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  • Search near Gothics?

    I hiked Haystack from the Garden yesterday. (Monday, 7/31) While on the summit of Haystack I noticed helicopter traffic in the area between Saddleback and Gothics. Continued to see and hear air traffic on my hike out. Stopped at JBL and one of the staff told me that a hiker went missing on Gothics Sunday night and they were still looking. She hadn't had the radio on since Sunday evening, so that was all the detail she had. Anybody know the outcome? Hopefully all turned out well.

  • #2
    http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise...missing-hiker/

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    • #3
      2505 mentioned it in this post and may have seen the missing hiker descending UWJ.

      ​Based on comments posted in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise's article, the overdue hiker's name is Skip Baker. His son Justin posted a comment asking experienced hikers to either join him or to venture independently to search for his father.

      ​So far, the DEC has not asked for volunteers so this is an independent, parallel effort. I may be mistaken, but it's my understanding the DEC discourages the practice of having the general public involved during a search (when it wasn't requested). However, I can empathize with the son and, if it was one of my family, would probably be out there looking for them (perhaps with close friends I invited privately, not publicly). The danger of a public 'cattle call' for volunteers is you may receive people who become more hindrance than help for the rangers.

      ​Anyway, there's not much information available other than the hiker set out from the Ausable Club trailhead, on Sunday, to Gothics and 2505 may have sighted him on UWJ. We're into day two so it suggests Mr. Baker is not in the most obvious places. However, it also suggests to me that he probably wasn't curled up in a lean-to on Sunday night, preparing to walk out on Monday. This may be more than just 'overdue' but possibly lost and/or injured.

      ​Fingers crossed he's holed up somewhere and waiting for the arrival of rangers.
      Last edited by Trail Boss; 08-01-2017, 08:41 AM.
      Looking for Views!

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      • #4
        FYI, this is exactly why the ask you to include your phone number when signing in. It isn't to save you, but to possible save someone else.

        (Joe told me they implemented this after a young man died headed to Marcy, and they couldn't track down the person from Brooklyn who signed in before and might have seen him.)
        ADK 46/46W, Grid 232/552
        Photos & Stuff

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        • #5
          Search continues. Little new info other than more rangers are now involved in the search. Also.... article details rescue on Algonquin that diverted resources from the Gothics search...

          http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise...missing-hiker/

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          • Trail Boss
            Trail Boss commented
            Editing a comment
            Synopsis

            A group of 4 teenagers operating well above their skill level. Rangers oriented then via a phone call yet they still failed to follow the trail down. Located on Algonquin's west side late next morning, safe but worse for wear after the unplanned overnight. One of those easily avoidable incidents that makes you take a long hard look at New Hampshire's Hike Safe system. http://hikesafe.com/index.php?page=costs

            Terrible timing because rangers were already involved in the search for Skip Baker.

        • #6
          Is it just me or the search part deficiencies of SAR are disconcerting? Are the protocols public? I'm particularly interested in the intelligence and analysis aspects as well as technological resources at their disposition.

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          • #7
            So far I'm not seeing anything disconcerting. It's a challenging task to locate someone if they are off-trail. At this point it would appear safe to say he is not curled up on any trail because he would've been spotted by rangers or hikers.

            Based on info from the Maine Warden (during the Geraldine Largay search), 90% of the time they find the missing hiker within 48 hours. The way I interpret that stat is if they come up empty-handed after 48 hours, your situation is well outside the average and, wherever you are, it may take a long time to find you. Another way to look at it is, after 48 hours the victim, if at all possible, must try to become more visible (i.e. some self-rescue required).
            Looking for Views!

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            • Trail Boss
              Trail Boss commented
              Editing a comment
              Thank you, John! Wisdom from one of the very few here who has walked the walk.

              I definitely put myself in the armchair category albeit with a deep appreciation that SAR ain't easy.

              Finding people *on* the trail is one thing, but once they step off into the weeds the challenge is magnified. Anyone who doubts this should picture themselves off-trail (and possibly unresponsive). Now imagine how hard it would be to find you.

              If you can't make yourself seen or heard, you're in for a long wait. You'll be helping yourself a great deal if you can make your presence known and/or visible.

              DEC Rangers have been very busy this season. The 4 teenagers found on Algonquin represents the most recent success. Before that they located the fellow who failed to make a turn in Elk Pass and headed towards Elk Lake. I wish them well for finding Skip Baker.

            • Natlife
              Natlife commented
              Editing a comment
              Thank you John! That's exactly one of the type of things I was looking for. And by intelligence I was of course reffering to the type of information collected and how it is used in analysis models. I highly respect all the hard work everyone involved in SAR is doing, and I for sure underestimate the complexities involved, but as I see how data and technologies help build better complex solutions everyday, I was curious to see how SAR is making use of that.

            • Makwa
              Makwa commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks MtnManJohn. Good stuff.

              I'll just add on to Trail Boss' comments here. Finding anything off-trail is difficult. High points and summits are easy... just keep going up but other stuff not so much. I've been off trail in search of cabins/buildings, plane crashes, and other small landmarks and many don't reveal themselves until you are standing right on top of them. Even some fire towers are concealed until you get within 50 feet of them and they're huge structures. I would imagine finding an unresponsive person who is many times smaller is no easy feat.

          • #8
            sad news.... https://twitter.com/antonioolivero
            46/46 as of August 1st, 2014!

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          • #9
            Very sad news indeed. My heartfelt condolences to Skip Baker's family and friends.


            ​My thanks to the hard-working (and over-worked) DEC Rangers who located him within 48 hours. The outcome was tragic but the effort was beyond reproach.


            ​The task now lies with the coroner to determine the cause of death and provide some measure of closure and solace to the bereaved family.
            Looking for Views!

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            • #10
              The cause of death for the missing Great Range hiker is accidental drowning, Essex County Coroner Frank Whitelaw said this afternoon. “We did identify some medical issues during the autopsy and those could have been the cause of his disorientation and not feeling well."

              https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/s...-hiker-drowned
              We are closer now than we were five minutes ago

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              • #11
                ​There are very few foot-bridges over the East Branch Ausable River so when it was initially reported he was found at the "base of Upper and Lower Wolf Jaw", I assumed it was near Canyon Bridge. However, the article (link in MtnManJohn's post above) leads me to believe my guess may be wrong.

                It indicates he "slid down a 350 foot embankment" and left his pack and poles on the bank. It states the descent played no part in his death (implying the descent was controlled and intentional).

                ​Maybe my memory is foggy but I can't recall a "350 foot embankment" near Canyon Bridge so, perhaps, the incident happened elsewhere along the river. Maybe.

                ​The general public is not permitted to walk off-trail in the AMR. Based on my recollection of that part of the West River Trail, I'd say you're off-trail if you need to descend a long embankment to access the river. Regardless, the only role it played in this tragedy was to increase the time it took to locate him. Yet, find him they did and within 48 hours of the initial call.

                ​Seeing that he left his gear on the bank, I'm guessing he didn't go there to ford the river. I don't know if the purpose of this side-trip will ever be known. Perhaps he needed water urgently or just a secluded spot to appreciate the river.

                It's easy to imagine how a misstep on a slick rock can lead to a debilitating fall. It's what all hikers already know; out of the many steps we take, there may be a fateful one that changes everything.

                ​Travel well and rest easy, fellow hiker.
                Looking for Views!

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                • Makwa
                  Makwa commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I figured somewhere between Wedge Brook Trail/ West River Trail junction and Canyon Bridge. If you measure the distance between the trail and the river it's about 300-350 feet depending on where you pick. The distance narrows the closer you get to the bridge. Contour lines suggest ~150 to 200 foot loss of elevation over that distance. Not sure if that qualifies as an embankment but it makes some sense given the description offered.

                  Very sad however he ended up there. My condolences to family and friends.

                • Trail Boss
                  Trail Boss commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That's the section where, during spring thaw, the river produces impressive thundering sounds. If he descended to the river anywhere along there, it amazes me how he was spotted. Perhaps from aerial reconnaissance.

                  https://orthos.dhses.ny.gov/?Extent=...ser-layers-div

              • #12
                This is all very sad, especially in light of the likely contributing factors. Numerous people apparently reported him to be exhausted and very slow, as well as potentially disoriented at some points along his hike.

                I came up to a hiker in the Whites last fall who had a massive heart attack 10 minutes earlier. Even though I believe now I did the right thing and nothing I could have done would have changed the outcome, back then it unsettled me and I turned things around in my head for quite some time before I was totally fine with it.

                My point is Skip Baker is one more reminder for me to make sure I pay attention to those I come across on the trail and be confident they should be ok.

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                • Trail Boss
                  Trail Boss commented
                  Editing a comment
                  From the described symptoms, I think they'd be difficult to differentiate from simple exhaustion (possibly complicated by dehydration). People who passed him only had reason to believe he was a hiker who badly needed a rest.

                  The red-flag would be disorientation but let's not overlook the fact that there are many hikers on the trail who, with full command of their senses, couldn't tell you much about where they are.

                  My threshold (for concern) would be what the article described, namely he was seen lying prone along the trail. As a frequent solo-hiker, I'm thinking of what kind of event would cause me to lie flat along the trail ... and it ain't good.
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