duty trackers for their efforts over the past week.

Be out and be safe.

 

Mountain tracking, how it started.

@SafetyMountain Tracking is an initiative of the Hikers Network.

It all started when one of the founding members of the Hikers Network (Anwaaz Bent), suggested that members “check in” with him, before heading out into the mountains.

This was for safety and other reasons:-

  • Initially, the primary reason for checking in, was to allow Anwaaz (who was the most active Wilderness Search And Rescue manager at the time), to know where members were in relation to a patient, in the event of a possible mountain rescue call. This was to provide assistance and other information relating to local conditions, should a member be in the nearby vicinity.

Anwaaz then realized the potential of expanding this:-

  • As a safety mechanism, should the member, or someone in his or her party require assistance.
  • This could also be used as a tool to render assistance to other hikers who they may come across.
  • For reporting any incident that may be of interest to the authorities.

Back then in 2010, Smart Phones were not that fashionable, so the system mainly relied on “dumb” phones, via SMS.

Then, when the Blackberry became a tool, members started using BBM and emails as a means of communicating with each other, in real time via the cellphone.

Of course, with the introduction of WhatsApp, the horizons widened and members could communicate far more easily, transferring all sorts of information in various formats.

Then another member, Tim Lundy, suggested to Anwaaz that we open up a service to the public, where selected members of the Hikers Network could form a team of trackers, to monitor this WhatsApp group.

From there it grew, with more and more members of the Hikers Network, as well as members of the public joining up for this safety initiative.

Over the years, thousands of outdoor users have been tracked while partaking in various disciplines, such as hiking, mountaineering, climbing, trail running, caving, kayaking and even boating. We have tracked people all over South Africa, and abroad using this means.

Quite a few incidents have already been dealt with by our trackers, including missing persons, injured hikers, as well as cases of erosion, fallen trees and wildfires too.

As they say, the rest is history, since this tracking service has grown to multiple WhatsApp groups including a “management” and an “incident” group.

For more information about this service which is provided by our dedicated volunteers, please click here.

Be out and be safe.