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View Full Version : Lost and now candidates for a reckless conduct fine from NH Fish & Game



sardog1
07-19-2007, 07:32 AM
EDIT: Published in The Barre Montpelier Times Argus (http://www.timesargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070719/NEWS02/707190367/1003/NEWS02) and other sources:

Lost hikers may be charged

July 18, 2007

MOUNT JEFFERSON, N.H. -- Fish and Game officials are looking into recommending charges against a Pennsylvania man and his teen daughter after they got stranded overnight on Mount Jefferson with no lights, maps or compass.
[Rest of article removed - Please don't post copyrighted articles in their entirety]

EDIT 2: Sorry -- I spaced out on that. Mea culpa.

Roxi
07-19-2007, 07:54 AM
I saw these two hiking up the Caps Ridge Trail as I was coming down it just below the first outcrop of ledge. Given the length of daylight and that some groups that day had only gone as far as the caps before turning around, I didn't think anything of it. He asked me if I knew if "outcrop" was one word or two as he wanted to teach his 15 yr. old how to spell it. I thought to myself if I were hiking with my dad, I'd want to be enjoying the hike, not have a spelling lesson. I'm sorry to hear that they didn't make it back down before dark. I was hoping that the daughter would have a good experience.

skiguy
07-19-2007, 08:05 AM
http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=17478

Always a tough call.

giggy
07-19-2007, 08:08 AM
so much for the alpine start. :eek:

sounds like dad should have done his research into the hike rather than teaching spelling :D

Jay H
07-19-2007, 08:13 AM
so much for the alpine start. :eek:

sounds like dad should have done his research into the hike rather than teaching spelling :D

hey, maybe their clocks were 12 hours off.. :) 3pm start..yeah... that'll work.

Jay

Roxi
07-19-2007, 08:30 AM
hey, maybe their clocks were 12 hours off.. :) 3pm start..yeah... that'll work.

Jay

With all due respect, Jay, it can, depending on how fast you hike. I often take afternoon hikes, and had I started at 3 pm, I would have been off that mountain before dark. Too often on this board we make snap judgements about others' abilities and what they should do and how they should do it and not allow for individual differences. I was recently reminded of that when I insisted that my ex take more water with him than his Camelback held as I thought he didn't have enough for our hike. His intake of water while hiking, however, is different than mine and he didn't need it.

Jay H
07-19-2007, 08:53 AM
Sure, I understand that people have different paces and stuff. I go on afterwork hikes around the Hudson Valley in NY all the time, which generally doesn't start til after 5pm. But I bring a headlamp and the usual navigational gear with me. Heck, on the weekends when I have the whole day, I typically will be on the trailheads by 8am, including the 2 hour drive on a peak that will take 5 hours tops, and I still carry a headlamp, maps, and a compass.

Jay

giggy
07-19-2007, 08:56 AM
I think jay was was kidding around ;)

going to go out on a limb here and say they probably don't fit into the catagory of up and down jefferson via a class 2 route in 4 hours.

but maybe I am rushing to judgment :confused:

albee
07-19-2007, 09:09 AM
Some people have to learn things the hard way.

This is also another good example of the false sense of security people get when hiking with a cell phone.

Shame on the father for endangering his daughter. A "hike" doesn't always mean making it to the summit. They could have easily gotten a nice view from well above treeline even if they started at 3 PM. But of course they decided to push on for the top... bad decisions on top of bad decisions can get you in trouble real fast.

Roxi
07-19-2007, 09:11 AM
going to go out on a limb here and say they probably don't fit into the catagory of up and down jefferson via a class 2 route in 4 hours.

But how do you know that when you first come across someone on a trail? How do you know that they even plan to go to the summit? Many people didn't that day. I saw them and heard their decision to turn around as I was headed up. Is it our job to screen every hiker we come across and make sure they're as prepared as we think they should be? And who decides what level of preparedness that is?

They started at 3. They had over 5 hours of daylight on a 5 mile roundtrip trail that they could have turned around on at any point. Averaging 1 mph is not speedy. I'm not defending the dad's decisions, lack of knowledge or preparedness, just pointing out that too often we as a group make snap judgements based on our own perceptions and experience which are not uniform across this group, and do not consider and allow for individual differences before making those judgements.

giggy
07-19-2007, 09:26 AM
But how do you know that when you first come across someone on a trail? How do you know that they even plan to go to the summit? Many people didn't that day. I saw them and heard their decision to turn around as I was headed up. Is it our job to screen every hiker we come across and make sure they're as prepared as we think they should be? And who decides what level of preparedness that is?




I don't know and I don't care - its not anyone's "job" to screen anyone. This is a discussion board that we can discuss situations. The father made a moronic call to not turn back at a reasonable time - Most resonable adults with common sense would not put themselves and more importantly - their children in that situation period.

Tom Rankin
07-19-2007, 10:52 AM
I don't know and I don't care - its not anyone's "job" to screen anyone. This is a discussion board that we can discuss situations. The father made a moronic call to not turn back at a reasonable time - Most resonable adults with common sense would not put themselves and more importantly - their children in that situation period.Ok, we can all hike our own hike, and no it's not my job, but as a father (and busy-body! ;) ), I do sometimes stop and talk to other hikers, and once in a while give advice, especially if I think people/families might be headed for trouble.

Tim Seaver
07-19-2007, 11:02 AM
Too often on this board we make snap judgements about others' abilities and what they should do and how they should do it and not allow for individual differences.

Ya think? :D

I wonder what the fine will be for getting lost on an de-blazed "Wilderness Trail"? ;) That should provide endless legalistic entertainment for all, while providing lots of fodder those who are so fond of judging. I can hardly wait!

dr_wu002
07-19-2007, 11:14 AM
I don't know and I don't care - its not anyone's "job" to screen anyone. This is a discussion board that we can discuss situations. The father made a moronic call to not turn back at a reasonable time - Most resonable adults with common sense would not put themselves and more importantly - their children in that situation period.
I will consult Gary, whom I believe may be clairvoyant, and ask what he thinks about this case and then report back with the results.

-Dr. Wu

nartreb
07-19-2007, 11:24 AM
This discussion is already about as productive as these things often are, but I think it's quite interesting that four people directed criticism at the father, and none at the daughter. Why the distinction? Age? Gender? The belief that all responsibility lies with the leader?

giggy
07-19-2007, 11:33 AM
This discussion is already about as productive as these things often are, but I think it's quite interesting that four people directed criticism at the father, and none at the daughter. Why the distinction? Age? Gender? The belief that all responsibility lies with the leader?


parent and adult maybe......

cbcbd
07-19-2007, 11:50 AM
This discussion is already about as productive as these things often are, but I think it's quite interesting that four people directed criticism at the father, and none at the daughter. Why the distinction? Age? Gender? The belief that all responsibility lies with the leader?
You're right, those 15-year-olds can get pretty bossy. I can hear it now:

"Daddy, I want to get to the top of that mountain!"
"Ok, sweetie. Daddy's coming..."

"Daddy, can't you walk faster? I need to be back in time before the mall closes"
"Daddy's trying, pumpkin..."

"Daddy, I need this peak for my list, let's get moving!"
"Anything for my little princess...
...honey, Daddy's left arm just went numb, can you please call 911?"
"Ugh, [rolleyes] Fiiiine"

Dugan
07-19-2007, 11:52 AM
Too often on this board we make snap judgements about others' abilities and what they should do and how they should do it and not allow for individual differences. Ya think? :D

Definitely. This thread has every sign of becoming yet another rush to judgement, with much speculation and little fact.

MadRiver
07-19-2007, 12:02 PM
I normally stay out of these discussions, especially given there were no unleashed dogs needing rescuing, so Iím a little confused how this is a rush to judgment? The father started late and didnít even have the basis tools with which to insure a safe return and will more than likely get fined. So please explain the rushing part.

DougG
07-19-2007, 12:07 PM
The law, enacted in 1999, is used mainly against unequipped hikers who have to be rescued after ignoring warnings or who head out without proper preparation. The law provides for fines.
************************************
It sure doesn't sound like they ignored a warning. It doesn't sound like they went without proper preparation - no mention of exposure problems, dehydration, starvation, etc. The story states the hikers were 'fine'.
What kind of a search is needed if you're on the top of Jefferson. How many trail signs are in that area?
This sounds more dopey than reckless. But if they started out in bad weather - with everything else being equal - that would be reckless.

Paradox
07-19-2007, 12:09 PM
IMHO: Map and compass should be the minimum for a free ride out. It indicates you care enough about where you are that you could at least ask someone else to indicate this on the map and which direction to go next. If someone does not care where they are, why should anyone else (without paying the appropriate fee)?

albee
07-19-2007, 12:15 PM
I speculate that we have rushed to judgement that this thread is a rush to judgement based on speculation and little fact.

Paradox
07-19-2007, 12:18 PM
...honey, Daddy's left arm just went numb, can you please call 911?"
"Ugh, [rolleyes] Fiiiine" ....TNF, Shania's dad let her text message his last MI!

SherpaKroto
07-19-2007, 12:26 PM
Rush to judgment? Ok, here is what is stated in the article:
1) "'Everything here points toward negligence,' said Conservation Officer Mark Ober."
2) "The hikers called 911 for help from the summit, prompting a nearly six-hour search in the dark." (Ober)
3) "The dad and daughter were not wearing hiking gear and the daughter was wearing shorts when they set out around 3 p.m. to hike to the top of a 5,000 footer, where it was about 50 degrees at the summit" (Ober)

If they were ON the summit when they called 911, it was at best "getting" dark before they got there. Even Captain Obvious could figure out that if it's getting dark before you get to the summit, it won't get any lighter...until morning.

Since it was stated by the Conservation officer, I don't see anyone here judging anything. As to why the criticism is aimed at the Dad, if it were a Mom and Son, I'm wagering it would be directed at the Mom.

Dugan
07-19-2007, 12:27 PM
I normally stay out of these discussions, especially given there were no unleashed dogs needing rescuing, so Iím a little confused how this is a rush to judgment? The father started late and didnít even have the basis tools with which to insure a safe return and will more than likely get find. So please explain the rushing part.

Words like "moronic" aren't judgemental?


They started at 3. They had over 5 hours of daylight on a 5 mile roundtrip trail that they could have turned around on at any point. Averaging 1 mph is not speedy.

Why is the start time criticized?


It isn't so much that THIS thread has gotten out of hand, as the anticipation that it will, given past discussions.

cbcbd
07-19-2007, 12:29 PM
....TNF, Shania's dad let her text message his last MI!
?? Ok, I'm hip and all... but I'm lost at the reference. :confused:
Help me out here.


Even Captain Obvious could figure out that if it's getting dark before you get to the summit, it won't get any lighter...until morning.

He's my favorite, and probably most underrated superhero.

Roxi
07-19-2007, 12:37 PM
Why is the start time criticized?

Exactly. That was my point. 3 pm is not too late to start a 5 mile hike when you have until 8:20 before sunset. I saw these two at Whirlpool ledge around 3:30. That indicates a good pace. As far as being in shorts, it was in the high 70s. I was in shorts. They had enough time to get to the summit and back averaging a pace of 1 mph which is not unreasonable. What I'd like to know is WHY they were on the summit so late? I agree that going without a map was not wise and they should have made the decision to turn around sooner, but there was nothing when I saw them around 3:30 to indicate they were automatically headed for trouble.


It isn't so much that THIS thread has gotten out of hand, as the anticipation that it will, given past discussions.

Exactly! We've been here before in other threads about lost hikers.

Tim Horn
07-19-2007, 12:46 PM
The fact that they called 911 and asked for rescue and then were found to be fine and in no imminent danger is enough reason IMO for them to have to pay for the "rescue effort". They could have simply hunkered down on the trail and waited for morning to descend. Yes it would be cold and uncomfortable and maybe a little scary but they were fine. Instead they called in as an emergency and forced the state to respond with a rescue squad and spend all those $$$$. Seems like the very reason the law was written.

pudgy_groundhog
07-19-2007, 12:47 PM
I agree with everything Sherpakroto said.

Also, some people seem really put out that there are comments on the start time. Yes, we understand some of you are rock star hikers, but start time is dependent on the hiker's ability. While starting a hike at 3:00 pm might be fine for some, obviously it didn't work out so well for this duo since they had to call for a rescue.

smitty77
07-19-2007, 12:54 PM
....TNF, Shania's dad let her text message his last MI!?? Ok, I'm hip and all... but I'm lost at the reference. :confused:
Help me out here.

Translated:
"That's not fair, Shania's dad let her alert the medical staff via text message regarding his own Myocardial Infarction* some time ago!"

*Medical speak for heart attack

Consider your hip-ness quotient increased.

Smitty

dr_wu002
07-19-2007, 12:56 PM
You know, who really gives a crap? We don't know who these people are and nobody gave a crap about them before today. They're alive, maybe they'll get a fine (from people who probably know more about the situation and are not just speculating like we are) and they'll probably just deal with it.

The thing is, to the best of my knowledge, nobody on VFTT has ever got one of these "reckless hiker" fines and you know what, I doubt that anyone on this site ever will. So if two jerks from Pennsylvania got a fine, who cares? Ha ha to them (http://www1.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/265076/2/istockphoto_265076_loser_web_hand.jpg). They're lucky one of those deadly New England Black Bears didn't eat them.

The thing is if we really cared about people like this we'd be offering to build street lights on all the trails so that nobody could ever get lost in the dark.

-Dr. Wu

MadRiver
07-19-2007, 12:58 PM
If you had made a judgment as to their inability to reach the summit and return safely based solely on your observation at 3:30, then you would be guilty of a rush to judgment. The fact that they needed to be R-E-S-C-U-E-D, coupled with the late start and having no navigational or luminary equipment IMHO allows one to make a legitimate judgment as to their lack of preparedness to finish the hike.

Motabobo
07-19-2007, 01:07 PM
The thing is, to the best of my knowledge, nobody on VFTT has ever got one of these "reckless hiker" finesWRONG (http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=16558) ! :D
(Sorry Mats but I'm still laughing at this)

Tim Seaver
07-19-2007, 01:08 PM
They could have simply hunkered down on the trail and waited for morning to descend. Yes it would be cold and uncomfortable and maybe a little scary but they were fine. Instead they called in as an emergency and forced the state to respond with a rescue squad and spend all those $$$$.

They were fine when they were "rescued", yes, but whether they would have been "fine" in the morning after spending a 40-50 degree misty and foggy night atop a mountain is certainly questionable, as that is the temperature range that many hypothermia deaths occur.

I am somewhat amazed that you would prefer them to have taken that risk rather than call for help, regardless of how they got into that situation.

dr_wu002
07-19-2007, 01:14 PM
WRONG (http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=16558) ! :D
(Sorry Mats but I'm still laughing at this)
Not exactly a rescue in my opinion. haha.

-Dr. Wu

giggy
07-19-2007, 01:20 PM
Words like "moronic" aren't judgemental?



nope - in this case fact. Should I have said - its ok, nobody messed up, its all good, its society's fault, maybe they should sue the WMNF for not putting up enough warnings?

give me a break. the damn F&G officer was quoted explaining the mess ups they are being considered for a fine - which from what I understand, you really need to mess up to actually have to pay a fine for recklessness.

I don't need a congressional inquiry to know this dude made a few bad errors - and now its time to pay for those errors. he is lucky he didn't pay with daughters life - easy to get hypothermia after sweating and night falls - its gets chilly and all you have is a t shirt and shorts.

Paradox
07-19-2007, 01:24 PM
I really hope Darren does not impose a fine for lost threads, and unprepared posts.

sardog1
07-19-2007, 01:32 PM
I really hope Darren does not impose a fine for lost threads, and unprepared posts.

Not lost quite yet, but the author's finger is hanging over the "delete thread" button . . .

giggy
07-19-2007, 01:58 PM
Exactly. That was my point. 3 pm is not too late to start a 5 mile hike when you have until 8:20 before sunset. I saw these two at Whirlpool ledge around 3:30.
for most here its not a problem, like i said, based on the report, it sound slike they were novices at best.

common sense says 3pm is not a smart start time for the 3rd highest pressie for folks at their skill level - which I asusme was not much based on what happened.

David Metsky
07-19-2007, 02:00 PM
Not lost quite yet, but the author's finger is hanging over the "delete thread" button . . .
Too late.

-dave-