when Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Geysers

Look like a swimming hole to you?

Look like a swimming hole to you?

We begin with two young idiots, wabbling (as Kipling put it) towards, not the fire, but the 460º thermal spring. Looking for a spring they could treat like a hot tub. 

Only one came back.

From Peter Grant’s apoplectic report:

How is it possible that this idiot and his sister didn’t do even the most basic research on Pork Chop Geyser?  The water in that thermal basin has been measured at no less than 459° Fahrenheit (about 237° Celsius for foreign readers) – well over twice boiling point! – and a pH similar to battery acid;  yet these two doofi were looking for a place to soak???

By the time a thunderstorm had cleared and it was safe for rescuers (although really, the term is “recovery workers” when you expose yourself to 2.4x boiling temps even momentarily) to go to the scene, the acidic water had dissolved the mortal remains of Colin Scott, and his sister, who achieved the Millennial milestone of getting cell-phone video of her brother’s grisly death, has nothing to bury.

Tip for Millennials: Mother Nature is not your own overprotective helicopter mommy. Hydrothermal features are not your hot tub. You only get one play of this game ; there are no respawns.

What next? Ski Mount Washington at dusk, with no lights and no camping gear? Yep, couple of them did that. (It’s a rare month there that doesn’t see a rescue… or recovery).


This appears to have happened in June, not recently. However, the guy who fell in remains dead, and without mortal remains for burial.

34 thoughts on “when Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Geysers

  1. Raoul Duke

    Look for a book called “Death in Yellowstone”, by Lee Whittlesley. People have been buying the farm in that place for a hundred-plus years, in spectacular ways. Animal attacks, homicides, geyser-parboiling, avalanches, hypothermia, road accidents, earthquakes, drunken shenanigans, you name it, that place has killed it.

    1. whomever

      The mention of homicide in Yellowstone always brings up a fascinating tidbit: Yellowstone includes a slice of Idaho, but all of Yellowstone is under the jurisdiction of a Federal court in WY. And there are 6th amendment issues about juries – the jury must come from the district and state where your crime occurred; the WY court can’t assemble a WY jury for an ID crime, and can’t call ID jurors to serve in WY. Unfortunately, that makes the jury pool a null set.

      Apologies if I have muddled the legal issues. For a law review article, search for ‘The Perfect Crime, by Brian C. Kalt’. FWIW, I wouldn’t advise being the test case :-)

      (re the incident at hand: soaking in a backcountry hot springs ten days into a two week ski trip is as close to heaven as you can find on earth, but the temps do vary with flow. I’d suggest testing with a toe before doing a cannonball dive.)

      1. morokko

        If millenials managed to plant insider in park service, especially as one of them computer specialists, this video should be on liveleak in no time. Thats just what they do.

      2. morokko

        If millenials managed to plant insider in park service, especially as one of them computer specialists, this video should be on liveleak in no time. Thats just what they do, no matter if they are bums, state employees, private contractors, jihadists, what have you, above all – they are millenials – its like Komintern of the old days.

  2. Aesop

    The local SAR group used to sell a t-shirt that said

    Feed the bears.
    Ride the buffalo.
    Drive fast on the curves.

    Thanks for your support.
    -Yellowstone National Park EMS

    This was a Darwin Award, First Class.
    I rate it Well Done.

  3. Jim Scrummy

    Went to Yellowstone this past summer with the family. We used this story to “inform” the kids (aka scare the shizzle out of them) about no messing around when we were walking around the various geyser areas in the park. Of course the real concern were the other tourists who were doing stupid stuff around the geysers, such as taking selfies… It was also interesting to watch the people try to interact with a Bull Moose and Buffalo…thinking it was the San Diego Zoo? The potential Darwin Award Presentations were on the order of infinity. Still had a great time, revisiting the park, Grand Tetons, and other areas of my misspent yute.

  4. Hayabusa

    Seems to me that boiling to death in acidic water would not be the most pleasant way to go, but YMMV.

  5. Bill T

    I read “The Jungle is Neutral” by F. Spenser Chapman in my earliest days of SF. It can be applied to all Mother Nature has to offer. Mere humans are no match.
    Be careful out there, ya hear?

    1. DaveP

      Thanks for this mention. One of the books I’ve heard referenced but have never read.
      Plan to correct that deficit now.


  6. Bert

    So, when in Yellowstone as a teen, I went swimming in geothermal heated waters- The Firehole River, to be exact.

    Lots of signs warning NOT to do this, and we ignored them. The river was mostly very cold, glacier fed water- with numerous hot springs feeding into it. We went downstream of the hot springs, got into the river in hypothermia inducing cold temperature areas, waded up to where the temperature was just right, and swam there, in fairly mild whitewater, I would like to go back to the area with a kayak.

    I am sure it was risky, and that we were asking for serious burns, hypothermia and/or drowning.

    It was great. 40 years later, one of my best memories of Yellowstone.

    Then, I made the mistake of snorkeling in Lake Yellowstone (without a wetsuit), just mask, fins and shorts. On an 80 *F day. In mid June. At a beach, where swimming was allowed, “at your own risk”. THAT nearly killed me, I barely made it out of the lake, sat in the sun in a blanket, shivering uncontrolably for nearly an hour, until my parents had the sense to start forcing hot liquids into me. I later found out it had been 45* F. water, but the visibility was over 100 feet, so I stayed in WAY too long. 16 YO, immortal and no sense whatsoever.

    2 weeks later, I tried to kill myself by free climbing on lava at Crater Lake, Oregon. The local EMS got to haul my sorry, bleeding ass back up the cliff on a stretcher, and I did not enjoy the 70 mile ride to where I got my cuts sutured up… The guy on the bottom end of the ropes with me mentioned, while trussing me up in the basket, that the last fool who went past the fence where I had gone went another 200′ down on his fall, and they had left his body for a week before recovery.

    And I started to pay more attention to warning signs in national parks.

    1. Loren

      Did the same thing as a youth fishing the Firehole. Being in the exact temp spot was the key as you said. Supposedly you could catch a fish and flip it back into a hot spot and cook it right where you stood. Had to catch a fish first though so never did that.
      A friend from Texas and I went off traila few days later just above one of the 2 big falls on the Yellowstone River. The whole bank started to give way and slide into the river and over the falls. My friend jumped onto a big log sliding with us and I followed. Ran the length of it and jumped. He caught a rooted shrub and I caught a leg. Never told a soul about that. Always a good policy around my dad.

    2. John Distai

      When I was in graduate school the NPS provided a lot of funded projects to design signs and materials that would improve raise the safety compliance levels and keep people from getting lost.

      Yellowstone is one of the most memorable vacations I’ve ever had. The whole time I thought “I bet this stuff scared the hell out of the Indians.” I can’t wait to go back with my children.

  7. raven

    The difference between this guy and 100,000 other young men is, he was unlucky. All the guys I ever knew who were worth a damn took crazy chances and did damned fool stuff. Most of them lived and learned.

    1. Bert

      Yeah, we all used to be immortal. It is somewhat a matter of luck that we lived to adulthood, but believe me, basic intelligence has some bearing on the matter. Our evolutionary process continues…

      A few years after I visited Yellowstone, a couple of not too bright guys went on the geothermal trail and (absolutely forbidden), somehow their big dog ended up out there too. The dog got in a boiling pool. One of the men DIVED in HEADFIRST to rescue the dog, despite being warned… Both dog and man sustained 100% 2nd and 3rd degree burns. Both died. The human managed to climb out, and had time to tell someone “I guess I screwed up”, telling someone else trying to help him “It doesn’t matter”.

      My sister told me horror stories from her time in the burn ward and ICU about what people can and WILL do under addrenaline- And what happens to them after the addrenaline rush subsides and the nervous system recognizes the dammages. BAD ways to die.

      The park service has a web page, about 20 people are known to have died after entering a hot spring. Including one girl who worked in Yellowstone, and who was doing the same thing I did on the Firehole river- but in the dark.


    2. looserounds.com


      We all did damned fool stuff.

      One has to wonder about the irony of talking about the foolishness of guys dying from doing dangerous stuff on a blog written by a guy who was in Special Forces. Since you know, he could have done many things with less hazard to his health. Not to mention who knows how many of the readers of this website got shot at for pay.

      Many years ago I was helping the son of my mentor do something. We went about it in a dumb way. Over the walkie talkie came the voice of His Dad, my Mentor, telling us how to unfuck our selves, He said something to the effect of not knowing how we managed to make it to our current age, His son responded “Didn’t you know god looks after idiots and children Dad?

      His response came back over the radio . “I dont know he has time to look after any one else after all the time he has to spend watching over you two”

      Funny. But likely true

  8. Bill Robbins

    Mt. Washington is no joke. People do not realize that a 6,288 ft. mound of rocking sticking up into the jet stream can be dangerous, all year-long, day or night, in all weather conditions.

    1. Dyspeptic Gunsmith

      My grandfather and his brother climbed Mt. Washington in the winter. A storm came in on them on their way back down. Folks thought they were going to be dead.

      Nope, they came down a different route and were eating their dinner in the dark while people were up higher, worrying about them.

      This little jaunt got their mother all worked up, their father exasperated at their mother’s hectoring, so great-grandfather was said to have told them “Don’t do things like that any more. It upsets your mother.”

      So instead of climbing mountains, the next big adventure for my grandfather & his brother was that of floating down the Hudson River on an ice floe when the river broke up in the spring. That was, my grandfather said, a little more exciting. Grandfather said that this new sport was met with yet more excited lecturing from his mother, even tho, as he said “We had obeyed her. We didn’t climb any more mountains!”

      At this point, when Grandfather told us kids these stories, he’d be shaking his head ruefully, shrugging his shoulders with a “Women?! What can you do?” air about him.

      When Grandfather told me & my brothers these stories, everyone in his family (especially his wife & daughters) would look at him with a look of “you’d better tell the kids to NOT do these things…” and he’d have to submit to their wishes. He was such a staid, button-down businessman when I knew him, but the stories of his youth were the stuff of real adventure.

    2. John M.

      I’m not well-hiked, but Mt. Washington is probably my favorite hike. Almost any way up is great. I’ve never felt in great danger on the mountain, but the second time I hiked it, we crested the ridge on Ammonoosuc and the wind physically pushed us around. Good fun.

      -John M.

  9. Mike_C

    You know those auto-popup ads? Every once in a while they transcend annoying and rise to truly inspired. This (below) came up on the last (“happened in June”) link.

  10. Ben

    Went to Yosemite last Mother’s Day. I guess the idea of ‘sunny California’ is pervasive. I found three Japanese tourist wearing Jorts (jean shorts) and cotton t-shirts lost in a snow storm only about 200m off of a main trail. The nps was closing all of the roads in because of the weather. Not an exaggeration to think that those three could have frozen to death and no one would have been the wiser. It’s NOT that kind of ‘park’…

  11. bloke_from_ohio

    On the NPS website there is a whole page full of stories of folks getting boiled. The worst was one about a kid who fell in, swam a couple stokes and then sank. That is some way to go.

    1. Hognose Post author

      When I was a kid, I remember a horror story in Reader’s Digest about a kid that fell in his parents were suing the NPS. Must have been the kid from 1970 on the list.

  12. Jim

    I would guess that this guy has ceased being a part of the problem and has become a part of the solution.

      1. Aesop

        Nice pun. (Forgive the oxymoron.)
        You’re going to have to keep an ion that guy.
        Or should it be “anion that guy.”?
        I’m not positive either way.
        I’ll go on my way now, and let you sulfur in silence.

Comments are closed.