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Thread: South Baldface rescue - 3/23/2021

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    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    South Baldface rescue - 3/23/2021

    Details found here: https://nhfishgame.com/2021/03/24/st...outh-baldface/

    No snowshoes and a fall which separated hiker from one of his boots. Had a light sleeping bag and his phone which he used to call for help.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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    This should be a cautionary tale to anyone who goes into the higher peaks in early to mid spring without snowshoes. It may seem firm enough to get up, but things can change, and change quickly. Even carrying a pair of light snowshoes is a great way to reduce risk.

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    Another steep as hell section of the trail that probably shouldn't be attempted in the Winter. Most of Baldface circle trail is moderate. The section above the shelter is not. I can see someone falling easily there.

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    Senior Member maineguy's Avatar
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    That is indeed a steep and dangerous section in wet/icy conditions. In 1968 one of the hikers in our group of teens injured his ankle while we were descending in the rain (full packs) headed for the shelter. We wound up carrying him down the trail in a stokes litter (in the dark) thanks to the assistance of folks at the AMC Cold River Camp. I will never forget that.
    Last edited by maineguy; 03-25-2021 at 09:30 AM.

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    I’ve been there in April when poor conditions have persisted. It’s not to be taken lightly.

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    Another steep as hell section of the trail that probably shouldn't be attempted in the Winter. Most of Baldface circle trail is moderate. The section above the shelter is not. I can see someone falling easily there.
    Amen to that. Would have been better to do the loop clockwise and ascend that bit.

    This seems like the winter of "lost shoes." What kind of footwear succumbs to post holing so easily?
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    Slippery Brook seems like a much more logical route choice in winter plus gains you Baldface Knob with option to bang over to Eastman.
    Last edited by JoshandBaron; 03-25-2021 at 09:31 AM.

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    Was there additional info on the location of the accidents other than South Baldface?. In addition to the obvious steep ascent up the east face above the cabin, there area couple of steep ledges in between the South and North Peaks that have had accidents in the past. The north end of Slippery Brook trail is an old logging grade all the way to to the ridge crest between Eastman and South Baldface, that skips the ledges above the cabin. it also has a bonus Knob with some interesting views and blueberries in season. I use this approach on occasion when folks want to do the loop but I am suspicious that the ledges may be a bit too much for them or when the ledges are wet. I try tio avoid this loop on busy weekends but another reason for Slippery Brook is that is avoids the inevitable back up that occurs on the ledges when folks are above their level of competence. The lesser used south end of the trail from Town Hall road in Bartlett is bit hard to follow but a very nice walk in the woods that rarely gets any use.

    IMHO The Baldface Circle route tends to be a "honeypot" for less experienced folks that are drawn by its reputation and quite frequently some amount of them overestimate their hiking ability, interest or stamina. On most weekends I could probably make a killing selling bottled water on North Baldface to all the folks out of water and wishing there was a shortcut down

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Was there additional info on the location of the accidents other than South Baldface?

    "He was off the Baldface Circle trail between the summit of South Baldface and the shelter... They hiked 2.8 miles, arriving at Conrad’s location at 1:33 a.m."

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    Senior Member maineguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    Amen to that. Would have been better to do the loop clockwise and ascend that bit.

    This seems like the winter of "lost shoes." What kind of footwear succumbs to post holing so easily?
    I have been wondering the same thing. Maybe something like a Sorel?

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    Same here, why are so many losing their footwear? I'm a Sorel type hiker and the more modern lace-up styles are snug and I never feel I'm going to lose them. I actually find myself hiking in mud boots often as well as my son (sometimes accidentally up a mountain), and I often have to hold him out of the snow while retrieving his boots or myself.

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    I think more people are losing their footwear in postholes because more people are not wearing snowshoes.

    If you posthole deeply while barebooting/Microspiking, you may well go up to your hip in snow and perhaps have an obstruction (branch, stump, rock, etc.), holding you in place. If you're really wedged and pull up, you may lose your shoe/boot. Since your leg is longer than your arm, good luck fishing out your boot.

    If you wear snowshoes and manage to posthole, the hole generally won't be as deep, and will also be longer/wider, providing better access to fish something out.

    Anyone going into the high mountains with current snowpack and no form of flotation should be liable for any search and rescue costs.

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    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    Also, I think a lot more people are wearing trail runners in winter, and certainly in "shoulder seasons. Easy to get those pulled off. I have seen trail runners pulled off in snow and in mud several times.

    Of note, wearing scree gaiters helps keep trail runners from getting pulled off.

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    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TCD View Post
    Also, I think a lot more people are wearing trail runners in winter, and certainly in "shoulder seasons. Easy to get those pulled off. I have seen trail runners pulled off in snow and in mud several times.

    Of note, wearing scree gaiters helps keep trail runners from getting pulled off.
    Too bad we'll never get the real truth. We all have to speculate on these rescues.

    Being he's a avid runner. I too think he wanted to travel light. No snow shoes on this hike? he should be ashamed.
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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptCaper View Post
    Too bad we'll never get the real truth. We all have to speculate on these rescues.

    Being he's a avid runner. I too think he wanted to travel light. No snow shoes on this hike? he should be ashamed.
    At age 68 you should know better!
    Nobody told me there'd be days like these
    Strange days indeed -- most peculiar, mama
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