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Rangers search for two missing hikers.

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  • #91
    Originally posted by Trail Boss View Post
    [*]​"Terrified". First time I see this adjective used when the clouds rolled in and it lends credence to the "panic" theory proposed by moosebeware and Makwa earlier in this thread.
    Blake just interviewed on the local news here. He did use the word panic. See short interview here... Link also includes 15 minute raw footage of interview if anybody is interested. LOTS of new details and insight in this footage. They had way more gear than has previously been revealed. And interestingly, it sounds as if no attempt was made to reascend to summit on Day 1.


    • #92
      Just a reminder. Quit calling snowshoes that aren't big enough to hold you up snowshoes. OK? Surface increasing devices or snow-squooshers are preferred terms. Snowshoes are typically 3 times as big as your body weight, or they won't hold you up.

      I think the DEC snowshoe rule probably confuses new "snowshoers", simply because they don't mention size. They don't mention size because it is not a survival recommendation. It is only a trail maintenance recommendation. Probably new hikers think it is a survival recommendation, though.
      Last edited by CatskillKev; 12-22-2016, 09:37 PM.
      I might be kidding...


      • arcana73
        arcana73 commented
        Editing a comment
        Out of curiosity, I own a pair of 25' MSR revo explore snowshoes, and added the tails to them. Are these inadequate? I thought they would be fine. Of course I've never used them to climb a high peak in fresh snow. As I've stated earlier, it's beyond my skill level, so I wouldn't be foolish like these kids and tried to do it.

      • CatskillKev
        CatskillKev commented
        Editing a comment
        I just think the weight charts and advice lead people to think there is something magical about the small snowshoes, because they are high tech. The gv weight chart had 140 to 280 pounds for 12x42.

        I don't believe that MSR uses that kind of ratio at all. I think they would probably say that their snowshoe, that is 40% of the size could handle much more weight per square inch. Comparable I guess would be 60 to 112. Obviously, MSR couldn't sell snowshoes if they said their snowshoe was good for people ranging from 60 pounds to 112 pounds. So I don't tend to trust weight charts of the companies that don't make big ones. No good deed goes unpunished, so in reverse, MSR pretends to handle more weight, and sells more snowshoes. Lying helps sales. And people want to believe it anyway, so its a win for MSR.

      • CatskillKev
        CatskillKev commented
        Editing a comment
        Of course to really know, I'd have to know your weight, but 25 inch MSR's are very typical of what people are using on the trails in the Adirondacks. The tail, while it definitely boosts the square inch measurement, also has its problems. If you can bring your foot back on the shoe, it will balance it better, but in general, the tail idea does not make a well balanced snowshoe. It makes a snowshoe that you can kick steps into the snow for climbing, but off trail, the tail will come up, and you will wish that your foot was farther back.

        My favorite bindings have a toe stop, so you can't adjust forward and back. I guess MSR, due to the tails maybe, does not force people to put their feet in at a certain place.

        Have you used the snowshoes on trail? To really get use out of the concept, you probably should be using them without the tails, and just be ready to throw the tails on when needed. You don't need the tails for a packed trail, and like I say, if you can bring your foot backward on the snowshoe for using the tails, they will feel better. Are they adequate? Somewhat. Just don't expect them to do well up on Algonquin off trail, unless you are very light.

        You'll have to try them yourself off trail, and ask yourself if it feels balanced, or the front of your foot is going down and your heel is staying up. Then its just a question of if you like the floatation. Just be aware that off trail is a challenge for any small snowshoes, including MSR's with tails, unless you're light.

        Just don't go up Algonquin to fool around off trail, and then accidentally lose the trail. :-)

    • #93
      I wrote a bunch of stuff as a comment to Makwa's post ... and then deleted it. Why? Because I overlooked to watch the "Web Exclusive" video. After watching it, I summed it up as an example of the Dunning Kruger effect. The young man's inability to recognize neither his deficit of required skills or his errors is plainly obvious to anyone who has experienced similar conditions.

      ​The whole implausible "falling down a 100 feet" story is dead (good). Basically they tried to make their own path down and gave up. Winter-hiking beginners, who had just walked up a boilerplate trail, chose to bushwhack to fix the problem (one with snow-squooshers and the other with none)​. Naturally, it was a gnarly descent complete with stumbling and falling (just not dozens of feet at a time)

      ​Once they were well and truly stuck, she suggested they return to the summit, where (in his own words) they could be more easily found, but he insisted they stay put because of the "waist to neck deep snow". I won't dwell on the sanity of choosing to descend through that deep stuff in the first place or why it suddenly became impossible (even when your very life depended on it) to re-climb the path you had just plowed. That ship has sailed.

      ​The first day was spent lying down and waiting for the rescue they were certain was underway.

      ​She did collect wood for a fire but, predictably, it was nigh impossible to ignite it (they had more than one source of ignition). They tried to burn a polyester shirt (no mention of using the pack) with equally predictable results.

      ​When asked what he'd do differently, he mentions bringing more stuff (no mention of improving his skills) including a GPS. This statement contradicts the ranger's report that he had one. Not sure what to make of this other than miscommunication somewhere.

      ​The last minute of the interview is telling. When asked what advice he'd give someone in a similar situation he struggled to answer. After a bit of rambling he claimed one should stay positive and wait for rescue. Dunning-Kruger and no lesson learned.

      ​If he lived in my town, I'd offer him and his parents a cup of coffee and a friendly chat. If there are any seasoned winter-hikers living near Niskayuna, may I suggest you offer him the benefit of your experience. It'd be a wonderful Xmas gift; one that would serve him well for life.

      Looking for Views!


      • Neil
        Neil commented
        Editing a comment
        They rolled over. Imagine if the temps had been around 0.

      • All Downhill From Here
        Editing a comment
        Kids every day.

        You could sum up this whole thing as "being 20".

      • richard70
        richard70 commented
        Editing a comment
        I watched the web exclusive video and agree with Trail Boss. The kid learned nothing from this. I don't care how much gear they carried, they lacked the necessary skills, knowledge, and judgement, and should never have been up there in the first place. Bottom line: they were not sick, they were not injured, they were not even lost (they knew for a fact that they were on the summit of Algonquin), yet they managed to get themselves stranded for 2 days and nights in freezing weather. That's as bad as it gets.

    • #94
      OK, the rescuees need to avoid going anywhere that they can't follow their tracks. That goes for everyone. You are meant to be able to follow your tracks in winter. That is why snow is made the way that it is. All bets are off, especially if you look down at your feet and see snow-squooshers, when you can't backtrack.

      The rescuers who turned into rescuees need to rethink snow-squooshers vs a second pair of real snowshoes. When your hike on squooshed trail becomes a hike on actual snow, you've got to have that second pair. I don't see an alternative. Of course, sometimes the terrain might be too steep and slippery for that, too, but still, anything to avoid a lift. I mean, this is not just getting a ride in the DEC pickup that's going by, but of course we don't know the details of this rescue. Its just, oh, by the way, the rescuers needed rescue. We rehash the first rescue until the cows come home, but the ranger rescue is off limits. Rangers are people too, also influenced by the teachings of modern hiking, I would assume.

      If you google largest snowshoes, the largest snowshoes available don't even come up. Just some large 10x36 snowshoes that say they might be the largest, along with the myriad of small ones. Unfortunately, because of modern snowshoeing, there is not a big selection to choose from. This is the reason I try to tell people about real snowshoeing because its the only way to ever get more of a selection, or even to keep the selection that is available today. I even had to buy a second pair of my huge ones, for fear that they would stop making them, which of course is certainly a possibility.
      I might be kidding...


      • Trail Boss
        Trail Boss commented
        Editing a comment
        GV makes "snow-pontoons" for:
        "... forestry workers, trappers and hunters, as well as outdoor enthusiasts who carry big loads."

        Available in 12" x 42".

      • CatskillKev
        CatskillKev commented
        Editing a comment
        Good work, Trail Boss!

        As I have mentioned other places, those are my huge ones. GV 12x42. I did close off the front hole with heavy gauge aluminum, and just yesterday took off the thing that is supposed to attach the snowshoe tail to the binding. You have to save weight when you can. They could stand to have a bigger crampon, but then they'd weigh even more. Already, adding the aluminum gets them over 7 and 1/2 pounds, I think. Yes, they are the best available, and I would recommend them to very strong agile hikers in the 165 pound plus range, who are also tall, in other words, rangers. :-) For people under 165, 10x36 should do quite well. For people around a 100 pounds, 9x30 should be fine. :-)

      • Natlife
        Natlife commented
        Editing a comment
        But if the imprints are to shallow they fill up quickly and I can't follow them :p

        The Northernlites Tundra at 9.5x32 and 49oz are my type of compromise.

    • #95
      OMG - watched the video - I mean geez. But I have to admit I'm not surprised. We've all seen over confident and under-prepared hikers.I'm just said this young man didn't really understand just how un-prepared he was and how many stupid things they did. This was totally preventable. Even a compass bearing (at home) to re-find the Algonquin trail would have worked. But the silliest thing was trying to bushwhack and then to STAY THERE without trying to get back on the peak and trying to find the trail. He said his feet were cold - well, not moving makes your body cold - right?
      Last week we saw a group of mostly new hikers (all young men - one said it was his first high peak) wearing mostly camo gear and bareboots - it took them all day too make it up Beaver Meadows Trail and then back down. I don't even know h ow they did it with that much snow but they 1 - ruined the trail 2 - broke the ADK no snowshoe law and 3 - were lucky they could stay on the trail as they were pretty clueless. In the time they went up and down, we did Sawteeth, Pyramid, Gothics, the out and back to Armstrong and still passed them and stayed well ahead of them. Why? Because snowshoes are NEEDED. I'm all for introducing people to the high peaks, but I'm surprised the guy in the gatehouse didn't tell them not to bother without snowshoes. My ankle is still recovering from rolling in one of their postholes.
      46R (#7146) ADK, 46W
      48 (NH 4000) + winter
      NE 115 (#706)
      NE Winter 115 (#82)


      • #96
        Can somebody clarify what snowshoes were used by rangers during this search and rescue operation?
        I suspect that they used standard MSRs.
        I can't imagine huge flat land snowshoes working well on a steep slope in Adirondack cripplebrush and below.


        • #97
          This sign was posted on Facebook. Is this a real sign or a photoshopped one?


          • #98
            One year anniversary update...



            • gebby
              gebby commented
              Editing a comment
              I'm glad he didn't lose any toes.

          • #99
            "But after reaching the summit, they were engulfed in fog and stumbled into “spruce traps,” as they searched for the trail. Spruce traps occur when evergreen boughs hide deep cavities in the snow. They’re difficult to escape."
            Yes and they also indicate you're nowhere near the hard-packed trail you just ascended.

            Honestly, it's like they walked to the end of a pier and then ...

            "But after reaching the end of the pier, they were engulfed in fog and stumbled into "the lake", as they searched for the pier. Lakes occur when water collects in deep cavities. They're difficult to escape."
            Especially if your survival plan is to swim away from the pier and then tread water until someone finds you!

            This article would not be complete without one of them proving they missed the point of their near-fatal mistake(s).

            “It can happen to anyone,” she said. “Something will go wrong because it easily can.”
            Actually, no it doesn't. You two were part of a microscopically small proportion of winter hikers requiring rescue. In fact, small on a quantum level because some of those rescued winter hikers have legitimate reasons like serious injuries or medical incidents. Here's an example of visibility on Algonquin on a day when no one made the news because they wandered off the wrong side of the mountain and then chose to "tread water" until found.

            Disappearing in the icy mist.

            Continuing to believe "It can happen to anyone." demonstrates a profound inability to understand this was a self-inflicted misadventure caused by inexperience and bad decisions.
            Looking for Views!


            • gebby
              gebby commented
              Editing a comment
              I loved that the take home point was next winter hike, they would bring a sleeping bag. That was not the problem. :(

            • Makwa
              Makwa commented
              Editing a comment
              100% agree. When interviewed on TV a few weeks after their ordeal he was asked what he would do differently and the hesitant answer was to bring more gear. A year later and extra gear = sleeping bag but he still does not understand that trip prep and navigation skills could have gotten them safely back on the trail in just a few minutes.

          • I guess if you are going to hang out for a couple of days waiting around for a rescue a sleeping bag isn't a bad idea.
            Project-100: 100 peaks, one winter.


            • They should just move somewhere warm. A win-win.
              46er #9404


              • Not to belabor the point a year after this happened, but reading the one year update continues to fill me with confusion, particularly as to why they thought it was best to stay put. I get that pop culture has convinced people that this is your best chance of a rescue, but that's just so false. Hindsight is 2020, but their best chance of rescue would have been to have descended to the avalanche pass trail (assuming that they are correct that going up was not an option). Would the descent have sucked? No doubt. Would it have taken all day? Sure. But better than just sitting there for two days? Absolutely. Just my $.02, but I hope that I would have had the situational awareness to see Colden in front of them, know what it is, and know the map well enough to know that there is a trail full of lean tos, and even a DEC outpost, between where were are and where the mountain in front of them is.


                • FlyFishingandBeer
                  FlyFishingandBeer commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Even pop culture doesn't suggest staying put anymore. If you watch any of those survival "reality" shows on Discovery or the Science Channel, even they all say to pick a direction and commit to it. Whether its known point, or following a moving body of water, or whatever.

                  Here's what gets to me: they "fell" down there? Not likely. Sorry but I'm not buying that. Setting aside how irrational it was to descend where they did to begin with, why stay there? Even if climbing back to the summit was the hardest thing they've ever done, they at least would have stayed warmer doing it. Even if it took them two days of trying and completely exhausted them, they would have been better off than staying put.

              • Don't forget that it was mentioned earlier that there may have only been 2 surface-increasing devices to attach to one's feet. That is not 2 pair, that is 2 devices. As in a left and a right. One possible choice would have been for them to split up. One stays put. The other goes back to the top, with a surface-increasing device under each foot. The horror. Never split up.

                This is the problem with generic reasons for a group getting into trouble. Split up. All options should always be examined. It is usually stupid to throw out the "Don't split a group" excuse after a dilemma. This is the result. A person that routinely (somewhat blindly) picks this excuse for rescue blames in the newspaper is encouraging this result.

                I think the fear of being alone was a big factor here. One option in this scenario would be to have one person periodically go to the summit and come back. This should make a nice little trail that's easy for anyone to follow, and if the two share these ventures, it will keep both warm. If its difficult, they could make a game of it. One goes as far as they can, comes back and the other one tries to get a little further. See what happens when you look at all options? By the time they have a nice little trail to the top, they might decide Geez, no one is coming let's go home, maybe grab Wright on the way down.

                So, when the woman suggested going back to the top, and he (possibly with no devices on his feet) said lets not and say we did... What if she said "I'll go to the top and then come back."?

                See what happens when you look at all options.

                Of course this possible scenario is considering the particular situation. A popular trailed mountain and a possible rescue attempt going on.

                The point is to consider all options. But don't just go down in these Adirondacks, when there are other routes available. Especially when you are lacking equipment and expertise and who knows what else? You'll find out what else when you hurl yourself off the side of one of these without the right devices. But I suppose that is why one sits still, because if they choose the wrong strategy, it could lead to their demise.
                I might be kidding...


                • Kitsune_Soba
                  Kitsune_Soba commented
                  Editing a comment
                  There were many mistakes made here, but man only having one pair of snowshoes... that's just gambling of the worst kind.