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Thread: Lost Hiker on Moosilaukee

  1. #46
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessmuk View Post
    What too often happens in reality on actual wilderness treks is the weakest/slowest scout (or scoutmaster) ends up at the end of the line either by default or by active placement. Not always the wisest choice. If he were to lag behind or drop off for whatever reason, who would know? That is why I consider the next to last person highly important.
    Except now that is the last person. Only half tongue-in-cheek. If arranged fastest to slowest, every single person could get left behind. Groups with a must-stay-together rule typically put the slower people in the front, in my admittedly limited group hiking experience. On the bike, the rule is that stronger riders take longer turns (not faster ones) at the front. This can work well when breaking trail as well.

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

  2. #47
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike P. View Post
    As long as the rabbit up front stops where & when I want, and is at least fearful of bad weather, I'm pretty flexible who's up front.
    Several years ago we were staying in North Carolina near Asheville and after scouting the area we decided to "hike" up Mt. Mitchel by following Old Mitchel Trail ( https://hiking.waymarkedtrails.org/#....7574!-82.2709 ). We had several kids, teenagers and adults in our group. Inevitably teenagers set the pace up front, kids tried to follow them and we were closing the group. I had a toddler in a backpack carrier. All was going fine until we got to an intersection with Mountains-to-Sea Trail and we discovered that neither teenagers nor kids were waiting for us, and the main path was turning towards descent on Mountains-to-See Trail rather than following towards the summit. We had no cell phone signal, so no chance of figuring out who was where. The situation got pretty tense. We decided that one of us (adults) would got the summit, one would stay at the intersection and my wife ran down Mountains-to-Sea Trail calling the kids' names. Eventually she caught up with them half a mile down the trail while we also found out later that the teenagers correctly followed the trail to the summit. It was quite a teachable moment for us - clearly the need to wait for the rest of the group at an intersection (I guess something we took for granted) is not obvious to everyone, and quite honestly why should it be? It just has to be learned.

    Regarding OP, it appears from one of posted articles that the hiker was told to follow the trail back, so it's not the same situation. Nevertheless, things can go wrong even in easy terrain and conditions if the group stretches beyond the field of view.

  3. #48
    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    Here are just two relevant incidents from the NYSDEC ranger reports of the past week:

    Town of North Elba
    Essex County
    Wilderness Rescue: On May 17 at 5:45 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 33-year-old male from Saranac Lake who became separated from his party while descending Mt. Jo. When his hiking companions arrived at the trailhead, the subject was not there. The hiking party proceeded to check both the long and short trails and eventually met at Heart Lake without finding their missing friend. Two Forest Rangers arrived on scene, and while interviewing the group, the lost hiker walked in to the Adirondak Loj. The subject had veered off onto a herd path, followed a stream, and arrived at Last Chance Ranch. The caretaker at the ranch gave him a ride back to the Loj. The incident concluded at 6:35 p.m.

    Town of Hunter
    Greene County
    Wilderness Rescue: On May 18 at 4:40 p.m., Central Office Dispatch received a 911 call requesting assistance for a 58-year-old female from Kingston who had fallen ill while hiking with a Girl Scout troop from Laurel House trailhead to Inspiration Point. When the scouts reached Layman's Monument, the woman felt weak and decided to rest while the rest of group continued to Inspiration Point. When the troop returned to the subject's location, she was still unable to continue. Forest Ranger Robert Dawson was on foot patrol in the area and was able to quickly find and evaluate the hiker. Food and water were provided, and the subject walked out a short distance to a jeep trail, where a Hunter Police unit drove her to the roadside. The woman refused further medical care and left the area with her group.

    Anyone can receive these weekly email ranger reports and other DEC press releases by signing up with "DEC Delivers" at: https://www.dec.ny.gov/public/65855.html

    Some of the ranger reports are very instructional, others are head slappers and infuriating. All are interesting reading.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

  4. #49
    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    Thread drift aside, from the topical incident: College, state officials investigate cause of missing student incident

  5. #50
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    My first thoughts: 1. Dartmouth can easily afford the reimbursement costs from the rescue operation; 2. Dartmouth will take steps to avoid this expense in the future.

    Hopefully cost avoidance comes in the form of better leader training and not (just) cancellation of related outdoor activities. But we'll see.

    I did witness an MIT OC group at Imp several years ago in Mid-January, and man, it was pretty cold and windy and a few of their group were in quite rough shape. We ended up lending them a stove and helping with hot liquids while cold people were huddling into sleeping bags. From my former graduate institution (west coast; not MIT), it sometimes felt like the Wild West in their climbing classes. I remember my first couple of trad leads - not nearly as rigorous as it should have been. The attitude seemed to be, 'This is a pretty easy climb and you probably won't fall, so don't worry about getting everything perfect...' I'm still sad the Alpine Club was gutted to the extent it was, but I also think things could have been done better/safer. My feeling is there needs to be better oversight at university outing clubs in general (which is not to say non-university groups are immune to screw-ups). I just hope these clubs don't disappear completely.
    Sure. Why not.

  6. #51
    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    I was part of an outing club at my university many years ago. We specialized, almost exclusively, on exploring caves and caverns in the hollow Karst landscape of east central NY state. I feel that we did everything pretty much "by the book" as far as training and safety were concerned, if you discount eluding campus police as we trained while hidden by rappelling at night from the 5th floor roof of the science building.
    We had experienced rope work instructors and with the help of well known research profs in the field and grad students in the geology department, we did very well, opening up and mapping miles of previously unexplored passages and recovering previously "lost" historic caves in NY. One year we spent two weeks over Christmas break working with the NPS in New Mexico, making hundred+ foot drops into new parts of known caverns (including Carlsbad), barely missing being the first discoverers of lechuguilla cavern. We had certain NY based "training caves" to take newbies before tackling anything more challenging or dangerous. With a generous budget from the University, we had excellent up to date equipment. We never had as much as a minor accident or even a close call in my 4 years there.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

  7. #52
    Senior Member Vermonster's Avatar
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    The external investigation into how a student went missing during a May outdoor programs office-led trip on Mount Moosilauke has concluded, College spokeswoman Diana Lawrence confirmed to The Dartmouth yesterday. The director of outdoor programs Tim Burdick ’89, Med ’02 also resigned yesterday.
    More: https://www.thedartmouth.com/article...tion-concludes

  8. #53
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    From the article:

    "Our goal for the future is to ensure that OPO continues to offer best-in-class, safe, educational outdoors activities for Dartmouth students for many years to come."

    A positive outcome overall, I think.
    Sure. Why not.

  9. #54
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian View Post
    From the article:

    "Our goal for the future is to ensure that OPO continues to offer best-in-class, safe, educational outdoors activities for Dartmouth students for many years to come."

    A positive outcome overall, I think.
    Except for the fall guy who got the axe, lol.

  10. #55
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Overall, glad everyone is alive. Interesting tales from the group. We may start visiting schools in the fall & I was hoping I could have just checked out any outing club in Northern New England as being well run. After our last hike in NY went okay but with minor route complications which would have been worst had we done our planned hike, we dissected the trip.


    For the most part, I've learned more on trips that did not go as planned then any that went well.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  11. #56
    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    Except for the fall guy who got the axe, lol.
    I had dinner with Tim a few nights before he resigned. It's very unfortunate but I understand how it all happened.
    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. -- Dr. Seuss

  12. #57
    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike P. View Post

    For the most part, I've learned more on trips that did not go as planned then any that went well.
    That is exactly how I learned the finer details of backcountry off-trail navigation. Self-taught, I have learned far more from days of head slapping memorable navigation mistakes than I did on perfectly performed days.

    I have Just returned home from my 30th year as an instructor at a BSA adult trek leader training program in the Adirondacks. I took a small group on my favorite deep backcountry navigation training bushwhack with students as navigator/leaders. I haven't been to that location in several years and even more years earlier since a significant derecho (in 1995) totally devastated nearly every mature tree for many miles around. Memory of the exact details of the route and few remaining large landmark trees were a little fuzzy in my mind, but the overall landscape tricks and tips still all fit. Even so, mistakes were made and turned into valuable lessons on how to proceed to the ultimate goal location and then to return efficiently and safely with students having newly learned off-trail navigation skills. I was pleased on how it turned out as a lesson.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

  13. #58
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