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Thread: Hiker Rescue yesterday on Washington (Mt Clay)

  1. #31
    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rankin View Post
    So, never hike below 0? ;-)
    I agree with "egilbe," hiking below 0 is mighty challenging in its own right. Above treeline and in a wind? I would take a pass.

  2. #32
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    There is reportedly an interview with his son with background in the Boston Globe behind a paywall.

    With respect to cold weather hiking, wind and cold can be managed with the right gear but add in effectively hiking in a hurricane with driving rain/sleet and the equipment required gets a lot rarer. I think the approach is go with totally waterproof gear with a VBL base.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 06-22-2022 at 08:02 AM.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    There is reportedly an interview with his son with background in the Boston Globe behind a paywall.

    With respect to cold weather hiking, wind and cold can be managed with the right gear but add in effectively hiking in a hurricane with driving rain/sleet and the equipment required gets a lot rarer. I think the approach is go with totally waterproof gear with a VBL base.
    Definitely can be managed...if you plan for it. I've got some grief here from time to time for taking hikes in horrendous weather on purpose (which I actually do enjoy) and this is exactly why I do it - to know what gear I should have, if it actually does what I think it will, if I really have the skills for it, things that pop up that I hadn't foreseen, etc. These are profound learning experiences so if you ever find yourself "in that scenario" you know what is and isn't possible.

    As many have mentioned, the vast majority of hikers out there do not have any experience to draw on for scenarios like this and combined with a sense of overconfidence get into trouble. As Sierra mentioned I have no idea how you fix this other than implementing expensive and draconian measures that I don't think anyone would really want. It just seems to happen over and over and over with no sign of improving....

  4. #34
    Senior Member TEO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    My rule of thumb is "any time the wind speed is greater than the temperature one should start to question one's plans and abilities".
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rankin View Post
    So, never hike below 0? ;-)
    My friends an I have routinely backcountry skied in temperatures below zero. The coldest recorded temperatures for our backcountry night-skiing group was -28 F at the base of a line—there happened to be a remote UVM weather station right near the end of the run. The advantage of being on skis is you can move more quickly than hiking, but it also increases the risk. Obviously your margin for error is slim in those temperatures. I did bail early on one occasion, due to an equipment issue. I probably could have diagnosed the cause and certainly made the correcting adjustment in the field, but since it was in the -20s, I did not want to take any chance of an equipment failure high on the mountain.

    Most of my outings in the super-cold temperatures have been relatively close to civilization, but for the Adirondacks, where trip distances are often longer, your winter days are going to be rather limited if zero is your cutoff. That said, I won't say that you're wrong, Tim, to have a cutoff like that

    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    There is reportedly an interview with his son with background in the Boston Globe behind a paywall.
    Here's that Globe article. If the paywall is preventing you from reading it, you might: (a) buy a subscription, (b) try using "reader" view in your browser, or (c) open it in the Tor browser.

    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    With respect to cold weather hiking, wind and cold can be managed with the right gear but add in effectively hiking in a hurricane with driving rain/sleet and the equipment required gets a lot rarer. I think the approach is go with totally waterproof gear with a VBL base.
    I agree with this.

    On Saturday and Sunday I was hiking in Dixs Grant and Dixville. With a forecast of highs in the mid-high-40s and rain, I was cognizant of the increased hypothermia risk, so I brought extra layers, changed shirts between hikes, and for my second hike on Saturday, carried a thermos of hot tea with a liberal helping of Vermont Maple Syrup, which I typically only carry in cooler months. But, 3k'ers are not the same as above treeline in the Presidentials.

    Like many, I am curious to what Mr. Chen had for clothing and if he was aware of the forecast. It would appear that he had at least a moderate amount of hiking experience and was determined in his efforts. My heart aches for his family.
    Last edited by TEO; 06-22-2022 at 09:31 AM.

  5. #35
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    One thing that I think is over looked and I know some here will even dispute it (they will not be named by me) some people don't get as cold as other's do. I rarely feel really cold and I do not carry the gear many do, I even got crap on this site once, for not having a pad, a sleeping bag and I believe a stove for winter day hikes. I have spent many days above treeline in sub zero temps on solo trips. I once left Harvard cabin in temps that read -25 without the wind. I say this because for years, I have run into people dressed to the nines on summits and I'm barely adding a layer. I do not know the reason for this, maybe its the amount of time I have spent in such conditions.

  6. #36
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rankin View Post
    So, never hike below 0? ;-)
    Well, below 0 you have to hike backwards

    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    My rule of thumb is "any time the wind speed is greater than the temperature one should start to question one's plans and abilities".
    Note that I said "one should start to question one's plans and abilities"... It's just a guide. It's worked pretty well for me, and very well for Gryffin. Everyone has their +/- (wind + 10 > temp) just like they have their book time multiplier. For sure I think about Gryffin's safety and comfort too.

    I'd prefer 0 degrees with 20 mph wind over 40 degrees and 40 mph wind with rain, for example. And 60 degrees + 60 mph wind is probably a no-go for me as well.

    Tim
    Last edited by bikehikeskifish; 06-22-2022 at 02:18 PM.
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post

    I'd prefer 0 degrees with 20 mph wind over 40 degrees and 40 mph wind with rain, for example. And 60 degrees + 60 mph wind is probably a no-go for me as well.

    Tim
    I'm in that "zone" as well. It's hard to have rigid go/no-go rule on any one parameter. I usually evaluate temperature, visibility and fall potential as my 3 criteria. Any one of these alone may not be a deal breaker but when things start getting sketchy for several or all of them I adjust plans accordingly...which generally involves an Imperial Stout and the TV.

  8. #38
    Senior Member NorthShore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HankR View Post
    Would anyone have saved the printed "High Summits" forecast issued by the MWO twice a day for either last Friday or Saturday? I would like to see how Saturday's bad conditions, notably the high winds that developed (96 mph gust by Sunday), were forecast. These HS forecasts are as we all know super well done; sure wish Mr. Chen had checked them out.
    MEZ007>009-NHZ002>004-172100-
    Summits Above 4000 Feet in Northern New Hampshire and Western Maine-
    656 AM EDT Fri Jun 17 2022

    ...Recreation forecast for summits above 4000 feet in northern New
    Hampshire and western Maine...

    .TODAY...Summits obscured. A chance of showers and thunderstorms.
    Some thunderstorms may be severe with large hail. Highs in the mid
    60s...except in the upper 50s at elevations above 5000 feet. West
    winds 25 to 35 mph...except west 45 to 55 mph at elevations above
    5000 feet. Chance of rain 40 percent.
    .TONIGHT...Summits obscured. A chance of rain showers. Lows in the
    mid 30s. Northwest winds 25 to 35 mph...except northwest 40 to
    50 mph at elevations above 5000 feet. Chance of rain 30 percent.
    Wind chill values as low as 15 after midnight.
    .SATURDAY...Summits obscured. A chance of rain showers or snow
    showers. Highs in the upper 30s. Northwest winds 40 to 50 mph. At
    elevations above 5000 feet, northwest winds around 60 mph increasing
    to around 70 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation
    50 percent. Wind chill values as low as 9 above.

    MEZ007>009-NHZ002>004-181015-
    Summits Above 4000 Feet in Northern New Hampshire and Western Maine-
    801 PM EDT Fri Jun 17 2022

    ...Recreation forecast for summits above 4000 feet in northern New
    Hampshire and western Maine...

    .TONIGHT...Summits obscured. Scattered rain showers with a slight
    chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 30s. Northwest winds 25 to
    35 mph...except northwest 40 to 50 mph at elevations above
    5000 feet. Chance of rain 50 percent. Wind chill values as low as
    19 after midnight.
    .SATURDAY...Summits obscured. Scattered rain showers in the morning.
    A chance of snow showers. Numerous rain showers in the afternoon.
    Highs in the upper 30s. Northwest winds around 45 mph increasing to
    around 55 mph in the afternoon. At elevations above 5000 feet,
    northwest winds around 60 mph increasing to around 70 mph in the
    afternoon. Chance of precipitation 70 percent. Wind chill values as
    low as 9 above.

    Summits Above 4000 Feet in Northern New Hampshire and Western Maine-
    637 AM EDT Sat Jun 18 2022

    ...Recreation forecast for summits above 4000 feet in northern New
    Hampshire and western Maine...

    .TODAY...Summits obscured. A chance of rain showers and snow showers
    this morning, then rain showers and snow showers likely this
    afternoon. Highs in the lower 40s. Northwest winds 40 to 50 mph...
    except northwest 45 to 65 mph at elevations above 5000 feet. Chance
    of precipitation 70 percent. Wind chill values as low as 6 above
    this morning.
    .TONIGHT...Summits obscured. Rain showers likely in the evening. A
    chance of snow showers. A chance of rain showers after midnight.
    Lows in the lower 30s. Northwest winds 35 to 45 mph...except
    northwest 45 to 60 mph at elevations above 5000 feet. Chance of
    precipitation 70 percent. Wind chill values as low as 9 above.
    .JUNETEENTH...Summits obscured. A chance of rain showers and snow
    showers. Highs in the lower 40s...except in the mid 30s at
    elevations above 5000 feet. Northwest winds 30 to 40 mph...except
    northwest 50 to 60 mph at elevations above 5000 feet. Gusts up to
    75 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation 50 percent. Wind
    chill values as low as 8 above.

    Summits Above 4000 Feet in Northern New Hampshire and Western Maine-
    209 PM EDT Sat Jun 18 2022

    ...Recreation forecast for summits above 4000 feet in northern New
    Hampshire and western Maine...

    .REST OF TODAY...Summits obscured. Rain showers and snow showers
    likely. Highs in the upper 30s. Northwest winds around 55 mph...
    except northwest around 75 mph at elevations above 5000 feet. Chance
    of precipitation 70 percent. Wind chill values as low as 14.
    .TONIGHT...Summits obscured. Rain showers and snow showers likely in
    the evening, then a chance of rain showers and snow showers after
    midnight. Lows in the lower 30s. Northwest winds 50 to 60 mph...
    except northwest 55 to 70 mph at elevations above 5000 feet. Chance
    of precipitation 70 percent. Wind chill values as low as 9 above.
    .JUNETEENTH...Summits obscured. A chance of rain showers and snow
    showers. Highs in the lower 40s...except in the mid 30s at
    elevations above 5000 feet. Northwest winds around 55 mph decreasing
    to around 40 mph in the afternoon. At elevations above 5000 feet,
    northwest winds 55 to 65 mph. Gusts up to 85 mph decreasing to
    75 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation 50 percent. Wind
    chill values as low as 8 above.

    Summits Above 4000 Feet in Northern New Hampshire and Western Maine-
    743 PM EDT Sat Jun 18 2022

    ...Recreation forecast for summits above 4000 feet in northern New
    Hampshire and western Maine...

    .TONIGHT...Summits obscured. Rain showers likely with a chance of
    snow showers this evening, then a slight chance of rain showers and
    snow showers after midnight. Lows in the lower 30s. North winds
    35 to 45 mph...except north 45 to 60 mph at elevations above
    5000 feet. Chance of precipitation 70 percent. Wind chill values as
    low as 9 above.
    .JUNETEENTH...Summits obscured. A chance of rain showers and snow
    showers in the morning, then rain showers and snow showers likely in
    the afternoon. Highs in the lower 40s...except in the mid 30s at
    elevations above 5000 feet. North winds 35 to 45 mph...except north
    45 to 60 mph at elevations above 5000 feet. Chance of precipitation
    70 percent. Wind chill values as low as 7 above.

  9. #39
    Senior Member Mac's Avatar
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    One can dress for cold and windy weather. If rain or wet snow is added to the mix, it's a whole different ballgame. I once hiked from Madison to Lakes (early August), temps were in low 50s with 50-60 mph winds and horizontal rain. My hiking buddy observed some shivering, and slight impairment in my decision making, so we diverted to summit (pack room), and recovered there. We were a considerable distance past Jewell bailout when issues surfaced, so summit building was the next available option.

  10. #40
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    I was on Jefferson in August of 1986, having summited earlier in the day and camping at The Perch when a freak storm blew up. Expecting summer conditions, and not totally prepared, we were just warm enough to get through the night. We were supposed to do Adams and Madison the next day but instead hiked out in a cold and miserable rain. As we were bailing out, apparently the ill-fated MacDonald Barr party was at the same time ascending into a sleet storm on Madison where Mr. Barr unfortunately perished. See Not Without Peril for a detailed account.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

  11. #41
    Senior Member dug's Avatar
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    Not defending anyone, but it's also important to remember that every day someone does a hike or a ski or a peak in weather that someone else wouldn't, and we never hear about it as it goes off without a hitch. There isn't a hard and fast temp, wind speed, moisture content, etc. that is a clear cut "absolutely not" that is universally agreed upon. It's easy to hear of -50 windchills and unforeseen snow and think "that was dumb to be above treeline". But, maybe a sudden rainstorm that was forecasted turns out to have some ice, more wind than anticipated, etc.

    I've read FB posts where someone gets admonished for going out in weather that I, personally, MAYBE don't consider that bad. I've also seen pictures of someone out and think "no way would I do that". Without everyone's resumes posted along with their obituaries and browser history from the previous 48 hours, we can only surmise what we would do, what they knew, and how prepared they were for it. Someone training for Denali or the Himalayas shouldn't be terribly concerned about below 0 temps and high winds. That's what they are training for, right?

    For example, in the 70's we were caught on Bondcliff when a storm kicked in that wasn't anticipated. Yes, I realize it was more difficult to get updated weather 40+ years ago, but with the constant weather changes none are full-proof. Anyhoo, a mom with 3 kids under the age of 12 wearing Timberlane boots, jeans, and sweatshirts, some cheese & crackers, maybe an apple, and a couple cans of Coke get caught in a frigid downpour miles from their camp at the time was a laugh a minute as we sloshed and shivered our way home. That happens today, and one of us turns an ankle on a slippery root or shifting summit boulder, and it's fodder for the internet commentary. Or, which the odds bear out, everyone hustles down without issue and everyone is none the wiser. I've had dozens of similar situations where there was no issue at all and we just carried on. And I'd bet I'm nowhere near alone on that.

    Of course, the closest I ever came to a weather-related tragedy I was 1 mile from the trailhead, albeit in extremely cold weather but we were on our way out when I fell into a brook and soaked about 70% of my body. I got to the trailhead with, literally, frozen clothes stuck to me. Again, laughs all around. Only the four of us knew about it. Happens 5 miles in? Maybe it turns out worse and I get to be made famous

  12. #42
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    I feel bad for his family. Why and what he was thinking are things we'll never figure out. if this was his first trip that went awry, it was a bad place to learn. A few scouts and I did a trip on the humid weekend we had in May, two scouts did not bring enough water and an adult felt a little dizzy so we rested and then went back to the car past a place to get water. One of the scouts regretted not getting to the summit. I told him you learned things today and that I've always learned more things on a day when things went wrong then on any where I was successful.

    Before FB and we planned a few hikes here with old time members, the people I hiked with, I called before the first trip (AMC Leaders called for their winter trips back in the 90's) and talked a little about their summits and if they had ever turned around. I wanted to be comfortable with what we were going to do. I knew back then while I wasn't a hard-core Summit or bust type, I was past average. A couple of the guys had a better sense of retreat then I did.

    One of those guys after we had done a few, picked up a new guy who talked a great game & talked one the Gary's (I had hiked with three at one time) into doing Ike. Gary was sensible and we discussed things. On this trip, the other guy sounded believable and they got off trail, into some steep ice & two of the three slipped. All okay, however, back at the car, the confident guy confided that he had a few winter peaks only and that his friend did all the planning and navigating. Gary was the sensible guy who should have taken charge, however, he was a really nice guy and didn't want to be the strong arm leader type. That day , he needed to be that guy.

    When the weather is bad, you need to be comfortable with your limitations and strengths and really know yourself. I am like Sierra in bad weather wondering why everyone is layered up walking uphill as I am trying to manage only sweating a bit instead of profusely. I was fortunate that my first hyperthermic day took place on a November hike, early in my hiking career where the people I hiked with and myself still had a layer or two of cotton. We were just beginning to get to the slide on the Flume Slide trail and the first steep had a thin coat of ice on it we couldn't get by. Never thought for a moment to walk in the woods a little bit and go around. We just turned and went back to the car. It took 45 minutes in the car to warm up and when I realized that was a long time, only then did I think about walking around the icy rock.

    On days when the weather is bad, if I had planned to go out, I prefer changing the location. If I want to feel high winds, there are a several summits were you just pop up above the trees and you can get back into cover quickly. Those are places to figure out, do I like this, does my gear work, do I have to crawl to stay out of the wind? DO I like that? How far would I crawl, At some point is that dangerous? (IMO yes but we all hike our own hike)

    Again, I'm sad to see when people pass doing something I like and they like. Best wishes to his family.
    Last edited by Mike P.; 06-30-2022 at 10:47 AM.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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