Adirondack Forum  
Rules Membership Donations and Online Store Adkhighpeaks Foundation ADKhighpeaks Forums ADKhighpeaks Wiki Disclaimer

Go Back   Adirondack Forum > The Adirondack Forum > Hiking in the Adirondacks
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 10-03-2016, 06:48 PM   #1
JohnnyVirgil
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Porter Corners, NY
Posts: 760
Really?

High Peaks Wilderness
Lost hiker: On October 1 at 7:05 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from Essex County 911 from a 73-year-old male from Dixson, TN who was lost on Blueberry Mountain along with his two hiking companions, a 35-year-old male and a 27-year-old female, both from Montreal, QC. The group had lost the trail while descending due to darkness. They did not have flashlights or headlamps. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and located the party at 8:04 p.m. and escorted them out to the trailhead. The incident concluded at 8:15 p.m.
JohnnyVirgil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2016, 06:52 PM   #2
geogymn
Member
 
geogymn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,910
Don't know the whole situation or the lost hikers perspective but methinks I would be too embarrassed to call for help.
__________________
"A culture is no better than its woods." W.H. Auden
geogymn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2016, 06:58 PM   #3
DSettahr
ɹǝqɯǝɯ
 
DSettahr's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 4,484
You'd be surprised how many people out there don't have a flashlight or any source of light. On a busy summer weekend, I would estimate that at least 20-30% of hikers on any easy to moderate-difficulty peak probably have no source of light at all- and that's a conservative estimate.

To a lot of beginner hikers, the idea of anything like the 10 Essentials is revolutionary information.
DSettahr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2016, 07:22 PM   #4
Wldrns
Member
 
Wldrns's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Western Adirondacks
Posts: 3,814
No compass, no map, no light is a common finding in these ranger reports.
__________________
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman
Wldrns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2016, 07:28 PM   #5
Justin
Moving along
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,225
One my favorites from this past summer...

Quote:
Lost hikers: On June 23, 2016 at 9:21 pm, Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch from an 18-year-old male and 17-year-old female Odessa, NY reporting they were lost on Mt. Jo. They told dispatch they were near a sign that said “Indian Pass Summit.” Essex County 911 provided coordinates that placed the pair on the Indian Pass Trail near Wallface Mountain. Due to their location, it was more feasible to reach them from the Upperworks side. DEC Forest Rangers responded by 6 x 6 and made it to Wallface Lean-to with no sign of the hikers. At 11:54 pm, the pair called Dispatch and reported they were one mile past the Scott Clearing Lean-to heading toward ADK Loj. Against the instructions from Dispatch to stay at their location, the lost hikers decided to try to find the trail themselves. Forest Rangers from the south side were turned around and one Ranger from the north side met the couple at ADK Loj. After a brief interview and some safe hiking tips they were released. The incident concluded at 1:10 am on June 24.
Justin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2016, 07:30 PM   #6
JohnnyVirgil
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Porter Corners, NY
Posts: 760
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wldrns View Post
No compass, no map, no light is a common finding in these ranger reports.
The fact that probably 80% of them have cell phones and enough signal to call 911 so the rangers can get their coordinates, and no gps app on their phone so they would know where they are blows my mind. Maps and compasses are hard, I get it, but if you can take a selfie you can download Gia gps or some such. Call me paranoid, but I have a flashlight and means of making fire whenever I leave pavement.
JohnnyVirgil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2016, 07:42 PM   #7
Justin
Moving along
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,225
...not to mention most (if not all) smart phones have a flashlight app already installed.
Justin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2016, 08:12 PM   #8
Tabe
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Queensbury
Posts: 139
Last year Mtnrunner and I were heading by the interior outpost heading for Bennie's Brook slide when the Ranger came out to talk to us.Doing his job sizing us up he asked about our plans,we must of passed muster because he told us he'd been up the day before and it was fairly dry.Further along in the conversation he said most people called 911 and said they were lost when actually they were on trail but couldn't see.Also when sizing people up asked if they had map,compass and flashlight ,most said no I have my smartphone,which he added using the flashlight quickly drained the battery.Another funny quip was when people called and said they broke their ankle he would ask are you walking on it,they would say yes.His response was no you didn't break your ankle.Luckily our trip went well and didn't need his help.
Tabe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2016, 08:44 PM   #9
JohnnyVirgil
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Porter Corners, NY
Posts: 760
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin View Post
...not to mention most (if not all) smart phones have a flashlight app already installed.
Ha, yeah, good point. Here's one: an avid 46er I am acquainted with admitted to pressing the SOS button on his SPOT because he was lost. He had no map or compass, but did have a GPS program on his phone. The problem? He thinks he was in the beginning stages of hypothermia and he blew his iphone code three times and locked himself out of his phone.

Last edited by JohnnyVirgil; 10-04-2016 at 09:41 AM..
JohnnyVirgil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2016, 09:38 AM   #10
Buckladd
Member
 
Buckladd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Hogtown
Posts: 951
Two words: Map & Compass

I live near Sleeping Beauty, Pilot Knob and Buck Mt. and between the Forest Ranger who lives nearby and my friends in the fire dept. I hear about the rescues all the time. 'Still, my favorite is those two idiots who tried trail running the NPT out of Long Lake a few winters ago with sweats and sneakers.

As for flashlights, we learned a lesson about five years ago. We were hunting on Tongue Mt and decided to make that "one more drive" late in the afternoon in mid-November. We were off trail and in blowdowns. Luckily, one guy had a good light, I had a mediocre light and my cousin had his cell phone light. These days, we ALL have lights. We still didn't get out of the woods until close to 6:30. Our wives weren't worried about us, but the barmaids at the Ole' Log Inn in Lake George gave us hell for being late.
Buckladd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2016, 09:56 AM   #11
Wldrns
Member
 
Wldrns's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Western Adirondacks
Posts: 3,814
What bothers me most about people who carry a cell phone and call for help is the mentality and attitude that comes with that idea, and probably is the reason they are there in the first place. Way back in the dark ages, when hikers got "turned around" or "mixed up", they would take a break, sit down with a snack and contemplate the situation. With map and compass in hand, "where did I go wrong?, did i follow the wrong drainage?" "if so, where does that put me now?" "Oh, now I see, I only have to take a compass bearing this way to intercept the trail/lake, river, and then I'm out free to the road". A little well placed panic and some time to reflect are good things that may lead to becoming a wiser outdoors person.

Instead, now days the instant response is "I have a cell phone, and I can't figure out where I am and I'm tired, and that's what the rangers are for, so come rescue me"

A true injury (including hypothermia) is different. Call if help is really required. "Lower leg injury" is another common reason in the SAR reports. I wonder how many of those really are non-mobile injuries.

A a recent guide training session, a ranger friend of mine spoke of the importance of carrying minimal navigation and survival equipment. Among other advice, he said to at least always carry a bic lighter in your pocket, as it could save your life, upon which I pulled mine out of my pocket to show.
__________________
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman

Last edited by Wldrns; 10-04-2016 at 04:38 PM..
Wldrns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2016, 12:47 PM   #12
tenderfoot
Member
 
tenderfoot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Rochester NY
Posts: 269
We hike with the 10 essentials.

We also hike with an appreciation of our skills. We are equipped for dark, but do not yet plan night hikes (catching dawn on a peak). We are equipped for navigation (map & compass, phone & app) but do not plan to bush wack. We are equipped for cold weather (spikes, primaloft, layers) but do not yet plan deep winter hikes. We will get there but for now are having fun with what we do.

With that said a year ago this weekend I hiked into Flowed Lands with my 13 year old daughter. Had trouble finding a place to set up tent; tired from over-packing; temp dropped when sun went down. I was asked if the rangers had helicopters and how does one go about sending for one. After some reassuring words, eating, layering up and than jumping into our mummies the next morning she agreed it was the best night she ever slept out - perfect.
__________________
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Eyes on the Forest, not on the Trees
tenderfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2016, 01:15 PM   #13
Trail Boss
Member
 
Trail Boss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 899
What we've got here is failure to communicate.

The information needed to keep people safe isn't making its way to those who need it most, namely new hikers.

Hiking is just walking in the woods so it doesn't require much in the way of equipment and knowledge; it's a low bar to entry. However, "the woods" aren't a city park and there's lots of opportunity for things to go sideways.

Knowing how to prevent or mitigate these "opportunities" is the difference between walking out unscathed or becoming another DEC statistic. It's this knowledge that isn't getting to the people who need it.

How does one educate all new hikers? I don't know. There's certainly no shortage of available information (books, online, trailheads) yet it doesn't seem to reach everyone who needs it.

Perhaps the key is to ask rescued individuals, where they learned about the place where they ultimately required a rescue? Maybe the source of their information was incomplete, flawed, and/or misleading.
Trail Boss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2016, 02:09 PM   #14
Buckladd
Member
 
Buckladd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Hogtown
Posts: 951
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
What we've got here is failure to communicate.

The information needed to keep people safe isn't making its way to those who need it most, namely new hikers.
You are 100% correct. The media, outdoors and news in general, struggles with this all of time. How do you reach the tourist that shows up in Lake George or Lake Placid, looks up and says "I'm going to climb that mountain today," when there's about three hours daylight left? We see it in the Hogtown area constantly. If we could only convince people not to climb at Shelving Rock Falls, but that's another story.
Buckladd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2016, 03:05 PM   #15
JohnnyVirgil
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Porter Corners, NY
Posts: 760
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckladd View Post
If we could only convince people not to climb at Shelving Rock Falls, but that's another story.
Katterskill Falls in the catskills has this problem. People "hiking" to the top of the falls in dress shoes, flip flops, high heels, you name it.
JohnnyVirgil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2016, 04:15 PM   #16
AvalanchePass
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 249
Unfortunately, there's no substitute for experience.

We were almost "those people".

We recently did our first overnight hike as a family. Chose Lake Colden from the Loj via Avalanche Pass.

Mom, Dad. Kids aged 11, 9, 8. Lots of research, asked questions and got great advice on this forum, made ourselves familiar with regulations and guidelines.

Hike was a little much for my wife. She was slow making her way back around Avalanche Lake on day two. It's a tough stretch and the previous day's 6.5 miles were adding up.

8 and 9 year old got impatient and left us behind. We weren't concerned because they had done this at times on the way in and always waited for us at the next intersection.

We fully expected to see them at the intersection with Lake Arnold trail. They weren't there. We were positive they would be at the trail register at Marcy Dam. Nope.

Now we're starting to get concerned. There's a few trails that leave from Marcy Dam and navigation isn't straight forward. So I leave my wife and 11 year old behind and hightail it to the Loj.

They aren't at the Whales Tail intersection or at the Algonquin intersection and each time my pace quickens. Sunset is an hour away. I now start to rehearse the details I'm going to pass on to the rangers. Names, ages. Where and when we last saw them. I have passports in the car for pictures. What they are carrying (sleeping bag, camp mat, flashlight, no food or water).

Usually in a stressful situation one has a gut feeling for whether things are going to be OK. Either things are likely fine and you're just overreacting. Or you're totally screwed and just fooling yourself into thinking it might work out. I couldn't figure which side of that line I was on. I really I had no idea whether they would be there or not.

I went from Marcy Dam to the Loj in 58 minutes. I realize that's a snail's pace by some of your standards but with the weight I was carrying (too much) and the shape I'm in it was a heroic effort.

So I get to the Loj and they are at the far side of the parking lot, chilling on a rock in front of the HPIC.

Turns out one of them had wanted a rest so they had split up shortly after Avalanche Lake. So they had both found their way back to the Loj independently. We hadn't seen them for 4.5 miles and 4 hours.

I was stern with them but not too angry. I realized that we were much more to blame for not setting the expectations. After giving them a hug, I explained to them how dangerous their actions had been and outlined possible outcomes of their behavior. They understood and were apologetic.

The 8 year old said he just "returned to the Loj". The 9 year old said he simply "followed the blue markers". I never let on, but on some level I was proud of them for nailing it.

So how did we let this happen? I'm not sure.

There had been precedent set. They had hiked Owls Head, Mt Jo, and Mount Adams. All 3 times they were waiting for me at the summit. So I think they (we) got lulled into a "one trail" mentality. You couldn't really make a wrong turn.

Since it was our first overnight we got bogged down in the details. Sign registers, lean to sharing guidelines, lean to locations, filter water, cook away from camp, store canister in 3rd location, no food in water, no trace, no fires, new gear, etc.

Somehow we missed the most obvious. DON'T LOSE YOUR KIDS. If not a regulation it should at least be a guideline.

I think when we were planning we were hoping it wasn't too much for the kids. It never occurred to us that my wife would be the straggler. While she may have been slightly faster than them on level stretches, the terrain did not effect their pace. When there was elevation change or scrambling they left her behind.

And it simply never occurred to us that they would have the confidence (ignorance) to navigate on their own. We had the water, the lunch, and the snacks which they had been very interested in until their point of departure.

So in retrospect we're pretty embarrassed that we took our kids into the wilderness and didn't sit them down and set some rules.

But, there's no substitute for experience.
AvalanchePass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2016, 04:22 PM   #17
DSettahr
ɹǝqɯǝɯ
 
DSettahr's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 4,484
Quote:
Originally Posted by AvalanchePass View Post
Unfortunately, there's no substitute for experience.

We were almost "those people".
And to be fair, we've all probably almost been "those people" at some point early on as we were first starting to get into hiking.

I cringe when I think back on some of the things that I did ~15 years ago on my first few hikes and backpacking trips. I was completely unprepared, and while I was never injured or lost myself, my ineptitude did result in a few close calls in retrospect. At the very least, people who depended upon me to keep them comfortable and safe were probably pushed a little too far outside their comfort zone due to my lack of preparedness.

Maybe, if Phys. Ed. classes in grade school can include things like Archery, Blowing, Golf, etc. (all activities I participated in during Phys. Ed. class in High School), then there's room also for an outdoors component? Something that could teach the basics of how to be prepared when you're away from the comforts and convenience of modern society. And perhaps also touch on a couple of the more important aspects of LNT. It certainly wouldn't stop all accidents and incidents, but it might prevent a few.
DSettahr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2016, 04:27 PM   #18
Wldrns
Member
 
Wldrns's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Western Adirondacks
Posts: 3,814
An experienced guide (don't ask how that experience is obtained) will never,ever split a group, or let them decide to split themselves without an overriding good reason.

Whenever following a trail under fatigued conditions, or if simply being a little too engaged in conversation with a partner, it is all too easy to miss an intersection or junction, and to just blast on past the obvious without even thinking about it.

I say that I always learn something new on every trip. mistakes I vow to never make again, and thinking to myself the last time I did something foolish, "don't grab that dead tree on a descent like I did last time and ended up rolling head over heels down the slope" or make sure my sleeping bag is positively cinched in place on my pack so it doesn't fall off unnoticed in some bushwhacked swamp a mile ago.
__________________
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman

Last edited by Wldrns; 10-04-2016 at 04:39 PM..
Wldrns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2016, 04:48 PM   #19
Justin
Moving along
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 6,225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
How does one educate all new hikers? I don't know.
Just a thought, and I may have mentioned this once or twice before but...
Since many of these easily avoidable ongoing issues with uneducated hikers & campers mostly (but not always) happen in high-use areas like the High Peaks region, I think that some sort of permit/registration fee system where you have to answer certain questions & provide certain information & payment in order to obtain a user permit, would help alleviate some of these ongoing issues that often occur in these high use areas. It would hold people a lot more accountable for their actions in the backcountry instead of the complete free-for-all that it is now, and not to mention it could help generate more revenue for education, maintenance, & enforcement if applied & enacted appropriately.
Justin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2016, 04:51 PM   #20
geogymn
Member
 
geogymn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,910
Oh man, some of the dumb things I've done.....
__________________
"A culture is no better than its woods." W.H. Auden
geogymn is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:19 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

DISCLAIMER: Use of these forums, and information found herein, is at your own risk. Use of this site by members and non-members alike is only granted by the adkhighpeak.com administration provided the terms and conditions found in the FULL DISCLAIMER have been read. Continued use of this site implies that you have read, understood and agree to the terms and conditions of this site. Any questions can be directed to the Administrator of this site.