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Thread: Follow Up Story on Kate Matrosova

  1. #1
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    Follow Up Story on Kate Matrosova

    From Bloomberg Business: http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/20...r-in-the-wild/

    I believe the author is the same Chip Brown who wrote "Good Morning Midnight: Life and Death in the Wild", the story of Guy Waterman.
    Last edited by J&J; 04-15-2015 at 03:00 PM.
    J&J

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    Senior Member Driver8's Avatar
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    Man, that is heartbreaking. She continues to weigh on minds and hearts.
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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    No disrespect, but, "willful to a fault", might be on her tombstone...
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    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting. Although we knew quite a bit from earlier stories already, there is one new piece of information:

    "And she had a gizmo Farhoodi had bought and insisted she take even though she couldn’t imagine using it and thought it was a waste of money—an ACR ResQLink - personal locator beacon (PLB), which Farhoodi had registered with the federal authorities that monitor all personal locator beacons in the U.S."

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    Great public interest type story with a tragic ending, thanks for the link. I was disappointed that the author didn't go into a bit more detail on the GPS logs and timing. It makes general reference to "mid morning" and "behind schedule on Mt Madison". It would be interesting to see the timing and where she got slowed down.

    Unfortunately, driven folks could read this and decide that it a new challenge to meet.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Very well written, next time we step out for a trip, give your kids and love ones an extra hug.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Guthook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Great public interest type story with a tragic ending, thanks for the link. I was disappointed that the author didn't go into a bit more detail on the GPS logs and timing.
    I would guess that was left out on purpose-- after so much focus on the PLB and GPS info in previous articles, and so much speculation that she was just some idiot who was relying on a locator beacon, I'd been waiting for a journalist to actually talk to the husband and see what was really going on. The point of the article seems to be that she was just a very driven person who would have pushed the limits regardless of the locator beacon.
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    Senior Member carla's Avatar
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    It is sad and tragic, and/but still hard to fathom why she went out that particular day on that particular hike. Unnecessary death.

    The quote from her friend, copied below, was striking. But I just find it hard to believe. This storm system was WELL predicted. How could she not have seen the storm coming? Earlier in the article a ranger said the storm came in faster than expected. Even so, she (Matrosova) would have known that the weather was bound to be ferocious during some part of her hike, beginning, middle, later, it wouldn't have mattered. She should have stayed home that day, really. I get that she was brave and not an amateur. But it seems so preventable...very sad for her and her husband and friends and family.

    "I know she checked the weather, she had to have,” says Olya Lapina, who recognized a kindred spirit when she met Matrosova at the Aconcagua base camp, in *Argentina, in January 2014. “Maybe she didn’t see the storm coming. You don’t always know a storm is coming. I can’t imagine she didn’t check the weather. Maybe something happened. Maybe she fell and became unconscious. It’s really important to understand what she stood for and who she was. She wasn’t a silly girl playing at mountaineering. She was brave. "
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    Senior Member dug's Avatar
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    From Rick Wilcox, same article:

    “It wasn’t a bad day, but you could hear the wind *beginning to build like a freight train bringing in the cold air,” says Mike Pelchat, manager of Mt. Washington State Park and a member of the Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue team that recovered Matrosova’s body. “The front came in really quickly, sooner than forecast."

    Most likely, she thought she'd be past Washington by then and in the shelter of the woods.

    Obviously, she thought wrong....

  10. #10
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carla View Post
    It is sad and tragic, and/but still hard to fathom why she went out that particular day on that particular hike. Unnecessary death.

    The quote from her friend, copied below, was striking. But I just find it hard to believe. This storm system was WELL predicted. How could she not have seen the storm coming?
    We'll never know the answer to that question, but my guess is the predictions weren't meaningful to her - she had no idea just how bad it could get, especially the wind. She had climbed McKinley, so I suspect she had experienced cold and wind. I suspect she thought she had experienced THE coldest and THE windiest that Mother Earth is capable of throwing at her. In her estimation (again, I'm guessing), a 5000' mountain in NH would never approach the challenge of McKinley, Elbrus, Kili, and Aconcagua. She just had no idea.

    Even the friend's lack of understanding is apparent in her commentary about a 'storm coming.' It wasn't a storm in the way most people think of a storm, it was a cold front with a heavy pressure gradient creating strong winds. The conditions weren't a surprise to anyone who had substantial winter experience in the Whites, those conditions had been predicted for at least a week. I know this because I had planned a 3-4 day Presi-traverse backpack with some friends starting the Thursday before Kate's trip. Even looking at the extended forecast, 10 days before we were to begin, conditions looked awful. We kept it on the calendar until the last minute, but the predicted weather never improved, and we scrapped the traverse or anything above treeline for that 4-day period, opting ultimately to just stay home.

    As the article implies, qualities that make you very successful in life do not always lead to longevity in the mountains. Still, it's obvious Kate Matrosova was well-loved. We are all a collection of qualities, some good, some not so good, and some that go both ways, depending on circumstances. I'm sorry Kate did not have a bit more luck on her side, which is what saves many, many people from the same fate every year. If there is an upside, it's that she appears to have packed a lot of success and happiness into her 30-something years on earth. Many folks don't pack that much into longer lives, and perhaps that is some comfort.
    Sure. Why not.

  11. #11
    Senior Member carla's Avatar
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    Agreed "she thought wrong." That's what makes it seem like such poor decision making/planning from the beginning. Given the well-predicted ferocious weather, many people would have allowed for a generous margin of error on the timing and the conditions (or saved it for another day).

    I was actually surprised to read Pelchat's comments that it "wasn't a bad day." That seems off to me. How bad does it have to be to be called "bad?" But I am certainly filtering this all through my perspective: fear of bitter cold, distaste for taking huge risks.
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    Senior Member Driver8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carla View Post
    It is sad and tragic, and/but still hard to fathom why she went out that particular day on that particular hike. Unnecessary death.

    The quote from her friend, copied below, was striking. But I just find it hard to believe. This storm system was WELL predicted. How could she not have seen the storm coming? Earlier in the article a ranger said the storm came in faster than expected. Even so, she (Matrosova) would have known that the weather was bound to be ferocious during some part of her hike, beginning, middle, later, it wouldn't have mattered. She should have stayed home that day, really. I get that she was brave and not an amateur. But it seems so preventable...very sad for her and her husband and friends and family.
    The previous summit of Madison by her and her husband is also a key bit of new information. The rationalist libertarian streak in me says, "OK, fine, you're strong. Give it a try, just don't be stupid." As in, go up to treeline, check it out, and if it's brutal, turn back. Or even summit Madison and turn back from the hut. And I betcha that, if she hadn't done Madison before, strongly wanting and perfectly able to get Adams, but turning back for husband's sake, she might, on President's Day weekend, have said to herself, "time to head back" having gotten the first peak and observed the fierce and worsening conditions.

    But having turned back from Adams before, she may have thought, "I'm getting Adams, at least, this time, I won't turn back from trying it again. It's not gonna stop me two times in a row." After all, she did evidently turn back from Adams's summit. And then, as she started to get out of Quincy Adams's lee, she got blasted and knocked over, and that was the end of it.

    Note, by the way, that this new report of the prior Madison summit trip contradicts previous reports from SAR at the time two months ago that this was her first hike in the Presidentials. That could easily have happened as follows:

    Husband to SAR: This is her first time to attempt this hike/a Northern Presidential traverse/Mount Washington from the north.

    SAR to News Media: This was her first hike in the Presidentials.

    Knowing that she had, in fact been there before and that her husband was familiar with the MWObs website and so she likely was, too, adds to the picture that's been gathered of her story.

    I second the motion on "willful to a fault," but I have to say, I identify with her mentality more than I care to admit, it's just that her much higher level of capability than mine enabled her to walk into much deeper peril than my similar taste for adventure dares to hazard with my more modest skill set. Better lucky than good, sometimes.
    Last edited by Driver8; 04-16-2015 at 11:28 PM.
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    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    I share the enduring fascination with this story which lies at the intersection of tragedy, history, mystery, and proximity. The unanswerable question seems to be "why?". For winter hikers, snow is a given, even desirable, and for the most part, low temperatures are to be expected and can be countered with the proper gear. But no one copes effectively at that elevation with 80-100 mph winds gusting to 125 mph. The wind is the killer. She should have known. Why didn't she know? That's the mystery. She assessed risk for a living but made a fatal mistake in assessing this risk. The over-achieving free spirit that she was only enhances the sense of tragedy, while the history of death in the Presidential Range makes it part of a larger on-going saga. Read hikerbrian's post #10. He has the experience to do this hike and his signature is "sure, why not?" and yet he chose to stay home.
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    Senior Member Raven's Avatar
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    I am glad an article was written that seems to paint this story in an appropriate light.

    She was not inexperienced, was not an idiot, and her death is a tragedy.

    She was training for Everest and had climbed Denali among a few other challenges. To continue on was a poor decision, but I am guessing she made it thinking she could handle what was ahead, and more importantly, could turn back if it got bad. She may not have been able to turn back easily once on Adams, and I can feel her fear at that point.

    Mountaineers from the US, whether from east or west, have heard enough about the Presidential Range to respect it. Mountaineers from Russia have likely never heard of New Hampshire, nor our peaks. The idea that our little hills can create conditions as deadly as anywhere on earth is lost to many people.

    To me that is the biggest tragedy here. She didn't know she was walking into a trap. She had the physical ability, the knowledge, the skills, and the experience to be there. But she didn't know what the weather could do on those mountains. To me, it was simple, sad ignorance.

    The week following her death I sat and stared at the near perfect pyramid of Mount Adams and thought if only she had planned her hike this week, things would be very different. It was calm, clear, beautiful....peaceful. But I guess that's life. And death.

    I cannot read a story about her without welling up. Star Lake is my favorite place and Adams my favorite mountain. I will likely spend a long time there reflecting the next time I visit, maybe as early as next week.
    Humankind has not woven the web of life.
    We are but one thread within it.
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    All things connect.
    ~ Chief Seattle, 1854 ~

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    Senior Member Amicus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian View Post
    We are all a collection of qualities, some good, some not so good, and some that go both ways, depending on circumstances. I'm sorry Kate did not have a bit more luck on her side, which is what saves many, many people from the same fate every year. If there is an upside, it's that she appears to have packed a lot of success and happiness into her 30-something years on earth. Many folks don't pack that much into longer lives, and perhaps that is some comfort.
    Great comments on a second great article on a tragedy with special meaning for us.

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