Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Winter Rescue on Katahdin

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Gorham NH
    Posts
    5,515

    Winter Rescue on Katahdin

    https://bangordailynews.com/2019/01/...ut-conditions/

    Wow this could have gone a lot worse.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Woodstock, CT
    Posts
    2,296
    Indeed. Sounds like they "knew what they were doing" though enough to negotiate the Knife Edge in those conditions, find Dudley and start down in the proper direction. As always, love to hear more details. Pretty favorable outcome all things considered though.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 5/46

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Gorham NH
    Posts
    5,515
    Also take into account that Dudley is closed due to a significant slide/washout. I believe its down low in the protection of trees but even adds more challenge. Finding Dudley from the summit is quite a challenge as its a pretty featureless area with lots of potential to drift west towards the headwall (cliffs)

    Keep in mind Baxter is somewhat picky about who they let in the park and on the mountain in the winter. I believe a ranger has to give permission to a party to climb the mountain on a specific day. I have known folks that have gone to the park in the past that were told they could visit Chimney Pond but could not climb the mountain due to conditions/lack of experience. Not sure if that is still in place. Unlike the rest of New England mountains they don't have to worry as much about clueless folks driving up underequipped and underexperienced. I think over the years some folks do "sneak in" but generally they are experienced folks that just happen to not want to deal with the system. Given the long drive and navigation even to get into the park in winter I expect it culls out most of Darwin Award candidates.

  4. #4
    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Waltham, Mass.
    Posts
    1,607
    I believe Dudley is "closed in summer" but open for winter travel.

    Very hard to understand their decision-making without more details. It sounds like they were on South peak (I'm assuming they arrived there from Baxter Peak), headed out on the Knife Edge, lost the trail / decided to duck down out of the wind (presumably on the south side, since they survived), and kept right on going across the whole ridge until they eventually rejoined the trail just before Pamola Peak (so, presumably, in or near Chimney Notch). That's... pretty impressive, but the question is, why did they decide to cross the ridge, vs, say, going back to Baxter Peak and then going down Abol?

  5. #5
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    5,503
    My experience with Katahdin in winter was that the ranger kind of sized us up and made a recommendation, but didn't really 'enforce' it - he said "please don't go tomorrow, I don't want to have to come get you" (Monday) and "Tuesday is the day to go". This was in line with our plans already, so no conflict. My recollection on the application process was to list the members of the party and their experience.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  6. #6
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    New hampshire
    Posts
    2,511
    Years ago, I was denied permission for a winter solo. Not sure if that has changed, but at the time they didn't allow winter soloing. Haven't been back since, I did it in the summer previously. I know people rave about the park, but its not for me.

  7. #7
    Senior Member SpencerVT's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Brattleboro, Vermont
    Posts
    223
    I can imagine the route being nearly impossible to find in those conditions. Above treeline, whiteout, it just makes navigation nearly impossible. Glad they're ok, definitely could've ended much worse.
    I snowshoed and broke out 5.5 miles on the Long Trail this weekend and finding where the hell the trail was in the unbroken drifts, etc...was difficult enough in good weather!
    Spencer
    Bigfoot

  8. #8
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    NH Seacoast
    Posts
    606
    Quote Originally Posted by nartreb View Post
    That's... pretty impressive, but the question is, why did they decide to cross the ridge, vs, say, going back to Baxter Peak and then going down Abol?
    I wonder where they were camped. If at RB or Chimney, they probably wanted to get home. Abol is a looong way from both. But your question is still valid: they could have come down the Saddle. That would have necessitated a trudge into wind and weather.

    I have done lots of winter trips in Baxter and always found the rangers accommodating and reasonable. If you work with them they will work with you to help you achieve your goals. Be a jerk and they can make your trip difficult.

    They do not have the broad volunteer SAR network to fall back on that exists in the Whites. That, plus the remoteness of the park, makes rescues there a higher stakes game than in NH.

    cb
    Nobody told me there'd be days like these
    Strange days indeed -- most peculiar, mama
    .

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Gorham NH
    Posts
    5,515
    At some point I knew folks who had to fill out an application to head into the park in the winter and had to list resumes for the party and list who would support their rescue.

  10. #10
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Center Conway, NH
    Posts
    2,258
    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    At some point I knew folks who had to fill out an application to head into the park in the winter and had to list resumes for the party and list who would support their rescue.
    This was the case when I went to Katahdin for the first time in the mid to late 70's. Group size was no less than four climbers. One of which had to be an EMT and at least one person had to have been there on a previous trip. They also went through your gear before departing.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

  11. #11
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    5,503
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Gorham NH
    Posts
    5,515
    That reminds me that my friend made sure his friend's wife could go as she was a MD. I think the first year they were not allowed to summit based on that they had not been there before.

    I think there was a requirement that they all had to have helmets and had to carry an ax with them at all times. I was at a presentation once and Jean the long term park natural list joked about always having to have an ax no matter where she went per the park director.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Snowflea's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,095
    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    At some point I knew folks who had to fill out an application to head into the park in the winter and had to list resumes for the party and list who would support their rescue.
    Yes, I remember taking certain “writer’s liberties” in filling out those applications in the mid 90s.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •