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peakbagger
11-29-2015, 10:45 AM
I would expect the group without lighting and a map would get charged if F&G even dispatched a crew but the ice climber probably wouldn't.

http://nhpr.org/post/two-rescues-north-country

I had a meetup group out on Friday. There were some fairly new hikers on the trip. At one point the pace really slowed and given that the lower section of hike was off trail I really needed to get the group down before dark. When I mentioned we needed to get going at steadier pace, a few folks said, "we have plenty of time it doesn't get dark until around 5:30". We let them know that they were a bit off, the sun set is around 4:15 PM and we were on the SE side of the mountain which means twilight is lot shorter.

I am actually surprised more folks didn't get in trouble as the nice day on Friday may have convinced folks to head up Saturday which was a pretty poor day, cold windy and damp with some snow flurries.

erugs
11-30-2015, 09:53 AM
I thought we would have heard about more rescues, too. Nice that the group separated, huh? I'd be interested in knowing how that conversation went when they met up.

sierra
11-30-2015, 01:35 PM
What bugged me, was that as soon as they got to the car and their friends were not there, they called for help. I mean nothing happened yet, so it got dark, so they might come out else. Seems like calling for a rescue these day's, is akin to calling out for a pizza. God forbid they just wait and see what happens. Many years ago when I left my plans with someone, ( I don't now) my request was, give me until tomorrow noon before you call. That gave me time to deal with a situation on my own, before alerting the authorities.

skiguy
11-30-2015, 01:42 PM
Seems like calling for a rescue these day's, is akin to calling out for a pizza.

No doubt. Thing is the way it's going they may even get the Pizza while their waiting to be rescued. :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDXuGQRpvs4

B the Hiker
12-01-2015, 11:45 AM
God forbid they just wait and see what happens.

If folks know what they're doing, they have a stove and a sleeping bag and can muddle through if things go badly and they have to wait for rescuers.

The problem is that the very people who call are the ones who don't have that gear and the sooner they call, the sooner they get off the mountain. I was on Jefferson and Hale this weekend and met folks who clearly were not carrying the gear needed to spend multiple hours in one spot.


Brian

dug
12-01-2015, 11:55 AM
As a follow up...the less prepared you are, the quicker you should call (if you are going to anyway). Waiting too long, wandering around, will only make the rescue more difficult.

sierra
12-01-2015, 01:32 PM
As a follow up...the less prepared you are, the quicker you should call (if you are going to anyway). Waiting too long, wandering around, will only make the rescue more difficult.

I guess I come at it from a different angle. I wouldn't consider calling until I needed help badly. They were simply on the wrong trail. They would have eventually come out, so maybe not at the car, big deal, I've done some long road walks. My point is, they didn't need a rescue, they needed to walk their lost asses down on their own.
It's not that I'm against people calling for help. I'm against calling to fast and putting people out when you could muster up some effort and help yourself. I had some close calls when I was young and dumb, the thought of calling for help. quite frankly never entered my mind. People who are entering the world of hiking now, come from a new perspective. As soon as something is a little off, dial 911. OK, that's fine, they should be billed every penny, they were clearly negligent.

dug
12-01-2015, 01:38 PM
I guess I come at it from a different angle. I wouldn't consider calling until I needed help badly. They were simply on the wrong trail. They would have eventually come out, so maybe not at the car, big deal, I've done some long road walks. My point is, they didn't need a rescue, they needed to walk their lost asses down on their own.
It's not that I'm against people calling for help. I'm against calling to fast and putting people out when you could muster up some effort and help yourself. I had some close calls when I was young and dumb, the thought of calling for help. quite frankly never entered my mind. People who are entering the world of hiking now, come from a new perspective. As soon as something is a little off, dial 911. OK, that's fine, they should be billed every penny, they were clearly negligent.

I agree overall. I just mean that if there is no way the parties in question have the means to get themselves off the mountain, then call. Waiting until dark, when it's colder, weather rolls in, just call. Have your debit card ready.

This isn't directed to anyone on here, I assume, so it's for deaf ears anyway. I agree they didn't NEED a rescue, but they weren't going to budge unless someone came and got them. (I would've loved to hear what the people in the lot were saying)

sierra
12-01-2015, 03:33 PM
I agree overall. I just mean that if there is no way the parties in question have the means to get themselves off the mountain, then call. Waiting until dark, when it's colder, weather rolls in, just call. Have your debit card ready.

This isn't directed to anyone on here, I assume, so it's for deaf ears anyway. I agree they didn't NEED a rescue, but they weren't going to budge unless someone came and got them. (I would've loved to hear what the people in the lot were saying)

I understand what your saying and get your point. I guess it's a new era out there. When I started out, I read books by Chris Bonnington, Doug Scott, Reinhold Messner, I wanted to be that tough when I climbed. The new generation has no hero's, I guess.

erugs
12-01-2015, 04:03 PM
They are of the "Vacation State of Mind" mindset where bad things can't happen to them. And so, I recommend the book Deep Survival by Larry Gonzales which goes into this. Oh, wait. "They" won't read it.


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0028Z4LUU/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1

iAmKrzys
12-01-2015, 07:25 PM
I understand what your saying and get your point. I guess it's a new era out there. When I started out, I read books by Chris Bonnington, Doug Scott, Reinhold Messner, I wanted to be that tough when I climbed. The new generation has no hero's, I guess.

Are these books available on Instagram???

Driver8
12-02-2015, 12:05 AM
I understand what your saying and get your point. I guess it's a new era out there. When I started out, I read books by Chris Bonnington, Doug Scott, Reinhold Messner, I wanted to be that tough when I climbed. The new generation has no hero's, I guess.

I agree with the thrust of your post previous to the above, but respectfully submit that a "whippersnappers these days are all soft" take is counterproductive. Some are, some aren't, and that truth spans across all ages. The job of educating the young - whether in age or experience - is perpetual. More ignorant little ones being born every day, and, fortunately, on the whole, I think, more new hikers starting the hobby every year. Not all of them read guidebooks and informative websites such as this, more should, and it's on us to encourage them, seems to me.

erugs
12-02-2015, 08:19 AM
Good point Driver8.

Stan
12-02-2015, 09:00 AM
I usually leave some sort of trip plan behind, whether hiking or paddling, but sometimes I don't and sometimes the plan deviates substantially. I've only been unplanned benighted once but am confident (both in probability and in a successful outcome) that I could do it again. When would I call or seek help? Probably not until in distress of some sort (injury, dehydration, hypothermia, hopelessly disoriented, etc.) but if I had any doubt, especially if others were involved, I would at least attempt to contact emergency personnel with a heads up ... this is where I am or may be, this is the problem, I think I can handle it, if not out by ________ please send help ... There is no shame in this and, having been professionally engaged in SAR many years ago I can tell you that SAR people would appreciate the information rather than starting an incident from scratch.

erugs
12-02-2015, 09:13 AM
The woman who was benighted a few years ago called to inquire if anyone might be around where she was lost. Because she called with an inquiry, the S&R was put into motion. At least that's the way I remember it from her and the story. It's like my mother calling 911 a few years ago, then realizing it was unnecessary. Because she had called, the call had to be acted upon. Not to say one should not call, just be forewarned it won't likely be taken as a heads up.

sardog1
12-02-2015, 09:48 AM
As someone who used to be awakened in the middle of the night on a regular basis, my first recommendation when you think you might be lost is to STOP:


Stop moving, immediately.
Think about how you got to where you are.
Observe your surroundings and the resources you have with you.
Plan your next action(s).

My second recommendation is to make that call early, rather than later. I have NEVER heard a SAR incident commander or responder say, "Gee, I wish that person had waited longer before calling for help. It would have made the situation so much more complicated, it would have extended the search by hours or days, and it would have exposed us to greater hazard in responding. Why can't people be more considerate before they call?"

In my experience, attempts at muddling through often end badly, sometimes fatally. If you're competent, uninjured and working from a plan, great. But "muddling" implies you are not.

iAmKrzys
12-02-2015, 09:33 PM
In my experience, attempts at muddling through often end badly, sometimes fatally. If you're competent, uninjured and working from a plan, great. But "muddling" implies you are not.

Last winter, after Kate Matrosova's death I thought to myself that I have never tried to systematically think about dangers of hiking, so I sat down one evening and compiled a list of such dangers. One of the things I wrote down was "loss of ability to asses risk" but maybe I should make it a bit more general as a "loss of ability to assess situation" or just add it as another item on my list...

erugs
12-03-2015, 08:37 AM
As in, when we become so focused on our goals that nothing else seems to matter? That's a hurdle to overcome for some high achievers.

skiguy
12-03-2015, 12:00 PM
The woman who was benighted a few years ago called to inquire if anyone might be around where she was lost. Because she called with an inquiry, the S&R was put into motion. At least that's the way I remember it from her and the story. It's like my mother calling 911 a few years ago, then realizing it was unnecessary. Because she had called, the call had to be acted upon. Not to say one should not call, just be forewarned it won't likely be taken as a heads up.

Was this the incident on Jackson where the woman involved had her cell phone, no map and compass, was lost, spent the night out and was lead out the next morning?

erugs
12-03-2015, 12:04 PM
I'm not sure about the map and compass. That's the one, though. She would have found the way out the next morning, had just placed a heads up call. Maps and compass are hard to use if there is zero visibility and you are mired in deep snow off trail. A storm had come in a bit ahead of schedule. She had gear to keep herself relatively comfortable until she waited for dawn.

hikerbrian
12-03-2015, 12:21 PM
As in, when we become so focused on our goals that nothing else seems to matter? That's a hurdle to overcome for some high achievers.

I read it as: circumstances on trail lead to an decreased ability to make good decisions. For example, as one becomes mildly hypothermic, one's judgement becomes poorer. This loss of judgement can also be caused by anxiety. It's getting dark, you're lost, storm is coming, your stress hormones are through the roof, and rather than calmly assessing the situation and making the best possible decision, you flail and run, get sweaty, and wear yourself out. It can be very hard to clear the fog of stress hormones.

dug
12-03-2015, 01:25 PM
I'm not sure about the map and compass. That's the one, though. She would have found the way out the next morning, had just placed a heads up call. Maps and compass are hard to use if there is zero visibility and you are mired in deep snow off trail. A storm had come in a bit ahead of schedule. She had gear to keep herself relatively comfortable until she waited for dawn.

She is a member of VFTT, not sure if she will comment. If I recall from our conversation, she called more to see if she could get direction, and they dispatched a party which she then met on the way down.

erugs
12-03-2015, 01:31 PM
Dug's right. And there were many from F&G and S&R who thought she was prepared enough that she should not be charged.

sierra
12-03-2015, 01:35 PM
I agree with the thrust of your post previous to the above, but respectfully submit that a "whippersnappers these days are all soft" take is counterproductive. Some are, some aren't, and that truth spans across all ages. The job of educating the young - whether in age or experience - is perpetual. More ignorant little ones being born every day, and, fortunately, on the whole, I think, more new hikers starting the hobby every year. Not all of them read guidebooks and informative websites such as this, more should, and it's on us to encourage them, seems to me.

Reading guidebooks, learning how to be safe and preparing yourself for what you undertake is the responsibility of the individual. Not that I'm not interested in lending advice, but it's not my responsibili
ty. The lack of accountability is the issue here, you seem to want to deflect that towards my post. But then again that has been you mo, on my post lately.

Grey J
12-03-2015, 02:48 PM
I appreciate the fact that SAR exists and greatly respect the work they do. However I believe that each hike is a test of self reliance and that its my job to have a plan with a route and a backup plan and its my job to know where I am and where I'm going. Experienced, careful, thoughtful hikers can also get lost or hurt, but I will assume 100% of the risk and 100% of the responsibility for my own safety. I agree with Sierra in the broad sense that I am not responsible for the safety or the education of others but would be perfectly willing to provide assistance to anyone needing it and asking for it.

Hikerbrian: great point. Panic is your worst enemy and its not just mental, it becomes physical.

erugs
12-03-2015, 03:03 PM
And I think 98% of the people hiking are doing pretty well and do not call for assistance. Are there numbers on that? I don't know, but there are far more people hiking than we hear need help. That's a good thing, of course. And I say with assurance that I would self rescue, but after reading the essay of the ice climber who really did need rescue, I am not sure I could do what he did. One thing about panic that I've learned, if you have practiced your techniques for survival, you are apt to do the right thing.

tgoodwin
12-03-2015, 03:26 PM
I have written the "Accident Report" column for the ADK's "Adirondac" magazine for nearly 30 years now. Nothing that I read here surprised me in the least as the Adirondacks have experienced the same mentality that the only essential piece of gear on a hike is a cell phone. Last summer we had one truly "high-tech" rescue where a ranger determined that the group had an app on their smart phone that could locate them and then instructed the lost party to activate that app and send a screen shot to the rangers so they could be told where they were and which direction to hike out.

DayTrip
12-03-2015, 07:44 PM
Reading guidebooks, learning how to be safe and preparing yourself for what you undertake is the responsibility of the individual. Not that I'm not interested in lending advice, but it's not my responsibility. The lack of accountability is the issue here, you seem to want to deflect that towards my post. But then again that has been you mo, on my post lately.

Not to defend yours or Driver8's position here but I think you might both be saying the same thing, or at least that's my take. I think everyone on this forum eagerly and happily provides guidance and advice to people WHO ASK FOR IT. These people are taking an active role in learning what they need to know to be responsible for themselves and I think we're all on board with that and provide help and encouragement when it is wanted. They are demonstrating accountability and responsibility.


I think where everyone is of different positions is when it comes to us "pushing" advice out to those who may be in need, whether that is pointing out issues in other people's online comments (like flaws in their logic, knowledge or planning) or being "that guy" out on the trail offering unwanted advice. I'm with Sierra on that. If they didn't do their homework I have no sympathy for them. I'm not going to drag them down the path of enlightenment under the premise that I'm "advancing" the sport and the learning for all. The knowledge and experience should be earned. I wouldn't turn my back on someone in danger but if we're talking about someone walking an extra 4 miles because they didn't have a map and took a wrong turn or someone who is soaking wet because they didn't think to bring rain gear I say "Oh well".

As far as my take on a "rescue", for me a rescue is NEEDED when there is a 100% chance that I am not going to get out of the woods (safely or otherwise) without assistance. There are cases where that can't be helped (injury, equipment failure, possibly weather, etc) and there are cases where it is not (not having right equipment, going out in inappropriate weather conditions, laziness, desire not to be uncomfortable,etc). Evaluating these probabilities should happen at the very first point that getting out on your own gets called into question. All the variables should be played out to properly decide if you should push on or call in the troops. As was previously pointed out, waiting until later to call for help is usually a bad idea because fatigue, fear and health can rapidly reduce judgement.

DayTrip
12-03-2015, 07:59 PM
And I think 98% of the people hiking are doing pretty well and do not call for assistance. Are there numbers on that? I don't know, but there are far more people hiking than we hear need help. That's a good thing, of course. And I say with assurance that I would self rescue, but after reading the essay of the ice climber who really did need rescue, I am not sure I could do what he did. One thing about panic that I've learned, if you have practiced your techniques for survival, you are apt to do the right thing.

I'd be careful to draw that conclusion. Yes, there are a lot of hikers out there and 150-200 incidents a year as a % of total hiker volume is pretty low. But I think a lot of that is not so much that everyone is going out there organized and prepared but more the fact that hiking in the Whites at most times of year really is not all that dangerous, despite all our efforts to portray it as full of huge dangers. I see tons of people on the trails that are most definitely not ready for what COULD happen but most of the time the penalty for that is being uncomfortable, not getting into trouble. Most of these types of hikers generally go out in decent weather, on weekends where many other people (and potential helpers) are out on the trails and are in some sort of reasonable shape. The probability of a disaster in these circumstances is pretty low. You don't see news articles about the guy who staggered out of the woods soaking wet and starving because he got caught in the rain without any gear and his Triscuits got waterlogged.

Driver8
12-03-2015, 08:40 PM
The lack of accountability is the issue here, you seem to want to deflect that towards my post. But then again that has been you mo, on my post lately.

Your blanket condemnation of "kids these days" was the point of objection. Don't seem to be stepping up to defend that notion, so maybe you concede the point.

I agree with you about the ethic of individual responsibility and said so in the passage you quote by agreeing to your earlier post. No personal disrespect intended, as also stated in the same passage. It just bears pointing out that newbies of all ages make mistakes and often prepare poorly, driven by passion not backed by caution, and it ever was so.

Smarter, more experienced hikers, while not legally obliged to educate and assist, are, as I see it, subject to a sort of Boy Scout creed to help. And informing a group of obviously ill-prepared newbies of their options and of how to avoid trouble when you run across them on trail often prevents SAR from being called later. As Benjamin Franklin said, a stitch in time saves nine.

BISCUT
12-03-2015, 09:49 PM
I understand what your saying and get your point. I guess it's a new era out there. When I started out, I read books by Chris Bonnington, Doug Scott, Reinhold Messner, I wanted to be that tough when I climbed. The new generation has no hero's, I guess.

The new generation is accustomed to having Gov't take care of every need for them. The Mts. are places these people shouldn't be unless they are part of a well organized and experienced group like AMC. THis type of scenario frustrates and annoys me to no end. This time of year, HOW DO YOU NOT HAVE ANY LIGHT?? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know it's dark pretty early. And how many of these stories throughout the years have that ...."and we split up" component?

sierra
12-04-2015, 01:01 PM
I agree with the thrust of your post previous to the above, but respectfully submit that a "whippersnappers these days are all soft" take is counterproductive. Some are, some aren't, and that truth spans across all ages. The job of educating the young - whether in age or experience - is perpetual. More ignorant little ones being born every day, and, fortunately, on the whole, I think, more new hikers starting the hobby every year. Not all of them read guidebooks and informative websites such as this, more should, and it's on us to encourage them, seems to me.

The words you have in Quotations are not found in my post, but you make it seem like a direct quote, that is misleading. The point you and I disagree on, is this. I think when one starts on an endeavor such as hiking, with it's inherent danger's so obvious. It makes sense to educate oneself on how to proceed safely. Not that I expect anyone to have all the knowledge they need when they start out, but they should also have common sense enough to recognize, when their knowledge base is being overrun by the situation they are encountering. I many times in the infancy of my climbing career, turned back for a variety of reason's. Real bad weather making finding my way questionable, border line hypothermic due to terrible clothes and gear, fatigue, and just feeling like I was in over my head. You see you don't have to be an expert to hike, but you do need to asses yourself and realize when it's time to call it a day. That time comes BEFORE you need a rescue. If you want to encourage someone new to hiking, I suggest you do so, it's a noble cause. The problem is, you cannot teach common sense and a lot of the rescue's lately feature the lack of just that.
The comments in regards to calling in early for a rescue make sense, I trust the SAR people who have chimed in, have the pulse on these kinds of situations and the potential effect waiting to call can have. My initial point was, if your proactive you never get to the "Should I call now point".

TCD
12-04-2015, 01:43 PM
The new generation is accustomed to having Gov't take care of every need for them. The Mts. are places these people shouldn't be unless they are part of a well organized and experienced group like AMC. THis type of scenario frustrates and annoys me to no end. This time of year, HOW DO YOU NOT HAVE ANY LIGHT?? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know it's dark pretty early. And how many of these stories throughout the years have that ...."and we split up" component?

^^Truth.^^

The next step in this of course, is that they want you to pay for it. That's already in full cry.

The step after that is that it will be your fault, and you'll have to go to a re-education class because you hurt their feelings by pointing out that they should have carried a headlamp.

TJsName
12-04-2015, 05:05 PM
The new generation is accustomed to having Gov't take care of every need for them. The Mts. are places these people shouldn't be unless they are part of a well organized and experienced group like AMC. THis type of scenario frustrates and annoys me to no end. This time of year, HOW DO YOU NOT HAVE ANY LIGHT?? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know it's dark pretty early. And how many of these stories throughout the years have that ...."and we split up" component?

What is the age cutoff for this new generation? I'm not used to the government doing anything for me other than maintain society, which I guess is kind of big. Anyway, I guess my question is: how to did learn to start carrying a light? Did someone teach you, or did you figure it out on your own? Surely the first thing the doctor saw at your birth wasn't the light from your headlamp. My point is, young people will always be ignorant until they learn. For so many people the answer isn't obvious until they know. It's hard to remember how ignorant we all used to be - perhaps I am young enough that it still feels fresh. ;)

Driver8
12-04-2015, 05:38 PM
The words you have in Quotations are not found in my post, but you make it seem like a direct quote, that is misleading.

Seriously?

You wrote:

"People who are entering the world of hiking now, come from a new perspective. As soon as something is a little off, dial 911,"

and

"I guess this generation has no hero's."

I "quoted" you, in a clear paraphrase, including "whippersnappers," not a run-of-the-mill word on these boards, or anywhere else. One would have to be more clueless than a Darwin Awardee to miss the difference. You do agree that people who hang out here are pretty intelligent, no? That being the case, do you really think they'd be confused or misled, if they'd read this short little, easily readable thread, by my "quotes", any more than you stand by your knock on "this generation"?

You say you're big on accountability. Good, let's see you take some. You were wrong to throw new and young hikers under the bus as a group. You've thought better of it, since, and you also regret attempting to shift some sense of accountability for your mistake onto me after I called it into question. Accountability and forthrightness are good things - agree with you there.

Kyle D
12-04-2015, 06:09 PM
Perhaps this belongs in a separate thread but I'm interested in the idea of the education of a new generation of hikers. I too, cringe, rant and swear up and down as I read each week's edition of the young, unprepared hiker from southern new england who get themselves into a near miss or rescue situation. I too, find myself hoping irresponsible hikers are billed for their negligence. But I'm not so sure as to where to draw the line between common sense and lack of understanding in the new generation of hikers.

My intent is not to self-promote, but to raise a few points. I consider myself to be a new generation of hiker. I'm in my mid 20's, live in Massachusetts...I went on my first hike 4 years ago. Before my uncle took me on a first hike, he gave me a copy of "Not Without Peril" and "The White Mountain Guide" and said to call him when I'd finished reading. We hiked and I was hooked. I went on to take a outdoor ed. backpacking course at UNH, multiple wilderness first aid trainings, AMC training, and was lucky enough over the years to connect with experienced, veteran hikers, including multiple members on this forum who are significantly older than myself, who have been kind enough to continue to invite me on winter hikes and give me experience that I could not have on my own - like winter presi hikes. So I feel very fortunate that I had the opportunities and mentors that I've had. I have gained valuable experience because people were willing to bring a newbie along. Sure, reading, preparation, equipment, and training helps. But nothing can replace experience with a safety net and teaching of a mentor.

My first point is that the new generation of hikers needs mentors like all of you. Sure, there are AMC groups and meetups. But I wonder if there are enough of those opportunities for the new generation of hikers? Sure, it is not your responsibility to help new hikers but ultimately I think that's what new hikers need - experienced mentors. Not just reading, proper equipment, or expensive trainings.

Second, to return to the point about common sense. I don't know what to think about the whether the inherent risks of hiking always fall under the realm of common sense. Sure, an individual is ultimately responsible for their own survival. But I think we are sometimes too quick to point to lack of common sense or machismo as to why hikers get into trouble. The mountain environment, and the risks and factors involved there, is unique and does not match the reality that most live in. The internet, media, and gear stores can make hiking look like quite a common endeavor. A lack of understanding of trail conditions, estimated hike time, rapidly changing weather...etc to me, is a lack of experience / education/ understanding, not a lack of common sense. Yes, it is common sense to the seasoned, experienced hiker but maybe not to the new hiker and maybe not for sole fault of their own?

sierra
12-04-2015, 07:31 PM
Seriously?

You wrote:

"People who are entering the world of hiking now, come from a new perspective. As soon as something is a little off, dial 911,"

and

"I guess this generation has no hero's."

I "quoted" you, in a clear paraphrase, including "whippersnappers," not a run-of-the-mill word on these boards, or anywhere else. One would have to be more clueless than a Darwin Awardee to miss the difference. You do agree that people who hang out here are pretty intelligent, no? That being the case, do you really think they'd be confused or misled, if they'd read this short little, easily readable thread, by my "quotes", any more than you stand by your knock on "this generation"?

You say you're big on accountability. Good, let's see you take some. You were wrong to throw new and young hikers under the bus as a group. You've thought better of it, since, and you also regret attempting to shift some sense of accountability for your mistake onto me after I called it into question. Accountability and forthrightness are good things - agree with you there.

I'm done responding to you, me and you think nothing alike. The major difference between us, is that I've actually spent years hiking in the Whites and the major ranges in the country, my opinions are based on first hand experience. I am familiar with this board and it's poster's, I've been on it over ten years, not 3. You base your post on simple ideology, I base mine on actual backcountry experience, there lies the difference. Tell you what, go out and hike every week all year long for the next 25 years and I'll listen to you again.

Driver8
12-05-2015, 03:45 PM
Perhaps this belongs in a separate thread but I'm interested in the idea of the education of a new generation of hikers. I too, cringe, rant and swear up and down as I read each week's edition of the young, unprepared hiker from southern new england who get themselves into a near miss or rescue situation. I too, find myself hoping irresponsible hikers are billed for their negligence. But I'm not so sure as to where to draw the line between common sense and lack of understanding in the new generation of hikers.

My intent is not to self-promote, but to raise a few points. I consider myself to be a new generation of hiker. I'm in my mid 20's, live in Massachusetts...I went on my first hike 4 years ago. Before my uncle took me on a first hike, he gave me a copy of "Not Without Peril" and "The White Mountain Guide" and said to call him when I'd finished reading. We hiked and I was hooked. I went on to take a outdoor ed. backpacking course at UNH, multiple wilderness first aid trainings, AMC training, and was lucky enough over the years to connect with experienced, veteran hikers, including multiple members on this forum who are significantly older than myself, who have been kind enough to continue to invite me on winter hikes and give me experience that I could not have on my own - like winter presi hikes. So I feel very fortunate that I had the opportunities and mentors that I've had. I have gained valuable experience because people were willing to bring a newbie along. Sure, reading, preparation, equipment, and training helps. But nothing can replace experience with a safety net and teaching of a mentor.

My first point is that the new generation of hikers needs mentors like all of you. Sure, there are AMC groups and meetups. But I wonder if there are enough of those opportunities for the new generation of hikers? Sure, it is not your responsibility to help new hikers but ultimately I think that's what new hikers need - experienced mentors. Not just reading, proper equipment, or expensive trainings.

Second, to return to the point about common sense. I don't know what to think about the whether the inherent risks of hiking always fall under the realm of common sense. Sure, an individual is ultimately responsible for their own survival. But I think we are sometimes too quick to point to lack of common sense or machismo as to why hikers get into trouble. The mountain environment, and the risks and factors involved there, is unique and does not match the reality that most live in. The internet, media, and gear stores can make hiking look like quite a common endeavor. A lack of understanding of trail conditions, estimated hike time, rapidly changing weather...etc to me, is a lack of experience / education/ understanding, not a lack of common sense. Yes, it is common sense to the seasoned, experienced hiker but maybe not to the new hiker and maybe not for sole fault of their own?

I agree very much with you, Kyle. There's no substitute for good mentoring in the mountains. Happy to say, as you've seen, there are plenty of people here ready, willing and able to mentor new hikers, both on-trail and off. They are an invaluable resource.

jfb
12-05-2015, 06:27 PM
What bugged me, was that as soon as they got to the car and their friends were not there, they called for help. I mean nothing happened yet, so it got dark, so they might come out else. Seems like calling for a rescue these day's, is akin to calling out for a pizza. God forbid they just wait and see what happens. Many years ago when I left my plans with someone, ( I don't now) my request was, give me until tomorrow noon before you call. That gave me time to deal with a situation on my own, before alerting the authorities.

I wonder if gender may have played a role? http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/13968/1/Asking-for-Directions--Differences-Between-Men-and-Women.html

KV
12-07-2015, 05:12 PM
I agree very much with you, Kyle. There's no substitute for good mentoring in the mountains. Happy to say, as you've seen, there are plenty of people here ready, willing and able to mentor new hikers, both on-trail and off. They are an invaluable resource.
Driver, though not a mentoring program, the trail stewardship program has reached out and made a difference for quite a number of new hikers. I do not recall the exact #s but it was something like 10,000 hikers interacted with and hundreds went back to cars to either get/change gear, get water, change shoes, adjust plans, buy a map and look before boots on trail, etc.

I learned as most of the "old timers" herein - trial and error dating back to the pre-polypropylene clothing/light weight gear days, but it was a nice change to take part in the education/guidance for the uninitiated.

erugs
12-07-2015, 05:35 PM
I wonder if gender may have played a role? http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/13968/1/Asking-for-Directions--Differences-Between-Men-and-Women.html

For this one, no names or genders were given, which I thought was interesting because often they are identified. While public shaming is not a good thing, public information is. My other thought on the link is, "I must be a man."

Will
12-07-2015, 05:40 PM
I agree very much with you, Kyle. There's no substitute for good mentoring in the mountains.I think that's fine and I encourage that kind of thinking.

Of course most (probably) inexperienced White Mountain hikers don't think they need any stinkin' mentoring. Hundreds of people set out every year unprepared and vulnerable but the good weather holds, they don't lose the trail or notice the effects of dehydration, and they wonder what all the fuss is about. They describe their experiences to others and the myth perpetuates that the Whites are a walk in the park and all the caution is just old folks trying to ruin the fun. Even in the Grand Canyon, where "worst case" is rightly promoted almost to the point of hysteria, people still act like idiots.

DayTrip
12-07-2015, 06:01 PM
I think that's fine and I encourage that kind of thinking.

Of course most (probably) inexperienced White Mountain hikers don't think they need any stinkin' mentoring. Hundreds of people set out every year unprepared and vulnerable but the good weather holds, they don't lose the trail or notice the effects of dehydration, and they wonder what all the fuss is about. They describe their experiences to others and the myth perpetuates that the Whites are a walk in the park and all the caution is just old folks trying to ruin the fun. Even in the Grand Canyon, where "worst case" is rightly promoted almost to the point of hysteria, people still act like idiots.

Is it a myth? I wouldn't characterize it as a walk in the park but clearly the margin for error in the Whites is pretty large or we'd be reading a lot more stories about accidents and rescues. As I pointed out in one of my previous comments, the % of SAR incidents over the volume of hikers in the Whites is a pretty small number. I'm sure a high percentage of inexperienced and/or unprepared hikers go out on decent weather days, are in at least marginal physical condition, stay on trails that for the most part are very easy to follow and carry enough food/water/gear to endure the day and keep their body functioning. Whether consciously aware of it or otherwise they greatly improve the probability of a "favorable outcome". The Whites are not the Himalayas.

DayTrip
12-07-2015, 06:35 PM
I think another factor that does not get much mention in these discussions is the fact that the overall physical condition of the population is much better. A lot of people who are taking up hiking in recent years are runners, marathoners, cross fit athletes or people who generally get in the gym on a regular basis and have the proper conditioning level to comfortably handle most hikes in the Whites. They're looking for new challenges and trail hiking and running fits the bill for them. Most hikes in the Whites (the popular list hikes like the 48 4k,etc) involve 10 miles or less and vertical ascent of maybe 2000-3000'. For many in this generation this isn't the demanding, time consuming endeavor it is for middle aged, overweight guys like myself. I've been lucky enough to hike quite a bit the past 3-4 years and even I can go 6-8 miles and climb 3000' with very little water and no food and not feel any significant ill effects. I've been hiking for about 25 years and I see a drastic improvement in the conditioning levels of people I pass on the trails.

So while there is still an abundance of ill prepared and inexperienced hikers out there, their overall fitness level I'm sure plays a big role in keeping most outings in the "favorable outcome" category and minimizes rescues by being less prone to dehydration, bonking or getting muscle cramps an other ailments.

Will
12-07-2015, 09:13 PM
Is it a myth? I wouldn't characterize it as a walk in the park but clearly the margin for error in the Whites is pretty large or we'd be reading a lot more stories about accidents and rescues.We DON'T read about a lot of misadventures for a lot of reasons. Mostly through blind luck they run into "one of us" and get guidance away from the pending disaster or help in minimizing it. I know of at least a dozen incidents in my experience where individuals spent unscheduled nights in the woods, in a couple of cases really scary, but never reported anything. Two groups (returning to a hut but in the wrong direction late in the day with no longer any hope) I was sure I would be reading about in the paper when I got out but I looked for a few days and they obviously made it back eventually, somehow. One of those episodes I wrote about, I think here: they literally turned around and RAN in panic when they learned how far away they were and I couldn't catch up with them to help. I've personally walked out of two accident situations where many would have regarded themselves incapacitated and needing rescue.

I think what we read about are only a very small portion of the serious incidents.

DayTrip
12-08-2015, 01:59 PM
We DON'T read about a lot of misadventures for a lot of reasons. Mostly through blind luck they run into "one of us" and get guidance away from the pending disaster or help in minimizing it. I know of at least a dozen incidents in my experience where individuals spent unscheduled nights in the woods, in a couple of cases really scary, but never reported anything. Two groups (returning to a hut but in the wrong direction late in the day with no longer any hope) I was sure I would be reading about in the paper when I got out but I looked for a few days and they obviously made it back eventually, somehow. One of those episodes I wrote about, I think here: they literally turned around and RAN in panic when they learned how far away they were and I couldn't catch up with them to help. I've personally walked out of two accident situations where many would have regarded themselves incapacitated and needing rescue.

I think what we read about are only a very small portion of the serious incidents.

I'm sure there are as many more stories about being spending a night, getting lost, etc. that we only know about by word of mouth. My only point was that most of those stories involved being uncomfortable and maybe scared, not about averting near certain disaster. Being in legitimate danger and being pissed off and uncomfortable are two different things. I think 95% of the stories we read about or hear about fall into the "pissed off and uncomfortable category", not the "legitimate danger" category. I don't consider "pissed off and uncomfortable" to be rescue worthy for SAR to have to commit time and resources. They may go out anyway but it isn't always required to avert legitimate danger. It is done to placate those with lawyers on speed dial.

I saw a photo on Facebook a few days ago of a guy at the Mt Washington summit wearing jeans and my first thought went to "Oh my God. He was wearing denim in Winter". I didn't read about his frozen corpse in the paper the following day. He got home just fine. How many times have you heard someone warn of the dangers of denim? Yes, it can be dangerous but wearing a pair of jeans on a hike is not a guaranteed death sentence. That is one of many, many variables. For most hikers on most days a whole lot of these variables have to line up to create a legitimately dangerous situation.

DayTrip
12-08-2015, 02:04 PM
I've personally walked out of two accident situations where many would have regarded themselves incapacitated and needing rescue.

I severely sprained/broke an ankle in Sphinx Col two Summers ago. I also dislocated my dominant hand shoulder on a frigid January day on Cannon. I never even considered calling for rescue. I decided how I needed to proceed, gave it a go and was able to get out of the woods. In pain for sure, annoyed and running through all the possibilities but ultimately I got out. Too many people get the least bit uncomfortable and immediately hit the panic button and call 911. They didn't need a rescue. They wanted immediate relief from discomfort.