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View Full Version : Rescue in the Franconia Notch area



peakbagger
12-22-2018, 07:24 AM
Hiker stranded due to high water conditions in the Cascade Brook Trail area.

DayTrip
12-22-2018, 08:32 AM
Was following this over on Facebook. Not a lot of info in the article but it appears on the surface that there isn't much to defend. Seems like a pretty stupid decision all around. Hopefully there will be more info.

P.S. He was rescued. Was an update there in a news story.

JustJoe
12-22-2018, 08:32 AM
https://www.wmur.com/article/crews-trying-to-reach-stranded-hiker-near-kinsman-mountain/25660214

Andrew
12-22-2018, 08:44 AM
I felt bad last night as I ran across one of the responding CO's at the store in Bethlehem as he was grabbing extra snacks. I was happy to see him to say Merry Christmas, but of course had to start off sarcastically; "Hi Matt, why aren't you on Mt. Washington rescuing some foolish person."...."Because Andrew, I'm on my way to do that in Franconia Notch, but at least it's not Christmas Day or Eve."

peakbagger
12-22-2018, 09:28 AM
Sadly Andrew you probably a few days early in your comments :(

Mike P.
12-22-2018, 09:33 AM
Rain and melting snow.... If he had gone out a day or two before, maybe he did not know the rain and warm temps and the melting snow would be such an issue. Glad we had a decent ending.

JoshandBaron
12-22-2018, 04:08 PM
They had been forecasting Friday accurately for at least a week.

TCD
12-22-2018, 04:30 PM
Unless you are local, or do a LOT of research, it's hard to know exactly what river crossings are going to be a problem, at exactly what time of day, after a certain exact amount of snow melt and rain.

I have not been in that area, but a quick look at the map shows that the AT crosses Whitehouse and Cascade Brooks there. The WMUR article doesn't say anything about where the hiker was from, which way they were going, are there bridges or not, how high are the bridges, how fast do those particular brooks rise, or any of the hiker decision making. So I can't really assess what happened until there is a LOT more information. Just the fact that it was going to warm up and rain doesn't mean anything, by itself.

peakbagger
12-22-2018, 08:00 PM
Generally flood warnings are a good indication. All of NH was under a flood warning.

DayTrip
12-22-2018, 08:11 PM
Unless you are local, or do a LOT of research, it's hard to know exactly what river crossings are going to be a problem, at exactly what time of day, after a certain exact amount of snow melt and rain.

I have not been in that area, but a quick look at the map shows that the AT crosses Whitehouse and Cascade Brooks there. The WMUR article doesn't say anything about where the hiker was from, which way they were going, are there bridges or not, how high are the bridges, how fast do those particular brooks rise, or any of the hiker decision making. So I can't really assess what happened until there is a LOT more information. Just the fact that it was going to warm up and rain doesn't mean anything, by itself.

The trails mentioned are well described in AMC Guide and mention the numerous crossings, missing bridge at one particular crossing, etc. It would not have taken much research at all. And all those trails either start along or are very close to the Pemi in fairly steep walled valleys so the high water levels would be very apparent minutes into the hike even if you did zero research.

I'd still like to know where they started from and what direction they were going. The area they were stuck in is surrounded by crossings which were likely a problem in the AM as well so I wonder why they couldn't back track. They would have had to cross one of these rivers to get where they were and the trail segments aren't very long, maybe a mile on each leg of the "triangle" so did the water rise that fast? Did they push their luck crossing once and decide it was too risky to cross back? Definitely could use more information on this one to understand.

TJsName
12-22-2018, 11:34 PM
The Pemi gauge in Lincoln from Friday looked odd. https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?cb_00060=on&cb_00065=on&cb_00065=on&format=gif_default&site_no=01074520&period=&begin_date=2018-12-21&end_date=2018-12-21

The snowpack can absorb some rain, but once it's saturated, it runs off. It's quite possible that the brooks rose a foot in an hour, making the crossings objectively dangerous.

JustJoe
12-23-2018, 07:00 AM
Most likely one of these 2 crossings of Cascade Brook is my guess. No idea of the amount of research said hiker did but the crossing of Cascade Brook have been being discussed on hiking forums and FB for years. Judging by the width of the body of water in the rescue photo, it looks like the first photo. 2nd is of the washed out bridge. Irene?

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/CBSuLEoew2Abl9tsrEaDiXFDnODDbTTfDNRFgljlNfEQ5RZgvS B6NzC10_1anUpAW8DtkL-8jlyJSxKKPniN5DSkaJvGn5WQ9b1agYmYNH2lc00xzG20Xwky3 u8Ga83Vv-Hz2-ixKLqPPTrms0AmZ1UcdkMRTRmZ5i8jgunGz-qmbQUKsJNOms_CMbwWPG8zKhuoUqQwWHiuvnnl_5GZ7hF15HTV uPHYeJKMBp0bMv5k6PNkbC1liO5iNtpeyJYeqe515b9FHYzwRY 4CPtIYDVsjRTYkbx_aEXoEYx4ScRIH4DgkyS_zEiIEuAsRCCWK mZdFsPG_aXTjMoQ6wVIq0amkVHMs5iASU9Z9sqRN-2JuN7h9Z2pdWz4ucacLnPsbbKBcXfQDu73_vMJmGVWpEgip7d1 xIVSwKfhcGuapwuZwockzj6HUqEt-rOgfPMeVTFjbRdMyFAk8BfUu3FMmKDUFDGx3_h2jAedISmDEPH NwvFNVQ8RbgsXBh3EQO7GoLmnzXVDi5TpP49-sfKcUfc4XdydNk7hJMGQ4ti_GVOLcap5FYC8KyZkxHI96_m2nM enk5MASlnhNN0uGTWowRW3zwbl_hN5u9YSbWyti3LNRoswUTRk jbg0rgxGQ-JeCEeEHeH06NfcTg32fbiEYhXdlIQ=w800-h504-no

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/Mn7f43-6e6pWDuWsVFYniapV3y9zf-L3LGPFuiCMMaWnRc1HLnq_pLmoHWPSrQ0UrHw-SqB6qgRmahJy2fD1-AT3SyHC2SVGpfOUOpl7vQHe50nwZ41rsUVi4zMqhNYumvuFiBv RRj1vodS5DtCUp3a08Rb5liN37qCCFFVLTUob4xdaGxAYrqwKC yH1tHIFQ7_fNEoB7tFVUVCLXLLtka1HDktnw3FJGdxqy75EsfB mr3KMwhJAeoGmh_EncYdL3edeizMCg7H78jg7RdSkKWvVTPN0m PHu_ylX6iqoV3jdG1zBP9mZyblYhQui7fzvL0QvByaVdGWbiDu s5xI1ayAlAA7Z1Eu8jM7OQuHH0ijIY3GUE_ozVoxLmihdR4nvh hO6M3EwdnceyLZWBRRt1j_IWhWwW0F0SjcSJvK4DPgqMoHkbEC sLItNGLw4ZRv6y2JAp71i5uhRyTuXtHuwBantCgeoNER1eMG1k Hkm_5rUG8hgRgTpMoUfNDu9n61oddz2dyQAfspctFPLGGxPXZQ OEFQKMwsU_iny2bdXFXdWCRHJtbh-_N0C9YPDl9A56Q8cQr40ha-2Rd1X3KmfSvCEAynSTe3TD7kf0fQuoYHGs7yK9C_7XHgbCzzh2 x05xKPayEtoCqF99LsAEhFGuehCKw=w479-h704-no

This is a question for the knowledgeable. Lets say you did this hike thinking the rain was not going to be bad, or just plain didn't look at the forecast. OK, no one here would probably do that. Lets for arguments sake, say you did. So you now know you screwed up and the well documented (dangerous in high water) crossings below are going to be a problem. Would Fishing Jimmy have been a better option? Is the crossing of Cascade Brook at 3600' Bad in high water as well? I can't even recollect them meaning to me they are inconsequential. Heck, I don't even have a picture of them and I take a picture of everything. Just curious about that option even though it would have meant a 1.5 mile walk back to the car.

DayTrip
12-23-2018, 07:32 AM
"Heck, I don't even have a picture of them and I take a picture of everything"

Wait a minute...say what?!?! :p (I guess we know what your next hike should be.)

Mike P.
12-23-2018, 10:02 AM
Unless you are local, or do a LOT of research, it's hard to know exactly what river crossings are going to be a problem, at exactly what time of day, after a certain exact amount of snow melt and rain.

I have not been in that area, but a quick look at the map shows that the AT crosses Whitehouse and Cascade Brooks there. The WMUR article doesn't say anything about where the hiker was from, which way they were going, are there bridges or not, how high are the bridges, how fast do those particular brooks rise, or any of the hiker decision making. So I can't really assess what happened until there is a LOT more information. Just the fact that it was going to warm up and rain doesn't mean anything, by itself.

I'd say these crossings would be similar to the Hudson crossing for starting Allen or Adams or Skylight Brook crossings, or Wallface (the brook you cross for Street and Nye) Brook where some of these like their NH cousins have lost bridges historically under heavy rain and snowmelt.

Not sure guidebooks and online resources give equal weight to stream crossings as they do for Alpine Hazards. They probably do when you are in the old mainstream hiking season. More and more people are hiking all year round, while the majority may still think of the "hiking season" being Memorial Day to Columbus Day in the Northeast, the minority has grown quite a bit and some probably have pushed beyond their learning curve. While FB boards may have discussion boards, I have a feeling that FB and certainly Instagram are more focused on the pictures than they are on the hardships one might encounter on reaching the picture location. Twenty plus years ago, I thought perhaps places like VFTT and AMC's electronic presence would catch up with teh new hikers then. With the increase the last few years, I was quite nave. :rolleyes:

sierra
12-23-2018, 12:37 PM
If you have been hiking long enough in the Whites, you can take a forecast and predict fairly accurately which routes to avoid. This also includes the understanding of snowpack, temperatures and a timeline for the rising of rivers and streams. To be fair to the guy rescued, this knowledge took me personally a fairly long time to acquire. I had more then one person pm me from FB sites asking me for recommended routes given the rainfall, which I provided. All that being said, I'm willing to bet most of the hikers in said FB groups, might lack this skillset. I'm also willing to bet, the guy rescued now has another arrow in his quiver.;)

TJsName
12-23-2018, 12:38 PM
Most likely one of these 2 crossings of Cascade Brook is my guess. No idea of the amount of research said hiker did but the crossing of Cascade Brook have been being discussed on hiking forums and FB for years. Judging by the width of the body of water in the rescue photo, it looks like the first photo. 2nd is of the washed out bridge. Irene?

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/CBSuLEoew2Abl9tsrEaDiXFDnODDbTTfDNRFgljlNfEQ5RZgvS B6NzC10_1anUpAW8DtkL-8jlyJSxKKPniN5DSkaJvGn5WQ9b1agYmYNH2lc00xzG20Xwky3 u8Ga83Vv-Hz2-ixKLqPPTrms0AmZ1UcdkMRTRmZ5i8jgunGz-qmbQUKsJNOms_CMbwWPG8zKhuoUqQwWHiuvnnl_5GZ7hF15HTV uPHYeJKMBp0bMv5k6PNkbC1liO5iNtpeyJYeqe515b9FHYzwRY 4CPtIYDVsjRTYkbx_aEXoEYx4ScRIH4DgkyS_zEiIEuAsRCCWK mZdFsPG_aXTjMoQ6wVIq0amkVHMs5iASU9Z9sqRN-2JuN7h9Z2pdWz4ucacLnPsbbKBcXfQDu73_vMJmGVWpEgip7d1 xIVSwKfhcGuapwuZwockzj6HUqEt-rOgfPMeVTFjbRdMyFAk8BfUu3FMmKDUFDGx3_h2jAedISmDEPH NwvFNVQ8RbgsXBh3EQO7GoLmnzXVDi5TpP49-sfKcUfc4XdydNk7hJMGQ4ti_GVOLcap5FYC8KyZkxHI96_m2nM enk5MASlnhNN0uGTWowRW3zwbl_hN5u9YSbWyti3LNRoswUTRk jbg0rgxGQ-JeCEeEHeH06NfcTg32fbiEYhXdlIQ=w800-h504-no

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/Mn7f43-6e6pWDuWsVFYniapV3y9zf-L3LGPFuiCMMaWnRc1HLnq_pLmoHWPSrQ0UrHw-SqB6qgRmahJy2fD1-AT3SyHC2SVGpfOUOpl7vQHe50nwZ41rsUVi4zMqhNYumvuFiBv RRj1vodS5DtCUp3a08Rb5liN37qCCFFVLTUob4xdaGxAYrqwKC yH1tHIFQ7_fNEoB7tFVUVCLXLLtka1HDktnw3FJGdxqy75EsfB mr3KMwhJAeoGmh_EncYdL3edeizMCg7H78jg7RdSkKWvVTPN0m PHu_ylX6iqoV3jdG1zBP9mZyblYhQui7fzvL0QvByaVdGWbiDu s5xI1ayAlAA7Z1Eu8jM7OQuHH0ijIY3GUE_ozVoxLmihdR4nvh hO6M3EwdnceyLZWBRRt1j_IWhWwW0F0SjcSJvK4DPgqMoHkbEC sLItNGLw4ZRv6y2JAp71i5uhRyTuXtHuwBantCgeoNER1eMG1k Hkm_5rUG8hgRgTpMoUfNDu9n61oddz2dyQAfspctFPLGGxPXZQ OEFQKMwsU_iny2bdXFXdWCRHJtbh-_N0C9YPDl9A56Q8cQr40ha-2Rd1X3KmfSvCEAynSTe3TD7kf0fQuoYHGs7yK9C_7XHgbCzzh2 x05xKPayEtoCqF99LsAEhFGuehCKw=w479-h704-no

This is a question for the knowledgeable. Lets say you did this hike thinking the rain was not going to be bad, or just plain didn't look at the forecast. OK, no one here would probably do that. Lets for arguments sake, say you did. So you now know you screwed up and the well documented (dangerous in high water) crossings below are going to be a problem. Would Fishing Jimmy have been a better option? Is the crossing of Cascade Brook at 3600' Bad in high water as well? I can't even recollect them meaning to me they are inconsequential. Heck, I don't even have a picture of them and I take a picture of everything. Just curious about that option even though it would have meant a 1.5 mile walk back to the car.

I did a crossing of Cascade Brook in high water once. It was scary, so we went upstream quite a ways and found a good spot to go from the North side to the South side. This was a few Memorial Days ago where we got a foot of snow that rapidly melted. The crossing was slightly submerged rocks on the way up, but had risen a foot while we hiked up Kinsman Pond and back down Fishing Jimmy (skipped the summits). That day, the upper crossing (3600') was not issue. The lower crossings on the trail (recrossing Cascade Brook and the Pemi) we easier due to better terrain in the area (i.e., slower water). It was still deep and cold though. Also, we were a group of 5, which helped with crossing evaluation and support. It was intense for sure. Being along in caooder weather with dark setting in, calling for help seems like the prudent decision.

Tom Rankin
12-24-2018, 07:07 AM
Generally flood warnings are a good indication. All of NH was under a flood warning.Unlikely, a flood WARNING means flooding is happening or inevitable at a particular location. a Flood WATCH means it might happen.

peakbagger
12-24-2018, 08:40 AM
I am pretty sure there was flood warning for that area during at least part of that day, I agree the rest of the state would have been under flood watch. I looked around a bit and couldnt seem to locate a listing of recent flood warnings although I expect its out there.

I expect it was someone who was up here and wanted to go on an "easy" hike and didnt realize that where they were going had stream crossings that flood. Its not the first time folks have been trapped by Cascade Brook trail in high water conditions.

TJsName
12-24-2018, 06:00 PM
I am pretty sure there was flood warning for that area during at least part of that day, I agree the rest of the state would have been under flood watch. I looked around a bit and couldnt seem to locate a listing of recent flood warnings although I expect its out there.

I expect it was someone who was up here and wanted to go on an "easy" hike and didnt realize that where they were going had stream crossings that flood. Its not the first time folks have been trapped by Cascade Brook trail in high water conditions.

My understanding is that this was a backpacker who had stayed the previous night at Kinsman Pond. Unclear how long they were out and if they stopped by the hut on their way out. Given where they were stuck, it seems likely that they made at least the initial crossing of Cascade Brook, which is what trapped them. Would have had to gone up to Lonesome Lake and down to Lafayette Place and Bike Path (or whatever it is officialy called) it back to the car to avoid these crossings tough call to make if you're already cold and tired. He could have camped though, so F&G must have felt it was worth the risk to come get him.

DayTrip
12-25-2018, 08:31 AM
My understanding is that this was a backpacker who had stayed the previous night at Kinsman Pond.

If that is true it would certainly explain a lot.

dug
12-26-2018, 06:59 AM
Now, these two events happened more than two decades ago so real-time information was lacking. However, I have run into two situations where I left to bright sunny skies, stayed a couple of nights out where it became increasingly rainy. This was not unexpected according to the weather reports available, but the amount did catch me off-guard.

I had to ford streams to get out. What were easily crossed just by easy rock-hopping or even just less than ankle-deep water, because waist-high torrents that were dangerous. One, the Peabody River one could tell would flood quickly and it did. A change of plans due to the weather left me retreating over something I hadn't intended to. Almost lost my dog that day. The second was nothing, just an unnamed tributary into the Zealand River that most times one doesn't even notice.

I can sympathize with him.