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Thread: South Baldface rescue - 3/23/2021

  1. #16
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    I won't copy/paste, but he posted a first-hand account publicly on his Facebook page:
    https://www.facebook.com/Traildad1

    Summary:
    - No snowshoes.
    - No headlamp.
    - Clockwise.
    - Had to backtrack from past North Baldface due to deep snow and uncertain dropoffs.
    - It was getting dark, so he had a hard time following his footsteps down from South.
    - Lost footwear in post-hole while descending.
    - Didn't feel safe continuing without shoe, so sheltered and called someone he knew nearby to ask if they could assist.
    - Eventually called 911, hoping someone could bring replacement footwear so that he could walk out (which is what happened).

  2. #17
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    For some reason, I think he's not that experienced with Winter hiking, certainly not with the changing conditions Spring brings. He reminds me of the two runners that were rescued off Lafayette earlier in the season. Eventually, one of these trail runners are going to die up there.

  3. #18
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    As I am not on FB, I still could see he has a ton of pictures available. He's been many places mostly hiking, running, mostly in warmer weather, some pictures with snow but they could be more on the shoulder than a few days post Spring Equinox. (You can get snowy Washington pics in before Columbus Day and in early May.) I'm guessing this may have been his first time on The Baldfaces and IDK what he did for researching before the trip. He loves being out, he appears to be acquiring experience quickly if he didn't have much earlier in life.

    We'll see what the next few weeks bring out as it is Spring in Southern New England, it feels like May in CT the last couple of days, meanwhile, rotten snow and fragile snowbridges over brooks and streams are in the near future. I was out on Wednesday prepping for a Scout like by pre-hiking a section of a 15 hike in SE CT we are doing next weekend. Shorts, a fanny pack and summer boots was pretty nice. As daffodils bloom and the grass greens, I'm sure we'll see some head north expecting the same conditions.

    Most VFTT'ers know that there is no off-season, however, I've learned over time that my car is able to drive (in a few hours) in a northerly direction (NH, VT, ADK,) or a westerly, (Catskills, CT, MA) and it looking to see LIS which is nice from a ledge when it's too cold to go in, I can drive south too. Not that it's a long hike, (hike, it's a short walk from the road) but even exploring the highpoint of the State east of me is fun too.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket21 View Post
    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.
    As a counterpoint to your constant repetitive message let me tell you of an actual (not speculative) experience I had. Probably before you were born (late 1960's). Winter hike up Cannon - lots of snow and unbroken trail (typical in those days). Was wearing snowshoes - wooden bearpaws (state of the art in those days) Trail finding was challenging but we were doing ok until... I fell into a spruce trap - over my head. From the waist down I was packed in pretty tightly but I started to claw my way out when suddenly one of the snowshoes that had been trapping me came off. Got out easily after that but then we had to perform a major excavation project - coming in from the side - to retrieve the snowshoe.

    I'll admit that we couldn't have done the hike at all without them but they aren't the end all and be all all the time. My backcountry skiing friends - who probably have accomplished far more extreme adventures then anyone on this board - would never ever use snowshoes.

  5. #20
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldEric View Post
    As a counterpoint to your constant repetitive message let me tell you of an actual (not speculative) experience I had. Probably before you were born (late 1960's). Winter hike up Cannon - lots of snow and unbroken trail (typical in those days). Was wearing snowshoes - wooden bearpaws (state of the art in those days) Trail finding was challenging but we were doing ok until... I fell into a spruce trap - over my head. From the waist down I was packed in pretty tightly but I started to claw my way out when suddenly one of the snowshoes that had been trapping me came off. Got out easily after that but then we had to perform a major excavation project - coming in from the side - to retrieve the snowshoe.

    I'll admit that we couldn't have done the hike at all without them but they aren't the end all and be all all the time. My backcountry skiing friends - who probably have accomplished far more extreme adventures then anyone on this board - would never ever use snowshoes.
    I am a major proponent of Snowshoes and never hesitate to carry them. Although I have had to remove them to self extricate from a major post holing or spruce trap event multiple times. This usually occurs when I have punched through a hidden crust layer and the tips and tails have submerged below that layer and then will catch on the bottom of that layer when trying to pull it back to the surface. As far as the original thread I think the hyenas have circled in. Not that this guy did everything right but he sure is far from some of the more blatant events that occur. Believe me I'm good here like many at pointing out the things that should have been done but this guy at least was able to hunker down with some degree of comfort by having things like a sleeping bag and a pad. I also give him credit for his humility and what seems like a learning experience posted on FB. Which IMO seems to be out of the norm these days. I'm certainly guilty myself of not doing so but maybe we as a group should embrace some of that humility and not be so quick to pull the trigger on critiquing these events until more of the facts are in.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

  6. #21
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    I am a major proponent of Snowshoes and never hesitate to carry them. Although I have had to remove them to self extricate from a major post holing or spruce trap event multiple times. This usually occurs when I have punched through a hidden crust layer and the tips and tails have submerged below that layer and then will catch on the bottom of that layer when trying to pull it back to the surface. As far as the original thread I think the hyenas have circled in. Not that this guy did everything right but he sure is far from some of the more blatant events that occur. Believe me I'm good here like many at pointing out the things that should have been done but this guy at least was able to hunker down with some degree of comfort by having things like a sleeping bag and a pad. I also give him credit for his humility and what seems like a learning experience posted on FB. Which IMO seems to be out of the norm these days. I'm certainly guilty myself of not doing so but maybe we as a group should embrace some of that humility and not be so quick to pull the trigger on critiquing these events until more of the facts are in.
    Similar to you I was on the Carters many April's ago and the snowshoe went through the crust and I couldn't pull it out as it had slid forward. I used my ice axe to enlarge the hole so I could pull it out. We never used snowshoes last week, however, Middle Sugarloaf, Potash and Willard were sidewalk packed. My personal preference is not to do peaks I don't know first in the winter (near winter) and if I'm going someplace I don't know, I'm bringing more gear than I think I need, not the gear I hope I only need.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  7. #22
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    I am a major proponent of Snowshoes and never hesitate to carry them. Although I have had to remove them to self extricate from a major post holing or spruce trap event multiple times. This usually occurs when I have punched through a hidden crust layer and the tips and tails have submerged below that layer and then will catch on the bottom of that layer when trying to pull it back to the surface. As far as the original thread I think the hyenas have circled in. Not that this guy did everything right but he sure is far from some of the more blatant events that occur. Believe me I'm good here like many at pointing out the things that should have been done but this guy at least was able to hunker down with some degree of comfort by having things like a sleeping bag and a pad. I also give him credit for his humility and what seems like a learning experience posted on FB. Which IMO seems to be out of the norm these days. I'm certainly guilty myself of not doing so but maybe we as a group should embrace some of that humility and not be so quick to pull the trigger on critiquing these events until more of the facts are in.
    I find his decision to carry a cell phone but not a headlamp intriguing.

    It indicates on the one hand confidence that he’ll finish the trek before dark, yet on the other hand that he might need to communicate with the outside world for some reason.

    Or maybe he had the phone for music.
    Nobody told me there'd be days like these
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  8. #23
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    I find his decision to carry a cell phone but not a headlamp intriguing.

    It indicates on the one hand confidence that he’ll finish the trek before dark, yet on the other hand that he might need to communicate with the outside world for some reason.

    Or maybe he had the phone for music.
    That makes you old like many of us. Like you surmise, the phone could have been for music, for GPS, for light. (If for all those things you hope he would have a spare battery pack or charger he could have used without plugging in) What is the size of a calculator from the 70's or a TV remote is a computer, phone, GPS, stereo and with Apps can help you with the stars you see for night navigation OR with no power, a very sleek paperweight or with fishing line and a hook, an expensive way to get bait to the bottom if fishing for bottom dwelling fish.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    Or maybe he had the phone for music.
    Maybe to take selfies?

  10. #25
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    What is so odd about carrying a cellphone? Few folks go anywhere sans-cellphone nowadays.

  11. #26
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    I find his decision to carry a cell phone but not a headlamp intriguing.

    It indicates on the one hand confidence that he’ll finish the trek before dark, yet on the other hand that he might need to communicate with the outside world for some reason.

    Or maybe he had the phone for music.
    Yes no Headlamp. He did say in his FB Post that he forgot it. Did he know this before setting out or was it not until he potentially needed it? If it was the former then I guess it would be a case of..."Oh well I'm here..go for it..I'll be down before it gets dark". If the latter....well we all have a Brain Fart once in awhile. That's the thing about this hobby you learn something every time you go out. At least one can only hope so.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    I find his decision to carry a cell phone but not a headlamp intriguing.

    It indicates on the one hand confidence that he’ll finish the trek before dark, yet on the other hand that he might need to communicate with the outside world for some reason.

    Or maybe he had the phone for music.
    You do know that many phones have a flashlight. Far from perfect but better then nothing.

  13. #28
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    There is a tradeoff on the use of a cell phone as a flashlight. A cell phone flashlight may allow a hiker to extend their trip into the night but they are risking being able to make an emergency call due to low battery if they need to. Its also has a lot more exposure to damage in a persons hand rather than stashed away in the pack. I expect if the hiker has the forethought to switch to airplane mode, that should extend the life of the battery considerably but expect a typical hiker in trouble may not think of that option.

    In the past cell, phones had replaceable batteries,if the battery life started to degrade it could be replaced. For folks like me that do not trade in phones for the latest and greatest model, degraded battery life is an issue. I just replaced a 7 year old phone due to an outdated operating system that was limiting its basic functionality and think I replaced three batteries during its life. I know many folks who end up replacing their phone due to this issue. My new phone is a rarity that has a replaceable battery and still is mil spec shock and waterproof rated. It was not offered by the major cell companies and my suspicion is that its intentional planned obsolescence on the cell companies part.

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