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Thread: NH Fish And Game Seeking Help With Missing Hiker

  1. #91
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NHClimber View Post
    Does F&G do an NTSB-like accident report? Iím embarrassed to say Iíve never looked. I agree that as tragic as these situations are, they should at least be something to learn from.
    I was actually thinking about adverse event analysis and how it compares to how plane accidents are handled. I guess in case of plane accidents there is a clear public interest in getting to the root cause and publishing the results as this can be used to make safety recommendations possibly resulting in many lives saved. In case of someone dying while hiking public interest is likely much more limited probably mostly focusing on the question of foul play, but once this is ruled out, I suspect that the agencies in charge will not commit significant resources (unless the case is high-profile for whatever reason) to investigate how exactly things unfolded.

    What's been publicly disclosed so far in this case is not really much - some info on how she started her hike, a little bit on her equipment (although not much), and general description of where she was found along with some of her belongings. It's not clear to me if she had any gps-tracking enabled on her phone or a on separate gps device. A gps track would be very helpful in establishing a timeline and probably would take quite a bit of guesswork out of equation. Maybe there were some snow tracks that were identifiable?

    At any rate, I suspect that even if F&G performs some deeper analysis, they are probably not likely to publish it. Perhaps this is to honor requests for privacy made by a victim family. Maybe someone closer to F&G can shed some light here.

  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by iAmKrzys View Post
    I was actually thinking about adverse event analysis and how it compares to how plane accidents are handled. I guess in case of plane accidents there is a clear public interest in getting to the root cause and publishing the results as this can be used to make safety recommendations possibly resulting in many lives saved. In case of someone dying while hiking public interest is likely much more limited probably mostly focusing on the question of foul play, but once this is ruled out, I suspect that the agencies in charge will not commit significant resources (unless the case is high-profile for whatever reason) to investigate how exactly things unfolded.

    What's been publicly disclosed so far in this case is not really much - some info on how she started her hike, a little bit on her equipment (although not much), and general description of where she was found along with some of her belongings. It's not clear to me if she had any gps-tracking enabled on her phone or a on separate gps device. A gps track would be very helpful in establishing a timeline and probably would take quite a bit of guesswork out of equation. Maybe there were some snow tracks that were identifiable?

    At any rate, I suspect that even if F&G performs some deeper analysis, they are probably not likely to publish it. Perhaps this is to honor requests for privacy made by a victim family. Maybe someone closer to F&G can shed some light here.
    Per my posts number 36 and 38, we SAR volunteers are not allowed to post anything publicly more than what NH F&G posts, which from an educational perspective is a real shame. But I think that the astute group of posters on this thread has done a good job piecing things together for this sad event.

  3. #93
    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Dasypodidae View Post
    Per my posts number 36 and 38, we SAR volunteers are not allowed to post anything publicly more than what NH F&G posts, which from an educational perspective is a real shame. But I think that the astute group of posters on this thread has done a good job piecing things together for this sad event.
    I can confirm this is true of SAR volunteers in NY as well. Team members must take a training course by the NYSDEC which includes the admonition to not release any information we may have unofficially. I have been followed by the press right up to my initial entry into the beginning of my search block where they were told they must leave. For large or high profile campaign searches there should be an assigned public information officer to be directed to.

    I have often wanted to see an after action report, for educational and training purposes, but that rarely happens unless I happen to talk to a ranger friend "off the record".
    "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. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Not sure about that specific day and this is purely my own observations but it seemed like there was a big push for trail head booths this year. I remember seeing them set up at Lafayette and Appalachia quite a bit, and not just for the big holidays. No idea if this was a USFS thing, volunteers, etc. I'm sure the locals on here could add some facts and info. I definitely noticed a difference. I would agree that this is probably the only way to reach people - catch them right at the point of attack.
    They have trailhead stewards at 5 trailheads on the forest on 3 season weekends. https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/whitemo...r/volunteering

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    At any rate, I suspect that even if F&G performs some deeper analysis, they are probably not likely to publish it. Perhaps this is to honor requests for privacy made by a victim family. Maybe someone closer to F&G can shed some light here.
    Well, if an objective is to educate future hikers of the perils of being underprepared, it would seem prudent to publish some form of synopsis of the factors that contributed to the tragedy. I didn't see much of anything published by F&G or the media -- her itinerary didn't even make sense (Lafy, Haystack, Flume). I did see that she appeared very lightly dressed and with some form of light footwear (perhaps trail running shoes). Maybe it is as simple as that. What is the Falling Waters loop? Like 8 miles? Been years since I've done it in the winter assuming that was the loop she was doing. I feel like with technical climbing accidents there is usually someone that publishes a more detailed description of what went wrong so that people can learn.

  6. #96
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    Appalachia used to provide clear and concise third party analysis of hiker accidents/fatalities. The reports appear to be available from Dartmouth 3 months after issue date as of 2021 https://www.outdoors.org/resources/a...ilable-online/. My guess is the typical 20ish media savvy neophyte hiker would not even be aware of these reports or would feel they are applicable to their own situation as most would subscribe to the concept that they are immortal and therefore it would not happen to them.

    Here is link to an AMC talk from earlier this year https://www.outdoors.org/resources/a...idents-report/ with examples. I expect that they can only publish what they can verify so if a family wants to keep the episode private, it would be more difficult to create an accurate report.

    I do expect that there are detailed accident reports filled out by the Fish and Game Incident Commander given the potential for future litigation. A hiker who was rescued and charged by Fish and Game for a rescue had reported on VFTT that the rescue crew of F&G officers had asked a lot of questions of the hiker while hiking out that were later used as justification for charging for the rescue. The hiker elected not to challenge the charge. Apparently Miranda warnings are not required as its not a criminal charge rather it is an administrative charge. My guess would be a lawyer would advise anyone in this situation to not to speak without counsel present. Maybe someone with Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) skills might be able to get access to a report but expect F&G probably has a way of firewalling the report?

  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    They have trailhead stewards at 5 trailheads on the forest on 3 season weekends. https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/whitemo...r/volunteering
    Cool. I'm not losing my mind. Did this just start this year? I don't recall this much activity in prior years.

    Hopefully it is the beginning of a bigger and more lasting effort. It really does seem like the only way to reach people. There is more than enough information out there on FB, websites, forums, signs, etc. if you want it. I think it is a lot more real when a uniformed F&G employee speaks directly to you about the stupidity of what you are about to do in the parking lot in real time.

  8. #98
    Senior Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Cool. I'm not losing my mind. Did this just start this year? I don't recall this much activity in prior years.
    I've noticed them the last couple of years passing by the most popular trailheads. They seem like a good program that likely cuts off a lot of problems. But as we see from this incident - they have their limits. You start your hike in the "off-season" during the wee hours of the morn you are not going to find anyone preventing you from being your own worst enemy.
    Last edited by Rhody Seth; 11-28-2022 at 03:20 PM. Reason: extra quotes by mistake

  9. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhody Seth View Post
    ....you are not going to find anyone preventing you from being your own worst enemy.
    I truly motivated person will always find a way to do what they want whether it makes sense or not. All we can hope to do is reduce the amount of bad outcomes. To quote Mark Twain: "It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so".

  10. #100
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    I was early at a trailhead one day waiting for a few folks on the first year of the program. There was a friendly volunteer from Michigan who did not know the WMNF that was obviously a bit bored of talking hiking so we were talking about a variety of subjects. He mentioned that it was sweet volunteer gig for him. He got a free campsite for the duration for just a few days of volunteering and had picked the WMNF as he had never been here. I established that I knew what I was doing and had the gear so he switched off his canned speech pretty quick. He and the others didnt try to force anyone to talk but were pretty good at starting a conversation and then doing education as needed. It was Champney Falls trailhead on a summer day so not a high risk trailhead. He told me that what they were trying to do is catch the newby's that could be steered in the right direction with a little bit of education. Not sure if the program and spiel has changed but when I start hiking in the AM the tent is still stowed behidn the trailhead sign and I only see them in the early afternoon when I am heading out. Hopefully on the OBP/Falling Waters loop they at least can dissuade folks from with little gear from heading up mid to late morning but I still get quite few questions when I am heading down Falling Waters above the stream crossings on how far to the summit. When I ask them which one of the three summits and they do not know I double my estimate.

    My guess stationing someone farther in on the trails might help but do not expect a big decrease in rescues as the incidence is already quite low for the number of hikers on the trails.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 11-28-2022 at 09:09 PM.

  11. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    I still get quite few questions when I am heading down Falling Waters above the stream crossings on how far to the summit. When I ask them which one of the three summits and they do not know I double my estimate.

    My guess stationing someone farther in on the trails mgith help but do not expect a big decrease in rescues as the incidence is already quite low for the number of hikers on the trails.
    It still amazes me how many people you run into on popular trails that really have no idea where they are, even if they have a map.

    It would be interesting to get info on the number of hikers these info booths discourage from continuing on their hike, don't have gear, etc. I assume they don't do stuff like that, such as "Saw 250 hikers today, 23 had no map - 21 continued anyway, 87 had no light source - 55 continued anyway, 44 didn't know the weather forecast - 28 continued anyway, etc".

  12. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    It still amazes me how many people you run into on popular trails that really have no idea where they are, even if they have a map.
    Equally concerning, to me at least, is the number of NETC reports submitted by folks who don't know the names of the trails they were on. In some cases, they don't know the name of the mountain. I'm at a loss as to how this happens.

  13. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post

    My guess stationing someone farther in on the trails might help but do not expect a big decrease in rescues as the incidence is already quite low for the number of hikers on the trails.
    They also have a steward on the ridge in season.

  14. #104
    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken MacGray View Post
    Equally concerning, to me at least, is the number of NETC reports submitted by folks who don't know the names of the trails they were on. In some cases, they don't know the name of the mountain. I'm at a loss as to how this happens.
    We've gone off-topic of the original post, but today's hikers don't use maps, they use their cellphones and follow a route from AllTrails.

    I don't want to be the old guy saying how much better times were before cellphones, but it's not just that we have lost the craft of using a map and compass, but rather, we have a new--and enormous--generation of hikers who literally do not know where they are if their phone dies.

    We saw this last spring with the guy on Madison who used his phone's dying breadth to ask for help on Facebook.

    What to do about it? I think the AMC needs to run a whole lot more map and compass classes, and advertise on the Hike the 4,000-footers Facebook page.

    We keep talking about how few rescues there are of hikers, and how successful those rescues are. It's only a matter of time before this young woman's tragic death becomes a situation we begin to witness more frequently.

    Brian
    Last edited by B the Hiker; 11-29-2022 at 11:36 AM.

  15. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by B the Hiker View Post
    What to do about it? I think the AMC needs to run a whole lot more map and compass classes, and advertise on the Hike the 4,000-footers Facebook page.

    Brian
    I know you have a very AMC-centric way of thinking about everything and I'm sure their programs are fantastic but I don't think the issue is lack of resources available to hikers. It is no desire to gather the information. If people won't do some basic, free research online I don't think a $230, 3 Day AMC Map and Compass workshop is going to be the answer. AMC, REI and many others offer these courses and have been for awhile. It isn't exactly a secret. I'm not sure how many people can afford to take a course like this, even if the content is outstanding. You can teach yourself these skills pretty easily with online tutorials and a little practice for $0 or the nominal cost of many outstanding books on the topic. That requires effort however....

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