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Dramatic Rescue on Algonquin 12/13

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  • Dramatic Rescue on Algonquin 12/13

    Though it's been said before, part of being prepared for winter is being prepared for the unexpected - glad they are okay and lots to reflect on as I said in my comments under the article. Kudos to all the rangers and DEC people who saved them - A+ job!
    46R (#7146) ADK, 46W
    48 (NH 4000) + winter
    NE 115 (#706)
    NE Winter 115 (#82)

  • #2
    I imagine these hikers will be chided, as are all rescued hikers, but I feel sympathetic to them because five or six years ago, I lost the trail near Algonquin's summit in an apparently similar manner to them. Three of us had summitted Algonquin about 9 am and started to head over toward Iroquois when the weather changed rather abruptly. We quickly turned around, but by the time we made it back over the top of Algonquin, discerning the trail was very difficult. Eventually I led us off the trail, and we just couldn't refind it. We had maps and compasses, but they couldn't help us find the trail, even though we knew approximately where we were at all times. We spent half an hour walking back and forth, knowing that we were crossing over the trail repeatedly, but just couldn't find it. It was absolutely maddening. Eventually we decided that since it wasn't that cold and it was not yet 10 am, the wind was the biggest threat and headed northwest to the treeline. We considered taking a bearing to link back up with the trail without dropping down too much more, but we decided instead just to head to the Scott Clearing lean-to because we thought it would be much easier to move with snow that wasn't as deep.

    My recollection of the bushwhack down the mountain is of a pleasant hike featuring incredible scenery, and it was, but the time we spent near the summit wondering where the trail had gone was pretty scary. The first hour or so of our descent to the Indian Pass Brook trail was also unnerving, and even once we were on our way and knew everything would turn out OK, a tension remained. We made it to the lean-to before dark and returned my sister's rented microspikes to the HPIC with plenty of time to spare, and it was eerie how quickly things had gone from very normal to very dangerous to very normal again.

    Of course I learned and changed my habits. For one, I am relatively useless at finding a blown-over trail, which I suppose is different from navigating. Subsequent hikes have reinforced this, and despite my efforts, I haven't seemed to have gotten much better at it. In that regard, I have a smaller margin for error, and I'm now quicker to turn around if the weather might be a factor. For another, having my sister and brother-in-law along was invaluable, even if they, too, are useless at picking out a blown-over trail. (Subsequent hikes have reinforced their uselessness at trail finding, too.)


    • #3
      Closing this thread to avoid confusion.
      Here's the link to the pre-existing thread on the same topic.
      Project-100: 100 peaks, one winter.