Woman dies trying to cross the Teklanika.

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Ascetic
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 9:44 pm

Woman dies trying to cross the Teklanika.

Postby Ascetic » Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:18 am

This was just a few weeks ago:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2010/08/into-the-wild-fan-dies-.html?cid=6a00d8341c630a53ef01348646e2e5970c

pezar
Posts: 153
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 3:41 pm

Re: Woman dies trying to cross the Teklanika.

Postby pezar » Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:58 pm

All those people on the comments who called Chris and that woman stupid and idiotic probably lived in Los Angeles all their life and their idea of adventure is braving the 91 freeway to get home every night. It reminds me of the ad copy from the movie Braveheart: "Every man dies, not every man truly lives". William Wallace, aka Braveheart, fought a hopeless battle against a bigger and better armed English army, simply because servitude was not acceptable to the Scots. Wallace was eventually drawn and quartered, but it didn't stop the Scottish from rebelling. Corporate servitude was not acceptable to Chris either, and that's why he did what he did, because like Braveheart he wanted to be free and was willing to die in the attempt. The slaves are trained to ridicule free men.

Offbyone
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Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:16 pm

Re: Woman dies trying to cross the Teklanika.

Postby Offbyone » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:44 pm

FAIRBANKS — The fact that a 29-year-old Swiss woman drowned Saturday while attempting to cross the Teklanika River on the Stampede Trail doesn’t surprise Jon Nierenberg.

What surprises him is that it didn’t happen to someone a lot sooner.

Nierenberg, who owns a lodge four miles from the end of Stampede Road, said it was just a matter of time before someone drowned trying to cross the river to reach the old Fairbanks city bus made famous in the movie “Into the Wild.”

Since the critically acclaimed film was released three years ago, the bus where 24-year-old Chris McCandless starved to death in 1992 has become a destination for adventurers following in McCandless’ footsteps.

“Honestly, I’m amazed this hasn’t happened earlier,” Nierenberg said Monday by phone.

Whether or not backpacker Claire Jane Ackermann was on her way to the bus is not known, but Nierenberg said practically everyone who hikes the Stampede Trail has the same destination in mind.

“It’s not a casual place to go hiking,” Nierenberg said. “I have absolutely no doubt what she was doing out there.”

Ackermann was trying to wade east to west across the swollen stream with a 27-year-old man from France about 1 p.m. Saturday. The pair were headed in the direction of the bus. The two hikers had tied themselves onto a rope that had been placed across the stream earlier this summer. They lost their footing and were pulled under by the current.

The man told Alaska State Troopers and rangers from Denali National Park and Preserve that he was able to cut himself free from the main line and make his way to the bank, where he dropped his backpack. When he turned back, the man said, Ackermann was under water.

The hiker made his way back and cut her loose from the main line. He floated downstream with her for half a mile. When the man pulled her to shore, Ackermann was unresponsive. The man tried to resuscitate her but was unsuccessful.

The French hiker ran into another hiking party, which reported the incident to troopers and the National Park Service. Ackermann’s body and the French hiker were flown out by a park helicopter Saturday evening.

Bus-bound?

Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said a trooper asked the French man whether they were hiking to the old green-and-white bus. “He said ‘no,’” Peters said. “He said they were just hiking in the area.”

“It’s anybody’s guess what they were doing out there,” she said.

The bus, located about 18 miles from the end of Stampede Road off the Parks Highway in Healy, has become a destination for people from around the world since Jon Krakauer wrote his best-selling book “Into the Wild” in 1996. After the book was adapted into a critically acclaimed film starring Emile Hirsch and directed by Sean Penn three years ago, the number of hikers trying to reach the bus increased significantly.

Troopers and park service rangers have conducted several search and rescues involving hikers who have become lost or stranded while hiking to the bus in the last few years.

A month ago, troopers rescued four teenagers who became stranded on their way to the abandoned bus. The teens, ages 16 and 17, got separated after their vehicle became stuck on Stampede Trail. The teens were found by a Fairbanks trooper in a Super Cub and a Cantwell trooper on an ATV.

“Everybody has noticed an increase (in the number of hikers going to the bus) in the last three years,” said Richard Moore, north district ranger for Denali National Park and Preserve. There is “general concern” because many of the people hiking to the bus are inexperienced in the Alaska backcountry, he said.

“We try to give information to people and tell them that they should be prepared and educated about how to travel in the backcountry,” Moore said.

River crossing

The Stampede Trail river crossing is along the park’s northern boundary and park rangers are still trying to determine if Ackermann drowned inside or outside of the park. She was about a half-mile inside the park boundary when she was brought to shore by her companion.

The Teklanika River, about 10 miles from the end of Stampede Road, poses the biggest challenge — and threat — for hikers on the Stampede Trail. The swift, glacier-fed stream is difficult to cross even at low water.

On Saturday, the river was raging because of glacial melting in the warm temperatures, park spokesperson Kris Fister said.

A week and a half ago, two hikers called Nierenberg on their satellite phone when they couldn’t get back across the river after hiking to the bus.

Nierenberg told them they could wade upstream to look for a better place to cross or wait until early morning to cross when the water was at its lowest point. He also gave them the phone number for Era Aviation to call for a helicopter if they wanted to spend the $1,000 or so that would cost.

As it turned out, the two hikers met three others, and the group was able to cross.

For whatever reason, Nierenberg said, he has seen an increase in the amount of bus traffic this summer. Some of the hikers stop at his lodge to talk about the trail and river crossing, but most of them don’t, he said. The ones that stop usually don’t have a clue what they’re doing, Nierenberg said.

“Most of these guys don’t have any conception of river crossings,” he said. “Most of their knowledge is from YouTube.”

Rope or no rope?

The rope across the river, which is still in place, appears to be about 3/8-inch braided, nylon rope and is tied on both ends to small trees and brush, said Moore, who has seen pictures. A rope across the river is not uncommon, the ranger said.

“Every time I’ve gone out there, someone has put up a rope somewhere across the river,” he said. “It either gets broken or taken down or disappears in the winter.”

Using a rope as a crossing aid is risky, Moore said.

“If properly used, it could help, but unfortunately a lot of people don’t use it properly, and it leads to incidents like we had Saturday,” he said.

Most people bring rope to help get them across the river, Nierenberg said. A former park ranger in Denali, Nierenberg said he was trained to cross rivers using walking sticks or a pole pointed upstream held by multiple people.

“Some of these guys are talking about crossing with rope tied around their waist, which is like suicide,” he said.

A rope, he said, “is like tying yourself into a raft in whitewater — it can help you live or it can help you die.”

Nierenberg speculated that a group of five motorcyclists from the Lower 48, who hiked to the bus about three weeks ago, installed the rope. One of the motorcyclists was nearly swept downriver after getting knocked off his feet on the way back, he said.

“He was holding onto the rope and ended up having to let go,” said Nierenberg, who talked to the men before they left and when they returned. “His friends ran downstream and fished him out.

“When he came back here his eyes were pretty wide,” Nierenberg said. “He knew that he had almost died.”

Rangers are still trying to determine whether the rope is inside or outside the park boundary, Moore said.

“Our best guess is one side may be in the park and the other side may not be in the park,” he said.

If the rope is inside the park, Moore said, rangers will remove it. If the rope is on state land, he said, rangers will notify troopers.

What action troopers might take is unclear, Peters said.

“I think we will have to await word from the rangers before that would be assessed,” she wrote in an e-mail. “I don’t know if that would be an appropriate use of our resources, as it would have to be decided if it was an immediate threat to public safety.”

http://www.newsminer.com/view/full_story/9169377/article-Swiss-woman-drowns-in-Teklanika-River--near--Into-the-Wild--bus?

Ascetic
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 9:44 pm

Re: Woman dies trying to cross the Teklanika.

Postby Ascetic » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:14 pm

The thing I hate about these kinds of "I can't believe it hasn't happened sooner" articles, is that they never take into account the hundreds of people who have visited the bus without incident. They always focus on the mishaps. To my knowledge, this is the first person to die attempting to visit the bus.

Granted, some inexperienced people will head up to the bus to see where Chris died, but the fact that hundreds have gone in and out without injury is proof that not everyone is a lower-48 greenhorn.

I said it before, and I'll say it again, "Fuck the Alaskan locals."

I'd like to see ANY of them live in the wild for four months with nothing more than a .22 and a 10lb. bag of rice.

madmaxx1221
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:21 am

Re: Woman dies trying to cross the Teklanika.

Postby madmaxx1221 » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:23 pm

Why don't they just build a bridge across i mean it doesn't have to be a huge bridge just high enough off the ground as to where the water level wont come up to it and people can just walk across. Makes sense to me it would erase everyones fear about having to cross the river and it would knock one huge challenge out of the equation all people would really have to worry about is bears or just the long hike.

pezar
Posts: 153
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 3:41 pm

Re: Woman dies trying to cross the Teklanika.

Postby pezar » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:41 pm

I really don't think we should make the Magic Bus into an idol, as a lot of people seem to be doing. It isn't about a location. This sort of logic is how the worship of Jesus Christ came to mean fancy buildings that were taller than anything else in town where an unnaturally celibate man keeps gold crosses. How the philosophy of Buddhism came to mean worshipping the Buddha as a gold statue. Neither act is the point of the original belief. Humans seem to have a need to objectify things, when they shouldn't. Krishnamurti said not to worship him, and when people did it anyway, and he couldn't stop them, he bitterly declared that no man on earth really understood him.

Sometimes I think about becoming a wandering preacher of my own unique faith, then I look and see what it got Buddha and Jesus and Krishnamurti and Chris. Worship of the person and not the belief seems to be a common problem among humans, and demagogues exploit that to make cults based on themselves. (Then of course there is LaVey Satanism, where each person's self, or ego, is God, meaning that the worship of self is the highest worship.)

The continuing appeal of Nazism to some segments of the population seems to be more about the magnetic pull of Adolf Hitler's personality, despite the fact that he's been dead for 65 years, rather than any belief system. Some people have such incredible charisma that centuries after they die they still influence. Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, still has an incredible pull 170 years after he died, although the cult he left behind tends to be its own worst enemy.

I wonder if in 500 years there will be a religion based on Chris, and people will debate whether he really existed or not and etc. I really think humanity needs to evolve a little bit and not think that the object is the belief. Lenny Bruce, the famed bad boy stand up comedian of the 50s, once said that if Jesus had been killed "today" (meaning his time, the 1950s) that generations of children would have little gold electric chairs hanging from their necks. I wonder if that is where this is going, to a gold Bus on a gold staff that people worship?

Ascetic
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 9:44 pm

Re: Woman dies trying to cross the Teklanika.

Postby Ascetic » Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:28 am

Regrettably, it may head in that direction for some people.

Speaking only for myself, I find nothing particularly sacred about Chris' life. I admire some of the ideals for which he stood, but I'd admire them in anyone. My main motivation in visiting the bus is to do some backcountry hiking in Alaska; my secondary motivation is seeing where someone whom I admire lived and died.

Judging from some of the pictures I've seen on the internet, a lot of people visit the bus who probably have little concern for Chris' ideals: i.e., beer-guzzling rednecks who stop by while out "muddin'" in the backcountry.

I'm guessing these assholes have never read Tolstoy or Thoreau:
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stilltrekker
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Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:24 pm

Re: Woman dies trying to cross the Teklanika.

Postby stilltrekker » Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:34 pm

Ascetic wrote:

My main motivation in visiting the bus is to do some backcountry hiking in Alaska;

Then you could do worse than take a lesson or two from the "backcountry rednecks" that you so blithely scorn. No doubt they use modern devices like four-wheelers and maybe they like to drink beer, but I'll bet you they can build a fire with wet wood, find their way back to a distant trail, and figure out their direction from the sky and stars.

I'm guessing these assholes have never read Tolstoy or Thoreau:


And on what basis do you determine they are "assholes"? Have you ever lived in the country? (Choose your state or nation) Is it the beard? The shirtlessness? The fact they are having a good time on a backcountry adventure? Oh, woops--lots of Chris wannabees with lofty ideals and anti-establishment attitudes are trekking their way to the Sacred Bus. . . they'd better not grow a beard, take off their shirts, or have their picture taken smiling in the bus if they don't want to achieve "asshole" status.

Open up your mind a little, dude. Chris did.

Ascetic
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 9:44 pm

Re: Woman dies trying to cross the Teklanika.

Postby Ascetic » Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:04 pm

Read what I wrote in the context of Pezar's previous post. He was making a point about religious fanaticism surrounding Chris, and the bus. My posting of the "asshole" rednecks picture was intended as tongue-in-cheek evidence that not everyone who visits the bus holds the same reverence for Chris.

Get a sense of humor, dude.

stilltrekker
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:24 pm

Re: Woman dies trying to cross the Teklanika.

Postby stilltrekker » Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:23 pm

Ascetic wrote:Read what I wrote in the context of Pezar's previous post. He was making a point about religious fanaticism surrounding Chris, and the bus. My posting of the "asshole" rednecks picture was intended as tongue-in-cheek evidence that not everyone who visits the bus holds the same reverence for Chris.

Get a sense of humor, dude.


I have no disagreement with pezar or his post. But if calling someone you've never met an "asshole" is supposed to be humorous. . . well, then I'll happily live without a sense of humor.

From the way his story is depicted, Chris made friends with plenty of "salt-of-the-earth," "Everyman" kind of folks. In fact, it appears that he preferred to associate with blue collars (or no collars) than white. I have no doubt that he would have welcomed these guys into his camp and had a good conversation sitting around the campfire with them, beer or no beer.


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