EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Off-Season Sports & The Lighter Side › General Sports › Hiking Mt. Washington coud co$t
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Hiking Mt. Washington coud co$t

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Remind me if I ever go for a day hike on Mt. Washington N.H., to tell folks I'll be gone for a week (just in case I get delayed).  Them thar wirley birds is some exspensive!

http://news.sympatico.msn.ca/UnusualNews/ContentPosting?newsitemid=171906820&feedname=CP-ODDITIES&show=False&number=0&showbyline=True&subtitle=&detect=&abc=abc&date=True
post #2 of 21
Quote:
Acerno said he believes Mason's fine is the largest ever sought under a 9-year-old New Hampshire law that allows lost hikers and climbers to be charged for rescue costs. Mason's rescue was particularly expensive because the helicopters the state typically used were unavailable, and a helicopter from Maine had to be brought in, Acerno said.

Well, if you're ill prepared (sounds like this kid was) and need to be rescued, why shouldn't you pay? I guess this one was so expensive because they had to fly in from Maine, It's hard to "fudge" a bill fom another state to be lenient on the rescue cost...


Quote:

Several states, including neighbouring Maine and Vermont, have rescue repayment laws similiar to New Hampshire, though others tend to be more lenient.
 

New Hampshire officials have estimated that they could seek reimbursement in about 40 of the 140 or so rescues it typically handles each year. The money goes to the Fish and Game department's rescue fund. In most cases, hikers pay a few hundred dollars.



IIRC (probably way off here) Maine enacted its law in response to a winter rescue of the backside of the Sugarloaf ski resort. A group of completely unprepared skiers got lost in the woods and spent a night or two before they where found, at a significant expense.

Keep in mind that these fees are only charged in "should have known better" situations. If you are compeltyl prepared to be out in the wilderness and suffer a heart attack/broken leg/life threatening accident odds are you are not going to pay. If you go hiking in spring snow with inadequate gear and resort to starting fires with hand sanitizer then you deserve to support the local fish and game or search and rescue.
post #3 of 21
Rescue insurance seems an obvious step here.

A valid insurance sticker on your White Mountain pass would be a rather non-intrusive measure, no? 
post #4 of 21
Did any of you see what he had planned to hike?

In April? 

maps.google.com/maps/ms
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post

Did any of you see what he had planned to hike?

In April? 

maps.google.com/maps/ms


This kid had no effing idea what he was in for, 17 miles in in a day, in April, in the snow? Apparently alone?


Some eagle scout he is...
post #6 of 21
When I was about his age two of us did approximately the same trip (minus Mt. Madison) in about half a day in February. Of course we were on skis and we carried sleeping bags, a stove, shelter, extra clothing etc. and we were prepared to exit should it become necessary. Two people prepared, knowlegeable and well equipped is quite different from what went on here. Yes you could make this traverse pretty quickly if fit and given the right conditions.
post #7 of 21
It's done quite often.
post #8 of 21
He had snowshoes.     It seems he didn't have a cogent exit plan though.
post #9 of 21
comprex,

where are you finding this additional info, or did I miss it in the article?


Personally, knowing the conditions in Maine at this time of the year, let alone Mt. Washington, I wouldn't attempt this unless prepped like oisin to spend the night...
post #10 of 21
I'm not exactly clear on the so-called "shortcut" he took. I understand he ended up down in the Great Gulf, hardly a shortcut. Who carries "hand sanitizer gel" on a hiking trip anyway?
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by krp8128 View Post

comprex,

where are you finding this additional info, or did I miss it in the article?

http://www.wickedlocal.com/plympton/news/x631635939/Eagle-Scout-fined-for-Mount-Washington-rescue
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post

I'm not exactly clear on the so-called "shortcut" he took.

Six Husbands?
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post




Six Husbands?
 
There are several ways down into the Great Gulf including the Six Husbands trail but, compared to cruising around the Great Gulf, going down into Great Gulf Wilderness and hiking out or hiking up the other side is extremely arduous, much more difficul even if you weren't postholing in deep snow.. Not far from the top of the Six Husbands is a trail that will take you down to Grey Knob, an insulated cabin with a stove and manned by a caretaker. Its an exposed trail if bad weather is coming at you from the NE, but likely to be bootpacked and a much better alternative if a hiker has decided to go down. This hiker must have made some spectacularly bad decisions if he decided to go down into Great Gulf on what he imagined was a shortcut.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post



There are several ways down into the Great Gulf including the Six Husbands trail but, compared to cruising around the Great Gulf, going down into Great Gulf Wilderness and hiking out or hiking up the other side is extremely arduous, much more difficul even if you weren't postholing in deep snow..

I can see how someone whose first concern was fuel and shelter from the wind would choose the more difficult path that offered those over an easier one that didn't.

Maybe he was a little too confident in his firemaking skills.   Or maybe it was a combination of scout self confidence and a painful foot.

This hiker must have made some spectacularly bad decisions if he decided to go down into Great Gulf on what he imagined was a shortcut.
 

The more I read, the less I'm sure about that.      

If one's hurt, i.e. incapable of finishing a long exposed rocky downhike in one go,  finding -some- fuel and a modicum of shelter is a good thing.        Finding a difficult, exposed trail that goes down to below treeline yet  hugs an arete  might also be a good thing: less chance of the trail itself flooded out.

Was it a bad decision not to use the hut or a lack of knowledge that made him miss the hut?  Dunno.    Wonder what sort of chat with 'staff'  he did have back in Pinkham Notch.

I think that whatever decision he made that will eventually be singled out and pointed to as 'bad' is quite possibly only 'bad' in the context of rescue resources being very near at hand.    In any other context, particularly solo survival without time limits, it might actually be 'good'.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post




The more I read, the less I'm sure about that.      

If one's hurt, i.e. incapable of finishing a long exposed rocky downhike in one go,  finding -some- fuel and a modicum of shelter is a good thing.        Finding a difficult, exposed trail that goes down to below treeline yet  hugs an arete  might also be a good thing: less chance of the trail itself flooded out.

Was it a bad decision not to use the hut or a lack of knowledge that made him miss the hut?  Dunno.    Wonder what sort of chat with 'staff'  he did have back in Pinkham Notch.

I think that whatever decision he made that will eventually be singled out and pointed to as 'bad' is quite possibly only 'bad' in the context of rescue resources being very near at hand.    In any other context, particularly solo survival without time limits, it might actually be 'good'.

 

I'm guessing he headed down from Edmands Col from which there really is no good exit. There used to be an emergency refuge shelter there for that reason. It was removed some time ago because its existence prompted people to use it as a destination, quite the opposite of the original intention and so it became a nuisance and an eyesore. A friend and I once contemplated going down Six Husbands when we found ourselves at Edmands Col and the wind and cold lead us to decide to turn back. Six Husbands was enticing because out of the wind but it would have meant a long long walk out even without difficult stream crossings. Nonetheless as you pointed out it might've been the best in some circumstances as a survival decision. I wonder though if he was even aware of the existence of the Grey knob Hut. The real problem is that he was not equipped for a night or several nights out. There was no way during that time of year though that he was going to make it back to Pinkhams that evening via Great Gulf. Part of the problem here as I see it is this whole rescue culture. People may go out expecting to be rescued if they get into trouble and perhaps not equip themselves properly as a result. For some reason people seem to think there are all kinds of Forest Ranger types hovering about ready to save them. Mostly the rescue people are volunteer search and rescue groups which receive some assistance from NH Fish and Game and the National Guard. No one should expect rescue. Hikers and mountaineers should equip themselves mentally and materially to be responsible for their own well being. Search and rescue as a last alternative is something we should all be grateful for but this is abused and over used. Once while hiking in Colorado the Colorado Mountain Rescue Group (or was it called "Rocky Mountain Rescue") came out to "rescue" the group I was hiking with. We were part of a larger group from the University of Colorado and unknown to us someone had said we would be back by a specified time and had called out the rescuers. We were hiking out the long access trail and had no idea we were lost. Apart from their drinking the cold beer I had been l saving I remember being really annoyed that some one else was looking out for me. Its tough to say that to someone whose been called away from his life to come out and save you though.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post



Not far from the top of the Six Husbands is a trail that will take you down to Grey Knob, an insulated cabin with a stove and manned by a caretaker.
 

Gray Knob is about two miles from Six Husbands.  And the section on the Gray Knob trail would have been rough going for him.  (I had taken it that same morning, in the other direction, to ski the Sisters in Castle Ravine.)
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post

Yes you could make this traverse pretty quickly if fit and given the right conditions.
Yes, but conditions were not right and instead were exactly wrong (and predictably so) that weekend for his planned trip.
Here are some examples, from that weekend, in the Northern Presidentials:
http://picasaweb.google.com/jshefftz/20090426KR#5331044859575337490
http://picasaweb.google.com/jshefftz/20090426KR#5331044905993600146
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujKGXe2f7X4
Yes, we are *on* the trail!
My eight-seconds of fame the next day start at 1:02 here:
http://www.wmur.com/video/19305850/index.html
Later that evening, I ended up having dinner with his father -- totally random.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Shefftz View Post




Gray Knob is about two miles from Six Husbands.  And the section on the Gray Knob trail would have been rough going for him.  (I had taken it that same morning, in the other direction, to ski the Sisters in Castle Ravine.)


 


Thanks for the information. I am still trying to piece together his actual route. I was only trying to suggest that descending into Great Gulf as an imagined shortcut would seem to have been way more difficult and problematic than the traverse back over to the Auto Rd. or (if he was in fact at Edmands Col) the trail down to Grey Knob. Its difficult to know what the actual conditions facing him were though. I think i read that he was found on the Sphinx trail. Sphinx Col in my recollection is an easy walk in favorable conditions from the Auto rd. In my own experience traversing the ridge if the weather is not adverse is relatively easy compared to going down into undermined snow, tree wells, running water, complex terrain etc. I suppose if he really had pushed himself into a situation in which he couldn't go any further due to injury, weather,' exhaustion or difficult snow conditions descending into Great Gulf may have seemed to him like an expedient survival move. One of the recurrent themes of such episodes seems to be that the individual pushes himself beyond the point of return into a situation in which he has no option left except to act in pure survival mode. I'm second guessing here of course as we all are.
post #19 of 21
Imagine if hikers were allowed to sign 'Do NOT rescue' papers.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post

One of the recurrent themes of such episodes seems to be that the individual pushes himself beyond the point of return into a situation in which he has no option left except to act in pure survival mode. 
 
Agreed.  And agreed on the route issues too.  I still haven't figured out exactly where he bailed and where he bivied, although a SAR rpt says he met up with searchers about a mile from the summit, but unclear exactly where, as well as the implications of that for where he was earlier.
The trail conditions down low were horrible that weekend, but the weather on Saturday was absolutely beautiful even late into the evening.
Here's a picture of skiing back from the summit of Adams to Gray Knob:
http://picasaweb.google.com/jshefftz/20090425CastleRavineJeffersonRavine#5332426168145737906
(This was after two laps in the Sisters and two laps in Jefferson Ravine -- the snow was staying really soft, even after the sun went down.)
With hindsight, I suspect a case could be made that once he decided to bail on his loop, if he was relatively south then he should have bailed to the summit of Mt Washington, and if he was relatively north, then he should have bailed to Gray Knob.  But as you noted, he probably didn't even know that Gray Knob exists and/or is open the entire year (unlike the AMC huts).  
Then again, even without the benefit of hindsight, he never should have attempted such a route in those conditions anyway...
post #21 of 21
Jonathan
Thanks for the photos. I'm envious, it looks as if you had a great time.
It actually makes for quite an interesting contrast to think of you out there having a great time while this guy was getting himself into trouble.

Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post


Imagine if hikers were allowed to sign 'Do NOT rescue' papers.
 
Exactly my thoughts. I don't think I want any rescuers coming after me with a $25,000 bill for services.
I suspect we are both people who would not be needing rescue unless really needing it if you know what I mean.
Perhaps some kind of rescue insurance ought to be offered instead. I can't imagine it would be very expensive given the proportionate number of people who actually hike safely compared to those who require rescue.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Sports
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Off-Season Sports & The Lighter Side › General Sports › Hiking Mt. Washington coud co$t