BWCA 2010 - Leadership Challenge #5 (Group Separation) - UPDATED Boundary Waters Group Forum: Wilderness Challenges
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      2010 - Leadership Challenge #5 (Group Separation) - UPDATED     



distinguished member(3144)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/18/2009 10:01AM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
This is #5 of 12 Leadership Challenges I will be posting. The purpose of these is to get feedback on what you would do under these circumstances. I'm not looking for a "Right Answer" I'm looking to see how the many very knowledgeable people here on would react in a time of decision in Canoe Country.

Challenge #5: (“Group Separation”)

Situation: You are traveling in a party of 4 (Combined crew weight of 800 lbs) in two rental Old Town Penobscot 17 foot Royalex Canoes (max load weight of 1100-1150 Lbs). You are carrying 4 large packs, 4 smaller personal packs and misc. fishing gear with a total gear weight of approximately 350 lbs split evenly between the two canoes.

Additional Situation Information:

• This is Day 2 of a planned 8 Day Trip to Quetico Provincial Park.

• This Trip has been in the planning stage for over 2 years but was interrupted in August by a Family Emergency.

• The Crew:

Curly: Average Outdoorsman/Canoeist. Trips: 4. (In process of getting a Divorce)

Mo: Average Outdoorsman/Canoeist. Trips 4. (Larry’s Brother)

Larry: Expert Outdoorsman/Canoeist. Trips 40+ many of which were solo. (Curly’s Best Friend)

Harry: Rookie Outdoorsman/Canoeist. Trips: 2nd Trip (Drove the crew up in his brand new Cadillac Escalade) (Curly's Boss)

• Harry arranged for & paid for everyones permits and other expenses so that the crew could come back up in September. He is also not charging Curly for vacation from the aborted trip. (Harry has become a Canoeist)

• They have decided that since this trip is shorter in length, that they will base camp on Lake Kahshahpiwi and use day trips to explore other areas and to fish.

• Bojibob Boats and Beer was again the Outfitter and the available Beers are now up to 106 varieties, some in plastic bottles. (New additions are Fall Microbrewer stuff with foofy names like Ely Golden Leaf)

Your current location: You are currently located on the Northern End of Lake Kahshahpiwi. (See Red Flag on the Map)

The Plan:

Larry and Harry decide to go for a day trip to fish Trant Lake where they have had good luck catching Walleyes in past trips. Larry has also been chatting up the “BIG LAKER” he caught on Hurlburt Lake two years ago.

Mo and Curly are going to fish Kahshahpiwi and Mo wants to check out the old fire tower later on the south end of the Lake

Items of interest in your gear pack:

You DO NOT have a SAT Phone. (Rut Roe) You can thank Beemer for this!

Additional Information: The current time is 7:00 PM. The Date is September 8, 2010. Sunset is at 7:36 PM, Twilight lasts until 8:07 PM. The Weather has gotten cooler and temps are in the mid 60s in the day and dipping into the low 40’s at night. The forecast for tomorrow is for even cooler temps and rain periodically. Skies are currently clear with slight breeze with gusts 10-15 MPH from the SE.

The Challenge:

Larry and Harry decide to get an early start over to Trant and are on the water by 8:00 AM. They said they will be home for supper with some fish, “So have the batter ready and the group with the least amount of fish is doing dishes tonight!”

You notice after they leave that they didn’t take Larry’s Map Case when they packed the day pack with lunch and “some other gear”.

Mo and Curly do a little fishing in the morning without much luck. Mo decides after lunch that he wants to check out the Old Fire Tower. Curly declines due to still not feeling well and Mo decides to go to the old fire tower alone……taking the last canoe with him.

(cue in creepy organ music)

As the sun begins to fall, neither party has returned. But Curly sees a Tandem Canoe coming from the direction of Trant portage. He hails them down to see if they have seen Larry and Harry on Trant. They say they saw no one and also stated that they had paddled over from Silence Lake that morning to Trant and had been fishing all afternoon and that no one else had been on the lake and they saw no one on the trail from Silence Lake.

Now What? (You are in the role of Curly)

a. You ask the Tandem Crew if they can help you find Mo on Lake Kahshahpiwi. (Give reasons why you selected Mo)

b. You ask the Tandem Crew if they can help you find Larry and Harry on Lake Trant. (Give reasons why you selected Larry and Harry)

c. You decide to not panic and wait it out. Thinking they will be along anytime now. And then you wish the Tandem Crew happy trails and fair winds.

d. Your idea? (Free flow thoughts)

HOWEVER there is also a “Twist”. The Challenge will evolve and new information will come to light (I will provide an update 6 hours after original post as your idea’s evolve into some sort of consensus of a preferred initial action)

*********** Situational Update to the Challenge # 5*************

Situation: You have decided to just be patient and stay put, but after explaining the situation to the Tandem crew, they volunteered to go take a look down by the old fire tower, but since it is so late in the day they won’t make it back tonight, but if they find Mo, they will do what they can to help him. They will return in the morning and help you search for your friends.

You start to build a good size bonfire close to Lake in hopes that it will serve as a beacon in the night for your returning crew. But low and behold Mo rounds the corner in the Canoe with a puzzled look on his face….

The conversation goes like this:

Curly: “Where the hell have you been”?

Mo: “Dude, chill out, I have been battling a crosswind and trying to get back here for over 2 hours…I’m trashed” “I ran into those guys in the Tandem and they said you were freaking out!”

Curly: “Well, I was worried about you, heading down to climb that old fire tower and with your wife recently filing for divorce …….. you have been kind of moody”

Mo: “Did you think I was going to jump or something? I’m fine with divorce…the only thing I’m feeling bad about is once we found out about my in-laws’ you guys talked me into fishing for a few more days and I show up drunk and late to the funeral! But it’s all good…my wife’s parents were Loooooooaded and my Lawyer says I should get half…so where do you think Harry and Larry are?”


Additional Situational Information:

After maintaining an all night vigil by the fire pit, Harry and Larry have not returned.

You learn from Mo that he has told the Tandem Crew to continue on and that Curly “worries too much” and that means they will not be joining in the search.

You have decided not to break camp and will head over to Trant and maybe Hurlburt to try to find them. You hang the food pack and secure your gear. You also leave a note for Harry and Larry (or who ever may find your gear) detailing your plans.

You pack a day pack each.

Items of Interest in your Day Packs:

Extra Clothes

Comprehensive Medical Kit.

Rain Gear

Food for 4 people (2 meals each)


Your search pattern thus far is highlighted in Red on the pictures below.

The time is now 11:45 AM and you pull over onto a small island in the middle of long Hurlburt Lake. You now have seen no sign of Harry and Larry for almost 36 hours.

You are now at least 5 miles from your base camp, with the tough Trant to Kahshahpiwi portage in between.

It begins to rain and the wind shifts and is blowing hard from the SW.

The northern most end of Hurlburt is still a couple of miles down the lake and there is a small bay that you can’t see from where you are.

Now what?

a. You decided to press on down the lake into the bay, if they are not there you will turn around and head back the 7 miles into the wind and back to your base camp.

b. You decide the weather is getting too rough and you should head back to the base camp now or there is a chance that you will not make it back before dark. You also sense something has gone very wrong with Harry and Larry and you may need professional help to find them.

c. You decide to sit tight on this island for an hour or so, hoping for a break in the weather and will scan the Lake with Binoculars and head back to base camp at the last possible moment.

d.Your ideas (Free Flow thoughts)

**Note: There will be no additional updates on this challenge. I will disclose the fate of the entire crew in tomorrows challenge**

***Bonus points for guessing how many beers that Curly drank to still be hung over after 3 days.

Note 1: I'm attempting to drive up participation by including Fishing and Beer.

Note 2: If you feel you disagree with someone. Please do so tactfully. If things get continue to get overheated. I will ask the moderators to remove your posting and also ask you to no longer particpate in the Challenge series. You will also be placed in timeout like a child. :-)

Next Challenge: “Party in Distress”. This one will require you to summon all your skills and I expect you will find it to be the most difficult of the series.

If you missed Leadership Challenge 1:

Bear Island

If you missed Leadership Challenge 2:

Destroyed Canoe

If you missed Leadership Challenge 3:

Broken Ankle

If you missed Leadership Challenge 4:

"The Call"
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12/18/2009 10:54AM  
Stay at camp and built a large camp fire, so your party mates can see the site as darkness is approaching.

Ask the guys in the tandem canoe to paddle in the direction of the Lookout Tower and ask them to check for Mo since he is alone and could have fallen checking out the ladder at the fire tower.

I'd assume that Larry and Harry are OK and just lost / delayed. Larry is very experienced and if one of them is hurt he should make logical decisions for the pair. That could me they are lost and decide to settle in for the night and try to find camp in the morning.
12/18/2009 11:10AM  
a big fire, yes. dont panic, stay put.

let me guess about the "twist"...

the second canoe, floating empty past the basecamp? :)
distinguished member(607)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/18/2009 11:15AM  
If the tandem canoe seems willing to help and responsible enough, I would send them to look for MO and ask that if they can't find him to come back to me. I would stay and keep a large fire going for the guys to see when they are coming back after dark. The search for Harry and Larry would begin the next morning.
Larry being the expert - I would assume that he has a map with him of some sorts, maybe the maps left in camp were the "spare" maps that the expert packs with in case of emergencies. I would still head in that direction in the morning to see if I could find them and leave a note in camp asking them to stay close to camp if they return because I would be back in camp before dark.
Curly isn't hungover after 3 days - he is going through withdrawals. He has been on a steady diet of alcohol since his wife's parents died and she became a different person. He has now gone 2 days without a drink and is back at camp digging through Larry's stuff for his nipper while MO is out fishing.
distinguished member (394)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/18/2009 11:22AM  
Twist... one of the guys in the tandem thinks you have a pretty mouth. Sorry, I will butt out now and try not to detract further.
12/18/2009 11:32AM  
I would stay put for the evening with the big fire, then when daylight breaks if they are still not back I would leave a note for anyone should they return and look for mo first since being lost alone is much more dangerous than being lost in a group.
distinguished member(1168)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/18/2009 11:33AM  
Only one that is for sure screwed is Curly right now. He has no ride home. Curly be sure the guys in the tandem ( the passer bys) know to come back and check on your stranded arse no matter what.

Unitl further info comes. I'm sitting tight and maybe asking the tandem guys to check out the fire tower and then check on me in the morning.
distinguished member(605)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/18/2009 11:38AM  
Curly is in the best position right now, he has all the gear and food, with two potential helpers right in front of him.

Mo is in trouble, the other two have fish and will eventually find their way back.

Explain the situation to the passers by and ask them to find Mo, since it's dark already invite them to share your camp when the return over a few beers. Get a signal fire going soon.

12/18/2009 12:05PM  
My answer is some where between fishnfreak's and Journeyman's. What exactly happens depends greatly on the willingness and plans of the unknown tandem. Definitley light a fire. Not only to signal my buddies home, but also for company. Curly can't be feeling too good about now.

I've said before I am against separation. Being lost/hurt alone, and away from camp, would really suck.
12/18/2009 12:06PM  
Agree with staying put and building a large fire. Ask the tandem to go looking for Mo and/or check back if they are headed back this way.

If you were in the tandem and heading out needing to make your exit point, what would you do?
distinguished member (436)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/18/2009 12:09PM  
dont panic, make a fire, relax, drink a couple beers. ask the other group to keep an eye out and direct the missing member(s) back to camp if they happen to see them.
12/18/2009 12:18PM  
"If you were in the tandem and heading out needing to make your exit point, what would you do?"...

...offer as much help as humanly possible.
distinguished member(3311)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/18/2009 12:21PM  
Stay put, build a fire, ask the tandem to go look for Mo and invite them to stay at your camp when they return since it is getting late.


The tandem goes looking for Mo and they return empty handed. They take Curly up on his offer to stay at his camp that night. They settle in around the campfire. As they do, one pulls out a banjo and the other pulls out a guitar....
distinguished member(5271)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
12/18/2009 12:58PM  
Trant is a complicated lake and so they could have easily missed another boat.

I agree with those that ask the tandem to look for Mo and then stay the night.

Fire: good idea.

Larry gets downgraded from expert outdoorsman for forgetting his map.

Twist: that's why you bring your own banjo. Time to jam and help those folks find their way home.
distinguished member(1357)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/18/2009 01:40PM  
Bad gut feeling about 2 fellas out there. Now these 2 show up? Hair raises on back of neck... alone and out numbered. Could this be something evil and sinister or is Curly just starting to lose it? hmmm... Maybe Larry and Harry went over to Hurlbert and thats the reason they were not spotted (so curly thinks) and Mo doesn't have a clue as to what is going on back at camp. Mo may of had a problem with canoe by himself and the breeze and never made it the fire tower and now could be on the shore somewhere after a capsized canoe and is trying to get the gear together or search for it when darkness arrived. Curly really has nothing to do but wait it out till morning and keep a fire going hoping for the best! At least he has the lions share of the gear with him.
12/18/2009 02:37PM  
#1. Ask the tandem team to look for Moe. This is nearly line of sight from your campsite - this is serious enough to give them your other little Motorola 2 way radio - keep an open challenge. If they are willing - and I certainly would be - take the path up to the Tower and FIND him. You should be in easy radio contact most of the time. (The radios are optional - but many of us have them and this would be a good use)

#2. Build a big fire at the outer fire ring and place one flashing LED headlamp pointed down lake towards the tower and another uplake to where the tandem team should be coming from.

#3. The tandem team may be lost, but get to Mo first - it seems possible he is injured.

The tandem pair should be able to weather the night with their day pack kit and canoe if they are lost. We'll deal with them after Moe is back.
distinguished member(605)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/18/2009 02:44PM  
I wanna have a plot twist... after explaining to the passers by about Mo, you notice one of them is wearing Mo's hat and the other has Larry's favorite paddle, then big one says "UGhh", which means "we ate your friends and your next" .
12/18/2009 03:03PM  
No need to panic (yet).

Build fire, start getting dinner ready to go. Gather a little more wood. Don't bother other paddlers. Ask what they plan to do that night and next day in case something arises. Just let them know what you know so far, but I'm not ready to panic. Just another day in the woods.

I have a real life one similar to this from our family winter backpacking trips. Think over-confident teenager eager to beat everyone else to the shelter.
distinguished member(14135)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
12/18/2009 03:10PM  
Build a fire and wait at least until daybreak to mount a logical search. The only thing worse than two lost people is four lost people. Make sure the rescuers stay togehter during the search. I almost always have a airhorn with me when im deep in the woods, its light and can be heard from a very long ways away.
12/18/2009 03:12PM  
The smuggled pistol has not been mentioned....or the guy in a coma with the nose tubes....
The whole cast should line up and commit suicide.
Really dumb Soap Opera!
distinguished member(3144)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/18/2009 04:09PM  
LOL Fishguts! I think you may have figured out the Mystery. I was a writer for "As the World Turns" that was recently cancelled by CBS. This is my attempt to Draft a new show for CBS. "As the Canoe Churns"

Would you like a role on the show? I think you fit the part of the evil outfitter who sneaks into the bunkhouse at night and steals womens panties. ;-)
12/18/2009 04:13PM  
And the "Twist"?
12/18/2009 04:18PM  
No, I'm the guy who cancelled your show.:)
distinguished member (395)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/18/2009 06:01PM  
Part 1 stay put
Part 2 head back to camp,but still not to worried yet.
12/18/2009 06:12PM  
Part 2.

Weather is kicking up with the SW wind, Kash will be a handful, be careful. "C". The wind will die down as dusk approaches - take a tour of the lake to look.

I'm now worried about these guys. The rescue team should have bought a tent and sleeping bags.

12/18/2009 06:16PM  
Since the update:
b. Reason: If the lost or “distressed” party finds their way or help they will most likely return to the basecamp.
12/18/2009 06:30PM  
Updated response.

Chose C - messed up by not bringing tent and sleeping bag. But I assume the reason we did not bring them, was we had no intention of staying overnight away from base. Now I'm getting concerned.
distinguished member(3437)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/18/2009 10:24PM  
Way too much to read and digest, keep it simple please!

Build big fire, drink the last of the whiskey and split up the gear your buddies left behind, it was a good run!!

Am sure they would have wanted it this way.

12/19/2009 07:21AM  
stay put, build the large fire, but am worried now.
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(14293)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
12/19/2009 07:28AM  
Stay put and wait for their return.
member (9)member
12/30/2009 10:23PM  
stay put.
distinguished member(1720)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/05/2010 02:25PM  
Initial response:

part 1 (in the evening): sit tight. It is way too early to panic.

part 2 (on the island the next day):
- move to a part of lake that gives you the best chance of making it back to the base camp.
- Wait an hour or so to see what the weather is going to do and get more data.
- After the hour, head back to the base camp.

Now what...
If they return: share stories and drink beer from plastic bottles.
If they don't return, repeat the same procedure (leave note, pack enough gear to spend the night, travel to likely search areas, search for a while, head back to the base camp before dark)
01/16/2010 07:21PM  
For the first situation I go with asking the folks in the tandem to check on Mo for me and if something is wrong to come and get me. Since I know exactly where Mo should be, with their help I should be able to locate him. I keep the fire burning for Harry and Larry hoping they've just been delayed or turned around and late getting back. This is my assumption since they forgot their map.

After the situation update: I don't know if I would invest valuable time looking for Harry and Larry since they've already been missing all night. If Mo shows up I would leave for help at first light. But, since the situation has me on Hurlburt at 11:45am with the guys already missing for 36 hours time is too precious now to waste. Mo and I head back for camp as fast as we can. If the guys aren't there we grab only essentials and head for Ranger Bay ASAP! We leave food and gear just incase the guys make it back and also because this will more than likely be ground zero for a search party. My guess is they are lost. I would think if one of them had been injured the other would have come back for help a long time ago.

I don't know but maybe these guys should give up on wilderness canoeing.
03/11/2010 06:22AM  
Part 1:
Just sit and wait. Nothing else you can do without a canoe.

Part 2:
No point on sitting on an island 7 miles from your camp. Go back to base and see if they arrived. If not, wait it out that night and go for help in the morning.

My guess:
Sans a map, H&L misjudged where the portage into Trant was and actually ended up paddling, and getting lost on, Keffer Lake. They have since been devoured by a Sasquatch and are now little piles of poo on a portage.
distinguished member (343)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/14/2010 12:22AM  

OK - what ever happened to the group. I must have missed the answer!

Did HAWK from Challenge 10 find them?
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