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Hiker dies after 100 foot fall in Platte Clove

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  • #16
    Originally posted by timetohike View Post
    Is it the same as the Devil's path described by Backpacker Mag as one of the twelve toughest trails?
    I was under the impression that the Backpacker article was covering the "Devils Path" form Prediger Rd (Indian Head) and westward not including the Clove itself. Or am i mistaken?
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever"
    Napoleon Bonaparte


    Catskill 3500 #1824/#729W
    ADK 26/46

    Views & Brews NY, VT, RI, DE, NH, NJ, CT, WV, MA
    Taconic Crest End to Ender, CL 50

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    • #17
      Originally posted by timetohike View Post
      Is it the same as the Devil's path described by Backpacker Mag as one of the twelve toughest trails?
      Yes and No. The Devils Kitchen is essentially the drainage between Indian Head and Plattekill. The Devils Path doesn't actually reach the Devils Kitchen, as it begins to climb Indian Head .10 or .20 from the DK and DK Lean-To, which is on the Overlook Mtn trail. Where ever this tragedy happened, it wasn't on either trail.
      EULA: By reading this post and associated disclaimer, you are consenting to agree with the opinions disclosed within. If you disagree with this license agreement, you may not return it for a refund.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by timetohike View Post
        Is it the same as the Devil's path described by Backpacker Mag as one of the twelve toughest trails?
        No, the area in question is referred to as the Devil's Kitchen, off of Platte Clove Rd. However, the Devil's Kitchen is near the eastern end (Prediger Rd) of what I believe is commonly called the Devil's Path, and what is described in the Backpacker article. Catskill aficionados please correct me if I'm wrong.

        Dick
        "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while care will drop off like autumn leaves." John Muir

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        • #19
          The crosshairs mark Plattekill Clove....The dotted line to the left is the beginning of the Devils Path....It sounds as if they accessed the Clove from Platte Clove Road at some point. I've hiked down the Clove a ways from the DP and it gets scary steep real quick.
          Last edited by billandjudy; 05-02-2010, 04:18 PM.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Peakbagr
            Properly worded exculpatory releases are thought to be a reliable barrier and likely defense in NYS. The release used by the ADK has language that has been legally tested and designed by an attorney with extensive plaintiff experience in the area and who is also an avid hiker. To further protect the Club and leaders, the ADK has liability limits adequate to cover both.

            I'd rather have avoided a talk of suits on the Board due to yesterday's tragedy. But there have been enough 'Meeting Up' trip reports here and stories by participants elsewhere of inexperienced leaders and unprepared participants to cause a plaintiff's attorney's stomach to growl in anticipation.
            Under NYS GBL 5-326, waivers of liability are not valid with regard to owners and operators of recreation and amusement events for which a "fee or other compensation" is received. Under those circumstances, there is no language that can override the statute no matter how carefully it migtht be drawn.

            In 1997, an operator of a horseback riding service through the Adirondack Park found out that his carefully worded waiver was invalid under GBL 5-326 because he was engaged in a recreational activity for a fee or other compensation. There were no words he could of used in the waiver that would have changed the result. A waiver under those circumstances is void no matter what it says.

            In 2000 a Capital District flag football leagued learned that its carefully worded waiver was void even though the injured participant had not been charged a fee to play that day because it was sufficient that the flag football league charged other people to participate. In other words, even if Six flags lets you in for free and you sign a waiver, the waiver is void no matter what it says even though you did not pay a fee.

            In 1982 an upstate ski club found out that its carefully worded waiver didn't protect it from a suit by a spouse of a member because the spouse was not a member and had not signed the waiver even though her husband had signed it. Again, in that case a carefully worded waiver would not have changed the result.

            The lesson from these cases is that GBL 5-326 voids waivers under the applicable circumstances regardless of what language is used in the waiver. A private contract cannot override the law so even if the waiver said "you also waive the protections of GBL 5-326" it would still be void.

            The real issue is whether the activity is "recreational or amusement" as opposed to "instructional" (waiver held valid for SCUBA instructor because he was engaged in teaching rather than recreation or amusement) and whether a "fee or other compensation" is charged by the defendant for the activity.

            Waivers for activities that meet both of those conditions are void. The language of the waiver would never be tested because the language is irrelevant.

            More importantly, waivers and the like are just one of the many items of evidence that will be attached to the many pleadings likely to arise from any such situation. Without insurance, a hiking club that doesn't charge a fee or other compensation, or engages in instruction rather than recreation, may end up winning the case - after a hefty legal fee. Insurance provides both coverage for legal expenses and potential liability.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by billandjudy View Post
              The crosshairs mark Plattekill Clove....The dotted line to the left is the beginning of the Devils Path....It sounds as if they accessed the Clove from Platte Clove Road at some point. I've hiked down the Clove a ways from the DP and it gets scary steep real quick.
              thanks for the information - looks like some very rugged country.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by DSettahr View Post
                http://www.meetup.com/hikingmates/members/11536218/

                It looks like he had just joined the group, too.
                It isn't fair that good people and their families suffer for years to come.
                May their strength be in knowing unforeseen occurrences befall us all,
                and God remembers even when a sparrow falls[Bible book of Psalms] Looncry

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                • #23
                  My condolences goes out to the family....very sad.....just enjoying the beauty of the day....

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Peakbagr
                    One of the key aspects of ADK chapter outings is that no fee is charged as there would be a greater anticipation of responsibility. ADK is confident its waivers would hold up in NYS except involving minors or unusual circumstances. And as mentioned, substantial liablility limits covering the organization and all leaders.
                    When ADK contracts with other organizations i.e. guide services, canoe outfitters, etc, the Club does not enter into reverse hold harmless agreements and requires the vendor to hold ADK harmless, be named on the vendor's liability policy as an additional insured and for the vendor to carry adequate liability limits.
                    It's good the ADK has insurance, because the waiver is useless insofar as the ADK charges membership fees that entitle members to participate in outings.

                    Here's what the ADKtravel.org website says:

                    "Recreation is a principal focus of ADK. It is experienced locally through the many outings sponsored and led each week by ADK's chapters. Outings are also sponsored at the Club level where all ADKers can participate regardless of chapter affiliation. They are open to Members-at-Large as well."

                    Here is what the court said in holding that a waiver of liability for the Ranch Parachute Club did not protect it because of GOL 5-326:

                    [T]he purpose of the club, organized under the Not-For-Profit Corporation Law, is "to promote sport parachuting. The purpose is exclusively a recreational purpose and all purposes and activities of the corporation are limited to those specified in § 501 (c) (7) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954."

                    So it would seem the ADK club falls squarely under GOL 5-326 and its waivers are "against public policy and wholly unenforceable."

                    And that is what insurance is for.

                    Leaders of outings for the ADK and its chapters can feel safe knowing there is an insurance policy covering them if something should happen that sucks them into a lawsuit. But they shouldn't put any reliance on outings waivers.

                    But I'll bet there are lots of hiking clubs and groups that have little or no insurance. In fact, Meetup tells people that it and those who organize meetups are protected by its TOS waiver - which is simply not true if a fee is charged and the activity is focused on recreation.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Peakbagr
                      "It's good the ADK has insurance, because the waiver is useless insofar as the ADK charges membership fees that entitle members to participate in outings."

                      We'll have to completely agree to disagree.
                      And hopefully neither of our views on the matter will ever be tested.

                      The point I wanted to make has more to do with informal hiking groups rather than organizations like the ADK. The ADK is big enough to fend for itself.

                      Many hiking groups start out as informal get togethers of a few friends, then grow through social networking until one day someone gets the bright idea that they should charge dues or request a small donation to participate in hikes. Soon after that someone copies a waiver from an organization like the ADK and thinks it will protect them from liability should something happen.

                      Before anyone agrees to lead a hike for an informal group they should ask: (1) are any fees or dues charged for participation? (2) If so, does the group have insurance (or do you have an umbrella policy that would cover claims against yourself.)?

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                      • #26
                        Another sad moment in time for the Cats.
                        .·''·..·''·..·''·..·''·..·''·..·''·..·''·..·''·..· ''·..·''·..·''·..·''·..·''·..·''·..·''·..·''·..·'' ·..·''·..·''·..·''·..·''·..·''·..·''·..·''·..·''·.

                        http://action.defenders.org/nopalin

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                        • #27
                          Speaking of waivers, I was counselled by a (US) lawyer that they rarely stand up in court anyway.

                          Much better to have lots of insurance. And even better to be diligent, responsible, well prepared and to be able to prove it if necessary.

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                          • #28
                            Interesting to note that because Meetup groups were mentioned in the news, all of my groups had a surge in memberships, today.

                            I am very diligent with regards to who joins my outings. I limit attendance to 12 in the Adirondacks; the harder the hike, the fewer the hike membership. In the Catskills the DEC has no limitations on hike participants, but I'd never hike with more than 10 especially off trail.

                            LRoar

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by spicedoubt View Post
                              Another sad moment in time for the Cats.
                              Very sad for us all.
                              My condolences to friends and family.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by LionRoar View Post
                                Interesting to note that because Meetup groups were mentioned in the news, all of my groups had a surge in memberships, today.
                                I wonder how many people read the article, and the first thing they thought to themselves was, "you mean there's an online hiking message board/group that I'm not a member of?"

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