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Hiker Rescues and Fatalities

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    • Such an odd place to drown. I assume he went in under the bridge? He was there near dark. It was not a hot day, so I don't think he would go for a swim.

      Whatever happened, LIHikers gives the best advice. Enjoy the time you have, someday will be your last.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • LIhikers wrote:

      rhjanes wrote:

      "Made herself visible". And crawled to a place where she would be seen. But seems to have been on a day-hike with not sufficient gear. Then goes off trail?
      When I go for a day hike I don't usually bring gear for an overnight, do you?
      No. But I carry 1.5 liters of H2O, wallet, some cash, bug spray, small first aid kit, a Leatherman, handkerchief, hat, TP. I often start with two layers of shirts and when I remove one it goes into my day-pack. A compass if I'm in an unfamiliar area to me. My phone will be fully charged when I start the hike. And my PLB is with me and on. So no, I'm also not really prepared for overnight. But my point with this person was going off trail. I don't go off trail by more than about 20 paces and then only to manage a bowel. When I passed the sun for the 60th time, I've gotten more cautious.
      Pirating – Corporate Takeover without the paperwork
    • What I do is totally situational. If I am hiking in the local woodlands of Massachusetts, it might be just cotton t-shirts and little else. Most places I go would be at most a couple mile walk (or crawl?) to a road.

      If I am climbing a White Mountain 4000 footer my minimum is a backpack with enough clothing to get me through a cold night, a waterproof shell, a flashlight, water bottle and snacks. If I think the weather might turn bad, or it is a longer distance, carrying a shelter is a must.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • Yeah, doesn’t look good.

      It’s so weird…what mom drops their kid off at 5 am to let them go hiking in winter in a treacherous area without making sure they’re dressed appropriately and prepared? It doesn’t make sense to me.

      I’m not placing blame, it just sounds real odd. Could they both be that ignorant of the dangers? Possibly.
      Lost in the right direction.
    • I just saw some info that makes more sense. Emily was also wearing “long johns”, not just “exercise pants” so she was somewhat dressed for chilly weather. She and her mom were staying in a hotel in the area and she wanted to do some hiking. I can relate to the scenario.

      She is a member of a White Mountains FB hiking group where she would ask people to hike with her. Surely she took some gear, a water bottle if nothing else. Maybe some details are being withheld.
      Lost in the right direction.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Traffic Jam ().

    • From what I have seen I do not think the conditions that night up on the ridge would have been survivable given her level of preparation. Maybe some slim hope if she ended up down in the valley.
      As I wrote this I did a search for the latest news and officials seem to agree with the grim prognosis, they are now calling this a 'Recovery.'

      The fact that they have not found her yet would indicate that she either ended up far 'off trail' (not a good thing to do up on that ridge) or holed up out of the wind someplace that is out of sight.

      Such a terrible Thanksgiving for her family.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • Time will tell if S&R can put together a clear picture of when things went wrong. It sounds like she was familiar with hiking the New Hampshire 4000 footers.
      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Winding Stair Gap NC, Fontana Dam to Clingmans Dome, and Max Patch NC to Gorham NH

      "The days I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations...those are pretty good days." Ray Wylie Hubbard
    • The news says her body was found near the headwaters of Lafayette Brook. This would put her well off course from her intended hike south from Mt. Lafayette. She could have stopped at the Greenleaf Hut (I assume she was heading up the Old Bridle Path). Hypothermia can cause bad decisions. I don't know if she head a cell phone, but I doubt there is coverage where she was found.

      Today was her twentieth Birthday :(
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • IMScotty wrote:

      The news says her body was found near the headwaters of Lafayette Brook. This would put her well off course from her intended hike south from Mt. Lafayette. She could have stopped at the Greenleaf Hut (I assume she was heading up the Old Bridle Path). Hypothermia can cause bad decisions. I don't know if she head a cell phone, but I doubt there is coverage where she was found.

      Today was her twentieth Birthday :(
      Sounds like she wasn't prepared for the weather. I'm surprised as it sounds like she was doing a lot of summits. I can't find the preliminary report from the SAR team that I read earlier, but they thought she'd bailed out and tried to turn back, but wound up on a different water channel instead of a trail and succumbed to the conditions. Tragic.
      Pirating – Corporate Takeover without the paperwork
    • IMScotty wrote:

      The news says her body was found near the headwaters of Lafayette Brook. This would put her well off course from her intended hike south from Mt. Lafayette. She could have stopped at the Greenleaf Hut (I assume she was heading up the Old Bridle Path). Hypothermia can cause bad decisions. I don't know if she head a cell phone, but I doubt there is coverage where she was found.

      Today was her twentieth Birthday :(
      I was starting to speculate what could have happened but it's a fruitless effort. The tragic ending doesn't change.

      But I will say that I had good cell reception from Haystack to Lafayette and even down at the Greenleaf Hut. And clear conditions that made it a memorable traverse.
      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Winding Stair Gap NC, Fontana Dam to Clingmans Dome, and Max Patch NC to Gorham NH

      "The days I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations...those are pretty good days." Ray Wylie Hubbard
    • Word is she was home from college for Thanksgiving break and she wanted to compete the '4000 footers' before her 20'th birthday. A shame she pushed it for such an arbitrary deadline, because yesterday and today were great days up here for a hike.

      Once she left the ridge onto the north side of Lafayette, she may not have had coverage. It points away from the notch and I-93.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • IMScotty wrote:

      Word is she was home from college for Thanksgiving break and she wanted to compete the '4000 footers' before her 20'th birthday. A shame she pushed it for such an arbitrary deadline, because yesterday and today were great days up here for a hike.

      Once she left the ridge onto the north side of Lafayette, she may not have had coverage. It points away from the notch and I-93.
      perhaps she was overconfident from previous hikes and decided she didn't need all the gear. If it's one thing I've learned from hiking the Whites and reading about them is that conditions can change drastically in minutes and never enter the Whites unless you are fully prepared. It's a very sad and tragic.
      "Dazed and Confused"
      Recycle, re-use, re-purpose
      Plant a tree
      Take a kid hiking
      Make a difference
    • StalkingTortoise wrote:

      IMScotty wrote:

      The news says her body was found near the headwaters of Lafayette Brook. This would put her well off course from her intended hike south from Mt. Lafayette. She could have stopped at the Greenleaf Hut (I assume she was heading up the Old Bridle Path). Hypothermia can cause bad decisions. I don't know if she head a cell phone, but I doubt there is coverage where she was found.

      Today was her twentieth Birthday :(
      I was starting to speculate what could have happened but it's a fruitless effort. The tragic ending doesn't change.
      But I will say that I had good cell reception from Haystack to Lafayette and even down at the Greenleaf Hut. And clear conditions that made it a memorable traverse.
      That is the thing about the Whites is you never know what you will get. June (or early July) I was on Lafayette and the cold rain and fog was so bad my glasses kept fogging up and I could not find the carins to move on. Fortunately a day hiker saw me and led me down towards Garfield. Extremely grateful for that. Next day moved on to Maine and decided to pay for the huts the next summer. So I can relate, but fortunately a happier ending.
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • New

      I'm sorry.....I can't understand this.......First off, they say she was almost finished with the 4Ks........no way, even if she had done half of them, she would know to take more clothing and gear with her. Even if she did half of them she would know to check the weather forecast...............when you drive up thru 93 and all you can see is the ridge that Greenleaf is on and then a quick fleeting glimpse of Lafayette waaaaaay higher.....damn, it scares me and I've been up there twice! And finally......Mom........I guess that apple didn't fall far from the tree.
      Cheesecake> Ramen :thumbsup:
    • New

      Everest is littered with the bodies of highly motivated people, or so I've been told. The hiker had this artificial goal in her head. She was a biochemistry major, so I'm guessing she was highly motivated in all aspects of her life. This was not a case where the weather 'turned.' That day sucked from beginning to end. She should not have needed a forecast, the conditions were obvious. She was home from school for Thanksgiving break and her goal must have overridden common sense. The light clothing seems insane to me too. She seemed pretty fit, she must have thought she could 'flash' the ridge.

      Emily and her Mom had gotten a room nearby so she could go on this hike. I'm guessing mom was not a hiker and had faith her little girl knew what she was doing. I hesitate to throw any shade her way. I am sure Mom's regret and grief are unbearable. All I can offer is condolences.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • New

      hikerboy wrote:

      My guess is she went hypothermic not long after getting above treeline,leading to some poor decisions.It's a steep climb to the ridge, and may havse been soaked with sweat. Once she hit the cold winds on top she was done. At 19, she did not have sufficient experience to use good judgment, and it cost her life. So sad.
      I know at 19 I also had a lot more confidence than I had experience or good judgment in most things.
      I guess that is one advantage of getting older despite decreasing physical ability.
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • New

      Re: Hypothermia.

      I remember reading an account of a young man that died in the Whites while on a short day hike to take some pictures. He had a reasonable foul-weather gear with him but still died.

      SAR reviewed the weather reports and came to the conclusion that the cold mist that day must have soaked him and caused rapid heat loss. He attempted to descend below tree level but never stopped to put on his warm and dry jacket. Well... until it was too late. He was found close to treeline wearing his unzipped jacket backwards and upside down. I used that story to justify carrying a heavier Columbia rain jacket with Omni-Heat reflective lining during my summer hikes in the Whites.

      In the book The Last Traverse, even the SAR guys worried about missing the trailheads leading from the top of the ridge. Two of the final SAR members were trying to descend the Falling Waters Trail after the recovery operation was complete but they couldn't find the trailhead. Fortunately, one of their colleagues (who departed the ridge in the helicopter) had planted his ice axe at the trailhead as a marker and they saw it.

      So if experienced SAR members can struggle with finding trailheads in storm conditions, it's not hard to theorize that a hiker suffering from hypothermia could easily end up bushwacking aimlessly down the side of the ridge. It will be interesting if they can ever determine if she made it up to Franconia Ridge or got off-trail during the ascent to Lafayette.
      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Winding Stair Gap NC, Fontana Dam to Clingmans Dome, and Max Patch NC to Gorham NH

      "The days I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations...those are pretty good days." Ray Wylie Hubbard