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Thread: Edmunds Col Fatality

  1. #31
    Senior Member dug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian View Post
    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.

  2. #32
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    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?

  3. #33
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian View Post
    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.
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  4. #34
    Senior Member erugs's Avatar
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    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.)
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  5. #35
    Senior Member Maineman's Avatar
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    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.

  6. #36
    Member MylesLI's Avatar
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    Old Salts (like me) take note

    Quote Originally Posted by dug View Post
    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..

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maineman View Post
    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.
    Last edited by psyculman; 03-03-2016 at 04:13 AM.

  8. #38
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psyculman View Post
    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 and note his comments about the "Hillery Step" on the Lion's Head winter route.

    Maybe some things never change.

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    Last edited by ChrisB; 03-03-2016 at 08:29 AM.
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  9. #39
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    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.

  10. #40
    Senior Member Brambor's Avatar
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    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.



    Quote Originally Posted by Lost Dad View Post
    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.
    Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.

  11. #41
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJsName View Post
    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.
    Sure. Why not.

  12. #42
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    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.
    Last edited by rich99; 03-03-2016 at 01:32 PM.

  13. #43
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian View Post
    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.

  14. #44
    Senior Member erugs's Avatar
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    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.
    Ellen

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  15. #45
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    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!
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