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Old 09-21-2017, 11:28 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by cuterocky View Post
... If he was taking notes,... He also didn't take down my name...
In addition to what gebbyfish said, the trailhead stewards, at Cascade's trailhead, don't (currently) do these things either. They have a counter to record the number of visitors but they don't keep track of individuals.

From personal observation, their mandate appears to be to educate people about proper disposal of human waste, to eliminate litter, and to ensure (in a casual manner) hikers are adequately prepared for the challenge.

They had a table with LNT plastic hang-tags (I got some of those in Maine and they summarize the 7 principles ... I thought the kids version is best), plastic garbage bags with drawstrings, pamphlets, and a deep tray filled with dirt to demonstrate how to make a proper cat-hole.

I think the trailhead steward's job might be a bit trickier than the summit steward's. Without being confrontational, you have to size-up a hiker's preparedness and then explain where they may have fallen short. From what I saw, they're doing a great job. You can imagine how being a bit too direct or thorough might rankle some visitors. ("I came to hike not to be interrogated!")

The other difference is that the summit steward interacts with tired hikers who are about to spend some time on the summit. The trailhead steward needs a moment of your time when you're full of energy and eager to get going.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:31 AM   #82
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Interested in learning more? Please contact Fran Shumway #7097, volunteer coordinator for the Trailhead Stewards at: trailstewards@adk46er.org.

Thank you! Will look into this more.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:34 AM   #83
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... and if you can also speak French, that's a plus.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:47 AM   #84
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... and if you can also speak French, that's a plus.
I'll have to work on that! The only authority the Trailhead Stewards have is "the authority of the resource" as Julia Goren told us at our training. The goal is to engage for a minute or two without being confrontational. I am definitely not interested in keeping notes on people and worrying about them. They need to worry about themselves and people have the right to make bad decisions. Had the pleasure of meeting Pete Fish during the training, as close to a patron saint of DEC rangers that you're going to find and while hiking this weekend in Vermont, with others who had spent time on the trail with him, I heard some funny things he would use to engage people. When meeting someone clearly unprepared for winter hiking a comment made, "when you're in the final throes of hypothermia and coming to the end, please lie with your legs and arms straight at the side so we can get you in the litter". Another comment about "all the best dressed cadavers wear cotton socks". Hopefully, we each find a way to reach people that gets them to think how they can be a safer hiker who cares about the environment.
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Old 09-21-2017, 12:23 PM   #85
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... Had the pleasure of meeting Pete Fish during the training, as close to a patron saint of DEC rangers that you're going to find ...


Literally laughed out loud when I read Pete Fish's "non-confrontational" opening lines. Classic "Fishisms". I met him on the trail several times (many decades ago) and when I complained about the black flies he said he'd like to breed them with fur so they'd keep the winter hikers away. Another time when I mentioned the unpleasant "spring flowers" hanging from balsam boughs (toilet paper from winter campers) he said they served to mark where you shouldn't walk. Always a witty retort from a tremendous educator. I'm very happy to have met him in my "formative years". I hope he has the time to share his wisdom with the stewards.
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Old 09-21-2017, 12:46 PM   #86
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There is/was a steward at the Upper Works this summer and has been for at least 2 years. He was on duty Thurs-Sun, IIRC. I'm not sure if Alex Stevens would be alive today if he had talked to the steward and I don't know what day of the week Alex went into the woods.
Anyone know if there was a Steward at the Upper Works trailhead on Saturady Sept. 2 (of Labor Day Weekend)...the date that Alex signed in ?
If so, was there a conversation? I didn't see any reports about it.
Obviously, Alex could've arrived before/after if they were in fact scheduled to be on duty.
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Old 09-21-2017, 01:14 PM   #87
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Your questions made me wonder about this scenario:
  1. Unprepared hiker appears at trailhead.
  2. Trailhead steward informs but fails to convince the unprepared hiker to turn back.
  3. Unprepared hiker enters the backcountry and dies days later.

Seeing how we live in a litigious society, what are the odds of the hiker's family suing the steward (or ADK 46ers) on grounds of negligence, or dereliction of responsibility, or failing to protect the public, or whatever else thrown against the legal wall to see if it'll stick?

I'm assuming someone has already thought this through and concluded there are no legal grounds, right?
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Old 09-21-2017, 01:25 PM   #88
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Darn, I thought for sure Trail Boss would have the answer to my question.
A steward (currently) doesn't have any authority to tell someone to turn around, so I'm not sure how there could be any legal grounds for a lawsuit...?
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Old 09-21-2017, 01:31 PM   #89
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Haha! I'm far from omniscient. Just ask my wife.

I agree it sounds like it'd be a flimsy case but I'm no lawyer.
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Old 09-21-2017, 01:35 PM   #90
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I would worry more about litigation that could come out of a computerized registration system. Hiker tries to check in, it doesn't work, doesn't get out or checks it, but then it glitches and doesn't get out, but no one knows due to computer glitch. I'm sure some lawyer some where would take that case. There has to be some personal responsibility. Having a contact person know where you are going and when and when you are due out and calling the DEC if they have not heard from you by a certain point in time, that is a tried and true system and works flawlessly if used!
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:49 PM   #91
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Wallface summit

We climbed Wallface yesterday and were amazed at the extent of the search. We ascended from the north via what is probably the most popular route (via the Indian Pass trail where it leaves Indian Pass brook as you head south). There were countless orange tape markers throughout the woods, some marked with sweep numbers, searcher names, etc. Reaching the summit gave a much bigger impression of the scope of the search. A large area had been cleared to enable the helicopter operations (maybe 150 x 150 feet?) with a dirt pad at the center. The attached photo shows how the summit looks now. I truly appreciate all that the search team did to find this individual. It was tragic the way it ended but it was certainly not for lack of trying.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Wallface Summit 23-Sep-2107small.jpg (127.5 KB, 172 views)

Last edited by Marlin; 09-24-2017 at 09:47 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 09-25-2017, 01:50 PM   #92
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i have not yet visited the summit of wallface. does anyone have a 'before' picture of what that summit looked like for comparison?
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Old 09-25-2017, 02:30 PM   #93
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i have not yet visited the summit of wallface. does anyone have a 'before' picture of what that summit looked like for comparison?
You've been to the summit of Nye? Same thing. Going to the cliff edge is another story.
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Old 09-25-2017, 02:50 PM   #94
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i have not yet visited the summit of wallface. does anyone have a 'before' picture of what that summit looked like for comparison?
That was my first visit to Wallface, but I wondered the same thing. My solution was to use the Google Maps link that was sent out from my SPOT when I checked in during lunch on the summit. If you follow the link below and turn on the Google satellite imagery, you will see no break in the trees when you zoom in on the summit. Then switch to the Google terrain imagery to get your bearings.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...UTF8&z=12&om=1

My SPOT was sitting about 10 feet west of the summit rock in the photo when it checked in.
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Old 09-25-2017, 03:03 PM   #95
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Ho-lee-cow!

When Neil and I were there in 2015, the summit was fully wooded and there was nothing as expansive as the new clearing in Marlin's photo.

The boulder I'm leaning against in this photo bears more than a passing resemblance to the one in the new clearing ... but I hesitate to claim it's the same one. Anyway, the woods you see represent the balance of the summit (in 2015).


Rainface tagging Wallface.

The only open viewpoint we found looked nothing like the new clearing. It was slightly north of the true summit and offered a view (once the rain abated) across to Marshall and the MacIntyre Range.


Indian Pass and Wallface.


Neil, Iroquois, and Marshall.
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Old 09-25-2017, 04:26 PM   #96
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We climbed Wallface yesterday and were amazed at the extent of the search. We ascended from the north via what is probably the most popular route (via the Indian Pass trail where it leaves Indian Pass brook as you head south). There were countless orange tape markers throughout the woods, some marked with sweep numbers, searcher names, etc. Reaching the summit gave a much bigger impression of the scope of the search. A large area had been cleared to enable the helicopter operations (maybe 150 x 150 feet?) with a dirt pad at the center. The attached photo shows how the summit looks now. I truly appreciate all that the search team did to find this individual. It was tragic the way it ended but it was certainly not for lack of trying.
I hope that marker tape is biodegradable. I'd hate to see that hanging around for years to come and polluting the back country.
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Old 09-25-2017, 04:40 PM   #97
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thanks all, that seems to be quite a difference. i wonder if the 'view expansion' will make wallface a more popular summit.
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Old 09-25-2017, 04:53 PM   #98
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I hope that marker tape is biodegradable. I'd hate to see that hanging around for years to come and polluting the back country.
I hear you but flagging is one of the necessary byproducts of the search process.

A few years ago, I recall seeing some along the Old Dix Trail. It was part of the search for the individual who was found hanged in the woods. Eventually the flagging deteriorates with exposure to the sun, becomes brittle, falls off, and disappears from view. Much like the general public's memory of the hikers whose lives were extinguished by chance, nature, or their own hand.

As for "years to come", I think the new clearing is likely to remain visible for a lot longer than the flagging. Again, part of the cost of expediting the search operation.
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Old 09-25-2017, 05:59 PM   #99
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I hear you but flagging is one of the necessary byproducts of the search process...
But it can also be removed by those putting it up.
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Old 09-25-2017, 06:25 PM   #100
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Any further updates or reports of the investigation on what exactly may have happened? The Last report that I saw was on Sept. 19.
I read that he didn't have a compass, but I didn't hear if he was in fact lost, or just became too ill to move any further? Perhaps both?
How long was it estimated that he was at the spree field?
I read that they found his campsite near the summit, but not if his gear was still at the campsite, or if he had his gear with him when they found him?
What was the "personal item" they didn't want to disclose?
I'm sure there are still lots of unanswered questions that unfortunately we may never have the answers to. Just curious if there were any updates over the weekend, perhaps they're still trying to put pieces together...

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