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Thread: Sometimes a suspension bridge is kind of handy for a rescue

  1. #1
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    Sometimes a suspension bridge is kind of handy for a rescue

    Notice the photo of the rescue team carrying a hiker across the Dry River Suspension Bridge, one of the few left in a wilderness area that hasnt been torn down.

    https://www.unionleader.com/news/saf...18a1e7f22.html

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    Or a winter rescue...

    I think Great Gulf, Dry River, and Lincoln Brook are all examples of trails should be well maintained because people allow themselves to get funneled into those drainages when bad things happen above treeline in the winter.

    Any ideas on why we don't hear about people retreating to the Wild River drainage off the Carter Moriah range? less novices on that ridge in winter conditions? wind direction?

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    Wild River just doesn't get the use that the other areas do. The road is gated down near Cold River Campground and up near route 2. Its easily an extra hour from Mass and southern NH so it doesn't get the traffic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Murphy View Post
    Or a winter rescue...

    I think Great Gulf, Dry River, and Lincoln Brook are all examples of trails should be well maintained because people allow themselves to get funneled into those drainages when bad things happen above treeline in the winter.

    Any ideas on why we don't hear about people retreating to the Wild River drainage off the Carter Moriah range? less novices on that ridge in winter conditions? wind direction?
    Because the highway, shortest exit, and development is to the west? I can't figure any reason someone would purposely bail into the WR. I think it's safe to say at this point that just about every 4K aside from Franconia Ridge and Washington is getting about the same amount of winter traffic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Murphy View Post
    Or a winter rescue...

    I think Great Gulf, Dry River, and Lincoln Brook are all examples of trails should be well maintained because people allow themselves to get funneled into those drainages when bad things happen above treeline in the winter.

    Any ideas on why we don't hear about people retreating to the Wild River drainage off the Carter Moriah range? less novices on that ridge in winter conditions? wind direction?
    Are there a lot of instances where people intentionally bail out into these areas? Seems like the vast majority of rescues do not involve these areas. Do the people who deliberately bail into these areas self rescue and therefore not make the news? Other than one or two incidents from Franconia Ridge I really can't think of others. If I purposely had to bail off a trail the conditions would have to be really, really bad and I would always head toward the closest road. I wouldn't bail into an even more remote area unless I had no choice.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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    I seriously doubt the Wild River area gets an equivalent amount of traffic compared to other areas. Generally the 4Ks are approached from west on the RT16 side due to accessibility although I believe the Wildcat River trail does get winter use due to the hut. My latest map does not have the detailed boundaries of the Wild River area but does have the other WMNF wilderness areas. The boundaries of the Pemi and Dry River wilderness were intentionally offset to exclude the AT and its associated infrastructure including the big stretch to keep Guyot out side of the boundary as well as the bridge crossing the north fork of the Pemi. The Great Gulf does not appear on the official maps as offset and effectively much of the Gulfside and Osgood are the border (with some creativity near Madison and Adams to miss Madison Hut). The only broad maps of the Wild River area show Carter Notch Hut in the wilderness area which I believe is not true which implies the broad maps takes some liberty with the boundaries. On both the Black Angel and Moriah Brook trails I believe the wilderness boundary sign is down the side trails a short distance which would imply an offset from the ridgeline but just may be good practice to reduce theft and abuse of the wilderness boundary sign.

    Day Trip is correct, the usual advice is to bail towards civilization. This unfortunately is not followed on occasion, with winter rescues off of Dry River Trail and the Mt Eisenhower trail happening on occasion. Its particularly difficult between Washington and Jefferson where Sphinx trail can be a tempting solution to get out of the wind albeit into very deep snow and cornicing. On this relatively narrow ridge the choices are poor as many of the ravines that drop west towards Jefferson Notch Road look very desolate.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 07-15-2019 at 03:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    The only broad maps of the Wild River area show Carter Notch Hut in the wilderness area which I believe is not true which implies the broad maps takes some liberty with the boundaries. On both the Black Angel and Moriah Brook trails I believe the wilderness boundary sign is down the side trails a short distance which would imply an offset from the ridgeline but just may be good practice to reduce theft and abuse of the wilderness boundary sign.
    The boundary runs just east of Rainbow Trail to Carter then north just east of the CM Trail, taking a weird jog around Zeta, to Kenduskeag and Shelburne then south from Howe to the old bridge by the campground. Most of the trails on the ridge are outside the boundary. Kenduskeag and Shelburne kind of meander on either side of it.

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    Thanks I need to get a new map one of these days with a more accurate boundary

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    PB, check out Caltopo, using the forest service 2016 maps.....they are quite up to date and include some pretty good detail
    https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=44.2...82&z=15&b=f16a

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    The boundary runs just east of Rainbow Trail...
    Notwithstanding the most recent Forest Service maps, I believe that the Rainbow Trail is pretty much right on the boundary -- the few times I've been on that trail, the boundary markers are on trees that are on the trail side, sometimes on trees with axe blazes for the trail. In the winter, I just follow the boundary markers, especially in the open hardwoods at lower elevation.

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    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Are there a lot of instances where people intentionally bail out into these areas? Seems like the vast majority of rescues do not involve these areas. Do the people who deliberately bail into these areas self rescue and therefore not make the news? Other than one or two incidents from Franconia Ridge I really can't think of others. If I purposely had to bail off a trail the conditions would have to be really, really bad and I would always head toward the closest road. I wouldn't bail into an even more remote area unless I had no choice.
    People have been funneled into these valleys with drastic results. The Dry River has seen more then one serious rescue and a few deaths, that were not found for awhile. The Great Gulf has also seen its share over the years. Absolutely dreadful terrain to descend in the winter if your off route. If your lucky enough to survive the steep slopes that are avalanche prone, your faced with deep snow and thick woods until you find a trail. That's where they finally found Hugh Herr and he was found by a random AMC hut person I believe just out looking. My memory is fading, but I think he was lost for three days. Not many of us, thought he was alive. I have always carried bailout points for the major traverses, none led me into any of these valleys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    People have been funneled into these valleys with drastic results. The Dry River has seen more then one serious rescue and a few deaths, that were not found for awhile. The Great Gulf has also seen its share over the years. Absolutely dreadful terrain to descend in the winter if your off route. If your lucky enough to survive the steep slopes that are avalanche prone, your faced with deep snow and thick woods until you find a trail. That's where they finally found Hugh Herr and he was found by a random AMC hut person I believe just out looking. My memory is fading, but I think he was lost for three days. Not many of us, thought he was alive. I have always carried bailout points for the major traverses, none led me into any of these valleys.
    Three days sounds about right. IIRC they (HH and JB) were not particularly unsure of their location, but the snow conditions were so atrocious that they were basically unable to make progress.

    I once attempted going in there in early spring, but I met a stream crossing that would have required a tyrolean via grappling hook, before I got very far.

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