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MikeM
02-28-2016, 04:08 PM
Reported fatality on Edmunds Col (White Mtns) recovery underway, no other details.

peakbagger
02-28-2016, 04:58 PM
Two F&G trucks at Lowes store and some activity across RT 2 from the road to Stearns lodge at mid afternoon but gone an hour later. I would guess F&G probably met someone for a walkdown

alexmtn
02-29-2016, 12:19 AM
My group was at the col around 1pm on Saturday - very few parties out, and all appeared copacetic. The problem, if one, must have happened after that.

Raven
02-29-2016, 04:50 AM
Reported fatality on Edmunds Col (White Mtns) recovery underway, no other details.

http://www.wmur.com/news/unidentified-hiker-found-dead-on-castle-ravine-trail/38248844

TDawg
02-29-2016, 05:09 AM
If he truly was found at treeline as the article indicates, that'd be further down the mountain in the ravine. Either way, RIP and everyone take care out there.

peakbagger
02-29-2016, 10:55 AM
A bit more info http://www.unionleader.com/article/20160229/NEWS07/160229107

This trail doesn't get a lot of use in winter as it can be prone to deep snow and I expect avalanches. It gets quite steep near the top. It is definitely a secondary route to the summits in non snow seasons despite the rather nice terrain it passes through down in the bottom although it can be wet. Tree line is about 1000 feet below the Randolph Path Junction. If the location is described correctly there may be periods of days or weeks where no hiker uses it during a normal winter.

CaptCaper
02-29-2016, 03:48 PM
Well.... here we go again.. I'm so curious..I bet I know what happened...

http://www.northeastmountainguides.com/about_us

jfb
02-29-2016, 06:00 PM
http://www.neclimbs.com/SMF_2/index.php/topic,9541.0.html

If he was wearing Yaktrax, he may have slid into the ravine from above.

Tom Rankin
02-29-2016, 08:12 PM
There are several models of Yaktrax, some are just as good as Microspikes...

peakbagger
03-01-2016, 05:37 AM
More details

http://www.berlindailysun.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=57055:head-of-hiking-guide-service&catid=103:local-news&Itemid=442

CaptCaper
03-01-2016, 06:27 AM
More info on who found him etc.
http://www.unionleader.com/NY-man-identified-as-hiker-found-frozen-on-White-Mountains-trail

Grey J
03-01-2016, 10:24 AM
"It's never a good thing to be hiking alone in the White Mts" NH Fish and Game Lt Wayne Saunders
Really? Isn't that a bit of an over-reaction?

TJsName
03-01-2016, 10:27 AM
"It's never a good thing to be hiking alone in the White Mts" NH Fish and Game Lt Wayne Saunders
Really? Isn't that a bit of an over-reaction?

I was thinking the same thing. There was a long thread about that after a rescue a couple years ago: http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?52331-Poll-Hiking-or-Climbing-Solo-Do-you-do-it-Ever

CaptCaper
03-01-2016, 11:25 AM
"It's never a good thing to be hiking alone in the White Mts" NH Fish and Game Lt Wayne Saunders
Really? Isn't that a bit of an over-reaction?

Not really considering were he's coming from... It's the truth... Good for Lt Saunders for trying to put the fear into weekend warriors. It's his job. I've seen all too many deaths and injuries in the Whites with folks and or solo hikers over the years. Every holiday and or weekend especially with some unstable weather coming in my wife and I predict someone is going to perish and or have to be rescued...
I've got a base of thoughts to figure when these folks will perish... 1. They've planned for a long time to do a certain list or record setting. Or just plain vacation and they talk themselves into keeping the A plan. (We've always had a B Plan as well) 2. Despite the fact weather predicting is basically predictable only about 6 hrs before hand. They figure it will work for them because the % of it coming in early or turbulent is slim. 3. A lot of these folks are very experienced and way over confident in there abilities to plan and execute hikes. 4. Sh** always happens and it comes in multiple stages at times. "Do you feel lucky Well do you?"

Now I'm curious as to when Tim hiked and what took him out. He probably was doing his 4000 NE winter solo list.. I bet he was on his A plan.

dug
03-01-2016, 11:33 AM
None of those points you mention above are isolated to only solo hikers.

The harsh reality is if you are not able to get yourself out of a situation, but are alive and conscious, it's hard to argue that a partner would not be helpful.

The other reality is that 'groupthink' is real, and people could put themselves out of their element but trying to keep up....

We also can't forget that there are I presume 1,000's of solo-hikers each year, and accidents like this are exceedingly rare. I mostly solo, and I'm still here, for example.

It also discounts that a) Whatever put him there, could've happened to both his partner as well; b) He was DOA as soon as he hit the ground, so there wasn't much saving him anyway.

CaptCaper
03-01-2016, 12:01 PM
All points taken and I know this.. And I'm sure the Lt. knows this. But his job is to preach safety. An old time Mariner said to me once. " I don't care what anyone says.. I can tell you if you stay out on the Ocean long enough it will get you". Of course hiking solo in the higher summits in the Winter increase's the odds. I still can't get use to all the hikers that bite it over the winter year in and out for one reason or another.
I haven't hiked up there in the Winter but I don't think Micro Spikes would cut it. Someone just gave a trip report on a hike and said he switched to Alpine Crampons of the Grivel 10 or 12 point type as the Micro's didn't cut it for the conditions.

Tom Rankin
03-01-2016, 02:44 PM
Yes, we've discussed the 'alone' question before. And other similar questions.

Above tree line, winter, alone, night time, 'go light', bushwhacking, etc., (not saying this guy did all of these), all have their risks. They also have their rewards.

MikeM
03-01-2016, 06:15 PM
Just back from 2 nights at Gray Knob. The caretaker was involved with the removal. He brought a litter up to the col to meet the other responders. I have never seen so much ice. The Lowes path from Gray knob to the log cabin looks more like a frozen waterfall than a trail. If I'm out in similiar conditions in the future I would include a helmet in my gear list

KV
03-01-2016, 08:19 PM
From his facebook page. Doesn't say much, but makes it more personal and not simply a statistic:
The family of Tim Hallock is sad to share this news.
Timothy George Hallock passed into eternity last week at the age of 54 doing what he loved, winter mountaineering. Born June 17, 1961 in Huntington, N.Y., Tim’s life journey as a sea captain and a mountain guide (trail name, “Yeti”) took him to some of the nation’s highest mountain peaks as well as logging over a million miles as a licensed Ship’s Officer on any tonnage vessel on all oceans. Tim graduated Southold High School and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point. In the recent past, he served as President of NYSOGA (New York State Outdoor Guides Association.) Tim was passionate about many things, mostly God’s creation and our place in it, and family. Tim was the beloved son of Sue Hallock and Dan Hallock: the cherished brother of Dan (Emily), Jen, Matt, Charles (Cara), and Susan; the doting, encouraging and generous-hearted uncle of Julianne, Justin, Sarah, Matty, Angie, Brian, Zach, Desirae, Stephen, Danny, Maeryn and Hannah, and blessed with numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. He was a devoted friend and acquaintance to many others as he worked, played and lived life to the full. Tim’s motto was “LIVE LIFE LIKE YOU MEAN IT.” Tim’s recent experiences are chronicled on his website, northeastmountainguides.com, and two Facebook pages HALLOCK’S MARINE SERVICES and NORTHEAST MOUNTAIN GUIDES.

MikeM
03-01-2016, 11:07 PM
This Mariner was certified to pilot any vessel in any sea. He was a decision maker who evaluated risk and chose a course of action. I think he was as or more capable than many of us. I'm slow to put on traction, maybe it is a short bad stretch and it will get better. Then with microspikes on I often delay to put on full crampons. One slip is all it takes.

psyculman
03-02-2016, 03:25 AM
Just back from 2 nights at Gray Knob. The caretaker was involved with the removal. He brought a litter up to the col to meet the other responders. I have never seen so much ice. The Lowes path from Gray knob to the log cabin looks more like a frozen waterfall than a trail. If I'm out in similiar conditions in the future I would include a helmet in my gear list

I was up Lowe's to Gray Knob Feb. 5-7. It was my 5th full winter hike up there. This was the most difficult. Almost no snow, and very big ice and rock to negotiate, at about Log Cabin, and above. Crampons were dulled early on the way up due to constant rock, and on the way down, did not bite the ice enough. I have learned to wear a climbing helmet for that route, and will carry one of those short ice climbing axes in the future to get up bulges on the trail, and maybe a short piece of rope for assisting others in the group.

Ed'n Lauky
03-02-2016, 08:12 AM
This link was posted on Facebook this morning: http://www.unionleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20160302/NEWHAMPSHIRE03/160309864&source=RSS

richard
03-02-2016, 09:57 AM
[ I'm slow to put on traction, maybe it is a short bad stretch and it will get better. Then with microspikes on I often delay to put on full crampons. One slip is all it takes.[/QUOTE]

TRUE. I found out the hard way.:(

CaptCaper
03-02-2016, 10:13 AM
I was up Lowe's to Gray Knob Feb. 5-7. It was my 5th full winter hike up there. This was the most difficult. Almost no snow, and very big ice and rock to negotiate, at about Log Cabin, and above. Crampons were dulled early on the way up due to constant rock, and on the way down, did not bite the ice enough. I have learned to wear a climbing helmet for that route, and will carry one of those short ice climbing axes in the future to get up bulges on the trail, and maybe a short piece of rope for assisting others in the group.

Extra crampons for the way down it seems as well. or a file.. this was a season for ice since early on.

DayTrip
03-02-2016, 10:18 AM
The last article link says he died of hypothermia. I see a lot of references to helmets and other equipment. Did I miss something? Did he have a fall that incapacitated him or did he just succumb to the elements?

Creag Nan Drochaid
03-02-2016, 10:36 AM
DayTrip, I imagine the autopsy will tell us about any injuries or medical events. I believe the gear remarks were only hikers discussing what would be needed for the conditions at the time.

dug
03-02-2016, 10:40 AM
The last article link says he died of hypothermia. I see a lot of references to helmets and other equipment. Did I miss something? Did he have a fall that incapacitated him or did he just succumb to the elements?

I think there are assumptions (mine, too), that he slipped or fell, and then became incapacitated and became hypothermic from there.

DayTrip
03-02-2016, 10:45 AM
[ I'm slow to put on traction, maybe it is a short bad stretch and it will get better. Then with microspikes on I often delay to put on full crampons. One slip is all it takes.

TRUE. I found out the hard way.:([/QUOTE]

I fortunately (or unfortunately I guess - dislocated my shoulder) learned this lesson early on in my Winter hiking too. I don't understand why people are so resistant to wearing crampons versus spikes or barebooting vs microspikes, etc. It's like it is some sort of macho thing to try to get by with the least amount of gear or something. I don't get it. I use my crampons quite often and don't really care what people think of it. If I'm on any kind of moderate to steep grade where my overall hiking speed would be no different in spikes I far prefer the crampons. So much more secure. You can just walk right up and down the fall line confidently. And when there is a a few inches or more of powder they are way more reliable for grip. I even prefer them over snowshoes (to a point) because you don't have the deck and other parts angling your feet, sliding and catching on rocks and roots, especially in steep scratchy spots. Other than fairly flat grades crampons for me are my preferred traction option, especially descending. I've worn crampons more this year than I ever have and find I really prefer in most conditions and wonder why I haven't been doing this right along other than the public perception that "you wear spikes because you don't need crampons".

I also bought a climbing helmet early in my Winter hiking (which honestly was an over reaction to a very icy descent I made and some prodding about it from my wife). I haven't actually worn yet but carry it on the steeper hikes just in case. That is another item that seems like a no brainer to have that you almost never see anyone wearing unless they're actual ice climbers. If nothing else the foam insulates your head and keeps you warm and if you should happen to slip could save your life.

DayTrip
03-02-2016, 10:50 AM
DayTrip, I imagine the autopsy will tell us about any injuries or medical events. I believe the gear remarks were only hikers discussing what would be needed for the conditions at the time.

The article did say the autopsy result was that it was hypothermia but did not reference any other injuries. That is why I though I missed something. With the level of experience this guy had it would seem highly unlikely he just fell victim to hypothermia without some other contributing factors.

hikerbrian
03-02-2016, 12:18 PM
I haven't seen any articles that indicate a fall was involved. If that were a factor in his death, the associated trama would be exceedingly obvious and I'd be amazed if that information was not released alongside the eventual cause of death (hypothermia). But I suppose stranger things have happenned.

I also have not seen any estimated time of death. Could he have succomed over President's day weekend, the last really cold spell?

Finally, it seems like lately we've seen a lot of rescues of inexperienced/incompetent hikers, and deaths of really accomplished and skilled mountaineers. That's something for us old salts to think about (if I may put myself in that category).

dug
03-02-2016, 12:29 PM
I haven't seen any articles that indicate a fall was involved. If that were a factor in his death, the associated trama would be exceedingly obvious and I'd be amazed if that information was not released alongside the eventual cause of death (hypothermia). But I suppose stranger things have happenned.

I also have not seen any estimated time of death. Could he have succomed over President's day weekend, the last really cold spell?

Finally, it seems like lately we've seen a lot of rescues of inexperienced/incompetent hikers, and deaths of really accomplished and skilled mountaineers. That's something for us old salts to think about (if I may put myself in that category).

Agreed...just an assumption on my part, nothing more.

As to your second point, I suppose the optimist in me says that if you are experienced, and have your gear, the only way you'd need help getting out of the mountains is if you were dead. Inexperienced won't let it get that far, and pull the trigger much earlier.

sierra
03-02-2016, 12:51 PM
Just a couple of points in regards to two comments above. One or two deaths during a winter is nothing new in the Whites, the board in the summit house list well over 100 deaths in the range. As far as experienced climbers deaths, that's per usual as well. There is most assuredly a rise in rescues of inexperienced hikers, blame social media for that. The reason I say that is in the old day's we bought guides and maps and books on how to climb. We put in the hours to learn our craft. Now people go to FB to get information, which is like going to FB for a lawyer. While there is plenty of great climbers on FB, there is plenty of not so great climbers who are perfectly willing to hand out advice. The amount of deaths relative to the amount of climbers out there is small. Although the press seems to run with the stories as the popularity of hiking has risen. As far as being an Old Salt? I started hiking in the 70's, does that qualify me?;)

TJsName
03-02-2016, 01:02 PM
Finally, it seems like lately we've seen a lot of rescues of inexperienced/incompetent hikers, and deaths of really accomplished and skilled mountaineers. That's something for us old salts to think about (if I may put myself in that category).

Not speaking about any incident in particular, but perhaps the point you've raised is that it can take more to scare us more experienced adventurers, causing the threshold to call for help to be harder to meet. This isn't to say that experience begets recklessness; I think it inspires confidence and pride. I suspect that a number of us might feel a sense of shame if we ask for help - and that it would be amplified if we look back and determine that we ultimately didn't need it. That fear is irrational, and no one should be shamed for the act of asking for help. Castigating someone for being reckless and getting themselves into a bad situation might be appropriate, but the focus should not be on someone asking for help.

I also suspect that these rescues and fatalities strike a chord with many members here, and that some believe that an accidental could never happen to them. I feel being able to balance one's hubris with an objective assessment of a situation is an essential skill. Proactively managing situations that could lead to the need for a rescue, and the ability to self-rescue are vital, but so is our ability to make that call once we've crossed that line.

erugs
03-02-2016, 01:10 PM
That's an interesting question asked a bit earlier about how long he might have been there...has that been asked or answered? Had he removed any clothing as is not uncommon for hypothermia illness and death? (Thinking about the Monadnock Ranger who died off Twinway/Guyot a few years ago.)

Maineman
03-02-2016, 03:30 PM
Very sad, my heartfelt condolences to his family & friends.

Slightly off topic but worth mentioning, a couple people have mentioned wearing a helmet while hiking icy trails. A climbing helmet is specifically designed to protect from items falling from above. A cycling helmet would be more appropriate for hiking an icy trail imho as they are designed to cushion and impact to the side of the head.

MylesLI
03-02-2016, 03:34 PM
Agreed...just an assumption on my part, nothing more.

As to your second point, I suppose the optimist in me says that if you are experienced, and have your gear, the only way you'd need help getting out of the mountains is if you were dead. Inexperienced won't let it get that far, and pull the trigger much earlier.

I agree with the post. My trip this week to Marcy was cancelled due to illness of one of the team. In the "old days" (yes the 70's) we would have made fun of him and all of us would have gone deep into the woods. Fortunately, prudence prevails SOMETIMES. We also postponed the trip due to the weather 3 weeks ago. Last year we were there for 7 degree days and -29 at night and we did just fine BUT, the weather that week was -24 at 2PM at Marcy Dam!!!! NO THANKS

With the experience gained over 40 years and with equipment being superior, we CAN go anywhere/anytime but SHOULD we..

psyculman
03-03-2016, 03:10 AM
Very sad, my heartfelt condolences to his family & friends.

Slightly off topic but worth mentioning, a couple people have mentioned wearing a helmet while hiking icy trails. A climbing helmet is specifically designed to protect from items falling from above. A cycling helmet would be more appropriate for hiking an icy trail imho as they are designed to cushion and impact to the side of the head.

I have a cycling helmet, and it has saved me in more than one crash, but, for me would be in the way, and would look even wackier than the BD ice climbing helmet, which gets a comment or two from confident younger ones in my group. Having taken a fall up there a couple of times, at my age, it's worth the jab or two. Age is the factor. Fatigue = lack of balance.

A small file to touch up crampons will be on board, we discussed that for the group. Good idea.

ChrisB
03-03-2016, 07:21 AM
A small file to touch up crampons will be on board, we discussed that for the group. Good idea.

Back in the day, "real" crampons and an ice ax were derigueur for any outing above treeline. You just brought them, no questions.

But the evolution of microspikes, stabilicers and trekking poles has made 12-points and ice axes seem like overkill. And, anyone who has stumbled around on 12-points in the Alpine Garden is thankful for the progress.

But, given the somewhat unique condx of trails this winter due to multiple freeze-thaw cycles and appalling lack of snow, real crampons might not be such a bad idea, especially on trails with steep sections.

See this trip report from an EMS guide (http://nealpinestart.com/2016/02/22/mount-washington-observatory-overnight-2/)and note his comments about the "Hillery Step" on the Lion's Head winter route.

Maybe some things never change.

cb

Lost Dad
03-03-2016, 08:00 AM
A sad story indeed.

Re the helmet discussion; I believe that a ski helmet would be a adequate compromise between the ice climbing helmet and the bike helmets referenced above. Lord knows, I don't need anymore helmets in my life, it would be nice to own a helmet that served a dual purpose.

Brambor
03-03-2016, 08:09 AM
A ski helmet in cold weather is not a bad idea. I use it for bicycle commuting or winter fatbiking - it completely blocks the wind and had a soft warm fabric insert that goes over your ears and parts of your 'sideburns'. For the Presi it might be the perfect had to block the wind, the sound of the wind and to accomodate perfect fit for your ski goggles.




A sad story indeed.

Re the helmet discussion; I believe that a ski helmet would be a adequate compromise between the ice climbing helmet and the bike helmets referenced above. Lord knows, I don't need anymore helmets in my life, it would be nice to own a helmet that served a dual purpose.

hikerbrian
03-03-2016, 08:36 AM
Not speaking about any incident in particular, but perhaps the point you've raised is that it can take more to scare us more experienced adventurers, causing the threshold to call for help to be harder to meet.
Sort of. Truthfully, I'm not sure how to interpret the data. But what I see is that experienced people tend to die, while inexperienced people tend to get rescued (and live). There are counter-examples. This trend isn't especially clean. But on the face it seems surprising that really, really experienced people can get themselves killed in the Whites (i.e. this most recent example; Matrasova; the ranger on Bond or Twin 10-ish years ago). The take home for me is: don't get too comfortable/confident.

This seems to happen in the climbing world too: inexperienced people tend to take (roped) falls and break their ankles and such. But really, really experienced climbers do things like rappel off the end of their rope (and die) or free solo an easy route and fall (and die). Again, humility is your friend.

rich99
03-03-2016, 12:30 PM
With his experienced, I assumed he had a heart attack. This can lead to incapacitate someone and make them succomb to hypothermia. Without an autopsy it would be hard to figure anything at this time. Other than crampons, helmets, solo hiking, it begs the question about carrying a BPL/sat phone.

sierra
03-03-2016, 01:07 PM
Sort of. Truthfully, I'm not sure how to interpret the data. But what I see is that experienced people tend to die, while inexperienced people tend to get rescued (and live). There are counter-examples. This trend isn't especially clean. But on the face it seems surprising that really, really experienced people can get themselves killed in the Whites (i.e. this most recent example; Matrasova; the ranger on Bond or Twin 10-ish years ago). The take home for me is: don't get too comfortable/confident.

This seems to happen in the climbing world too: inexperienced people tend to take (roped) falls and break their ankles and such. But really, really experienced climbers do things like rappel off the end of their rope (and die) or free solo an easy route and fall (and die). Again, humility is your friend.

I think you make a great point and I would add one more category, Don't get to Comfortable/Confident/Complacent. I once walked stood on a belay ledge, 4 pitches up that was 12 inches wide for about 5 minutes waiting for my second to say "climbing" when I looked down and saw my rope was tied in a knot, but NOT clipped in to the belay! Had my second got ready anytime before that, he would have plucked me off the ledge. Guess who didn't make that mistake again.

erugs
03-03-2016, 01:18 PM
I think that because there are fewer people out in winter that more of them will have high profiles in the world of experience. The man who died from a heart attack on Franconia Ridge a few weeks ago wasn't especially well known. "Kate" became well known but would not have been if she had not died during such horrendous conditions in which she went anyway. She had experience with a guided group, and there she was on her own. Nobody is mentioning the death Brenda Cox who was hiking Lafayette with her husband and they got stuck on the mountain in a storm, despite warnings. Again, she wasn't famous. So the trend is anything but clean, from my readings. Glad you gave that extra look, Sierra.

skiguy
03-03-2016, 01:33 PM
Back in the day, "real" crampons and an ice ax were derigueur for any outing above treeline. You just brought them, no questions.



I find it interesting that there seems to be a lot of resistance to using crampons. Not quite sure if folks just think they are tough to put on and just easier to slap on a pair of Microspikes. The other comments about being difficult to walk in and stumbling around I find not true for myself. To be honest when I got my first pair of crampons I could not wait to use them. In fact I went out of my way to find a place to use them. I think Sierra's comments about taking the time to learn the craft rings home for me. Buy a copy of Yvon's "Climbing Ice" and go out and use them pons. Ya never know you just might have a fun time!:D

erugs
03-03-2016, 01:55 PM
And if you don't have a mentor, rent one (i.e. a guide who will teach you the various techniques). I'm frugal, self-sufficient, generally dislike guides (but for one or two I've met), but that's what I did and I'm glad of it.

Tim Horn
03-03-2016, 02:49 PM
So in avalanche safety courses we teach that the more experienced a group is in the backcountry the more likely they are to get into a situation that is highly dangerous and they are more likely to end up dead at the end of that experience. Seems backwards but when a risk is assessed by a person with a lot of risky experience then the level of fear response to that experience is diminished. When you put 3-5 "experts" together they tend to under assess the danger they are facing and tend to take much greater risks than non-experts. There are a lot more factors in this process but bottom line is the more expert and experienced a person is the more likely they are to take risks that average folks would not take and that results in much higher fatalities, injuries and incidents for the experts.
I think this phenomenon is the same whether ice climbing, extreme skiing or sailing. It is hard and dangerous to access certain places and if you have no experience you rationally know that some places are just inherently dangerous and you do not go there. Once you have some knowledge you tend to keep pushing the envelope and accepting higher and higher risks as routine. Soon it becomes difficult to even recognize very basic dangers that any person without special experience can identify.

May he rest in peace.

dug
03-03-2016, 03:01 PM
I've repeated this story before on here, but it applies to the post above perfectly.

My first 'backcountry' ski trip was to Gulf of Slides. We camped out, below the bowl after arriving in the evening. We woke in the morning, packed up and went for a quick jaunt up to see the slides. We were not going to ski them. Just before reaching there, we passed two skiers coming out. We chatted, and they warned us to not ski them due to conditions. We agreed (again, not our plan anyway). As we talked, he told us about all his trips in Oakes Gulf, Great Gulf, etc. and I could tell...he wasn't BS-ing us. He skied down, us up for a bit, staying relatively away from any slide activity. As we skied out, we saw their camp off-trail.

About an hour after departing, they apparently changed their tune and did exactly what we were just warned not to. He perished in a slide while digging a test pit. His experience and knowledge cost him, I firmly believe that.

Raven
03-03-2016, 03:57 PM
So in avalanche safety courses we teach that the more experienced a group is in the backcountry the more likely they are to get into a situation that is highly dangerous and they are more likely to end up dead at the end of that experience. Seems backwards but when a risk is assessed by a person with a lot of risky experience then the level of fear response to that experience is diminished. When you put 3-5 "experts" together they tend to under assess the danger they are facing and tend to take much greater risks than non-experts. There are a lot more factors in this process but bottom line is the more expert and experienced a person is the more likely they are to take risks that average folks would not take and that results in much higher fatalities, injuries and incidents for the experts.
I think this phenomenon is the same whether ice climbing, extreme skiing or sailing. It is hard and dangerous to access certain places and if you have no experience you rationally know that some places are just inherently dangerous and you do not go there. Once you have some knowledge you tend to keep pushing the envelope and accepting higher and higher risks as routine. Soon it becomes difficult to even recognize very basic dangers that any person without special experience can identify.

May he rest in peace.

Great point. Similarly, experienced hikers find themselves able to go more deeply into the wilderness. Fit trail runners can get very far from roads in a short amount of time, and experienced climbers (I am not) can get themselves into more dangerous, loftier positions since they can handle more challenging routes.

I am interested to hear more details on this one. There is a lot of conjecture at this point.

And yes, RIP.

CaptCaper
03-03-2016, 04:41 PM
Can't get over not carrying an ID up there.. I mean it's not a Mt Willard hike...Things happen big time up there. We still don't know.when he hiked or how and were he was located..did he have crampons on etc? Non of the folks who was there has given any opinions on what the scene looked like. I do remember that Friday was stormy and windy. I wonder if we'll ever know. I thought I read he didn't leave a plan with anybody but someone must know...what he was up too. He wasn't that "solo" of a guy.

MikeM
03-03-2016, 06:33 PM
Can't get over not carrying an ID up there.. I mean it's not a Mt Willard hike...Things happen big time up there. We still don't know.when he hiked or how and were he was located..did he have crampons on etc? Non of the folks who was there has given any opinions on what the scene looked like. I do remember that Friday was stormy and windy. I wonder if we'll ever know. I thought I read he didn't leave a plan with anybody but someone must know...what he was up too. He wasn't that "solo" of a guy.

ID would not of helped Tim in this case. NHFG quickly identified him from his car plates at Lowes Store. He was found approximately .5miles from Edmonds Col down the Castle Ravine trail. It has been stated that he was wearing Yak trax. The young men who came across him were experienced winter hiker/campers. They slept near the Col the night before they found him. They have said that he looked properly equipped.

summitseeker
03-03-2016, 07:24 PM
I find it interesting that there seems to be a lot of resistance to using crampons. Not quite sure if folks just think they are tough to put on and just easier to slap on a pair of Microspikes. The other comments about being difficult to walk in and stumbling around I find not true for myself. To be honest when I got my first pair of crampons I could not wait to use them. In fact I went out of my way to find a place to use them. I think Sierra's comments about taking the time to learn the craft rings home for me. Buy a copy of Yvon's "Climbing Ice" and go out and use them pons. Ya never know you just might have a fun time!:D

I couldn't agree more. I ascended the Crawford Path on Monday and even with the warming temps and softening ice I would have felt a little better on the descent if I was wearing my K-10s rather than microspikes. The most recent post, i.e. before mine, stated he was wearing Yak Trax. Unless her was wearing the XTR version I would not dare wear anything that lacked true spikes. I chose to wear my brand new pair of microspikes over my older more worn ones knowing full well they would offer better purchase, but in closing I agree that crampons are still the best option when encountering ice flows. Just adding my two cents FWIW

https://www.yaktrax.com/product/xtr
(note the "serious" winter hiker they have modeling them in cotton denim, lol)


Z :D

NorthShore
03-03-2016, 10:16 PM
Like most people I've done a lot of easy hikes in microspikes and take it for granted that full crampons are overkill. However I do carry them in winter. I was in the presidentials on the 19th and went too far (in my after the fact opinion) with just spikes, but eventually came to my senses and put on the crampons. Once I did, you couldn't have paid me enough to take them off. There were rocks, but way too much ice to take in a cavalier manner. I don't know how to overcome the perception people have that because you rarely need gear, it is optional.

I don't assume this was due to traction or any other cause and will wait to see what gets into the accident reports. Very sad and sincere condolences to his family. This is hard to even think about.

It's especially freaky for me because he was a local down here (I did not know him but had seen his website) and I found out about this on the same day that I got my NYS Guide License. I think I have done my last solo hike above timberline.

sierra
03-04-2016, 01:15 PM
Like most people I've done a lot of easy hikes in microspikes and take it for granted that full crampons are overkill. However I do carry them in winter. I was in the presidentials on the 19th and went too far (in my after the fact opinion) with just spikes, but eventually came to my senses and put on the crampons. Once I did, you couldn't have paid me enough to take them off. There were rocks, but way too much ice to take in a cavalier manner. I don't know how to overcome the perception people have that because you rarely need gear, it is optional.

I don't assume this was due to traction or any other cause and will wait to see what gets into the accident reports. Very sad and sincere condolences to his family. This is hard to even think about.

It's especially freaky for me because he was a local down here (I did not know him but had seen his website) and I found out about this on the same day that I got my NYS Guide License. I think I have done my last solo hike above timberline.

In my humble opinion, you learn what to carry from experience. Once you take a bad fall or a few, you realize your either using bad technique or the wrong equipment, or both. The coming of micro-spikes is a double edge sword. Pre MS you just brought crampons, some now carry both, as MS are way better in some conditions, although on ice, I do not like them at all. Many new comers buy MS and stop there, that is a mistake, imo. I have fallen in MS and it hurt. If I'm on ice, I'm in my 12point full crampons, I mean it's easy hiking on ice with them and safe. On social media sites, beginners are urged to buy MS, rarely are crampons recommended as needed gear. Many hikes can be done in MS, but this winter has bred conditions that are beyond MS worthy. I carry both, unless I have info telling me otherwise. Exceptions being Washington or the Northern peaks, where spikes and crampons go on my pack at all times. Frankly there is nothing more satisfying, then marching down a trail covered in blue ice, like it's a sidewalk, only crampons can do that.

CaptCaper
03-04-2016, 01:44 PM
In my humble opinion, you learn what to carry from experience. Once you take a bad fall or a few, you realize your either using bad technique or the wrong equipment, or both. The coming of micro-spikes is a double edge sword. Pre MS you just brought crampons, some now carry both, as MS are way better in some conditions, although on ice, I do not like them at all. Many new comers buy MS and stop there, that is a mistake, imo. I have fallen in MS and it hurt. If I'm on ice, I'm in my 12point full crampons, I mean it's easy hiking on ice with them and safe. On social media sites, beginners are urged to buy MS, rarely are crampons recommended as needed gear. Many hikes can be done in MS, but this winter has bred conditions that are beyond MS worthy. I carry both, unless I have info telling me otherwise. Exceptions being Washington or the Northern peaks, where spikes and crampons go on my pack at all times. Frankly there is nothing more satisfying, then marching down a trail covered in blue ice, like it's a sidewalk, only crampons can do that.

Great summary... thank you...I couldn't agree more including about the 12 Points.

Hill Junkie
03-04-2016, 01:47 PM
https://www.yaktrax.com/product/xtr
(note the "serious" winter hiker they have modeling them in cotton denim, lol)
Z :D

FWIW, I started this winter with Yaktrax XTR's. They utterly failed on my second hike. The front pad area is joined together by nothing more than a thin sheet of plastic, not metal plate. This design is completely unsafe for hiking icy trails in the mountains and the XTRs should only be used for getting the mail or shoveling the driveway. I had to hike most of the way down Zealand after they failed on glazed over trail with no back-up traction. Both feet failed almost the same time.

peakbagger
03-04-2016, 02:09 PM
I run meetup hikes on occasion and I ban Yaktraks, as others have stated wrong tool for the job.

summitseeker
03-04-2016, 05:01 PM
FWIW, I started this winter with Yaktrax XTR's. They utterly failed on my second hike. The front pad area is joined together by nothing more than a thin sheet of plastic, not metal plate. This design is completely unsafe for hiking icy trails in the mountains and the XTRs should only be used for getting the mail or shoveling the driveway. I had to hike most of the way down Zealand after they failed on glazed over trail with no back-up traction. Both feet failed almost the same time.

Thank you for sharing your experience with the community. From my computer screen they looked like they might actually be halfway decent. Now I know...


Be well,

Z :D

RollingRock
03-04-2016, 06:26 PM
FWIW, I started this winter with Yaktrax XTR's. They utterly failed on my second hike. The front pad area is joined together by nothing more than a thin sheet of plastic, not metal plate. This design is completely unsafe for hiking icy trails in the mountains and the XTRs should only be used for getting the mail or shoveling the driveway. I had to hike most of the way down Zealand after they failed on glazed over trail with no back-up traction. Both feet failed almost the same time.

I think back that before MicroSpikes came around...we were using YakTrax. But many of us also carried/used crampons more often than we do today...me included. Sorry for going off topic...this is really about the fatality.

ChrisB
03-05-2016, 08:36 AM
I think back that before MicroSpikes came around...we were using YakTrax. But many of us also carried/used crampons more often than we do today...me included.

The popularity of microspkes, etc. is well deserved, as anyone who has done extended mileage in 12-point crampons knows.

During descent the torque loads crampons place on knees, ankles and hips is significant, especially in mixed rocky and icy conditions. And, 12-points seem to snag any root or rock the front points can reach, making trips and falls more likely as fatigue increases.

IMHO crampons offer a compromise between safety/security on pure ice and ease of travel on scratchy trails.

At least the advent of step-in bindings makes swapping back-and-forth easier, if you have the discipline to do it.

For a soloist, the stakes can be high.

cb

RollingRock
03-27-2016, 09:48 AM
The popularity of microspkes, etc. is well deserved, as anyone who has done extended mileage in 12-point crampons knows.

During descent the torque loads crampons place on knees, ankles and hips is significant, especially in mixed rocky and icy conditions. And, 12-points seem to snag any root or rock the front points can reach, making trips and falls more likely as fatigue increases.

IMHO crampons offer a compromise between safety/security on pure ice and ease of travel on scratchy trails.

At least the advent of step-in bindings makes swapping back-and-forth easier, if you have the discipline to do it.

For a soloist, the stakes can be high.

cb

I was coming off North Kinsman last weekend with sections of significant ice flows. MicroSpikes were fine going up but decided to use 12-point crampons for the descent. I agree that I was concerned about the front two fangs snagging on a root or rock. I thought about going back to MicroSpikes.

And yes, wearing them seemed to wear my arthritic knees and ankles...hobbled back to the truck at the bottom. After this experience, I'm definitely going to buy 10-point crampons next winter for these sort of conditions.

RollingRock
03-27-2016, 09:49 AM
Has there been any word or press as to what may have happened to this victim?

Raven
03-27-2016, 10:18 AM
Has there been any word or press as to what may have happened to this victim?

I have not seen anything official but was told by a long time member of S&R in the Whites that a fall was involved. Consider it hearsay for now, but the source is legitimate or I would not post it. I am interested in any details if they ever come to light. RIP.

I slide on ice descending in microspikes. I much prefer G-10s in these conditions. I wear microspikes when I can, but if I go above treeline, I usually have the G-10s with me. I would say I lean on the conservative side when it comes to traction compared to most hikers in the Whites. I'll put on crampons sooner than others as I simply like the absolute confidence I have when in them compared to lesser traction. I agree about them being rough on feet and ankles though, but I guess that's the trade off for much better traction.

LarryD
03-27-2016, 05:45 PM
I have not seen anything official but was told by a long time member of S&R in the Whites that a fall was involved. Consider it hearsay for now, but the source is legitimate or I would not post it. I am interested in any details if they ever come to light. RIP.

I slide on ice descending in microspikes. I much prefer G-10s in these conditions. I wear microspikes when I can, but if I go above treeline, I usually have the G-10s with me. I would say I lean on the conservative side when it comes to traction compared to most hikers in the Whites. I'll put on crampons sooner than others as I simply like the absolute confidence I have when in them compared to lesser traction. I agree about them being rough on feet and ankles though, but I guess that's the trade off for much better traction.

With regard to the hiker I heard the same thing (possibly from the same source).

With regard to Microspikes I think they are a great product. They may be too good, as some people treat them as a substitute for crampons in all conditions. This winter/spring in particular I carry both on most hikes. (I have not had much use for snowshoes in recent weeks.) On modest Tecumseh yesterday, I ascended in spikes but was uncomfortable near the top and therefore wore crampons on the hike out. It made me much more confident with my foot placements. Very few other hikers seemed to have crampons.

DougPaul
03-27-2016, 07:09 PM
I was coming off North Kinsman last weekend with sections of significant ice flows. MicroSpikes were fine going up but decided to use 12-point crampons for the descent. I agree that I was concerned about the front two fangs snagging on a root or rock. I thought about going back to MicroSpikes.

And yes, wearing them seemed to wear my arthritic knees and ankles...hobbled back to the truck at the bottom. After this experience, I'm definitely going to buy 10-point crampons next winter for these sort of conditions.
Front points are useful when facing into the slope. Without them, one must use French technique (flat footing) which requires skill and flexible ankles and can be very difficult to impossible on steep hard ice. With front points, one can turn into the slope and use the front points (ascending or descending) on steep ice and snow. You would also want a mountaineering [technical] ice axe and the skills to use the gear properly and safely.

When descending with a normal stride, the [bottom] points grab into the ice and prevent normal foot shock absorption thus passing the shock up to the knees... 10-point crampons will not prevent this. Short of rappelling, descending on steep ice puts a lot of stress on the ankles and knees. Unless you carry rappelling gear or want to cut steps going down (requires a very long axe and is very slow and tiring)*, you should consider the difficulties of descent on the way up and decide whether to turn back or continue.

* Step cutting is only used for short sections today. Before the invention of crampons, it was the standard method of ascending and descending steep ice and hard snow. BTW, one usually uses the ice axe pick to cut steps in hard ice.

While one needs to be a bit more careful with 12-point crampons compared to 10-point crampons, I think most people will find the extra utility to be worth the extra care. Learning a bit of both crampon and ice axe technical technique can also be very useful to a hiker in these conditions. (Icy trails often become technical terrain...)

Doug
ex-ice climber

bcskier
03-28-2016, 11:49 AM
Also an ex-ice climber who has used microspikes and technical crampons on icy trail surfaces. I agree with all that has been said about the relative advantages & disadvantages of each type of traction device. One additional style of traction device is worth considering and I feel it fills the gap pretty well between the two under discussion. Hillsound trail crampons have a more aggressive set of teeth than microspikes but due to the similarities with the m/s attachment system avoid much of the knee pain problems of hiking in full crampons. Descending X-Rivendell trail on Cube this Feb. with a friend who ascended in m/s but descended in his full 12-points I had the ability to compare his progress with my Hillsounds. At least for that trail, with the modest amount of ice we encountered, they were perfectly adequate and saved my knees on the descent. My friend did not feel safe on the m/s for the descent while I had complete confidence in what I was wearing. I will say I spent a few minutes at the top making sure the rearmost points came as close to the back edge of my heels as I could get them. I have had situations where I found if they were more than 1/2 inch too far forward, the points did not make contact before the edge of the heel on the steeper stuff and I was off on a slide before I could roll my foot forward. As Doug stated, some sections of NE trails can become technical and having the gear for those sections or the ability to safely adapt (step cutting for a brief section or traversing off into the trees) is an important consideration.

peakbagger
03-28-2016, 12:49 PM
Hillsounds do definitely have a significant traction advantage over Kahtoolas and they worked quite well on a hike up Kearsage North a week ago but coming down I still had to swap over to my Grivels. Even though I have the closest size of Hillsounds for my pair of boots, when descending I find the Hillsounds slide back a bit and the heel section ends up hanging loose from the heel. I expect its highly specific to the boot design and relative sizing but on that particular day, the Grivels allowed me to get significantly more grip under my heel than the Hillsounds. I also on occasion with Hillsounds end up going down short section of steep ice backwards facing the ice.

alexmtn
03-29-2016, 03:18 PM
Hillsounds do definitely have a significant traction advantage over Kahtoolas and they worked quite well on a hike up Kearsage North a week ago but coming down I still had to swap over to my Grivels. Even though I have the closest size of Hillsounds for my pair of boots, when descending I find the Hillsounds slide back a bit and the heel section ends up hanging loose from the heel. I expect its highly specific to the boot design and relative sizing but on that particular day, the Grivels allowed me to get significantly more grip under my heel than the Hillsounds. I also on occasion with Hillsounds end up going down short section of steep ice backwards facing the ice.

The Hillsounds have been my traction of choice in these conditions. They've been sharp enough to gain purchase on blue and black ice, to the extent that regular crampons add little extra value -- the longer spikes of the full crampons aren't needed, as there's no snow between the ice and the boots - and absent hard boots, vertical rails and sharpened tips, the front points don't gain secure purchase unless there are pre-existing ripples in the ice or irregularities in the rock to exploit. Nonetheless, I've still been carrying them. I found my mountaineering ax to be helpful occasionally, but more for cashing in on out-of-reach rock knobs, cracks and stumps than to succeed at getting a decent hold on the ice.

On several trails recently (most notably E. Osceola, Avalon Trail, W-J Trail, Carter-Moriah Trail), there were ice bulges for which I wished I'd brought my Omega's, G-14's, twin tools and dynamic rope. It was usually possible to bypass these and hug trees without too much of a detour, but not always, such as at a choke point just below where the trail on East Osceola's face moderates and gains the ridge.

Peakbagger, I too have found the Hillsounds to have their issues, but also think I've figured them out. A large part of it is a need for care in adjusting the tension and height of the silicone rubber at various points around the circumference of the boot in conjunction with the Velcro strap, but I've also observed a tendency for the bottom link of the vertical chains at the balls of my feet to break. In separate incidents, 3 of my 4 such chains have done this (it's 4 rather than 2 because I'm not consistent about L and R foot placement). In each case, I used my Leatherman pliers to remove the remnants of the old link from the spike plate, and attach the next link up to the plate instead. I've also had this happen to two other hikers in my groups. I think it's a looseness issue, because the problem has not recurred with the shortened chains. So the Hillsounds perform really well, but get good at adjusting them so as not to slide out of place on your foot, and have pliers and/or backup traction.

Sadly, I can also corroborate, from the experiences of hikers in my groups, reports that chain links are pulling through the rubber on late-vintage MicroSpikes.

Apologies to the moderators for contributing to the morphing of this thread from discussion of a winter tragedy to traction choices.

Alex