Tricia

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This story has been floating around locally for a couple days. He should have bought a Powerball ticket.
Its real and its serious.
From AP
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — An Austrian man hiking 9,000 feet up in the Sierra Nevada was on a peak taking a photo when he was struck by a lightning bolt that blasted away his clothes, burned a hole in one of his shoes and left him with severe burns.

Mathias Steinhuber, who was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with his girlfriend and their friend, had an entry wound on his head and an exit wound on his foot.

“It was like in a dream,” Steinhuber told The Associated Press in an interview at the University of California, Davis Hospital Burn Center. “I woke up. I had blood everywhere, my clothes were ripped apart. At some distance I heard my girlfriend scream my name. My first conclusion was that I probably fell down the mountain.”

Steinhuber said he doesn’t remember being struck. While he could see a thunderstorm far in the distance, he said there was no rain or lightning nearby.


Mathias Steinhuber, of Innsbruck, Austria, who survived being struck by a lighting bolt discusses the near-fatal event, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. Steinhuber had been hiking the Pacific Crest Trail near Donner Summit Tuesday when he stopped to take a photo and was hit by the lighting. He was taken by helicopter to the the Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee, before being flown to the University of California, Davis Hospital Burn Center where he is listed in fair condition. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Steinhuber had burns throughout his body and was struggling to walk when a helicopter crew rescued him Tuesday from an exposed peak among the rugged mountains near Donner Summit, the California Highway Patrol Valley Air Operations said.

The couple from Innsbruck, Austria was visiting a friend, Carla Elvidge, in Truckee, California, near Lake Tahoe. Elvidge said she, Steinhuber and his girlfriend, Kathrin Klausner, were hiking from Donner Summit to Squaw Valley and that all are avid hikers.

Steinhuber was hiking ahead of his friends and had reached the top of Tinkers Knob, a bare peak with sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and the forests below.

“He was taking a picture and the next thing I know, I see this white flash, like an explosion,” Elvidge told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Fairfield, California.

Steinhuber was thrown away and his shoes and all his clothes, including his underwear, were ripped off from his body. The lightning bolt singed his clothes and burned a gaping hole through one of his tennis shoes.

A second lightning bolt struck next to Klausner, who felt the electricity in her body, and the two decided to take shelter and call for help, Elvidge said.

A helicopter landed on Tinker Knob, which is at an elevation of 8,949 feet, and dropped off a paramedic who tended to Steinhuber. He was taken to Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee and then flown to the University of California, Davis Hospital Burn Center, where he was listed in fair condition on Thursday.

Elvidge and Klausner hiked out, uncertain whether Steinhuber would survive or endure debilitating injuries, Klausner said.

Steinhuber and Klausner said they feel extraordinarily lucky that he survived and are grateful for the quick response from rescuers.

“Somebody told me the odds are higher winning the lottery than getting struck by lightning,” Steinhuber said. “I would’ve rather won the lottery.”
 

Core2

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Don't hike above treeline with impending storms. I find it hard to believe they had no warning, lightning comes from clouds. People here regularly hike up into the storms, we had a teenager get killed by lightning last summer.
 
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Tricia

Tricia

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Don't hike above treeline with impending storms. I find it hard to believe they had no warning, lightning comes from clouds. People here regularly hike up into the storms, we had a teenager get killed by lightning last summer.
We had some storms come through here over a couple days. IIRC the day he was hit was a day that the storms were supposed to be far south of here. They surprised us.
That being said, I'm betting that the picture he stopped to take when he was hit was a picture of the storm rolling in. :huh:
Here is an Article from the Durango Herald complete with pictures.
Photo credit Rich Pedroncelli/AP News


 

fatbob

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Given that I was on the tarmac at INN this evening while a biblical lightning strom struck all around the surrounding mountains I'd have thought he'd be used to it.
 

Chris Walker

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A couple years ago I was hiking up to a high alpine lake with my family at Rocky Mountain National Park. It was clear when we started but a few clouds started building as we went. When we were maybe within a mile of our destination, on an exposed slope above treeline, we heard a loud thunderclap and I turned us around right away.
On the way down, the thunder rolls continued but I started thinking I had acted with an overabundance of caution. It didn't get really that bad, maybe we should have pressed on. I really wanted to see that lake and was I being too much of a chicken?
Later than day we heard that two hikers had been struck by lightning in the park that day, killing one. Not in the area where we were but still, it brings home the point that this is no joke. If weather is coming in, get off the mountain.
My friends tell me the rule of thumb in Colorado is to plan to be down the hill by noon.
 

pais alto

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On the way down, the thunder rolls continued but I started thinking I had acted with an overabundance of caution. It didn't get really that bad, maybe we should have pressed on. I really wanted to see that lake and was I being too much of a chicken?
No, you didn't.
No, you shouldn't have.
No, you weren't.

I spend a lot of time in the mountains, and I'm scared about lightning, ymmv.
 

Chris Walker

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No, you didn't.
No, you shouldn't have.
No, you weren't.

I spend a lot of time in the mountains, and I'm scared about lightning, ymmv.
Yeah my second guessing evaporated instantly when I heard about the poor fellow who died that day. There but for a little dumb luck go I.
 
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Tricia

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@Chris Walker glad you made the right call and lived to tell the story.
 
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Tricia

Tricia

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@Andy Mink , This is the story I was talking about.
 

Jim McDonald

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I got caught in a sudden storm while playing golf in Indonesia once, but no problem, really. I just held up my 1-iron and walked back to the clubhouse. :duck:
 

SBrown

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No, you didn't.
No, you shouldn't have.
No, you weren't.

I spend a lot of time in the mountains, and I'm scared about lightning, ymmv.
The thing that freaks me out is that there is always the first one. And sometimes it happens out of an almost blue sky.
 

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scott43

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It's kinda funny..the guy is from Austria but I know, in the Alps, they make a big deal about lightning when hiking there. I don't live in the alpine regions so I don't know how prevalent that knowledge is, but one of the first sentences in any text about any via ferratas or high hikes in Austria is, lightning kills, take cover and watch conditions.
 

Andy Mink

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Something to keep in mind is that lightening can strike many miles from where the clouds are. Having supervised water parks and a pool (the pool for a short time, thankfully!) the rule of thumb was if we could see the lightening or hear the thunder everyone was off the deck and out of the water. If no more lightning or thunder occurred within 15 or 30 minutes we'd open again. If it did we'd start the count over. Summer storms in wide-open areas are no joke.
 

pais alto

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Something to keep in mind is that lightening can strike many miles from where the clouds are. Having supervised water parks and a pool (the pool for a short time, thankfully!) the rule of thumb was if we could see the lightening or hear the thunder everyone was off the deck and out of the water. If no more lightning or thunder occurred within 15 or 30 minutes we'd open again. If it did we'd start the count over. Summer storms in wide-open areas are no joke.
I was just gonna write something about positive lightning, but that article you linked does an excellent job of describing it. Positive lightning starts a lot of wildfires because it's 'dry'.

It's not just a summer problem. At the southern Rockies ski area where I work the lifts will shut down if there is thunder or any sign of lightning. If there seems to be thundercloud buildup visible anywhere nearby a lightning detector will get turned on and monitored.
 
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