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Thread: Lost hiker in the Pemi

  1. #61
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    Wow. This was very nearly a tragedy. The dude's pulse was 40 and his core body temp was in the 80s? Holy moly. Another flip of the coin survival story.

    Getting lost/off trail in deep or rotten snow is one of a few circumstances where there's really no substitute for some kind of GPS device. Especially solo, there are situations where progress becomes impossible if you're not on a trail of some kind with some level of packing. I'm certainly not throwing stones at this guy - I hiked a lot of years without one. If he got off trail between 13 Falls and the start of Owl's Head slide, as others have speculated, well that's basically the worst (and most likely) spot one could run into problems. Or perhaps the trail wasn't broken out at all or was rotten. That's a LONG ways from anywhere, and there really aren't any handrails to help keep you oriented. Bad spot to need to bushwhack. Just shaking my head over here, with the phrase 'Holy s***' on repeat. What a nightmare.

    Gotta give props the the S&R folks on this one, too. Having the attitude of 'We're going to keep searching until we find this guy, period' is quite possibly what saved his life. Just, wow.
    Sure. Why not.

  2. #62
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    By the way, this sierra quote is worth highlighting:
    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    One thing all these experts don't realize is that in stressful epics, sometimes simple logic is hard to come by. Everybody reacts differently and how well you can "stay on point" is critical. I've had a few epics and the found that I had to actually sit down and regain my focus
    Me too. My wife blew out her ACL way deep in the s*** in AK. Just the two of us, a LONG ways from anywhere, grizzly country. The amount of adrenaline that coursed through my body in the moment I heard her fall and scream was absolutely debillitating. The only logic I had left in me was that we really needed to sit down, calm down, assess, and THEN make a decision. It took several MINUTES before our breathing returned close to normal. I wonder if this guy experienced the same thing when he went in the drink?

    In my experience, adrenaline can carry you physically through situations you'd never get through otherwise, and for that it's life-saving. But you better hope your feet are carrying you someplace good.
    Sure. Why not.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian View Post
    ...My wife blew out her ACL way deep in the s*** in AK. Just the two of us, a LONG ways from anywhere, grizzly country. The amount of adrenaline that coursed through my body in the moment I heard her fall and scream was absolutely debillitating. The only logic I had left in me was that we really needed to sit down, calm down, assess, and THEN make a decision. It took several MINUTES before our breathing returned close to normal...
    I would love to read about this. Do you have a blog? Or would you ever consider sharing it here? Seriously, that would be interesting to read about.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

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  4. #64
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billy View Post
    I would love to read about this. Do you have a blog? Or would you ever consider sharing it here? Seriously, that would be interesting to read about.
    I was thinking the same thing.

  5. #65
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    Since there seems to be a branch on this thread regarding Open Source Mapping, I will note that Wonalancet Outdoor Club had a new map of the WOC system made by David Bromberg about 20 years ago, the first edition had many old trails and unofficial paths, when it came around to the subsequent revisions many if not all the unofficial routes were removed. Reportedly there was debate in the club that showing old trails was a detriment and they were removed.

    Randolph Mountain Club has tended to go the other way with their newer maps, they are used as community maps for multiple uses and tend to show all the trails included bike and snowmachine as well as primary logging roads but they do seem to remove officially abandoned trails.

    Trail Bandit stirred up major controversy several years ago with his new map of the Ossipee range where he showed regularly maintained trails and long term historical trails as well as primary logging roads http://www.franklinsites.com/hikepho...-2009-0120.jpg. He was vilified by some (after the fact) and thanked by others and I expect just by mentioning the map a detractor will pop up to rehash the events. For Bob's thoughts about the controversy this link and may be of interest http://trailbandit.org/newsite/my-ta...ipee-mountains Its quite specific to the Ossipee range controversy but covers the pros and cons and potential backlash of documenting trails.

    There is also a small but very dedicated group of off trail (bushwhacking) enthusiasts working on an arcane lists of lower summits. They go to great efforts to prevent publication of any route information to these lesser summits. Many summits are on private lands and like the Trail Bandit map, the landowners may informally allow access to the summits on their property yet will object if the access route is formalized. The solution by the bushwhacking crowd is keep public discourse to a minimum to the extent that they wont even allow the lists to be made public. Rather the lists are handed out in hard copy on a need to know basis to others who have proven worthy. When a list does inevitably sneak out into the public there is inevitably a mud slinging campaign between those who support publication and those who don't on the quality of the list.

    The 4000 footer committee traditionally handled the issue by supplying hints to the 100 highest, they didn't post a map or a route but did make suggestions on approaches. In the case of the western maine border 100 highest the goal was to shift folks away from actively managed private landholdings (like the Big Island Pond lease and its associated road) and the Penobscot Indian landholdings for Boundary Snow. Using this approach shifted hikers away from potentially contentious landholders while preventing hardened herd paths from being created.

    IMHO showing abandoned trails and unofficial paths has the same pros and cons as with a paper map albeit the media has changed. Being open source effectively takes away individual responsibility for if a trail or path should be shown. Unlike the Trail Bandit map, the electronic map cant be withdrawn from the public once its on the internet (as evidenced that the Trail Bandit map is still available 8 years after the paper ones were withdrawn). Since electronic media is open source there is no effective way to regulate it and even if it was, there probably is no interest by the participants. I perceive that based on the conversation that the contributors are actively getting enjoyment about contributing, I don't see the converse where they are getting enjoyment about not showing routes so it highly likely that "if in doubt draw it out" applies. The fundamental problem is by formally documenting an unofficial path or trail it becomes a potential guidepost for less skilled individuals to follow. A marked route no matter what the intent is just one step from a GPS track and a GPS track is just one step from being uploaded to be used by others and ultimately it leads to the establishment of well beat down herd paths which take away much of the skill in bagging so called trail less summits. It also potentially brings the existence of a path into the public consciousness and potentially means that one more landowner will make the decision to post their land.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 05-09-2017 at 02:03 PM.

  6. #66
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Since there seems to be a branch on this thread regarding Open Source Mapping, I will note that Wonalancet Outdoor Club had a new map of the WOC system made by David Bromberg about 20 years ago, the first edition had many old trails and unofficial paths, when it came around to the subsequent revisions many if not all the unofficial routes were removed. Reportedly there was debate in the club that showing old trails was a detriment and they were removed.

    Randolph Mountain Club has tended to go the other way with their newer maps, they are used as community maps for multiple uses and tend to show all the trails included bike and snowmachine as well as primary logging roads but they do seem to remove officially abandoned trails.

    Trail Bandit stirred up major controversy several years ago with his new map of the Ossipee range where he showed regularly maintained trails and long term historical trails as well as primary logging roads http://www.franklinsites.com/hikepho...-2009-0120.jpg. He was vilified by some (after the fact) and thanked by others and I expect just by mentioning the map a detractor will pop up to rehash the events. For Bob's thoughts about the controversy this link and may be of interest http://trailbandit.org/newsite/my-ta...ipee-mountains Its quite specific to the Ossipee range controversy but covers the pros and cons and potential backlash of documenting trails.

    There is also a small but very dedicated group of off trail (bushwhacking) enthusiasts working on an arcane lists of lower summits. They go to great efforts to prevent publication of any route information to these lesser summits. Many summits are on private lands and like the Trail Bandit map, the landowners may informally allow access to the summits on their property yet will object if the access route is formalized. The solution by the bushwhacking crowd is keep public discourse to a minimum to the extent that they wont even allow the lists to be made public. Rather the lists are handed out in hard copy on a need to know basis to others who have proven worthy. When a list does inevitably sneak out into the public there is inevitably a mud slinging campaign between those who support publication and those who don't on the quality of the list.

    The 4000 footer committee traditionally handled the issue by supplying hints to the 100 highest, they didn't post a map or a route but did make suggestions on approaches. In the case of the western maine border 100 highest the goal was to shift folks away from actively managed private landholdings (like the Big Island Pond lease and its associated road) and the Penobscot Indian landholdings for Boundary Snow. Using this approach shifted hikers away from potentially contentious landholders while preventing hardened herd paths from being created.

    IMHO showing abandoned trails and unofficial paths has the same pros and cons as with a paper map albeit the media has changed. Being open source effectively takes away individual responsibility for if a trail or path should be shown. Unlike the Trail Bandit map, the electronic map cant be withdrawn from the public once its on the internet (as evidenced that the Trail Bandit map is still available 8 years after the paper ones were withdrawn). Since electronic media is open source there is no effective way to regulate it and even if it was, there probably is no interest by the participants. I perceive that based on the conversation that the contributors are actively getting enjoyment about contributing, I don't see the converse where they are getting enjoyment about not showing routes so it highly likely that "if in doubt draw it out" applies. The fundamental problem is by formally documenting an unofficial path or trail it becomes a potential guidepost for less skilled individuals to follow. A marked route no matter what the intent is just one step from a GPS track and a GPS track is just one step from being uploaded to be used by others and ultimately it leads to the establishment of well beat down herd paths which take away much of the skill in bagging so called trail less summits. It also potentially brings the existence of a path into the public consciousness and potentially means that one more landowner will make the decision to post their land.
    When hiking out in Big Sur several years ago I used what I would call a curated OSM of the area. It was great as every trail type had a unique color and a filter to show what you wanted. Roads, trails, multi-use, abandoned, bushwhack, etc. I was able to plan a fun trip without having been in the area before.
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  7. #67
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    In addition to the difficulty of thinking clearly when under stress, there is also the problem of incomplete trail information.

    Willett could have decided that returning the way he had come was too risky or continued on his route until he decided to abort and that he should take a different route out*. In either case, one must guess the difficulties and risks of the various escape routes and take one's best shot.

    Water levels were high and the snow was deep and likely rotten in places. If we assume that he was in the valley west of Owls Head, the low level escape routes are known to have stream crossings and ascending Franconia Ridge to the Ridge Trail may have appeared to be a good option.


    Another report (spotted after writing the above):
    http://www.unionleader.com/Good-luck...nchester-hiker
    This one states that he was found on a horizontal rock in the middle of a rockslide on the east side of Franconia Ridge. The helicopter crew didn't see him, but did see his headlamp.

    These rockslides are a known route between the valley and the ridge and this is consistent with attempting to escape by reaching the ridge with its well-known and well-used trail.

    Doug

    An after thought: His original route plan included time in the Pemi Wilderness and some 4K peaks. It is possible that the slide route was part of that plan and travel conditions plus the fall into the brook slowed him to the point that he could not reach the ridge.
    Last edited by DougPaul; 05-09-2017 at 04:44 PM.

  8. #68
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Yesterday I forgot to mention an idea of using a drone with something like a portable cell phone tower for a SAR rescue mission like this one. Hence, today I decided to do a bit of googling and voila! It appears that this Scottish company PerceiveUAS is already working on autonomous drones for SAR missions that carry a femta cell and have satellite connectivity that could be used for text messaging with lost hikers. Take a look at http://perceptiveuas.com/lab/ and this pretty cool video that explains how it is supposed to work https://vimeo.com/142296665.

    There is no pricing available on the Web site, so it is not clear to me if this stuff is in production yet or still in development.

  9. #69
    Senior Member miehoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Not really sure what thread you are reading. It started out as standard rescue thread and then after the hiker was safe, transitioned to "what if". I don't see the fear aspect you are trying to add into it? The reckless aspect and Hike Safe was possibly brought up as Fish and Game has raised that issue in the past. I expect at some point he will end up on the news with a bedside interview, I can speculate that at least some aspect may be "in hind site I should have XXX"
    I am reading this thread.
    Miehoff

  10. #70
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    I am not seeing the fear in the thread, I guess its in the eye of the beholder.

  11. #71
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miehoff View Post
    I am reading this thread.
    I think I understood your point about meaningless speculation, and the associated consequences thereof and I agreed with it. To me, all the talk about charging people for rescues is disheartening and feels like victim blaming. Many people believe they'll act differently than someone in a similar situation and blame the victim for their own circumstances; however, when they themselves are in a situation, they tend to blame outside factors. This can come across as an argument for 'personal responsibility', but it's derived from faulty thinking. There are also people who do this in reverse (make excuses for everyone but are hard on themselves). Both extremes are unfair views of the world, however. It's very hard to be truly objective - one has to actively work at it.
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  12. #72
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJsName View Post
    I think I understood your point about meaningless speculation, and the associated consequences thereof and I agreed with it. To me, all the talk about charging people for rescues is disheartening and feels like victim blaming. Many people believe they'll act differently than someone in a similar situation and blame the victim for their own circumstances; however, when they themselves are in a situation, they tend to blame outside factors. This can come across as an argument for 'personal responsibility', but it's derived from faulty thinking. There are also people who do this in reverse (make excuses for everyone but are hard on themselves). Both extremes are unfair views of the world, however. It's very hard to be truly objective - one has to actively work at it.
    IMO lack of definitive objectivity upon F&G therein lies the potential for fear. So far we still have not seen clear enough guidelines from F&G or scenarios that have played themselves out to define where the boundaries lie between negligent and reckless. I guess we will have to wait and see. Until then one can only hypothesize.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

  13. #73
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Regardless of the details, if we ever get any. He was out for 6 day's. He hiked through rotten snow, I'm sure a ton of water and fell into a Brook. Now, granted he was almost at the end of his rope, so to speak. I have to say, he did pretty dam good to survive that long. Given what he went through.

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    Regardless of the details, if we ever get any. He was out for 6 day's. He hiked through rotten snow, I'm sure a ton of water and fell into a Brook. Now, granted he was almost at the end of his rope, so to speak. I have to say, he did pretty dam good to survive that long. Given what he went through.
    Agree with this.

  15. #75
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    Regardless of the details, if we ever get any. He was out for 6 day's. He hiked through rotten snow, I'm sure a ton of water and fell into a Brook. Now, granted he was almost at the end of his rope, so to speak. I have to say, he did pretty dam good to survive that long. Given what he went through.
    Yeah - even those few details in the Concord Monitor article gave me chills. That low of a pulse and body temperature, I'm impressed he was able to call 911 again. It must be rewarding as a S&R member to find someone in time like that.
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