Another Unprepared Hiker Rescue

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peakbagger

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WMUR had a report that an unprepared hypothermic hiker was rescued on Mt Washington from the Westside trail (near the summit) on Saturday.
 
Wouldn't be a President's Day Weekend without some sort of foolish hiker going out to the Presidentials in bad weather. Sounded like without the use of the Cog this would have been a recovery, not a rescue. I know SAR "signs up for this" but they must really be getting tired of the stubborn stupidity of these people on such obviously bad weather days. Someday a SAR volunteer is going to be the casualty in one of these events, which would be a damn shame..
 
Wouldn't be a President's Day Weekend without some sort of foolish hiker going out to the Presidentials in bad weather. Sounded like without the use of the Cog this would have been a recovery, not a rescue. I know SAR "signs up for this" but they must really be getting tired of the stubborn stupidity of these people on such obviously bad weather days. Someday a SAR volunteer is going to be the casualty in one of these events, which would be a damn shame..
They have been but it's been over 40 years as far as I know.
 
From the Patch story this kid sounds like a real jerk! He should be assigned 1000 hours of community service in the WMNF.

Conditions were very similar to the Kate rescue weekend. How long can we expect our skilled and generous SAR folks to answer calls in this type of forecasted weather?
 
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One of the rare occasions where the LOC refuge room was actually used as intended.
Yeah, that's a creepy place to have to shelter. More like a morgue. LOC was full one day back in 85 and we were showed the "overflow" shelter down below. It was summer and we opted to camp out in the open under the stars. Kudos to the Cog RR for stepping up and as always to the SAR crew for going out in deadly conditions.
 
One of the rare occasions where the LOC refuge room was actually used as intended.
I thought I had read somewhere awhile back that they were closing/had closed that emergency area because too many people were using it on purpose as a shelter and it was getting pretty disgusting. Is that not the case? How do you even get in there? I don't think I ever really looked at how to get inside when I've been at that hut.
 
The role of the Cog in this rescue is interesting. They dispatched not one, but two trains to deliver SAR folks to the junction of the Westside trail. That's pretty far up the hill. I assume they burned some diesel and called in crew to run the trains.

Who pays for that? Or is it written off as great PR and good vibes in support of their expansion plans?

Regardless it was a huge contribution to SAR efforts.
 
The role of the Cog in this rescue is interesting. They dispatched not one, but two trains to deliver SAR folks to the junction of the Westside trail. That's pretty far up the hill. I assume they burned some diesel and called in crew to run the trains.

Who pays for that? Or is it written off as great PR and good vibes in support of their expansion plans?

Regardless it was a huge contribution to SAR efforts.
I would imagine that the Cog pays for that. And, it is money very well spent in terms of goodwill. Plus, IMHO, it is the right thing to do. Of course, it's easy for me to say that since it is not my money...;)
 
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The article says they had to mount a snow blower on the front of the first train to clear the way. This seemed like a really expensive rescue with all the work and players involved. It also says he had merely hiking shoes/boots on which is insufficient. Maximum respect to the Rescue personnel for all that they do in these situations.
 
The Cog routinely runs trains and snowblow's the tracks as needed to Waumbek Station at 4000 foot elevation for tourists during the winter. Not sure how long they have had the snowblower, but I believe it factored in on their track replacement a few years ago, they were equipped to run trains up the tracks soon after the latest owners bought it as there was at least one year where they were shuttling skiers from Bretton Woods to "ski the cog". Much of the tracks on the west side above tree line gets wind scoured but I expect there are drifts they need to deal with. Nevertheless, a very high cost/high exposure rescue.

In the past the state has hired third party helicopters to assist with rescues and billed that to lost hikers so there is a precedent. As far as I know the Cog does these rescue assists as a public service. At one point they were selling recreation access passes to those parking at the base station lot and presumably anyone on their property was supposed to possess one, but unsure if that is still in place. The WMNF lot and the Jewell and Ammo trail relocations were sited to avoid Cog property. SInce the plowing of the base station road, the winter recreational use of the west side of the mountain has exploded as its far more accessible from southern NH/Mass than the east side. Jefferson almost exclusively used to be accessed from an overnight at Gray Knob cabin but now is routinely accessed as a day hike from the Cog or Ammo lot via the Jewell trail.
 
Interesting Post today on The AMC's Pinkham Notch Visitor's Center FB Page: "Quick but important PSA: we have been hearing some troubling accounts of hikers planning and in some cases attempting to summit Mt. Washington via Tuckerman Ravine this winter. This hiking route should never be attempted during winter conditions in the bowl - the terrain contains numerous potential hazards, the greatest of which being avalanches. We cannot underscore enough that summitting Mt. Washington in winter is a serious undertaking not to be taken lightly. A significant amount of planning and preparation should precede any attempt to summit in winter, including consulting with experts, reading reference materials, and checking relevant conditions such as mountain weather and avalanche risk (see: Mount Washington Observatory, Mount Washington Avalanche Center). We have some reason to suspect online trail apps/sites may be a primary resource that some hikers are relying on for their information; we would urge hikers to treat these as a secondary or tertiary source of information that paint an incomplete picture of trail systems and mountain conditions (while sometimes offering useful granular information in the form of recent user reviews). If you are interested in growing your awareness and building skills in winter hiking and mountaineering, our staff at Pinkham, as well as our many peer and partner organizations throughout the White Mountain region, would be more than happy to speak with you".
 
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I don't know if they do it any more, but the rangers in the main parking area at Monadnock used to check folks coming in to see if they were prepared. Water, maps, boots/clothing, etc. Some of it was questions, some was just observation. Presumably someone is checking the cars in the Ammo parking lot to see if they've paid. Perhaps they could be stationed there for a few hours in the mornings (when the majority of hikes start) to do similar hiker assessments/warnings. Especially on the really bad weather days? Same at Pinkham. Alternatively, post signs at the trail heads saying any rescue will be at least six hours away (assuming you can get a cell signal). It's not like calling 911 and getting a response in 10 minutes.
 
I don't know if they do it any more, but the rangers in the main parking area at Monadnock used to check folks coming in to see if they were prepared. Water, maps, boots/clothing, etc. Some of it was questions, some was just observation. Presumably someone is checking the cars in the Ammo parking lot to see if they've paid. Perhaps they could be stationed there for a few hours in the mornings (when the majority of hikes start) to do similar hiker assessments/warnings. Especially on the really bad weather days? Same at Pinkham. Alternatively, post signs at the trail heads saying any rescue will be at least six hours away (assuming you can get a cell signal). It's not like calling 911 and getting a response in 10 minutes.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/whitemountain/workingtogether/volunteering

"Live Free or Die"....at this point there are Volunteers that serve as informationists but they can only be suggestive. They are mostly stationed on weekends at very popular trailheads during the warmer months. I have friends that volunteer in this effort that can attest that although their role is effective much of the time many still just ignore them and walk on by.
 
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When a friend and I hiked Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail to Mt Monroe in Sept 2017, we ran into 2 guys at the LOC hut who’d been told by a ranger at ART trailhead that they should have better footwear. So they headed back into N. Conway, bought new shoes/boots at EMS, and came back to hike. A week earlier (Labor Day Sunday) there were rangers at Falling Waters Trailhead doing spot checks of some people, but I don’t think they were turning anyone away.
 
There's old climbers and there's bold climbers but no old bold climbers.

- Somebody

Unless, of course, you have a train and dedicated volunteers to save you.
 
The role of the Cog in this rescue is interesting. They dispatched not one, but two trains to deliver SAR folks to the junction of the Westside trail. That's pretty far up the hill. I assume they burned some diesel and called in crew to run the trains.

Who pays for that? Or is it written off as great PR and good vibes in support of their expansion plans?

Regardless it was a huge contribution to SAR efforts.
The Cog railway has always jumped at the chance to help in SAR. They get a bad rap and it's completely undeserved. I consider them one of the finer occupants on mountain. I've have always thought highly of the Cog and find the opposition to have weak and biased criticism of them.
 
Wouldn't be a President's Day Weekend without some sort of foolish hiker going out to the Presidentials in bad weather. Sounded like without the use of the Cog this would have been a recovery, not a rescue. I know SAR "signs up for this" but they must really be getting tired of the stubborn stupidity of these people on such obviously bad weather days. Someday a SAR volunteer is going to be the casualty in one of these events, which would be a damn shame..
Albert Dow was buried in an avalanche looking for Hugh Herr in 1982. I was up there when it happened, it was a big deal.
 
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