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View Full Version : Seen along the trails on Adams today



peakbagger
03-01-2015, 04:31 PM
Two hikers in good shape on snowshoes just short of Madison Hut. Only the clothes on their backs and hydration packs. II guess the recommendations and recent tragedy don't apply to them.

TJsName
03-01-2015, 05:32 PM
What is their back story? Perhaps there is a reasonable explanation.

Tim Seaver
03-01-2015, 06:25 PM
Perhaps they just ran up and down Valley Way?

Only The Shadow knows...

jrbren
03-01-2015, 07:04 PM
I would agree the situation with the woman who lost her life last month does not apply. The weather is relatively nice for this time of year this weekend. The recent tragedy was during what some meteorologist called the most powerful noreaster of the year, exceeding the one that dumped 3' on Worcester, but less snow felt in MA since its center was farther out to sea. It's rotation was sucking cold air out of Canada as far west as Wisconsin. Nothing like that going this weekend to the best of my knowledge. I would think the best way to discuss the attire of the two you saw would be to ask them. They could be trail runners. Maybe they were fools. Maybe both. Us random strangers on the internet who weren't there can only speculate.

peakbagger
03-02-2015, 06:02 AM
No doubt they were trail runners. Rather than opening up the normal dialogue with (edited name) and others, I and NH F&G and most outdoor organizations disagree with the concept that trail runners are inherently superior to other outdoor enthusiasts and have no need to carry emergency gear in winter. No matter what physical condition they are in, accidents happen, snowshoes break and in winter conditions an extended period of time stationary is going to potentially lead to bad results. Looking at Mt Washington yesterday the temps were around 5 degrees and 30 to 40 MPH winds. Mild for this winter but still dangerous for those poorly equipped.

I will borrow from a recent trip report

"I stepped into a spruce trap up to my waist. It took about half an hour to get me out. My right foot came out alright, but my left foot felt like the snowshoe was nailed into the ground. I couldn't even wiggle it. The trouble, as we eventually figured out when we had removed enough snow, was that the front of the snowshoe was wedged under a blowdown (about 5" diameter) buried under the snow. We used snowshoes as shovels to try to get enough snow out of the hole to work (in spite of more snow constantly falling in) and then Sarah lay on the snow and reached into it with her hands to find and loosen the straps on my snowshoe. I then had some movement and was able to work my boot out of the snowshoe. Then Sarah managed to finally extract the snowshoe from the blowdown. Sarah is now my hero.

I was thinking during this that if it had happened while I was hiking solo I probably would have died there. That's not actually true; I probably would have freed myself eventually, but it would have taken even longer, since was not in a position to easily reach down that far".

I don't think the hikers were planning to get caught in spruce trap and spend 1/2 hour digging in the snow. After swimming in snow for 1/2 hour I expect they would have cooled down and had gear in the pack to warm up.

GrayBear
03-02-2015, 06:36 AM
No doubt they were trail runners. Rather than opening up the normal dialogue with Tim and others, I and NH F&G and most outdoor organizations disagree with the concept that trail runners are inherently superior to other outdoor enthusiasts and have no need to carry emergency gear in winter. No matter what physical condition they are in, accidents happen, snowshoes break and in winter conditions an extended period of time stationary is going to potentially lead to bad results. Looking at Mt Washington yesterday the temps were around 5 degrees and 30 to 40 MPH winds. Mild for this winter but still dangerous for those poorly equipped.

I will borrow from a recent trip report

"I stepped into a spruce trap up to my waist. It took about half an hour to get me out. My right foot came out alright, but my left foot felt like the snowshoe was nailed into the ground. I couldn't even wiggle it. The trouble, as we eventually figured out when we had removed enough snow, was that the front of the snowshoe was wedged under a blowdown (about 5" diameter) buried under the snow. We used snowshoes as shovels to try to get enough snow out of the hole to work (in spite of more snow constantly falling in) and then Sarah lay on the snow and reached into it with her hands to find and loosen the straps on my snowshoe. I then had some movement and was able to work my boot out of the snowshoe. Then Sarah managed to finally extract the snowshoe from the blowdown. Sarah is now my hero.

I was thinking during this that if it had happened while I was hiking solo I probably would have died there. That's not actually true; I probably would have freed myself eventually, but it would have taken even longer, since was not in a position to easily reach down that far".

I don't think the hikers were planning to get caught in spruce trap and spend 1/2 hour digging in the snow. After swimming in snow for 1/2 hour I expect they would have cooled down and had gear in the pack to warm up.

"That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach." Aldous Huxley

jrbren
03-02-2015, 07:13 AM
No doubt they were trail runners. Rather than opening up the normal dialogue with Tim and others, I and NH F&G and most outdoor organizations disagree with the concept that trail runners are inherently superior to other outdoor enthusiasts and have no need to carry emergency gear in winter. No matter what physical condition they are in, accidents happen, snowshoes break and in winter conditions an extended period of time stationary is going to potentially lead to bad results. Looking at Mt Washington yesterday the temps were around 5 degrees and 30 to 40 MPH winds. Mild for this winter but still dangerous for those poorly equipped.

I will borrow from a recent trip report

"I stepped into a spruce trap up to my waist. It took about half an hour to get me out. My right foot came out alright, but my left foot felt like the snowshoe was nailed into the ground. I couldn't even wiggle it. The trouble, as we eventually figured out when we had removed enough snow, was that the front of the snowshoe was wedged under a blowdown (about 5" diameter) buried under the snow. We used snowshoes as shovels to try to get enough snow out of the hole to work (in spite of more snow constantly falling in) and then Sarah lay on the snow and reached into it with her hands to find and loosen the straps on my snowshoe. I then had some movement and was able to work my boot out of the snowshoe. Then Sarah managed to finally extract the snowshoe from the blowdown. Sarah is now my hero.

I was thinking during this that if it had happened while I was hiking solo I probably would have died there. That's not actually true; I probably would have freed myself eventually, but it would have taken even longer, since was not in a position to easily reach down that far".

I don't think the hikers were planning to get caught in spruce trap and spend 1/2 hour digging in the snow. After swimming in snow for 1/2 hour I expect they would have cooled down and had gear in the pack to warm up.

But this thread is opening up that dialog, no ? I know I usually hike alone, and I know many shake their finger at me for that. I will never, ever purchase a hike safe card (unless law mandates it and it is enforced). I generally do not carry a cell phone or GPS. I believe the more I carry the more likely an accident is to occur in the first place (like falling into a spruce trap). There is always that trade off. Many would say I am disaster waiting to happen. How do you know they do not have tools to repair snowshoes ? Or are smart enough to stay on the well packed trails if one breaks ? Many do not bring snow shoes at all when on well packed express ways like Valley Way. How big would their pack need to be to be safe ? IMHO, see to snow snowshoe-ers traveling fast & light is not cause for concern. The most important tool any one can bring is that thing between one's ears.

peakbagger
03-02-2015, 08:37 AM
" How big would the pack be to be safe" If in doubt go to the authorities http://hikesafe.com/index.php?page=full-gear-list. The 10 essentials is a carryover from several long term outdoor organizations and modified for the conditions and accidents that occur locally.

I have no doubt that they were most likely skilled individuals as is the hiker who did the report I excerpted.

I expect most who have been trapped by spruce traps would argue the contention that the weight in the pack leads to getting trapped more frequently. They are not referred to a "trap" for nothing and generally its an either or proposition. They can occur immediately adjacent to a popular trail as much as off trail. Generally I feel that snowshoes increase the severity of a spruce trap due to the mechanics but I also find that snowshoes lessen the frequency.

Realistically I can and do winter hikes without snowshoes on occasion and use "the most important tool" to either turn back if the snow conditions are marginal or postpone the trip. My intent was not to comment on their decision to wear or not wear snowshoes.

I am quite familiar with the carrying capacity of a hydration pack. the packs they had on could conceivably have carried some of the 10 essentials, general low bulk including a snowshoe repair kit. The packs from my observation did not carry any bulk items which generally are spare clothing items. No matter how fit or well dressed a hiker or runner is, if they stop voluntarily or involuntarily they will need more clothing to compensate for a reduction in heat generation from the body. Add in increased heat loss from getting covered with snow and the heat equation doesn't balance and the result is hypothermia and the resultant loss of clear thinking. 99.9 % of the time I agree that the extra gear is not needed and the vast majority of the winter hikers in the whites make it back to their car. This even applies to clueless poorly/underequipped hikers, the odds are vastly in their favor that they will make it out of the woods.

Solo, underequipped and without a GPS or cell phone makes it somewhat simple for the 0.01% occasion, odds are its a body retrieval, although the rescue crews are still having to go out and assume that the hiker is alive until proven otherwise. Thus its a decision on the hikers part that they wont get into the 0.01% category by their wits or they are willing to allow others to take risks on their behalf. Unfortunately I am not aware of a formal option to establish that a hiker has preauthorized stating their decision to not attempt to save their life. Their are some individuals that would support this but unfortunately rarely would family members and society in general support this thus at some point F&G will be called out and put at risk.

dug
03-02-2015, 10:16 AM
I admit to being on the fence with this. I generally will carry enough to get me through a night, even if uncomfortable. However, in the summer that can mean not much in clothes, depending on the weather. Obviously, winter is a bit different.

That being said, my personal opinion is that what happened on Adams a couple of weeks ago would've happened no matter what clothes she had with her. I think she fell and knocked herself out.

There's a lot to be said about fast and light vs. slow and secure....

Tim Seaver
03-02-2015, 10:32 AM
Rather than opening up the normal dialogue with Tim and others, I and NH F&G and most outdoor organizations disagree with the concept that trail runners are inherently superior to other outdoor enthusiasts and have no need to carry emergency gear in winter.

Nice straw man! Can you point me to where I have ever made the statement that "trail runners are inherently superior to other outdoor enthusiasts and have no need to carry emergency gear in winter"?

Or, if you can't, perhaps apologize for insinuating that I said something which I never did? I won't hold my breath.

Railing on the internet about what random strangers are or aren't carrying in the hills is just an updated version of "Old Man Yells at Clouds", and about as meaningful. The distortions are just a cherry on top.

EDIT : Here is one of my most recent statements (http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?52081-Why-Is-My-Backpack-So-Much-Bigger-Than-Yours&p=406069&viewfull=1#post406069) on the topic:


I pretty much put a different pack together for every hike, depending on my familiarity with the hike, the weather, etc. Usually about 18-25 lbs before camera gear. If I am just getting a quick run up something like Camel's Hump on a nice day, I won't be carrying much more than a light shell, a few GU's, and a pinch light, because then it wouldn't BE a "quick run".

DayTrip
03-02-2015, 11:38 AM
This past January I was passed just before the Chimney on the Osceolas by a guy who had nothing but the clothes on his back in some sort of low cut running shoes. He flew by me on a narrow strip of track that he would have post holed thigh deep had he missed it. The steeps were plenty slick in a lot of places.

I go back and forth with this too. I guess it is a balance of the odds for everyone. I tend to think "what if such and such happens and I have no gear" but maybe that is my conservative nature. I guess it is their option to decide what they want to do. If they want to go "all in" doing what they enjoy and take on the risk it is their call. But they should also expect zero sympathy when something goes wrong knowing what they were gambling.

Peakbagr
03-02-2015, 12:51 PM
Dennis and Tim - seems like thread drift into personal. Might I suggest you take the disagreement into PMs ?

Alan

Mike P.
03-02-2015, 03:45 PM
Trail running in general, and it's winter equivalent, snowshoe running, (they do races with people running using the smaller snowshoes), is risky, but being on the trails carry some risk, regardless of how your equipped.

Is it riskier than a fat out of shape person trying to get back in shape carrying a heavy pack up a steep trail? Which is riskier, carrying a big pack and taking longer with the idea you have gear in case of an emergency or going fast and light? (The out of shape person who decides to go fast & light and isn't capable of going fast is a poor option, hopefully I, I mean they start going fast & light on easier, shorter trails.)

Were the two on Adams people who have hiked Valley Way 10-15 times, a few in winter maybe the week before & knew it very well or extreme athletes who just saw that Adams by Valley Way offers a pretty popular route (where men can wear smaller snowshoes or possibly bare boot) that climbs almost 4,500 feet, the most elevation gain for a single peak on a popular route. (Few are climbing Washington by the Great Gulf at the moment)

Trail running isn't something I can do, poor balance and ankle stability put me in a case where if I land wrong and roll my ankle, it may break. (Hurricane in 2013 was just missing a bog bridge and had an Avulsion) I also know that will bad sprains, chip fractures and Avulsions, I can limp my way down. (I probably should carry a SAM splint.....) Losing weight now but running up mountains is not in my future, I have a brother who does in the warmer seasons though, he's the better athlete, always was.

To date, there (to my knowledge) no trail runners who have required rescue or recovery. There's also not many in general compared to the number of hikers. Would these two have gone back when the weather was brutal? If yes, would they have turned back as they approached treeline & began to feel the wind's bite? One's brain should be the best gear you have. The less you bring, IMO, the more willing you should be to turn back. No light, no late starts, no gear, watch the weather very carefully, no snowshoes, stay on the most popular trails, no rain gear, when the horizon looks iffy, retreat. If you only go out on bluebird days and turn back at the first cloud, you should need little in the way of gear, personally, I like different types of weather sometimes.

Now I am pretty sure, most of us have shovels in our cars because we've been plowed in at a trailhead before. But I wonder how many people driving in winter weather have a shovel. Lose control & put your car in a snow bank during a storm, it could be hours before AAA digs your or pulls you out. What percent of Northeast drivers do you think have a shovel? (F & G just can't fine them)

When the first trail runner requires a rescue and lives, it should be interesting to see how F&G responds. In summer, I guess you can be prepared, but in September, can a trail runner in F&G's opinion be well prepared? Whether we debate it back and forth is immaterial.

Putting myself out there, If I do Monadnock on a summer evening (dark at 8:45 or so, close to 6/21) starting at 7:00 PM and it takes me 1 1/4 hours up, I hang for the sunset & then back to my car, what do I need? Typically, I bring a headlamp or two plus a light on my keychain (have walked the last mile back to Lowe's with these before, not ideal but useable) my raincoat as the only extra layer, a bar or two and 50 ounces of water. Guessing I've done it in shorts and T-shirt (non cotton) and also with a pair of zip off pants carrying the legs if I was really thinking. Is that enough??? Maybe there was a compass in my pack but I'm pretty familiar with the trail I do this on.

sierra
03-02-2015, 08:03 PM
I see it all on the trails and have seen my share of people with little or no gear. Funny thing is, I rarely even think about it, or offer advice as to what they " Should" have. If your a trail runner and you want to traverse winter terrain with no gear, have at it. I carry a decent pack year round, but thats me. Once I came upon a group who were very cold on Lions head and one guy had a hoody on! They asked me if I had an xtra jacket, my answer " No, just what I need" and there in lies the crux. If you tavel light, live with it.

mncta5
03-03-2015, 08:33 AM
I see it all on the trails and have seen my share of people with little or no gear. Funny thing is, I rarely even think about it, or offer advice as to what they " Should" have. If your a trail runner and you want to traverse winter terrain with no gear, have at it. I carry a decent pack year round, but thats me. Once I came upon a group who were very cold on Lions head and one guy had a hoody on! They asked me if I had an xtra jacket, my answer " No, just what I need" and there in lies the crux. If you tavel light, live with it.

Well said, Sierra! Pontificating will only garner contempt! I also carry a good-sized pack year round and am asked, from time to time, if I'm spending the night. I guess I should reply "possibly", and leave it at that ;)

mirabela
03-03-2015, 08:44 AM
If your a trail runner and you want to traverse winter terrain with no gear, have at it

I'd like to agree with the spirit of this -- I really would -- except that every time a recreational user has a disaster in the woods, dozens of other men and women put themselves at risk trying to find them in time to save them. I don't have a "bright line" answer about what is OK and what isn't -- none of us do, and that's probably why we debate it here so often -- but one thing I wish everybody understood is that none of us are recreating in a vacuum. Our choices inevitably do impact others.

nartreb
03-03-2015, 10:13 AM
>every time a recreational user has a disaster in the woods, dozens of other men and women put themselves at risk trying to find them in time to save them.

That's just not accurate. S&R is not telepathic. Don't carry any communication devices or tell anyone where you're going, and nobody will come looking for you.

mirabela
03-03-2015, 10:35 AM
>every time a recreational user has a disaster in the woods, dozens of other men and women put themselves at risk trying to find them in time to save them.

That's just not accurate. S&R is not telepathic. Don't carry any communication devices or tell anyone where you're going, and nobody will come looking for you.

OK, fair enough -- but even people who take no reasonable precautions about communicating their plans usually become noticed as missing sooner or later if they stay gone long enough. It's true, too, that some people manage to get into serious trouble and extricate themselves without external help. I'd like to hope that any one of us, if we were to come upon such a case, would intervene and assist to the best of our ability. Either way, though, it doesn't really change the point I'm trying to make, which is that nobody is really in a position to say their decisions cannot impact anybody but themselves. Again, I don't have a bright-line "therefore, everybody must carry X or do Y" type of a rule to extrapolate from this. I don't think there is one. But I think the attitude that what one does out there and how one does it is nobody's business but one's own is naive.

Tom_Murphy
03-03-2015, 12:47 PM
I think the terms "trail runner", "fast& light", "hiker", "slow&heavy" allow us to talk past each other.

IMO the root question is "what is your plan if you suffer an immobilizing injury?"

Do you even consider an immobilizing injury as a possiblity that should be planned for?

Other questions that would affect what gear you might bring "Are you with a group or solo, on a very popular trail or off trail, summer or winter, good weather or bad?"


One example

19-year-old Vt. hiker found dead (http://caledonianrecord.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=146&ArticleID=73147)

his obituary (http://rutlandherald.com/article/20120118/OBITUARIES/701189956/1010/OBITUARIES)

DayTrip
03-03-2015, 02:18 PM
Doing what we want to do without restriction is a great freedom. The issue is with the consequences. If you make a decision you should have to suffer the consequences of your choices.

But that is just not how our society works, at least in the US. Many people don't want to wear helmets on motorcycles. Fine by me. But what happens when you wreck your bike, seriously mess yourself and have no health insurance because you think it's too expensive? Can't just let you die so someone has to pay for the healthcare. Wanna take cocaine every day? Fine by me. But when you crash and go bankrupt and go on disability so you can afford to live? Not your dime. Let the tax payers cover my "second chance". Light up your credit cards on toys and vacations, go out to eat instead of paying your mortgage? No problem. Just file for bankruptcy and leave someone else holding the bag. Wanna run trails with no gear? Doesn't bother me at all. But when you roll an ankle and need a rescue and balk at paying the costs? I could go on and on.

I personally think we should be able to do just about whatever we want (with obvious exceptions) without someone or some law inhibiting my behavior. But when you make bad decisions planning on someone else or someone else's wallet as your bail out plan that really irritates me. You should be responsible for your own safety net. Safety net too much trouble for you? Then you hit the ground and I don't feel bad for you. But I respect your right to hit the ground.

MylesLI
03-03-2015, 02:50 PM
OK, fair enough -- but even people who take no reasonable precautions about communicating their plans usually become noticed as missing sooner or later if they stay gone long enough. It's true, too, that some people manage to get into serious trouble and extricate themselves without external help. I'd like to hope that any one of us, if we were to come upon such a case, would intervene and assist to the best of our ability. Either way, though, it doesn't really change the point I'm trying to make, which is that nobody is really in a position to say their decisions cannot impact anybody but themselves. Again, I don't have a bright-line "therefore, everybody must carry X or do Y" type of a rule to extrapolate from this. I don't think there is one. But I think the attitude that what one does out there and how one does it is nobody's business but one's own is naive.

As much as my crew never went out and expected any help, the fact is that in today's world that attitude won't cut it anymore. Mirabela is right and Tom makes great points as well

Remix
03-03-2015, 03:19 PM
Well said, Sierra! Pontificating will only garner contempt! I also carry a good-sized pack year round and am asked, from time to time, if I'm spending the night. I guess I should reply "possibly", and leave it at that ;)

I just say "Hope not!"

SherpaTom
03-03-2015, 05:11 PM
Like many subjects on this board, many can be debated back & forth...just look at the debate on the tragedy on Adams only a few weeks ago. I was fortunate enough to hike Adams/Madison on the first day of winter this past year and we had incredible weather (so good we did not need our winter jackets on either summit). Now that is not to say we did not have all our gear, snowshoes (never used them), or most other items stayed in the pack. We saw a young guy hiking in shorts and gaiters. Was he nuts, well in a 58 y/o like me, I would not do it but he certainly he seemed safe enough for his adventure. I no longer hike solo, a promise I made to my wife after we debated whether it was safe or not.

In the end, as one poster said, as long as someone's decision does not have a negative impact on someone else, then a hiker can do what they feel is within their safety zone. I know when I was 30 years younger, I probably did some things...strike that, I know I did some things that were not safe.

Bob Kittredge
03-04-2015, 07:16 AM
I was coming down Washington one cloudy summer's day when I encountered a family with a couple of teenagers. Only the father had a (smallish) pack on his back. "Oh", say I, "Dad gets to carry all the raingear?" He gave me a somewhat uncertain look and said "I was hoping it wouldn't rain." Hmmm. Why hadn't I thought of that? I'll just leave all this stuff I carry at home next time and hope for the best. (It did not, in fact, rain that day.)

Remix
03-04-2015, 08:45 AM
This is an old, acrid debate which has led to alot of contention on other sites.

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Climbing-light-and-fast-also-proves-deadly-1225351.php

sierra
03-04-2015, 10:46 AM
I'd like to agree with the spirit of this -- I really would -- except that every time a recreational user has a disaster in the woods, dozens of other men and women put themselves at risk trying to find them in time to save them. I don't have a "bright line" answer about what is OK and what isn't -- none of us do, and that's probably why we debate it here so often -- but one thing I wish everybody understood is that none of us are recreating in a vacuum. Our choices inevitably do impact others.

To be honest, this is an argument I have never agreed with. People have a right to do what they want out there, if there are severe consquences, so be it. SAR goes out because they want too, nobody has to join SAR. Don't get me wrong, I love what they do and respect the hell out them all, they are heroes for sure. But, you cant say someone shouldn't do something only because SAR might have to go out. That's like saying, don't have a camp fire because the fire dept might have to come out. Just my 2 cents.

DayTrip
03-04-2015, 11:42 AM
That's like saying, don't have a camp fire because the fire dept might have to come out. Just my 2 cents.

That's a great analogy. But like all the other noted examples there are degrees of common sense. Having a nice small fire after carefully clearing the immediate area of tinder is different from piling dozens of pallets together and having a 15' tall flame going on the edge of a dry field. Going "light" on a reasonably good weather day in an area you know well is different from going "light" in a treacherous stretch above treeline you've never done before with foul weather approaching.

There is a sliding scale of probability for a negative outcome that your free choice will eventually begin to encroach on other people's enjoyment, safety and expense. Where "the line" is between the freedom to decide for yourself and what is irresponsible and foolish because of its impact on others varies from person to person. I don't buy into the notion that I should be out hiking for the enjoyment and consideration of others as is often sited in various online debates about not doing blah-blah-blah because it is "rude" and "inconsiderate" behavior. Rude and inconsiderate as defined by who? But at some point there is a line that gets crossed where "rude" and "inconsiderate" becomes negligent and irresponsible.

Tim Seaver
03-04-2015, 12:46 PM
It's always struck me as a bit odd the way this board responds to the latest mountain death, as if it should somehow "change everything", and then morphs into these misguided attacks on trail runners and anyone who isn't carrying a 45 pound pack. It's not going to change anything.

The person who died wasn't "going light" - "going light" has ZIP to do with her death. She headed out in atrocious conditions - THAT is why she died. In some conditions, no amount of gear is going to save you.

As far as religiously following recommendations, if people actually did that, 99% of them would have to turn around after reading the very first sentence in the USFS sign:

"Use this trail only if you are in top physical condition..."

"Only" is underlined. Why do so many people blatantly ignore this, yet spend so much time harassing other people on what they are or aren't carrying?

dug
03-04-2015, 01:21 PM
I've said this before: half the people I see on the trail think I'm carrying too much gear; the other half think I'm not carrying enough....

DayTrip
03-04-2015, 02:03 PM
It's always struck me as a bit odd the way this board responds to the latest mountain death, as if it should somehow "change everything", and then morphs into these misguided attacks on trail runners and anyone who isn't carrying a 45 pound pack. It's not going to change anything.

The person who died wasn't "going light" - "going light" has ZIP to do with her death. She headed out in atrocious conditions - THAT is why she died. In some conditions, no amount of gear is going to save you.

As far as religiously following recommendations, if people actually did that, 99% of them would have to turn around after reading the very first sentence in the USFS sign:

"Use this trail only if you are in top physical condition..."

"Only" is underlined. Why do so many people blatantly ignore this, yet spend so much time harassing other people on what they are or aren't carrying?

If the "going light" thing is directed at me you may have misunderstood my intent. I am NOT referencing the recent fatality in any way. The original post referenced snowshoers with little gear and the online article link referenced by Remix discussed the concept of going light out West. I was just trying to tie in the analogy with the point I was trying to make (apparently not very well).

My point was that I'm all for people doing whatever they want to do with their lives but there is a point where the probability of a negative outcome will increase to the level that it will impact others whether it is intended or not, with a negative result for the others. That "negative result" might be lending someone a jacket, cutting a hike short to attend to an injured person or ultimately someone risking life and limb to save the original decision maker.

Tom_Murphy
03-04-2015, 03:49 PM
The person who died wasn't "going light" - "going light" has ZIP to do with her death. She headed out in atrocious conditions - THAT is why she died. In some conditions, no amount of gear is going to save you.

If she had brought an avy shovel, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, bivy, snowshoes, food, stove, and a compass, she would be alive today. People have bivouaced in worse conditions for multiple days and then walked off the mountain.

Raven
03-04-2015, 04:15 PM
To be honest, this is an argument I have never agreed with. People have a right to do what they want out there, if there are severe consquences, so be it. SAR goes out because they want too, nobody has to join SAR. Don't get me wrong, I love what they do and respect the hell out them all, they are heroes for sure. But, you cant say someone shouldn't do something only because SAR might have to go out. That's like saying, don't have a camp fire because the fire dept might have to come out. Just my 2 cents.

I was going to add my two cents, but Sierra already has.

I have the utmost respect for S & R personnel and personally know two of the people on the recent recovery team as many of us must, but that doesn't change the fact that everyone who goes into the woods chooses to do so. I think if you choose to go into S & R, law enforcement, EMT, fire department, you are going to have to accept that you will be putting yourself at risk to save people who made decisions you don't think are smart.

MUCH respect for Search and Rescue personnel, but I draw my line at this point as well.

sierra
03-04-2015, 04:18 PM
Doing what we want to do without restriction is a great freedom. The issue is with the consequences. If you make a decision you should have to suffer the consequences of your choices.

But that is just not how our society works, at least in the US. Many people don't want to wear helmets on motorcycles. Fine by me. But what happens when you wreck your bike, seriously mess yourself and have no health insurance because you think it's too expensive? Can't just let you die so someone has to pay for the healthcare. Wanna take cocaine every day? Fine by me. But when you crash and go bankrupt and go on disability so you can afford to live? Not your dime. Let the tax payers cover my "second chance". Light up your credit cards on toys and vacations, go out to eat instead of paying your mortgage? No problem. Just file for bankruptcy and leave someone else holding the bag. Wanna run trails with no gear? Doesn't bother me at all. But when you roll an ankle and need a rescue and balk at paying the costs? I could go on and on.

I personally think we should be able to do just about whatever we want (with obvious exceptions) without someone or some law inhibiting my behavior. But when you make bad decisions planning on someone else or someone else's wallet as your bail out plan that really irritates me. You should be responsible for your own safety net. Safety net too much trouble for you? Then you hit the ground and I don't feel bad for you. But I respect your right to hit the ground.

You make some valid points, but in this forum, I'll pass on the "society" based issues and stick with the backcountry topic. I am all for freedom, I do not want anyone telling me what to do, what to carry and how to plan my hikes. That being said, I stand by my personal choices and back them up. I plan for self rescue, I leave no plans, I don't want anyone coming for me. I've performed a self rescue before and I would do it again, if I have too, that is my right. I don't infringe on anyone or expect anything from anyone. This philosophy is for very few, many have given me thier share of negetive comments regarding the way I climb. To me, the way I climb is just as important as the climb itself, its pure. When I'm on a high peak here or in CO, looking at a dicey move high up, its my stict adhearance to being completely solo and alone that pushes me to be the best I can be, to settle for anything less would not do it for me. Granted, I'm single, no kids, so for me its cool. On the other hand, I have short-roped an injured climbed from the summit of Lions head to the Tucks trail myself and if I had too, would help anyone to get out.

dug
03-04-2015, 05:40 PM
IMO if she had brought an avy shovel, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, bivy, snowshoes, food, stove, and a compass, she would be alive today. People have bivouaced in worse conditions for multiple days and then walked off the mountain.


IMO, none of that would've mattered. The wind blew her off the top of the peak, landing face first. She was probably concussed, knocked out, and unable to care for herself (IMO)

ChrisB
03-04-2015, 05:43 PM
A recent issue of Appalachia Journal has a lengthy article on trail running (http://www.outdoors.org/publications/appalachia/2014/you-cant-run-that-doug-mayer.cfm), with a focus on the Whites, by Gorham-based Doug Meyer.

What's interesting is that as a Winter hiker, he self-rescued from Madison Hut after he suffered a tib/fib break many years ago.

cb

DayTrip
03-04-2015, 06:09 PM
You make some valid points, but in this forum, I'll pass on the "society" based issues and stick with the backcountry topic. I am all for freedom, I do not want anyone telling me what to do, what to carry and how to plan my hikes. That being said, I stand by my personal choices and back them up. I plan for self rescue, I leave no plans, I don't want anyone coming for me. I've performed a self rescue before and I would do it again, if I have too, that is my right. I don't infringe on anyone or expect anything from anyone. This philosophy is for very few, many have given me thier share of negetive comments regarding the way I climb. To me, the way I climb is just as important as the climb itself, its pure. When I'm on a high peak here or in CO, looking at a dicey move high up, its my stict adhearance to being completely solo and alone that pushes me to be the best I can be, to settle for anything less would not do it for me. Granted, I'm single, no kids, so for me its cool. On the other hand, I have short-roped an injured climbed from the summit of Lions head to the Tucks trail myself and if I had too, would help anyone to get out.

We are in agreement. But not everyone has your code of ethics, knowledge or decision making ability. A lot of people, consciously or unconsciously, put the burden of responsibility of their actions on others.

JCarter
03-04-2015, 06:32 PM
IMO, none of that would've mattered. The wind blew her off the top of the peak, landing face first. She was probably concussed, knocked out, and unable to care for herself (IMO)

except for the minor detail that she activated her PLB. Which argues persuasively against "knocked out".

sierra
03-04-2015, 06:36 PM
We are in agreement. But not everyone has your code of ethics, knowledge or decision making ability. A lot of people, consciously or unconsciously, put the burden of responsibility of their actions on others.

That is true and the sad thing is, it will always be that way. On an average year ( winter ) 1 to 2 people die in the Whites, on really bad year, its more. That is the hard truth and it will proboly always be that way. Its a funny sport we enjoy, it can be the most rewarding thing, yet it can be very dangerous, or deadly. The novices and the foolhardy are the ones who ussually pay the price, or in the event of some bad luck it could be anyone, including myself. That is why SAR folks go out, you cant change what is, but you can try to help if you can. Life is not perfect, it just is.

dug
03-04-2015, 06:44 PM
except for the minor detail that she activated her PLB. Which argues persuasively against "knocked out".

Not permanently, but laying there unable to move, activating a button, doesn't mean one is able to light a stove, crawl into a tent, put on warm clothes, and wait it out.

What killed her was leaving the parking lot, not all the missing gear...IMO.

Mike P.
03-05-2015, 05:46 AM
A recent issue of Appalachia Journal has a lengthy article on trail running (http://www.outdoors.org/publications/appalachia/2014/you-cant-run-that-doug-mayer.cfm), with a focus on the Whites, by Gorham-based Doug Meyer.

What's interesting is that as a Winter hiker, he self-rescued from Madison Hut after he suffered a tib/fib break many years ago.

cb

Thanks Chris for the link, it was an interesting read. Nice to see Tim named in the article. It will be interesting to see how trail running sport matures as more people do it. While a single of a couple of trail runners really don't impact trails as all, I'm not sure how races will impact the trails. (Do they run at the same time where they need trails wide enough for passing or are starts staggered and runners have chips to track times)

Nice to see that they are enjoying the views just quicker. Seems many people have been quite familiar with the trails they run on. As the sport grows, will rescues increase? As the article mentioned, helicopter rescues in the Alps seem run of the mille (or from here in America, they seem that way from afar when reading climbing books) while costs seem to be brought up often in NH. Interesting paragliding mention also as I like reading Joe Simpson of "Touching the Void" fame. Some of his mountaineerings friend and Joe did some paragliding and they enjoyed it. Eventually they did lose friends and have accidents paragliding too.

I see why trail running is alluring. Running on pavement is harder on joints and, IMO, kind of boring. (I prefer running on boardwalks at the beach, it's different than my regular scenery, the boards are softer than the road and flat....) I like jogging on the local rail trail over the road although it's familiar too. I could see myself jogging at some of the flatter state parks in CT, which also have wider abandoned roads as trails, but doubt I'll ever be fit enough to run up Valley Way. (ok, I prefer hiking over jogging but jogging does provide a faster cardio work out and can be done everywhere and a twenty minute run out my door is a cardio workout and takes twenty minutes. Until I move to Randolph or Waterville Valley, (add your favorite trailhead town here), a twenty minute hike requires time to get to the trail.

Now time for my least favorite exercise.... s&*@ shoveling snow!

Tom_Murphy
03-05-2015, 09:37 AM
Not permanently, but laying there unable to move, activating a button, doesn't mean one is able to light a stove, crawl into a tent, put on warm clothes, and wait it out.

What killed her was leaving the parking lot, not all the missing gear...IMO.

Yes, you are correct that some accidents are unsurvivable no matter what preparation you take. The recent death may (or may not) have been in that catergory.

Can we agree on a hypothetical trip in order to move past that disagreement ?

A solo traverse of the Northern Presidentals in the winter in severe enough weather that you can not be sure you will encounter anyone else but not so severe that you need to cancel the trip at the trailhead.

Or is that a trip you should never do?

Should you be prepared to be benighted due to a broken ankle on a solo day hike?

If you want to be prepared to be benighted due to a broken ankle on a solo traverse of the Northern Presidentals in the winter in severe enough weather that you can not be sure you will encounter anyone else, what should you bring with you?

My answer was: avy shovel, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, bivy, snowshoes, food, stove, and a compass.

Thanks.

dug
03-05-2015, 12:01 PM
Yes, you are correct that some accidents are unsurvivable no matter what preparation you take. The recent death may (or may not) have been in that catergory.

Can we agree on a hypothetical trip in order to move past that disagreement ?

A solo traverse of the Northern Presidentals in the winter in severe enough weather that you can not be sure you will encounter anyone else but not so severe that you need to cancel the trip at the trailhead.

Or is that a trip you should never do?

Should you be prepared to be benighted due to a broken ankle on a solo day hike?

If you want to be prepared to be benighted due to a broken ankle on a solo traverse of the Northern Presidentals in the winter in severe enough weather that you can not be sure you will encounter anyone else, what should you bring with you?

My answer was: avy shovel, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, bivy, snowshoes, food, stove, and a compass.

Thanks.

I would carry most of that, if it were me...except the sleeping pad and shovel.

The crux of the argument is carrying too much (and what that is open to debate) only slows you down, making the need for overnight gear my applicable. My opinion is that I would need to survive the night on my own, and would carry that.

Brambor
03-05-2015, 01:03 PM
No sleeping pad? In those temps? I've done survival sleeping like that on my belly with both hands in my crotch but I'd rather take the pad... ;-)




I would carry most of that, if it were me...except the sleeping pad and shovel.

The crux of the argument is carrying too much (and what that is open to debate) only slows you down, making the need for overnight gear my applicable. My opinion is that I would need to survive the night on my own, and would carry that.

dug
03-05-2015, 01:31 PM
I carry a 2'x2' piece of closed foam. That and my pack will be enough to survive, not thrive.

But, to be clear, in those temps I wouldn't be there :)

Brambor
03-05-2015, 01:34 PM
that would do fine for emergency.

DougPaul
03-05-2015, 09:58 PM
I carry a 2'x2' piece of closed foam. That and my pack will be enough to survive, not thrive.
That is enough if you can sit up. I had one when I had my accident (broken femur and hip, on snow) and decided that I should have brought a full size pad. (Fortunately I was able to sit up.)

Yes, you can use your pack under you as insulation or empty it and put your feet in it. But a full size pad is better (but bigger and heavier).


FWIW, Dugal Haston and Doug Scott bivouaced in a snow cave near the South Summit of Everest (28,750 ft) in 1975. Scott had left his down clothing* below and spent the night enlarging their cave (ie exercising) to keep warm. Haston had his down suit. (They didn't have pads or sleeping bags.) By staying active, they were able avoid frostbite in the -50C (estimated) temps and continued down the next morning.
* Full down suits are pretty normal clothing at those altitudes.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1975_British_Mount_Everest_Southwest_Face_expediti on
https://www.himalayanclub.org/hj/34/1/everest-south-west-face-climbed/

FWIW2: Tom Horbein, Willi Unsoeld, Barry Bishop, and Lute Jerstad bivouaced in the open between the South Summit of Everest and the South Col (~28,000 ft) in 1963. It was a cold, but fortunately windless night. Three of the four suffered frostbite and two lost toes. http://www.adventure-journal.com/2013/10/the-aj-list-9-legendary-bivouacs/

We should note that these examples feature uninjured elite climbers. Both bivouacs were done without supplementary oxygen.

Doug

Remix
03-05-2015, 10:57 PM
Don't forget about pine branches to lay on; I assume NHFG won't write you a ticket for using them in an emergency.

Mike P.
03-06-2015, 06:08 AM
That is enough if you can sit up. I had one when I had my accident (broken femur and hip, on snow) and decided that I should have brought a full size pad. (Fortunately I was able to sit up.)

Yes, you can use your pack under you as insulation or empty it and put your feet in it. But a full size pad is better (but bigger and heavier).


FWIW, Dugal Haston and Doug Scott bivouaced in a snow cave near the South Summit of Everest (28,750 ft) in 1975. Scott had left his down clothing* below and spent the night enlarging their cave (ie exercising) to keep warm. Haston had his down suit. (They didn't have pads or sleeping bags.) By staying active, they were able avoid frostbite in the -50C (estimated) temps and continued down the next morning.
* Full down suits are pretty normal clothing at those altitudes.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1975_British_Mount_Everest_Southwest_Face_expediti on
https://www.himalayanclub.org/hj/34/1/everest-south-west-face-climbed/

FWIW2: Tom Horbein, Willi Unsoeld, Barry Bishop, and Lute Jerstad bivouaced in the open between the South Summit of Everest and the South Col (~28,000 ft) in 1963. It was a cold, but fortunately windless night. Three of the four suffered frostbite and two lost toes. http://www.adventure-journal.com/2013/10/the-aj-list-9-legendary-bivouacs/

We should note that these examples feature uninjured elite climbers. Both bivouacs were done without supplementary oxygen.

Doug

Thank you for weighing in with your first hand experience.

dug
03-06-2015, 10:08 AM
That is enough if you can sit up. I had one when I had my accident (broken femur and hip, on snow) and decided that I should have brought a full size pad. (Fortunately I was able to sit up.)

Yes, you can use your pack under you as insulation or empty it and put your feet in it. But a full size pad is better (but bigger and heavier).



Most definitely true, and it's a balance between saving weight vs. saving life, vs. comfort. Again, I wouldn't be surviving in -60 degree weather, I have a woodstove and a TV for that kind of weather. Without a doubt, though, I think some type of cold ground separator is very important.

On a side note, I do know of two skiers who had to survive a night lost in the woods in Vermont after skiing down a wrong drainage. They were not injured (key point here), but they stood on the mats and packs all night against a tree. While bored and cold, they were comfortable enough. (I don't recall how cold the night was, though)