BY BRIAN ALEXANDER

 

The survival of the couple and four children who spent two frigid nights lost in the Nevada mountains was called “a miracle” by rescuers. But experts say it actually was a series of smart moves, including heating rocks to warm their rolled-over Jeep, that saved the group after they were stuck in the snow.

“That was a good idea,” said Dr. Zach Sturges, a Bozeman, Mont., emergency physician and faculty member at the Salt Lake City’s Intermountain Institute for Disaster Preparedness. “Rocks make a great thermal mass if you can build an outside fire to heat them and as long as they’re cleaned so they don’t give off any gases.”

The Nevada family — James Glanton, 34, his girlfriend, Christina McIntee, 25, and their two children and McIntee’s niece and nephew — also chose to stay with their overturned vehicle, a decision that made it easier for rescuers to spot them Tuesday, said Eric Larsen, a Boulder, Colo., adventurer who in 2010 led expeditions to the North Pole, the South Pole and Mount Everest. Trying to hike out of a bad situation can be more dangerous because of the risk of getting lost, frostbite or falling and injuring a leg. Even a car sitting on its roof can still provide shelter from wind, said Larsen.

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