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  • Unprepared.

    From "New York State Conservationist", an article aptly titled "Unprepared" describes the rescue of two young men whose plan to hike the Great Range Traverse went awry.
    http://www.dec.ny.gov/pubs/106524.html

    The title sums up the cause of their misfortune; they were unprepared. For the gearheads out there, no, not a lack of equipment but of knowledge. Add regrettable decisions into the mix and the hike was FUBAR.

    There seems to be a belief that superior fitness can compensate for a lack of knowledge. There have been several high-profile SAR incidents in the last few years, including a death, that should convince people that it just ain't so.

    The article includes Ranger safety tips that address the key errors. I think the only one it glossed over is "Don't eat plants you know nothing about."

    Last edited by Trail Boss; 06-17-2016, 10:20 AM.
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  • #2
    Wow, what a read!

    I would say 'overconfidence' was probably the biggest single factor here. It sounds like they tried a GRT+2 (Skylight & Gray?).

    But really, if you're so exhausted that you have to crawl up to a summit...don't.
    ADK 46/46W, Grid 227/552
    Photos & Stuff

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    • Trail Boss
      Trail Boss commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah I was trying to figure out how they transformed a typical GRT ascent of ~10K into 17K. The image shows a track ascending from Four Corners and the article mentions Panther Gorge so I think they dropped off the south side of Haystack and headed to Four Corners to tag Skylight and Gray. However, I still don't see how this adds 7K of ascent.

    • Fleacyno
      Fleacyno commented
      Editing a comment
      Agreed with comments. My motto... Be prepared to be prepared. The extra weight in your pack is good resistance training.

  • #3
    Originally posted by Trail Boss View Post
    For the gearheads out there, no, not a lack of equipment but of knowledge.
    A new cautionary tale for preachers of the "never drop your pack at a col" gospel. (Not an adherent but I certainly wouldn't have dropped a pack under the circumstances here.)

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    • #4
      Originally posted by aoc-1 View Post

      A new cautionary tale for preachers of the "never drop your pack at a col" gospel. (Not an adherent but I certainly wouldn't have dropped a pack under the circumstances here.)

      Agreed. This story really is a good one for explaining the "don't do this".

      Don't:
      • Keep hiking when you're past your physical limit.
      • Leave your hiking partner when they are past their physical limit (and nauseous).
      • Eat a wild/unidentified plant!
      • Fail to pack enough calories such that you are forced to eat unidentified plants!
      • Let a peak bag override common sense.
      ADK 46/46W, Grid 227/552
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      • #5
        Hubris.

        Kudos to the Rangers and others who helped out with the SAR. People need to stop depending on mobile devices in the back country. If you absolutely have to play with it while hiking (for the camera or whatever) at least keep it in airplane mode and turn off location services to reserve your battery in case you actually need it for something life threatening. This has a dual function. Not only does it preserve your battery but when you take it out of airplane mode and wait for it to reconnect, it switches to the most optimal tower and provides a better signal. Also, if you have an iDevice, turn off iMessaging when in areas of spotty coverage. This causes your texts to take a little longer to reach their destination, but it will increase the likelihood of your texts actually transmitting by about ten fold.

        Speaking of unidentified plants, what are the plants which commonly grow at higher elly that smell strongly of toasted marshmallows? Feel free to inbox me so my question doesn't jack the thread.
        “Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” - Ed Viesturs

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        • #6
          Stories like this could not be made up. He is lucky to be alive and well. Many other times, he would be dead. I hope both learned their lessons and their stories prevent others from the same mistakes.

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          • #7
            There needs to be an "honorary" bright red backpack that you have to wear in the future when you get rescued from a situation like this, until the next person does something as dumb or dumber. Kind of like the Scarlet Letter. "Hey, it's that guy who was unprepared!"
            46er #9404
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            • #8
              Originally posted by All Downhill From Here View Post
              "Hey, it's that guy who was unprepared!"
              lol!

              But seriously, how about some kudos to the hiker himself who had the guts to actually write and publish this article full of acknowledgement of all the things he screwed up, exposing himself to certain public criticism and scorn, all for the potential benefit / education of others?

              -Joe

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              • Trail Boss
                Trail Boss commented
                Editing a comment
                I believe the "potential benefit/education" already exists and is widely available. They didn't do a hike no one's ever done, but they sure made mistakes others have done.

                I appreciate the time taken to publish an account of their ordeal. It serves as (yet another) cautionary tale. However, had they invested the same amount time to research the hike, before setting foot on the trail, the outcome might've been less traumatic.

            • #9
              What was the date of this hike? Sounds like they had a rough go of it. (understatement of the year)
              Eating plants = waste of time. Not many calories or much, if any protein. Better to eat grubs, ants, efts, flies and things of that nature. Lots of fat and protein.

              I was on Gothics and I met a lady on her way from Rooster Comb to the Loj (where her vehicle was). It was getting late in the day for what she had left to do. I passed her just above the cables and when I looked back from near the top of Saddleback saw her slowly descending, still well above the col. When I had mentioned them she seemed unaware of the cliffs of SB. I mentally tried to figure out her easiest options for getting to the Loj and then I realized: her problem was not my problem.
              But, now I wonder how she made out. She was very nice.
              1111111111

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              • autochromatica
                autochromatica commented
                Editing a comment
                It sounds like it was last June. They say the sun set at 8:43 PM, which hasn't yet happened this year.

            • #10
              Not going to lie, I started laughing when he writes about eating the plants. Sure buddy, those 100 calories are going to save you.

              These guys sound like every narcissistic 'I have conquered the corporate world and now I will conquer the natural world' type I've ever met. Completely delusional and surprised you can't purchase your way out of a lack of preparedness. /rant

              Seriously, they made so many mistakes I almost question whether this is real or a cautionary fable.
              K

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              • #11
                Originally posted by whistlerbrk View Post

                These guys sound like every narcissistic 'I have conquered the corporate world and now I will conquer the natural world' type I've ever met.
                The age of narcissism is very much social media enabled and now it even extends to the posted write-up of the epic fail. Amazing but true!
                1111111111

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                • #12
                  Originally posted by Neil View Post
                  What was the date of this hike? Sounds like they had a rough go of it. (understatement of the year)
                  Eating plants = waste of time. Not many calories or much, if any protein. Better to eat grubs, ants, efts, flies and things of that nature. Lots of fat and protein.

                  I was on Gothics and I met a lady on her way from Rooster Comb to the Loj (where her vehicle was). It was getting late in the day for what she had left to do. I passed her just above the cables and when I looked back from near the top of Saddleback saw her slowly descending, still well above the col. When I had mentioned them she seemed unaware of the cliffs of SB. I mentally tried to figure out her easiest options for getting to the Loj and then I realized: her problem was not my problem.
                  But, now I wonder how she made out. She was very nice.
                  My guess she spent the night out, luckily, the weather would not have made that dangerous. I have seen people show up at JBL and the staff allowed them to sleep on the floor. The best route to the Loj from there would be to JBL-Klondike-South Meadows-Loj road.

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                  • #13
                    The first time I took notice of "False Hellebore" (a.k.a. Indan Poke) it was pushing up out of the snow in a vly on the way to Sawtooth 1 (May 2013). I didn't know what it was but I was intrigued by it. I spent a fair bit of time trying to identify it later and discovered this attractive plant is toxic.



                    Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veratrum_viride

                    The plant is highly toxic, causing nausea and vomiting. If the poison is not evacuated, cold sweat and vertigo appears. Respiration slows, cardiac rhythm and blood pressure falls, eventually leading to death. The toxic effects of veratrum alkaloids are directly induced by antagonism of adrenergic receptors.
                    I know little about comestible wild plants (beyond blueberries and raspberries) so I avoid eating unrecognizable plants. Knowing some woodcraft helps but, on a typical day-hike you're unlikely to apply this knowledge. For example, balsam fir pitch has many uses: http://survivaltopics.com/balsam-fir-pitch/ and there's plenty of that above 3500 feet.

                    More fun facts about balsam pitch: http://northernwoodlands.org/articles/article/blisters
                    Last edited by Trail Boss; 06-20-2016, 01:16 PM.
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                    • rich99
                      rich99 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      At least we learned that it tastes delicious. Not in the Wikipedia. Maybe we can do something about it.

                  • #14
                    Originally posted by All Downhill From Here View Post
                    There needs to be an "honorary" bright red backpack that you have to wear in the future when you get rescued from a situation like this, until the next person does something as dumb or dumber. Kind of like the Scarlet Letter. "Hey, it's that guy who was unprepared!"
                    Sounds like a good plan. How about an optional choice that if you write your story like this guy did you can avoid the backpack.

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                    • #15
                      Shackleton: Oh man, I'm starving and I'm totally exhausted but I have to go and get my men, like right now.
                      Good Samaritan: Here Ernie! Have a nice bowl of organic kale to set you on your way.
                      Last edited by Neil; 06-20-2016, 03:28 PM.
                      1111111111

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