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Old 06-01-2010, 10:27 PM   #21
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Rob - just to clarify, from what I've read here and on VFTT - I don't think anyone was saying it wasn't truthful, but perhaps not accurate. Now I think we're hearing that it may be more related to differing perspectives, viewpoints and recollections of the events in question...
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your right scott.. i jumped to a conclusion far too soon. OPPS .. my bad..
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:31 AM   #22
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I also enjoyed your book... and welcome to the forum.

Why are people (in general) intrigued by tragedy?
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:37 PM   #23
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I also enjoyed your book... and welcome to the forum.

Why are people (in general) intrigued by tragedy?
I'm not sure, but I'm guilty as charged. Two books I read cover to cover without much off-time were "Over The Edge, Deaths In The Grand Canyon" & "Between A Rock & A Hard Place".

It makes me think more about what I'm doing when I'm way out there. I want to live a long, good life. I don't want to be in someones book!
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:15 PM   #24
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It makes me think more about what I'm doing when I'm way out there. I want to live a long, good life. I don't want to be in someones book!
I read books about emergency backcountry situations so that I can hopefully learn from someone else's mistakes, and not make those same mistakes myself.
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:23 PM   #25
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I agree with you, DSettahr. We can learn a lot from previous mistakes or recognize situations before it is too late to recover.
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:37 AM   #26
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Thanks for the warm welcome to the forum, everyone. Though I currently live in Colorado, I'm a New York native and the Adirondacks remain one of my favorite mountain landscapes. It's great to connect with others that share that love.

I also appreciate everyone's careful reading of the book (catching errors), their measured criticism, and their understanding. (Thanks, also, to those of you who've enjoyed the book and shared your positive comments!) Though it was officially published in 2008, I researched and wrote the book years earlier, when I was a young writer early in his career. I've evolved and matured much as a writer since then, and if I were to re-write the book today, it would be quite different. Never the less, the errors that did creep in (relatively few, in my opinion, considering the scope of the work) haunt me still. Some were simple typos or careless oversights. Others were partly a nature of the work - at times, I had to reconcile conflicting accounts of a given story, attempting to separate fact from fiction (a process that certainly leaves room for error).

Even so, I did strive to make the book as factually accurate as possible. In addition to doing "standard" background reporting (such as reviewing old newspaper clippings), I filed a Freedom of Information Law request with the state to obtain official search and rescue reports, and I interviewed more than 30 survivors, searchers, rescuers, family members, etc. totaling dozens of hours of interview tape. At any rate...

As for the question of why we like to read stories of tragedy, I think previous posters' comments about learning from the mistakes of others is an important part of it. For better or worse, I think there's also some morbid curiosity at work...the same reason we slow down when driving our car past an accident scene, or why the nightly news is filled with "bad" news and relatively little "happy, positive, good" news. Finally, I also think that we recognize an aspect of ourselves in the stories we read. As people who adventure in the mountain landscape, we've all had in the past (or will have in the future) our own brushes with misadventure. It's an inevitable part of the experience. At times, a very fine line can separate our own misadventures from the ones that make it into books like mine. We could just as easily be the people we read about. Whether it's sympathy or empathy or something else, we connect with that...
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:58 AM   #27
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Peter and I have compared notes and memories etc.

There really were no conclusions between us. When you are a searcher on the ground, you don't necessarily know what is happening elsewhere in the search and as a researcher, you have to go on what you are told by those who were there. From what we can piece together there were similarities in both searches that may have caused people interviewed to have mixed the two together or there may just be a difference in perspective. No matter why, but these type of "discrepancies" are bound to exist.

Once again, I salute Peter for collecting information and writing about the very real and serious possibility of becoming sick, injured or lost while we are out doing the things we love to do, as well as the potential outcome of a situation when things go terribly wrong. As a searcher, it is not unusual for me to get home after a search and think "there but by the grace of God go I". The Birchmeyer search was one of those.

Learn, go, and be safe.

Keith
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Old 06-05-2010, 10:21 PM   #28
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Compass???

Does anyone know whether David Boomhower was carrying a compass? I'm still trying to make sense of the fact that he was just 3 or so miles to the west of route 30 when he decided to "stay put" and hope someone would find him.

Over that period of 55 days in the wilderness, one would think that just bearing due east for those 3 miles would have saved him. A compass would have aided him in that regard even if the weather was clouded over and rainy much of the time.
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Old 06-05-2010, 10:37 PM   #29
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Does anyone know whether David Boomhower was carrying a compass? I'm still trying to make sense of the fact that he was just 3 or so miles to the west of route 30 when he decided to "stay put" and hope someone would find him.

Over that period of 55 days in the wilderness, one would think that just bearing due east for those 3 miles would have saved him. A compass would have aided him in that regard even if the weather was clouded over and rainy much of the time.
Not even a compass bearing was necessary. All he had to do was walk downhill, and he would've come out at Lewey Lake Campground, probably after no more than an hour and a half of walking.

I've been down the Sucker Brook Trail several times, and it is kind of hard to follow in places. Not so much due to a lack of markers, but due to a lack of people using the trail. About the only regular use the trail gets its from people day hiking from the campground, and the few groups that make it up to the height of land turn around there without venturing any further. Because there's no worn tread to follow in many places, the trail can be hard to follow.

On the west side of the ridge, the trail crosses Colvin Brook 10 times without a bridge. Some of these crossings are pretty tricky, and and a bunch of them are within a few hundred feet of each other. This can be kind of demoralizing to someone who's never hiked the trail before. (The reason for the numerous crossings is that the trail follows an old logging road, and there used to be bridges that are now long gone at each of the crossings.)

While the trail certainly isn't one for the novice hiker, I have to suspect that there are other circumstances that we don't know about concerning Boomhower's adventure. If he knew that staying put was a good idea in the woods during an emergency situation, why didnt he just stay put on the NPT, where everyone knew he was, instead of heading off on a side trail?
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Old 06-06-2010, 12:39 PM   #30
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I am currently reading At the Mercy of the Mountains. This thread is absolutely priceless.
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Old 06-06-2010, 04:49 PM   #31
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I picked this book up today brand new for less than 11.00 with shipping.

$6.38 was the cost of the book. The rest was shipping. Not bad from Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listi...&condition=new
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:53 PM   #32
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I picked this book up today brand new for less than 11.00 with shipping.

$6.38 was the cost of the book. The rest was shipping. Not bad from Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listi...&condition=new
I borrowed it from the library for nothing. A GREAT deal (and a good source of reading material).

Hawk
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Old 06-06-2010, 11:47 PM   #33
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I borrowed it from the library for nothing. A GREAT deal (and a good source of reading material).

Hawk
I did the same. Free knowledge is the best knowledge.
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Old 06-07-2010, 01:09 AM   #34
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I borrowed it from the library for nothing. A GREAT deal (and a good source of reading material).

Hawk
We have a book shelf inside our camp. It's loaded with books about the adks, gear, guns, hunting, fishing, everything.....

I thought that this would make a nice addition at $7.00......... Plus it supports the authors hard work. I bought my mother a few books about "Hauntings in the Adirondacks"........... She loves that stuff. I think my next set of books is going to be those ones called "Great Camps of the Adirondacks" Looks very interesting.
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Old 06-07-2010, 04:30 PM   #35
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We have a book shelf inside our camp. It's loaded with books about the adks, gear, guns, hunting, fishing, everything.....

I thought that this would make a nice addition at $7.00......... Plus it supports the authors hard work. I bought my mother a few books about "Hauntings in the Adirondacks"........... She loves that stuff. I think my next set of books is going to be those ones called "Great Camps of the Adirondacks" Looks very interesting.
The great camps books are just that, great! I am also obsessed with hauntings and paranormal happenings in the adirondacks and in general for that matter. But I bought what I could find on the subject when the Walden Books in Rotterdam Mall went out of business so I only have about 3 I think.
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Old 06-12-2010, 12:27 PM   #36
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Just got my book today!!! And it's raining out.... So I know what I'll be doing!!!!!!!
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Old 06-12-2010, 03:32 PM   #37
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As a result of this thread I borrowed "Not Without Peril" from the library. Per the recommendations from earlier posters, it's well worth reading if you enjoy adventure in the wilds. There are the usual lessons in it with respect to knowing what you are getting into, being prepared for contingencies, and choosing wisely when conditions change. The stories are driven home by the dire real-life consequences of poor preparation, choices and/or bad luck. I had no idea the large number of deaths which have taken place on Mount Washington alone!

Even when a book of this nature is an unpleasant read, it can be a worthwhile investment in wisdom.
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Old 06-12-2010, 04:24 PM   #38
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As a result of this thread I borrowed "Not Without Peril" from the library. Per the recommendations from earlier posters, it's well worth reading if you enjoy adventure in the wilds. There are the usual lessons in it with respect to knowing what you are getting into, being prepared for contingencies, and choosing wisely when conditions change. The stories are driven home by the dire real-life consequences of poor preparation, choices and/or bad luck. I had no idea the large number of deaths which have taken place on Mount Washington alone!

Even when a book of this nature is an unpleasant read, it can be a worthwhile investment in wisdom.
It's amazing how benign thinks can appear, and then just a change in weather or circumstances can turn them deadly. You can make a beautiful scenic drive up Mount Hood in Oregon and it would seem almost impossible that a number of people perish there each year. the same with mount Washington.

Man is under the delusion that they can "Tame nature". They can't.

So, it's important to be informed and aware of all the possibilites of things that can and often do go wrong. Planning a trip should take all those factors into mind so they one is properly equipped in the event of an emergency and properly educated in what the best course of action is.

Even today, at 68 years of age, with 62 years of hiking under my belt, as well as receiving and giving survival courses, I still learn new things every year. Often through forums such as this, often through conversations with other hikers and SARS members, and tragically by reading of the miscues of others, many of whom do not survive to tell their own stories.

Hawk
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:14 PM   #39
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It's amazing how benign thinks can appear, and then just a change in weather or circumstances can turn them deadly. You can make a beautiful scenic drive up Mount Hood in Oregon and it would seem almost impossible that a number of people perish there each year. the same with mount Washington.

Man is under the delusion that they can "Tame nature". They can't.

So, it's important to be informed and aware of all the possibilites of things that can and often do go wrong. Planning a trip should take all those factors into mind so they one is properly equipped in the event of an emergency and properly educated in what the best course of action is.

Even today, at 68 years of age, with 62 years of hiking under my belt, as well as receiving and giving survival courses, I still learn new things every year. Often through forums such as this, often through conversations with other hikers and SARS members, and tragically by reading of the miscues of others, many of whom do not survive to tell their own stories.

Hawk
Hawk, when are you just going to break down and write a book.... I'd buy it. Do it, Do it.
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Well my style of stress relief
Sometimes disturbs the peace
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And cut donuts in my yard
And while the Zeppelin's playing loud
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And throw me down so hard
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:12 PM   #40
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Hi folks, The information on page 258 is from another search. The day of the find I was aerial searching the area. I picked up tracks, that appeared to be those of a lost subject and not a moose. I radioed the closest Ranger on the ground (John Chambers). We flew to his location and I tossed a harness out of the ship to him then hoisted him into the helicopter. We flew back to the tracks and I inserted him there. During this flight I noticed a set of tracks crossing a large beaver meadow between the lost man tracks and the gate at the end of the road. The tracks were obviously man tracks following a compass as they were staight as an arrow and crossed the meadow at a angle. In the middle of the meadow the tracks had a little side loop. It was obvious that the subject had passed this way twice. Once in each direction. The loop was the return trip in which the subject crossed the stream on a dam rather than fall in it a second time. Falling in the stream the first time is why he had stopped to build a fire using the the gun powder in his rifle shell. The intense cold, hypothermia, confusion, a lack of margin information on his map and other issues is why he decided to turn around 300 yards from the gate at the end of the road. When I spotted the tracks in the meadow I radioed Ranger George and he found the shell, bullet, powder and paper towel partially burnt a short ways into the woods from the meadow. Maybe in his cold hypothermic stupor Birchmeyer thought that his fire would still be going at his campsite where he was found. The record is now straight. Steve O.
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