PDA

View Full Version : Hikers rescued on Mt Lafayette Sunday



peakbagger
01-17-2011, 09:13 AM
Not a lot of drama, but thats a good thing when it come to lost hikers in the winter.

http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Hikers+found+on+Mount+Lafaye tte&articleId=d13bafd2-0966-4b2f-a736-0c39421af8fe

slevasse
01-17-2011, 11:34 AM
As usual the peanut gallery has chimed in. I love the comment from the guy that asks how they could possibly get lost descending Mt Lafayette and that they must have been utterly unfamiliar with the route. This guy probably has never been on a hiking trail, nevermind on one when a whiteout happens.

AlexTal
01-17-2011, 12:01 PM
Pike Slayer in the comments sounds like a real gem.

Sounds like these guys did the right thing. Sure, I'd like to say I would have bivied and stayed the night or, better yet, would have kept a better eye on the weather, but who knows what it was like. At least they found a shelter and stayed put. Sounds like they were prepared but ran into trouble.

Thankfully no one was hurt and hopefully this sort of incident is kept to a minimum this year.

Casual Hiker
01-17-2011, 01:25 PM
I love the comment from the guy that asks how they could possibly get lost descending Mt Lafayette and that they must have been utterly unfamiliar with the route.

I thought that one was a riot, too. I am a relative newbie to winter hiking in the mountains, and I am extremely cautious. That said, I have climbed Lafayette in the summer and fall often enough to have a very good idea why you would get lost in a white out, and why you wouldn't want to just keep going. Every time one of these rescues take place I am amazed at all of the Monday morning quarterbacking that goes on.

Personally, I appreciate people that are willing to take risks (sensible ones, anyway) and get off their couches and out into the wilderness. I'm glad these guys were safe, and I'm glad they were out there doing what they loved. The only way you become an experienced hiker is to get out there and do it. Be smart in the risks you take, but sometimes things just happen. Based on this story, they did the right thing.

Kevin Rooney
01-17-2011, 01:39 PM
Am glad to hear they're OK as well.

Wonder if any of our VFtT'ers who are active in SAR got called out?

DiamondRidge
01-17-2011, 01:45 PM
I haven't heard anything about a call-out from my S&R buddies... Pemi would have been the organization of choice up that way... I would guess that S&R did not get called out because the guys were unhurt and safe and F&G knew where they were, so no need for a "search" and no need for a carry-out...

peakbagger
01-17-2011, 02:09 PM
Curious if they got lost at the turn off from the ridge at Haystack to Falling waters trail. That one turn seems to catch more then a few folks in the winter (and a few in the summer).

AlexTal
01-17-2011, 03:10 PM
Curious if they got lost at the turn off from the ridge at Haystack to Falling waters trail. That one turn seems to catch more then a few folks in the winter (and a few in the summer).


I'm guilty of getting very confused at that exact location.

Ed'n Lauky
01-17-2011, 05:12 PM
As usual the peanut gallery has chimed in. I love the comment from the guy that asks how they could possibly get lost descending Mt Lafayette and that they must have been utterly unfamiliar with the route. This guy probably has never been on a hiking trail, nevermind on one when a whiteout happens.

Coming down any ridge is very difficult if the trail cannot be clearly followed because unlike going up where you keep heading for the highest point, when going down it is very difficult to stay on the ridge and not drop off on one side or the other. Also the descent to Greenleaf on that broad ridge takes a swing to the left then and then works back to the right and so forth. With the trail totally obscured, until you hit the trees at the proper place, it would be very hard to "guess" :confused: your way to the hut.

DougPaul
01-17-2011, 08:27 PM
Curious if they got lost at the turn off from the ridge at Haystack to Falling waters trail. That one turn seems to catch more then a few folks in the winter (and a few in the summer).
The report doesn't explicitly say what trail they were attempting to descend. It says:

According to Fish and Game, they were unable to continue off the mountain because they had lost the trail in whiteout conditions with high winds and frigid temperatures while hiking down the summit.
This description is consistent with descending Lafayette via Garfield Ridge Tr (N), Greenleaf Tr (W), or Franconia Ridge Tr (S). Falling Waters Tr seems a bit far fetched. (FWT also goes into the trees pretty quickly.) Do you have info not in the report?


I have heard of cases where the authorities have directed lost hikers back to the trail based upon their GPS coordinates via a cellphone. It isn't clear to me why this was not attempted/done here.

Doug

slevasse
01-17-2011, 08:56 PM
The report doesn't explicitly say what trail they were attempting to descend. It says:

This description is consistent with descending Lafayette via Garfield Ridge Tr (N), Greenleaf Tr (W), or Franconia Ridge Tr (S). Falling Waters Tr seems a bit far fetched. (FWT also goes into the trees pretty quickly.) Do you have info not in the report?


I have heard of cases where the authorities have directed lost hikers back to the trail based upon their GPS coordinates via a cellphone. It isn't clear to me why this was not attempted/done here.

Doug

I have no real idea but I got the impression that they were likely on the Greenleaf trail/Bridal path. If it had been Falling waters, the paper would have likely said rescued off Little Haystack. The Greenleaf trail is above treeline for quite a bit with only the cairns to guide you, and they really aren't that big, so in a whiteout they likely wouldn't be too obvious. Like I said just speculation as to their route, but that was my impression.

DougPaul
01-17-2011, 09:24 PM
I have no real idea but I got the impression that they were likely on the Greenleaf trail/Bridal path. If it had been Falling waters, the paper would have likely said rescued off Little Haystack. The Greenleaf trail is above treeline for quite a bit with only the cairns to guide you, and they really aren't that big, so in a whiteout they likely wouldn't be too obvious. Like I said just speculation as to their route, but that was my impression.
Greenleaf Tr would also be my first guess--a number of people have had difficulty following it down from the summit and it is probably the most popular trail to and from the summit.

However, I have not seen any reports stating which trail they were attempting to descend and as I noted, several are consistent with the report.

Doug

TCD
01-18-2011, 08:17 AM
I'm glad they did OK. They might have done better with: wands; or a GPS waypoint where they left the trees; or a compass bearing on the summit from where they left the trees (if the whiteout conditions had not yet started); or if whiteout conditions had already started, and the summit was not visible, turning back at treeline.

sierra
01-18-2011, 11:16 AM
when you get to the last cairn at the bottem of the open cone above all the scrub, thats the time to decide if you can make the summit and back, that slope is an epic in whiteout conditions. Ive descended that in bad conditions before and it was nerve wracking as hell to get back down. In bad conditions from the hut, I would always go down the OBP, greenleaf can be confusing if not packed out and im convinced I could not get lost on the OBP.

Cath
01-18-2011, 12:05 PM
The NH Fish & Game site will usually have it's own news release
about an incident on the Newsroom page

www.wildlife.state.nh.us/


Sounds like they were down a bit from the Garfield Ridge / Greenleaf
junction perhaps, but couldn't continue locating the trail in the whiteout?

Sirs Brad and Mark responded ~

Kevin Rooney
01-18-2011, 04:35 PM
...I would always go down the OBP, greenleaf can be confusing if not packed out and im convinced I could not get lost on the OBP.

sierra - without looking at map, am pretty sure that mile or so of trail between the hut and the summit is a continuation of the Greenleaf trail. As for below the hut - would agree with you that OBP is the better trail down.

DougPaul
01-18-2011, 05:12 PM
sierra - without looking at map, am pretty sure that mile or so of trail between the hut and the summit is a continuation of the Greenleaf trail.
You are correct.


As for below the hut - would agree with you that OBP is the better trail down.
OBP (below the hut) is certainly more popular.

Doug

sierra
01-19-2011, 03:55 PM
sierra - without looking at map, am pretty sure that mile or so of trail between the hut and the summit is a continuation of the Greenleaf trail. As for below the hut - would agree with you that OBP is the better trail down.

Yes i know. I guess i was wrong in the assumption they where lost below the hut, but yeah the greenleaf is the route to the summit,

RoySwkr
01-19-2011, 04:14 PM
As usual the peanut gallery has chimed in. I love the comment from the guy that asks how they could possibly get lost descending Mt Lafayette and that they must have been utterly unfamiliar with the route. This guy probably has never been on a hiking trail, nevermind on one when a whiteout happens.

Approaching the summit on Greenleaf Trail, there is sort of a little cliff which the trail zags L around, then R to regain the ridge. In reverse, you either make a L fairly soon or wind up down by Lafayette Brook and paying $$. These guys were wise to recognize they were lost and wait.