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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - March 24, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta Wednesday, March 24, 1971 - THE lETHBRIDGE HERALD - 37 Chris Brasher talks ahout the key factors What keeps a man alive and able to survive on mountain top? By CHRISTOPHER BRASHER London Observer Service CHRISTOPHER BRASHER, Olympic ' gold medallist in 1956, who turned to climbing when his running days, were over, talks about survival factors in the mountains. Why did Rene Desmaison survive for three days after his companion, Serge Gousseault, died 13,000 feet up the Grande Jorasses in the Alps recently? The short answer is that he was favored by two out of three most important factors in survival - age and experience. He was, however, the wrong sex. A man's stamina increases with age until he is well into his forties. Desmaison, 41, reached the ledge on which the drama was played out'in better shape than his companion Gousseault, whose age is reported variously as 24 and 26. Gousseault died on the ledge after three days; Desmaison was rescued alive after six days. Th�^ were fighting the same enemies: wind, cold and dehydration, of which in my experience cold is the least. These days, with modem, down-filled lightweight clothing, it is possible to withstand extreme cold without danger, indeed without discomfM;, provided that you are protected from the wind, that you are dry, and that you have enough to drink. The worst danger in the mountauis is a combination of wind and wet: once your clothes become wet their insulation can be reduced by anything up to 90 per cent; once the wind penetrates than your previous heat is whipped away. SERIOUS MISTAKE One of the worst mistakes Desmaison and Gousseatdt made was to be sparing hi the amount of fuel they carried. This meant that for several days Desmaison's only liquid came from sucking icicles and snow, is was thus usuig his own precious body heat to convert them into water; and he was not getting enough water, and so be was becoming iiv-creasingly dehydrated. He suffered for that mi^ake. The severe frostbite and renal toxicity (kidney troUble) which put him in Chamonix hospital are both caused by d^ydration. When you become seriously dehydrated your blood becomes thicker and so less able to penetrate to the extremities which in turn become frostbitten. But Ian McNaught-Davas, an expert British climber ap-proachuig his 40th butiiday and a man who enjoys good Uvmg, reckons that Desmaison had a vital millimetre or two of subcutaneous fat: "reserves stored away from yeart of gracious Uving." This - the fat, not the gracious living - is one of the reasons why women have a Youth Colunm Hold dimension of education WINNIPEG (CP) - TTie Winnipeg school board's youth reentry program, a second chance for young people who have given up on the regular secondary system, has tripled tn size since its inception a year ago. That's an indication of how many people are caught hi the limbo between conventional classrooms and adult education with nothing except drugs to turn them on. The program, described as s bold dimension of education unlike any other in Canada, was set up to allow dropouts who are unable to function in conventional classrooms to continue then- education. From its original 15 students Child labor used  PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The American Friends Service Committee says the child labor situation in United Stafces agriculture compai-es with "the sweatshop scene in 1938." In a report here based on a survey of farms in five states, the Quaker group called agriculture "the third most hazardous industiy in this country," and dedared children should not be slowed to work m it. "At the very least," tiie Quakers said, "children in agricultural work should be covered by the laws which pertaui to all children vpho work in hazardous Industries." The survey of agriculture in California, Maine, Oregon, Ohio and the state of Washington last summer found children as young as six years of age working on farms, sometimes "stooping and crawluig in intense heat for eight to 10 hours a day," the committee's report said. RECRUITED BY TEACHERS Investigators said they found one county in Maine where children harvest 35 per cent of the potato crop. In Willamette Valley area in Oregon, investigators said, school teachers recruited children between the ages of eight and 15 for farm work. Among 229 children in a California study group, 17 per cent worked more than eight hours a day and 19 per cent were under 12, the report said. Quaker sui-veyors estimated 90 to 95 per cent of children between 12 and 15 in Skagit, Whatcom and Yakima counties in Washington worked in fields. ITALIANS AHEAD ROmE (AP) - Italy's bal-> of payments ended i970 ' i a suip'us of 222,400 million ].s (:?3i5.f! million), reversing a heavy deficit in 1959. The final figures for 1970 were made pm1> lic by tile Bank of Italy Monday. I and single teacher it has grown to three teachers and 45 students, v/ith the prospect of doubling in a year. The school is optimistic. Jerry Roske, its dkector, described the re-entry program in an article in a recent teachers' publication. Of his students, the former high school English teacher said: "I am sure that every day there will be someone around who vrill be just that force who will make the day worthwhile." CHOOSE OWN COURSES The program operates in two locations under supervision of the Adult Education Centre and in its fh-st year cost $25,000-no more than would be spent on the traditional ways of dealing vrith youths it aids: welfare, probation or jail. . Most of the students come from broken homes. Almost all have at least experimented with drugs, faced the law, and practically without exception they receive welfare assistance. They arrive at the school by various routes; by referral from the city welfare department, the People's Opportunity Centre, Juvenile Probation Services, the Committee Representing Youth Problems Today, and on their own accord. At school, they plan their own courses of studies, set their own rules and strictly enforce them. The school has found most have interests which are either academic or involve social sei-vice, and emphasis at the school is on relating to each other. Here the intangibles are more important than the tangible results, said David Wessal, one of the teachers. TAUGHT TO DECIDE "What I'm concerned about doing with the students is getting them so they're capable of making individual and group decisions and realizmg that there are decisions to be made. "If you've been on welfare for a long time, you get the attitude that someone else is running your life. "You get fatalized." The school feels growing pains, he said, but expan^on has two faces. When small, Uie group had a sensitivity, lost with size. But expansion has allowed students more options m then-class work and has provided a larger resource pool of ideas and suggestions. Re-en^ is the school's original aim. Already eigJit students have gone on to the Grade 12 pi*eparatory course at the Adult Education Centre, one has joined the adult re-entry program and two more plan to enrol at Red River Community College in Winnipeg. Most of the agencies hi-volved with the youUi re-entry program have expressed enthusiasm with its work. As the city welfare department puts it, the program is an "exciting alternative to a desperate cyclical problem." greater capacity for survival than men. An outstanding example of this sexual inequality occurred in Scotland m December 1951, when a party of five experienced mountaineers - four men and one woman - were caught in a very high wind and deep snow in a corrie to the west of Ben Alder mounr tain. After an epic struggle to reach shelter - which was never more than thiiee miles away -all four men died. The woman survived, although she stayed for an extra hour or two using her body to try to warm two o� the men who bad coUapsed. It is easy to say that women survive longer in such conditions because, on average, they have a thicker layer of subcutaneous fat, but in the mountains the fat layer is only a small proportion of your insulation. C>f course it is important in water as any study of Arctic aninials will show - the sea animals with their blubber and the land animals with their fur. A more important factor in women's survival was highlighted by a British doctor who for many years treated survival cases among climbers. He wrote: "I believe women have, from bhth to old age, a more tenacious hold on life, and, other things being equal, they can better resist cold exhaustion." That could have been written about Desmaison. Over many years in the mountams he has {roved how tenacious his hold is on life, and how well he is able to withstand cold. He does not have the flamboyance, the personality of the great French climbers of the 1950s and early 1960s - Be-buffat, Terray, Lachenal and Magnone. I spent two or three days in his company in Paris in 1964. He left no lasting un-pression, yet perhaps it was this quiet withdrawn personal-ity that helped him to survive. The one factor I believe to be crucial in Desmaison's survival was his age. Dr. Griffith Pugh, a physiologist who works for the British Medical Research Council, was the physiologist on the 1953 Everest Expedition, and the man behind much of the research into the altitude problem at the Mexico Olympic Games. He is a leading authority on survival and altitude, and says: "The crux of the matter is exhaustion. We know that Gousseault arrived on ihe ledge far more exhausted tiian Desmaison. We know from case after case that once you get exhausted you are fin- ished. We also know that a man in the 40s is liable to have considerably more stamina and therefore will become less exhausted than a man in his 20s, but we cannot prove it yet. It is the prime unsolved physiological problem in this field." In July 1961 there was a terrible blizzard in the Mont Blanc massif of which the Grandes Jorasses is part. Two partieD of expert climbers, three Italians and four Frenchmen, were caught on a ledge just below the summit of Mont Blanc. After three nights on a ledge just below the summit of Mont Blanc they decided that thedr only hope was to descend the long, dangerous and complicated route that it had taken three days to ascend. Only three of the seven survived. I do not know the ages of the Italians, but I know the ages of the F r e n c h men. And this is the order in which they died: first, Antodne Vieille, aged 22; then Robert Guillaume, aged 26; then Pierre Kohlmann, aged 28. Of the French only Pierre Mazeaud survived. He was 36. Now 45, Pierre Mazeaud, a memba: of the French Chamber of Deputies, is en route for Everest - a member of the expedition that plans to attack .the world's highest peak by the south-west precipice. GIGANTIC SAVING ON FIRST QUALITY WASH AND WEAR SYNTHETIC NAME BRAND WIGS 3 DAYS ONLY MARQUIS HOTEL 4th Ave. ami 7th St. S. ROOM 209 THURSDAY, MARCH 25th FRIDAY, MARCH 26th SATURDAY, MARCH 27th 9 to 9 p.m. DAILY ;