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Thread: Another accident in Platte Clove...

  1. #1
    Senior Member DSettahr's Avatar
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    Another accident in Platte Clove...

    http://www.thedailymail.org/articles...b994745406.txt

    BREAKING NEWS — Hiker falls from Platte Clove

    Published: Friday, June 4, 2010 6:14 PM EDT
    HAINES FALLS — A rescue operation began in Greene County Friday afternoon as authorities tried to reach a female hiker who fell from a cliff near Platte Clove in Hunter.

    State police at Catskill said four teenagers from Ulster County were hiking on Platte Clove when one of them left the trail. Police said the girl apparently slipped and fell about 100 feet down an embankment in the rugged terrain.

    DEC forest rangers, state police and firefighters are assisting with the rescue effort.
    Hope she makes it out ok.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DSettahr's Avatar
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    Guess she didn't make it.

    From ADKHighPeaks:

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikie
    She was pronounced dead at the scene. It is believed that she fell close to where Bill Costello fell back on May 1. There are reports that she fell 100-200'. She, and her 3 friends had skipped school to go hiking in Devil's Kitchen. From what we understand, she slipped on the pine needles and slide over the side. She was wearing sneakers.

  3. #3
    Senior Member DSettahr's Avatar
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    http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories...storyID=938013

    High school senior dies in fall from Catskill mountain

    Staff reports
    Last updated: 11:47 p.m., Friday, June 4, 2010
    HUNTER -- A senior from Saugerties High School fell to her death Friday afternoon while hiking in "The Devils Kitchen" area in the Catskill Mountains, state police said.


    Olivia Rose Belfiglio, 17, was hiking with three friends along the top of the cliff when, at about 2:30 p.m., she lost her footing and fell about 100 feet, police said.

    Several rescue personnel responded to the area, which is off Platte Clove Road in the Greene County town of Hunter, to take Belfiglio out of the ravine.

    None of the hikers were wearing appropriate hiking footwear, police said.

    Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories...#ixzz0pwsdca5i

  4. #4
    Senior Member askus3's Avatar
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    HUNTER — A junior from Saugerties High School died Friday when she slipped off a hiking trail and fell 100 feet, state police said.

    The victim, 17-year-old Olivia Rose Belfiglio, was hiking with three friends near Hunter Mountain in an area known as “The Devil's Kitchen.” The teens were hiking along a trail at the top of a cliff when Belfiglio lost her footing and fell into a ravine.

    State police said none of the hikers was wearing proper footwear to maneuver in the rocky, steep terrain. Authorities told the Times Herald-Record that Belfiglio was wearing flip flops when the fall happened about 2:30 p.m.

    The Haines Falls Fire Department, Palenville Fire Department, Centerville Fire Department, Tannersville Rescue, Hunter Area Ambulance, Ulster County Sheriff's Office, Town of Hunter Police Department, Town of Saugerties Police Department, New York State Park Rangers, and Environmental Conservation Police helped to extricate the teen.
    __________________________________________________ _

    That is sad - flip-flops. I see above where another source said sneakers, still not sufficient.
    Aaron

  5. #5
    Senior Member Grumpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by askus3 View Post
    ...
    That is sad - flip-flops. I see above where another source said sneakers, still not sufficient.
    As a matter of curiosity, and definitely not to be argumentative, I wonder what is "sufficient" footwear.

    (For the record, here, I am very inclined to agree that flip-flops are not appropriate backcountry footwear, except for casual lounging around in camp or perhaps (but only perhaps) while paddling a canoe ... )

    It just seems to me that when we use terms like "sufficient" to describe footwear, we ought to define them in meaningful terms.

    G.

  6. #6
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    I'm curious, not having hiked that trail. I hike everywhere, all the time in trail runners, which most "authorities" would call "sneakers."

    Is it the case that a loss of footing *on the trail* could result in a deadly 100' fall? There are VERY few established trails (ie, marked, maintained hiking trails as opposed to climbers approach trails) which are so close to a precipice, without any sort of cable or rail, that one could lose one's footing *on the trail* and take a long fall. Almost all the long fall cases take place after someone has left the trail, typically to try to get a better view (ala Katterskill Falls, Tea Lake Falls, Roaring Brook Falls, etc.)

    I'd like to hear from someone who knows this trail well. Concerned that we are blaming this on the footwear...

    TCD

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mark Schaefer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TCD View Post
    I'm curious, not having hiked that trail. I hike everywhere, all the time in trail runners, which most "authorities" would call "sneakers."

    Is it the case that a loss of footing *on the trail* could result in a deadly 100' fall? There are VERY few established trails (ie, marked, maintained hiking trails as opposed to climbers approach trails) which are so close to a precipice, without any sort of cable or rail, that one could lose one's footing *on the trail* and take a long fall. Almost all the long fall cases take place after someone has left the trail, typically to try to get a better view (ala Katterskill Falls, Tea Lake Falls, Roaring Brook Falls, etc.)

    I'd like to hear from someone who knows this trail well. Concerned that we are blaming this on the footwear...
    I am familiar with the area. Despite the news reports and quotes of some rescue workers; there are no marked or maintained "hiking trails" in the area where the two recent deaths occurred. There are only unmarked paths which are used by ice climbers in the winter and view seekers in other seasons. These paths are rough, steep (up to 25% grade), with much loose rock/stone and needles. They can be very slippery especially when wet or covered in needles. These paths descend from a parking area on the Platte Clove Road just east of a stone bridge over the Hell Hole Brook near the top of the road's climb up the Platte Clove (ravine). There is some additional information about this area in this thread on the Catskill Mountaineer forum. The Hell Hole Brook is labeled the Grand Canyon Region on the satellite photo in that thread. In a short distance these ice climber paths reach the top of several sheer cliffs which are near 100' in height. From these cliffs there are views of Bridal Veil Falls (mislabeled Plattekill Falls in a photo in the forum thread) and other views into the ravine. There is a variety of vegetation on top of these cliffs which obscure the views a bit. Based on the reports both of the recent fatalities may have occurred near this viewpoint.

    I have hiked up the entire Platte Clove from bottom to top several times, and in portions of the cloves numerous times. I have hiked in full hiking boots and in lighter trail runners (called sneakers by some). Either of these are adequate for all areas of the Platte Clove including these ice climbing paths. Traction is the main criteria in this area, with a degree of sturdiness being helpful.

    The reports in the local newspaper indicate that Olivia was wearing sandals. This most recent report also includes some comments from friends that indicate Olivia had some experience in hiking:
    WHAT WAS most troubling to Olivia’s friends was the manner in which she died, especially, they said, because she had experience with off-road conditions.

    "Olivia loved to hike and being outdoors, She would know how to prepare for a hike on trails like that, so it doesn’t make sense."

    "It’s eerie because she was used to being in the woods."
    On the subject of sandals I will reference a 2004 VFTT thread which began with an inquiry about hiking up the entire Platte Clove. I responded that it is often easiest to hike some sections directly in the stream, and that I did these sections barefoot. There was a subsequent question in this thread on whether Chaco Z/2 Colorado Sandals would be OK for hiking in the stream. I have never stream hiked in these sandals, but they have anti-slip, Vibram soles and should be quite suitable. If those are the genre of sandals that Olivia was wearing, then perhaps she was not as ill-prepared as the reports indicated. They would not be my choice for comfort because of the loose stones on the ice climbing paths. But it is also possible that Olivia and her companions intended to later hike down the Hell Hole Brook, seen in this photo that I found online. Hiking on this brook is very similar to hiking in the Colden Trap Dike. Hiking sandals with good traction could be useful here if there was much water running in the brook.

    So I would be very reluctant to judge what went wrong without knowing the specifics of Oilvia's sandals and her intended destinations on this hike.
    “Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right.” Henry Ford
    My Photos: http://community.webshots.com/user/CatskillHiker

  8. #8
    Senior Member Grumpy's Avatar
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    It's good to see some informed discussion of the footwear issue as it bears on this unfortunate case.

    As we see, working definitions of terms like "sufficient" and "adequate" can be pretty darned tough to pin down. Mark S's discussion says a lot.

    It occurs to me that even my sturdy Limmer boots with normally high-traction lugged Vibram soles might not be "sufficient" in this area, if the grades are steep and slopes or paths made slippery by coverings of conifer needles. The real gear-associated problem here, it seems to me, is lack of belay protection near the precipices, especially given the slippery slope nature of the footing which can't be reliably overcome with footwear.

    My heart goes out to the victims in these incidents, and to the friends and family they have left behind. Their fates remind us that our activity (hiking) is far from risk free, that knowledge of an area is essential to preparing for hiking in it safely, and that incomplete knowledge always mandates caution and precautions. This is hardly a call for timidity and protectionism. It is a call for common sense and personal independence.

    Enacting regulations and erecting barriers is not the solution. The thing to do is personally take charge of our own activity and actions, accept the existence of risks, analyze and learn from close calls and disasters, share knowledge, and properly mourn losses.

    This has been a good VFTT thread.

    G.

  9. #9
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    Thanks for the insight, Mark. That's kind of what I thought. I smelled a "rush to judgment," seasoned with some old fashioned assumptions about footwear.

    Very sad result, regardless of the immediate cause. Condolences to all.

    TCD

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    If you're close the edge & are on pine needles on a ledgy slope in the right conditions, they would act like ball bearings, I don't think footwear wouldn't likely matter much.

    A sad set of circumstances of four friends around graduation going out for what should have been a fun time but instead ended tragically.

    My condolences to her family friends & classmates.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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