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Thread: New Book on Kate M.

  1. #46
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Raven;441099]...her story allows us to connect with all who are driven to seek the summits and push limits./QUOTE]

    One takeaway of the book for me is that a Winter Presi Traverse has always been and still is a serious undertaking, especially if you plan to tag the summits.

    Her hike would have been very ambitious (audacious?) in good weather and ideal trail condx as a light and fast solo. In this regard I was a bit surprised with Rick Wilcox's low key tone regarding her plan.

    I really wish she had hired a local guide and not grossly underestimated our little mountains in winter.

    But even with 4 of her 7 summits checked off, Mt Adams was just too much.

    Bummer.
    cb
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  2. #47
    Senior Member Raven's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=ChrisB;441105]
    Quote Originally Posted by Raven View Post
    ...her story allows us to connect with all who are driven to seek the summits and push limits./QUOTE]

    One takeaway of the book for me is that a Winter Presi Traverse has always been and still is a serious undertaking, especially if you plan to tag the summits.

    Her hike would have been very ambitious (audacious?) in good weather and ideal trail condx as a light and fast solo. In this regard I was a bit surprised with Rick Wilcox's low key tone regarding her plan.

    I really wish she had hired a local guide and not grossly underestimated our little mountains in winter.

    But even with 4 of her 7 summits checked off, Mt Adams was just too much.

    Bummer.
    cb
    Agree it's a very serious undertaking in the best of winter conditions. The speed she expected to go in order to maintain her schedule was unlikely even in her physical condition on anything but perfect conditions, including perfect ground conditions. She allowed two hours to descend from Lakes to the Ammo Base Station. That's reasonable. 3.5 hours from Appalachia to Madison makes sense. She may have been able to do better here as well. To me, the standouts we're getting from Adams summit to Jefferson's in two hours and Clay to Washington in one hour. That seemed pretty unrealistic and showed some holes in the plan at least in my opinion.

    It's a good reminder to all of us. Cold is coming. Check your packs and be ready for winter in the mountains earlier than we expect.
    Humankind has not woven the web of life.
    We are but one thread within it.
    Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
    All things are bound together.
    All things connect.
    ~ Chief Seattle, 1854 ~

  3. #48
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    [QUOTE=Raven;441106]
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post

    It's a good reminder to all of us. Cold is coming. Check your packs and be ready for winter in the mountains earlier than we expect.
    Crampons, gaiters and snowshoes are still in the car from last Winter. Is it weird that I’m looking forward to the change to Winter hiking?

    I’m re-reading the book. I'm still amazed that she was so determined that she was positively inflexible. Adaptability to changing conditions is a survival trait she apparently didn't have. She would have benefitted from more experience in those mountains. Her bailout options were into the teeth of the approaching storm.

    It reminds me of the throughhiker this Summer at Mizpah hut, who on Thursday, asked about the weather forecast for Saturday. On being informed by the hut staff there was no forecast this early, he was in disbelief that in this modern age there was no 5 day forecast available. He loudly exclaimed “Excuse me! Does anyone have the forecast for Mt Washington on Saturday?”

    “Nope,” I replied, “too far out. The weather for Mt Washington can be different from that morning’s forecast.” He looked disgusted that I confirmed what the hut staff member told him and she beamed a beautiful smile at me. It was prett funny.

  4. #49
    Senior Member wardsgirl's Avatar
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    NHPR interview with Ty Gagne and others about mountain rescue, Kate Matrosova, and Where You'll Find Me.

    http://nhpr.org/post/risk-decisions-...-presidentials
    AMC Adopt-A-Trail Program Region Leader: Southern Presidentials

  5. #50
    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=egilbe;441107]
    Quote Originally Posted by Raven View Post

    Crampons, gaiters and snowshoes are still in the car from last Winter. Is it weird that I’m looking forward to the change to Winter hiking?

    I’m re-reading the book. I'm still amazed that she was so determined that she was positively inflexible. Adaptability to changing conditions is a survival trait she apparently didn't have. She would have benefitted from more experience in those mountains. Her bailout options were into the teeth of the approaching storm.

    It reminds me of the throughhiker this Summer at Mizpah hut, who on Thursday, asked about the weather forecast for Saturday. On being informed by the hut staff there was no forecast this early, he was in disbelief that in this modern age there was no 5 day forecast available. He loudly exclaimed “Excuse me! Does anyone have the forecast for Mt Washington on Saturday?”

    “Nope,” I replied, “too far out. The weather for Mt Washington can be different from that morning’s forecast.” He looked disgusted that I confirmed what the hut staff member told him and she beamed a beautiful smile at me. It was prett funny.
    Actually, you can usually get a general idea of the weather well in advance. The storm that Matrosova was trying to race was predicted at least a week before, and was the topic of casual conversation around gas station cash registers for days. True that the official summit forecast isn't posted, but you can extrapolate from the valley forecast.

  6. #51
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=nartreb;441179]
    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post

    Actually, you can usually get a general idea of the weather well in advance. The storm that Matrosova was trying to race was predicted at least a week before, and was the topic of casual conversation around gas station cash registers for days. True that the official summit forecast isn't posted, but you can extrapolate from the valley forecast.
    Forecasts that happen to be right shouldn't be given more weight than other forecasts that are way off. Granted, some weather patterns are easier to forecast than others (high pressure ridges generally bring sunny conditions), but lower pressure systems are harder to nail down in terms of precip. I generally view temperature forecasts as being very reliable, wind as somewhat reliable, and precipitation as unreliable. The forecast for that weekend was for extreme cold and strong wind at least a couple days out, which is why I didn't even bother to go skiing despite the new snow that fell in the lakes region.

    As for high summits weather 48 hours out, that's pushing it. There is a reason the MWOBS only puts out a 48 hour forecast - it's unreliable.
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  7. #52
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    I had posted a few days earlier on VFTT that the upcoming holiday weekend had a high potential for a death or serious injury. The forecasts for the weekend were for consistently dangerous conditions on the summits over that day on both Thursday and Friday.

    There have been many high profile deaths and rescues in the area over the years where people outside the region had a hike planned in advance in winter. Despite a dangerous forecast, they drove up anyhow hoping it would change and then decided to go anyhow when the forecast didn't improve.

    One of the local climbing guides used to offer a multiday winter presi traverse which was intended for orientation for folks planning to do higher summits. He had a set of conditions where in his judgment he would have to cancel the trip and did. Clients would get upset and he would attempt alternatives but ultimately it was his call (he has been on several high profile rescues over the years). At some point he mentioned that he had string of 4 or 5 traverses all canceled in one winter season due to severe weather.

  8. #53
    Senior Member dug's Avatar
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    We have to remember her intent for this trip was a training session for much higher, harder peaks. So, most likely, the weather forecast didn't necessarily concern her as this is what she was training for. In theory.

  9. #54
    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dug View Post
    We have to remember her intent for this trip was a training session for much higher, harder peaks. So, most likely, the weather forecast didn't necessarily concern her as this is what she was training for. In theory.
    Correct. We know she checked the forecast on Thursday or Friday (I forget), and it was accurate. While her initial planned itinerary would have had her outpacing the storm, we don't know to what extent she considered that important while making her plan.

  10. #55
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    Listening to the NPR interview, I was surprised and disappointed that they didn't discuss her gear choices more. I understand the idea of the "quick & light" approach [speed = safety]. But, even in the context of that approach, her choice of multiple electronics over a z-rest, bivy, & traction is a major lesson learned from her death.

  11. #56
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=TJsName;441183]
    Quote Originally Posted by nartreb View Post

    Forecasts that happen to be right shouldn't be given more weight than other forecasts that are way off. Granted, some weather patterns are easier to forecast than others (high pressure ridges generally bring sunny conditions), but lower pressure systems are harder to nail down in terms of precip. I generally view temperature forecasts as being very reliable, wind as somewhat reliable, and precipitation as unreliable. The forecast for that weekend was for extreme cold and strong wind at least a couple days out, which is why I didn't even bother to go skiing despite the new snow that fell in the lakes region.

    As for high summits weather 48 hours out, that's pushing it. There is a reason the MWOBS only puts out a 48 hour forecast - it's unreliable.
    Exactly. The increase in winds and blizzard conditions she was trying to beat was only a window of a few hours. In the weather predicting business I wouldn't be wagering much on that small of a time window being right on the money, especially when the weather was not going to improve but rather deteriorate.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 44/48; NY 46: 5/46

  12. #57
    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Murphy View Post
    Listening to the NPR interview, I was surprised and disappointed that they didn't discuss her gear choices more. I understand the idea of the "quick & light" approach [speed = safety]. But, even in the context of that approach, her choice of multiple electronics over a z-rest, bivy, & traction is a major lesson learned from her death.
    And snow shoes. Got to be a big part of the reason she was so late getting up Madison.

  13. #58
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Many choose to go "fast and Light" as a style and it is quite effective. It also decreases the margin of error, so it's a tradeoff. I don't think it really mattered in her case, as the conditions themselves were just to bad for any gear list, hence why, even with the gear the SAR had, they refused to go up that night. As a soloist, I travel on the heavy side gear wise. Yes, it slows me down, but the comfort it gives me having my reserve gear, outweighs the limitations it presents. I know people who do winter routes in running shoes and very light packs. Good luck enjoying a forced bivi in that attire.

  14. #59
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    I have the book on my night stand and should probably wait until I read it to comment, but if I remember the details of the story correctly, I'm not sure any particular gear choice would have saved her in those hurricane force winds unless she chose to carry an anchor.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

  15. #60
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    About 2/3 through the book, and I have to say, I'm not sure I've ever read a book where my experiences - decisions I've made, places I've been, inner and outer struggles I've fought - intersect so many times with the authors' writing. I'll post some thoughts when I'm done. So far, this is the most complete and accurate assessment I've ever read of hiking in the Presidentials in winter. Very happy to have purchased. Well done, Ty.
    Sure. Why not.

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