Trail Runners Rescued from Mt Lafayette

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JustJoe

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No link to an article I can find right now. This is text copied off NH Fish & Games FB page. But, really?

NH Fish and Game Law Enforcement Division ·

Trail Runners Rescued From Mount Lafayette Franconia, NH:

On Saturday January 23rd at 1245PM the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department was notified of two hikers who had lost the trail as they descended from Mount Lafayette. It was learned that one of the individuals had lost his footwear and was now barefoot as they wallowed thru several feet of snow in an effort to make it to the road. Eventually they were too overcome by cold/fatigue they could no longer continue and called for help. In an attempt to keep warm, they placed their feet into a pack and waited for rescuers. Coordinates placed the pair well off the Greenleaf Trail in the headwaters of Lafayette Brook. Conservation Officers along with volunteers from the Pemi Valley Search and Rescue Team responded to the Greenleaf Trail while a call was placed to the NH Army National Guard to determine the feasibility of a helicopter rescue. By 1:50 PM a flight crew had been assembled at the hanger in Concord. As ground crews approached the vicinity of the two hikers the Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter arrived on scene at 3:08 PM. They quickly located the pair and lowered a medic by hoist to assess. At 3:40 PM the both hikers had been lifted by hoist along with the medic into the helicopter. The hikers were taken directly to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center for evaluation of cold weather injuries. Shortly after departing the area the mountain was enveloped in cloud cover that most certainly would have prohibited an air rescue.
The two hikers were identified as 35-year-old Michael Burleson of Gorham Maine and 34-year-old Nicholas Drouin of North Hampton New Hampshire. They explained that they had departed at 9:00 AM in an effort to complete the 9 mile Falling Waters/Bridle Path Loop. They had hoped to do the entire loop in 4 hours but as they summited Mount Lafayette they lost the trail in the 40 mph winds single digit temperatures and blowing snow. As they were floundering thru deep snow one of the pair lost his trail running sneakers and continued on barefoot. Realizing they needed to get out of the wind they just headed downhill and eventually were drawn into the Lafayette Drainage until they could no longer continue due to frozen extremities. Eventually they were able to thaw out a cell phone and call 911 for help.
If not for the swift response of the NH Army National Guard, this rescue effort most likely would have had a much different outcome. It also saved ground rescuers from a grueling effort in waste deep snow on steep terrain. Both hikers are being evaluated at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and no update on their condition is available at this time.
 
Wow, given the weather I saw around the summits up in Gorham yesterday all day, I am amazed that the National Guard could do the rescue.

I hope the rescued folks bought their Hike Safe Card, helicopter rescues are not cheap. Of course the hikers had their recommended winter essentials ;)
 
No link to an article I can find right now. This is text copied off NH Fish & Games FB page....waste deep snow...
Must be a lot of snow up there if it's reached the level of crap left by the Summer/Fall horde.
 
Wow, given the weather I saw around the summits up in Gorham yesterday all day, I am amazed that the National Guard could do the rescue.

I hope the rescued folks bought their Hike Safe Card, helicopter rescues are not cheap. Of course the hikers had their recommended winter essentials ;)

Trail running shoes on the coldest day of winter so far? WTF?

You just can’t make this stuff up!!

To their credit Meetup canceled some hikes this weekend due to extreme cold wx.
 
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Just when you think people can't be any dumber and negligent.....BAM...someone steps up to the plate. I find this particular incident totally outrageous, especially considering they're from the area and no doubt were well aware of the weather forecast this weekend, what it means to Winter hike in the Whites, etc. At some point you need to just crush people with a huge fine or some sort of significant punishment as a deterrent to others or this nonsense will just continue to escalate from already foolish levels. This isn't about knowledge or not knowing. This is just a simple case of ignoring the obvious and saying "that would never happen to me". No one should have had to go out and rescue these idiots yesterday.
 
Just when you think people can't be any dumber and negligent.....BAM...someone steps up to the plate. I find this particular incident totally outrageous, especially considering they're from the area and no doubt were well aware of the weather forecast this weekend, what it means to Winter hike in the Whites, etc. At some point you need to just crush people with a huge fine or some sort of significant punishment as a deterrent to others or this nonsense will just continue to escalate from already foolish levels. This isn't about knowledge or not knowing. This is just a simple case of ignoring the obvious and saying "that would never happen to me". No one should have had to go out and rescue these idiots yesterday.

In addition to their bill they should each be given a copy of “The Last Traverse.”
 
In addition to their bill they should each be given a copy of “The Last Traverse.”

Or "Where You'll Find Me". Who knows which category they fall in. Didn't take an in depth look at the weather forecast for higher summits. Did, but went anyway.
 
I love the use of the words ".....floundering.." in this press release and "..wallowing.." (in snow) in one of the last.
 
Clueless? or Arrogant? I have seen both. There has to be at least some arrogance as anyone attempting a trail run would normally look at a forecast. Even if they didnt log onto the obs, every local news station had warnings of high winds/cold temps even at ground level. The arrogance approach would be that they were far more skilled than a typical hiker and could run ahead of the weather? Clueless was that they had just looked it up on a hiking ap that morning and decided it would be a fun run.

At one point I was informed by a no longer active member that trail runners needed far less gear due to their superior trail skills and experience level. That may be true for a small minority but if they did have superior skills and experience they would not have been out in conditions that were forecast yesterday, thus I vote clueless.
 
Clueless? or Arrogant? I have seen both. At one point I was informed by a no longer active member that trail runners needed far less gear due to their superior trail skills and experience level. That may be true for a small minority but if they did have superior skills and experience they would not have been out in conditions that were forecast yesterday, thus I vote clueless.

I've seen both and deleted peakbagger's weather warnings as we had them in CT also and VFTTer's are the choir too. I have a brother who's a runner who also does some trails, however, that makes him much more fit and able to get in farther than I can, experience isn't automatically granted for speed of travel. (his son has been over 12K in CO and his GF has a place in Twin Mountain where the family hikes so his son and GF probably are more experienced than he is.)

Decision making has no correlation to speed. Decision making is probably more impacted by one's power of observation than speed.

Were the duo trail running or just wearing inappropriate footwear? Were both of their feet stuffed in one pack? I suspect we will see more on this, I'm surprised that they were locals, unsure how long they lived in NH, they were kids either. (In CT if you live here a couple of years your local, I realize in Northern New England being local means you and your parents were born in that region of the state. Portland doesn't give you much cred in the Allagash and Portsmouth might as well be Boston compared to Coos County.

I'm also hopeful that even with a Hike Safe card, they get charged, at least with what little we know at the moment, this sounds like an epic fail, not just your run of the mill failure. (If it's as bad as it appears, I reserve the right to change fail for another word that I had typed first :D)
 
Clueless? or Arrogant? I have seen both. There has to be at least some arrogance as anyone attempting a trail run would normally look at a forecast. Even if they didnt log onto the obs, every local news station had warnings of high winds/cold temps even at ground level. The arrogance approach would be that they were far more skilled than a typical hiker and could run ahead of the weather? Clueless was that they had just looked it up on a hiking ap that morning and decided it would be a fun run.

At one point I was informed by a no longer active member that trail runners needed far less gear due to their superior trail skills and experience level. That may be true for a small minority but if they did have superior skills and experience they would not have been out in conditions that were forecast yesterday, thus I vote clueless.

I concur

My GF and I walked up Tuckerman Ravine to do a loop over to Huntington and down Raymond path yesterday. Plenty of skiers ascending the trail. Avalanche board said it was High and rising. With the amount of snow blowing into Tucks, I can believe it. We used Hillsounds until we got to the Huntington Ravine trail where we put on snowshoes. Walked until we got to Cutler river, but the snow bridge looked kinda sketchy. Open water on both sides. Girlfriend watched while I slid off a boulder and one snowshoe went into the river. after several minutes floundering around, I finally pulled myself out and onto the other side. I crossed back, not falling in this time and we looked at the map. We still had Raymond brook to cross so we decided to turn around instead of chancing another dunking. It was cold yesterday. The Pinkham Notch parking lot was the coldest spot in the hike. We debated even going up, the truck was too warm.

We saw a trail runner headed up Tucks as he passed us. tiny pack, base layers and shorts, running shoes. My GF and I just looked at each other. Some people. On our way back down, we saw the Forest Service snow rangers headed up on a snowmobile. The trail runner passed us again, headed down, when we descended. It was just after 11:00 am when we saw the snowcat headed up, but we were almost back to the parking lot then. I can't imagine the trail runner was going up above treeline in those conditions yesterday. Apparently there was an avalanche rescue yesterday afternoon in Tuckermans.

Still time for someone clueless to die out there this mild Winter
 
Once again, this is why snowshoes are so important. Whether they be trail runners or just Microspiking hikers, if they lose the trail or are forced off the trail with winter snowpack, they're in deep trouble. Snowshoes allow you to float over the snowpack and get out.
 
Once again, this is why snowshoes are so important. Whether they be trail runners or just Microspiking hikers, if they lose the trail or are forced off the trail with winter snowpack, they're in deep trouble. Snowshoes allow you to float over the snowpack and get out.

True, float may be a little embellished, however they are a necessity this time of year unless losing the trail is impossible (Willard might be close if you've been a few times in winter) I'd be surprised to see a trail runner carrying snowshoes, doing that hike in four hours as they hoped in winter would be pretty ambitious. Maybe a few here could do it, what is the best time in this group for that trip here in winter? (In summer it should be pretty easy for the quick crew, in winter carrying gear and looking out for slipping makes it much harder.)
 
True, float may be a little embellished, however they are a necessity this time of year unless losing the trail is impossible (Willard might be close if you've been a few times in winter) I'd be surprised to see a trail runner carrying snowshoes, doing that hike in four hours as they hoped in winter would be pretty ambitious. Maybe a few here could do it, what is the best time in this group for that trip here in winter? (In summer it should be pretty easy for the quick crew, in winter carrying gear and looking out for slipping makes it much harder.)

I've seen people like Philip Carcia post Summer loop times of just over 2 hours so I'm sure the higher end types are capable of doing this in well under 4 hours in good Winter conditions. It's probably easier actually when there is a good packed track smoothing out all the rugged terrain.

EDIT: FKT appears to be 1h 32m with eight people posting sub 2 hour times.
 
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Well, reddit has been loving this story also, although they have a couple of trail runners there also. BTW, LaSportiva is making a pair of winter trail runners, a trail runner by LaSport looks more like a boot from the sneaker community. (Nike made some summer boots back in the 90's)

https://www.sportiva.com/blizzard-gtx.html

Here is the Reddit thread which has a great MT Washington pic afterwards..... https://www.reddit.com/r/wmnf/comments/l48f1y/trail_runners_rescued_from_mount_lafayette/


On another note, this was also from Saturday: https://www.unionleader.com/news/sa...cle_0dbeab56-1827-591c-a177-9a9db2db1fd8.html
 
I have the LaSportiva Blizzard. Excellent studded trail runner that I wear with neoprene socks in winter unless I have to break trail or the weather is sub zero, that’s when I wear boots.

My dog and I are always heading to HoJo’s or if the weather cooperates to the bottom of the bowl in Tucks during the week for a run where I wear these, my tights, and my vest. Luckily, we very rarely hear snide remarks, but I figure that will change as more of these “trail runners” get into trouble.

As for these two guys, from a quick search on Strava, they’re not trail runners. Just because you enter your activity as a run doesn’t make you a trail runner, and even if you are a trail runner that does not make you a mountain runner. No one who calls themself a runner would go up above treeline that day, and if you did, you resort back to your hiking days and bring appropriate gear, including real snowshoes not running snowshoes.

When it comes to running up here in the winter, it all depends on conditions, weather, and having common sense. Running above treeline in winter, you’re lucky to get a few days a month where the weather cooperates and then you have to be sure conditions are safe to run too.

Unfortunately, this winter has been mild, so it has brought the inexperienced up. The small group of trail
runners I know in the area figured it was only a matter of time before trail runners from outside the area would need a rescue causing all kinds of commotion.

Glad these two are alive, hopefully they can share their experiences with others, what their thought process was going into that day and why they didn’t bring essential gear, so others can look to their almost tragic day as a warning.

Finally, and most importantly, incredible job done to save their lives by the National Guard. Outstanding teamwork.

-Chris
 
“I have the LaSportiva Blizzard. Excellent studded trail runner that I wear with neoprene socks”

A short while back, I asked if anyone has used waterproof socks for hiking. The neoprene socks that you mentioned, are they waterproof? Would they perform well for hiking?
 
I have the LaSportiva Blizzard. Excellent studded trail runner that I wear with neoprene socks in winter unless I have to break trail or the weather is sub zero, that’s when I wear boots.

My dog and I are always heading to HoJo’s or if the weather cooperates to the bottom of the bowl in Tucks during the week for a run where I wear these, my tights, and my vest. Luckily, we very rarely hear snide remarks, but I figure that will change as more of these “trail runners” get into trouble.

As for these two guys, from a quick search on Strava, they’re not trail runners. Just because you enter your activity as a run doesn’t make you a trail runner, and even if you are a trail runner that does not make you a mountain runner. No one who calls themself a runner would go up above treeline that day, and if you did, you resort back to your hiking days and bring appropriate gear, including real snowshoes not running snowshoes.

When it comes to running up here in the winter, it all depends on conditions, weather, and having common sense. Running above treeline in winter, you’re lucky to get a few days a month where the weather cooperates and then you have to be sure conditions are safe to run too.

Unfortunately, this winter has been mild, so it has brought the inexperienced up. The small group of trail
runners I know in the area figured it was only a matter of time before trail runners from outside the area would need a rescue causing all kinds of commotion.

Glad these two are alive, hopefully they can share their experiences with others, what their thought process was going into that day and why they didn’t bring essential gear, so others can look to their almost tragic day as a warning.

Finally, and most importantly, incredible job done to save their lives by the National Guard. Outstanding teamwork.

-Chris

If only they were all as experienced, fit and logical as you Chris. The LaSport's look pretty rugged for a "trail runner". In looking at the FB comments, they were all over the place, from why hike or go out in winter, why trail run and how can people question what others do. All are glad they were rescued & kudos to the SAR and National Guard.
 
Looks like another incident is coming out from Madison/Star Lake area. Saw this in our local https://www.caledonianrecord.com/ne...cle_fba57286-0f8a-59ca-99fe-e073a24c90a1.html but I'm too cheap to subscribe to read the whole story. It's not on the F&G press page.

Stuck it here for now.

See the Union Leader link on my post at the bottom of page one on this thread. Unsure what the leg injury was, they called then got back on trail and canceled the SAR when they reached the hut then descended on their own.
 
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