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Old 12-13-2016, 06:23 PM   #1
nickchevy
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Lost hikers found alive

http://www.timesunion.com/local/arti...n-10793027.php

Two hikers missing since Sunday, found near the summit of Algonquin.
Very lucky, great work by the SAR.
I saw a post this morning asking Civs not to show up to help and to let the SAR do their jobs. Glad everyone is okay.

Stay safe out there everyone.
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Old 12-13-2016, 07:13 PM   #2
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I really thought they would not be found alive. Thank heavens they were rescued.
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Old 12-14-2016, 08:27 AM   #3
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Great job SAR and support teams!!! Those kids are lucky that you people care.
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Old 12-14-2016, 10:52 AM   #4
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Great job SAR. They were lucky to be saved after two nights. Sage advice for untrained folks to stay out of the woods and not assist in December or they likely would have been faced with more rescues.
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:07 AM   #5
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Just received this from the NYSDEC.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers have located the hikers who spent two nights in the High Peaks of the Adirondacks.
DEC Forest Rangers in a New York State Police (NYSP) Helicopter located Blake Alois, 20, and Madison Popolizio, 19, both of Niskayuna, NY, southeast and 265 feet below the summit of Algonquin Peak, this morning at approximately 11:00 a.m.
"The entire DEC family is pleased to report that the hikers missing in the High Peaks have been found and are now receiving medical attention," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "We are proud of the actions taken by DEC's Forest Rangers and our partners from the New York State Police and Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) during this search and rescue effort. DEC encourages all visitors to the High Peaks of the Adirondacks during the winter months to safely prepare for the elements and exercise caution."
At approximately 11:30 a.m, NYSP helicopter inserted DEC Forest Rangers at the scene, who found the pair alive but suffering from hypothermia.
Forest Rangers wrapped the pair in warming blankets and prepared them for evacuation. Cloud cover delayed helicopter operations but Forest Rangers and State Police hoisted Alois and Popolizio into the helicopter and flown to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake for further evaluation and medical treatment at 1:25 p.m.
The hikers left the Adirondak Loj Trailhead on the morning of Sunday, December 11, to hike to the summit of Algonquin Peak in the High Peaks Wilderness, Town of Keene, Essex County.
At 5:42 p.m. on Sunday, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a phone call from concerned family members reporting that they had not received any communication from the hikers since approximately noon. Family members provided photos and videos of the pair's hike at that time. Both Alois and Popolizio appeared to be in good condition and wearing winter clothing in the photographs.
Forest Rangers were immediately dispatched to the trailhead on Sunday where they located the pair's vehicle. DEC Forest Rangers searched the trail up Algonquin Mountain and down to the other side at Lake Colden until 3:45 a.m.
On Monday, more than 20 Forest Rangers searched over 40 miles of trails and drainage systems in the area around Algonquin Mountain. Snow, clouds, and winds prevented the use of aviation resources and made for difficult search conditions.
Two dozen DEC Forest Rangers, members of the New York State Police Special Operations Response Team, and State Police Aviation Units participated in the search this morning. DHSES set up and provided communications support at the command post at the Adirondak Loj.
The searchers faced below-freezing temperatures, wind chills below zero, and three feet or more of snow. DEC Forest Rangers have conducted 353 search and rescue operations so far this year.
DEC advises visitors to the High Peaks to wear proper clothing and have equipment for snow, ice, and cold to ensure a safe winter experience. This time of year, snow depths range from 6 to 20 inches or more. The deepest snows are typically in the eastern Adirondacks with thinner depths in the western portion. Snow depths are deeper in the higher elevations like the High Peaks and other mountains over 3,000 feet.
Visitors to the High Peaks Wilderness Area are required to use snowshoes or cross-country skis for their safety when terrain is snow covered with 8 or more inches of snow. Visitors to other Adirondack lands are encouraged to do so for their safety and the safety of other backcountry users. Snowshoes or skis ease travel on snow and prevent "post holing," which can ruin trails and cause sudden falls resulting in injuries. Ice crampons also should be carried to use on icy mountaintops and other exposed areas.
In addition, backcountry visitors should follow these safety guidelines:
• Sign-in whenever passing a trail register.
• Dress properly with layers of wool and fleece (not cotton!) clothing: a wool or fleece hat, gloves or mittens, wind/rain resistant outer wear, and winter boots.
• Carry a day pack with the following contents: Ice axe, plenty of food and water, extra clothing, map and compass, first-aid kit, flashlight/headlamp, sun glasses, sun-block protection, ensolite pads, stove and extra fuel, and bivy sack or space blankets.
• Carry plenty of food and water. Eat, drink and rest often. Being tired, hungry or dehydrated makes you more susceptible to hypothermia.
• Check weather before entering the woods - if the weather is poor, postpone your trip.
• Be aware of weather conditions at all times - if the weather worsens, head out of the woods.
• Know the terrain and your physical capabilities - it takes more time and energy to travel through snow.
• Never travel alone and always inform someone of your intended route and return time.
Traveling through snow takes more energy and time than hiking the same distance, especially in freshly fallen snow. Plan trips accordingly.
Call the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch at 518-891-0235 to report lost or injured people or other backcountry emergencies.
Prior to heading out, people are encouraged to consult the DEC Adirondack Trail Information web page, which provides current trail condition information and links to current weather, snow cover and other important information to help ensure a safe and enjoyable Adirondack backcountry winter experience. Visit the DEC website for winter hiking tips.
DEC will continue to provide updates as they become available.
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Old 12-14-2016, 02:23 PM   #6
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Very good news.
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Old 12-14-2016, 07:54 PM   #7
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Here's a link to a video of one of the extractions yesterday afternoon. Having spent a fair amount of time in the back end of a UH-1, this is terrifying to me! The skill of the pilots and flight crew is evident as the chopper is getting tossed around pretty good by the wind and whiteout.

Hats off to all involved!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDm7adqq3R0
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Old 12-15-2016, 11:35 AM   #8
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saw that video on the weather channel this morning while eating breakfast, you guys hit national coverage with this one.

Good job by everyone involved.

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Old 12-15-2016, 02:04 PM   #9
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Forest Rangers, State Police and all involved need to be recognized for what they do and in what conditions. Risking their lives to save others is what they do on regular basis.

Next time you hear of budget cuts at DEC, make sure to let them know that those cuts should not be made from "boots on the ground".
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Old 12-16-2016, 08:48 AM   #10
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On CBS this morning . 12/16
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Old 12-17-2016, 08:57 AM   #11
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Pilots Recount Rescue...
http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise...-coaster-ride/
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Old 12-17-2016, 10:29 AM   #12
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From across the pond.... http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...saved-her.html
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Old 12-18-2016, 12:18 AM   #13
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Food for thought

https://dailygazette.com/article/201...-ranger-duties

Up to now, we have managed. We’ve been successful, we bring in other resources, we keep it going,” said Streiff, who oversees the most rangers -- 40 -- of any district captain and coordinates the most search-and-rescue operations.

When that doesn’t happen, I’m not sure what that answer is.”

Makes me sick to read some of the accounts / articles that romanticize and sensationalize the plight of ill prepared back country users... (not only for this incident)
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Old 12-18-2016, 03:37 AM   #14
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Quote:
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... Makes me sick to read some of the accounts / articles that romanticize and sensationalize the plight of ill prepared back country users... (not only for this incident)
+1

The media isn't serving the public good if it continues to portray these incidents in terms of heroic struggles for survival caused by the cruel and unavoidable dangers lurking in the mountains.

There are real dangers all right, and generations of hikers have learned to either avoid them or mitigate the consequences. Sometimes real accidents occur; you're in the wrong place at the wrong time and there's just no bloody way to avoid it other than not having got out bed that day. However, in recent years, it seems like beginner winter-hikers are offering themselves up as human sacrifices to herald the new season.

They walk off a clouded alpine summit in a randomly chosen direction. Forget about using a compass bearing to, at the very least, stay on the correct side of the peak. They leave everything to chance and that "strategy" usually results in a team of DEC Rangers combing the cripplebrush.

A situation that could be mitigated with skill and a $20 compass is allowed to escalate to the point where it can only be salvaged by a $25K+ rescue. More? Less? I don't know but helicopters don't fly for cheap.

None of this will change unless reports don't just cover the human survival part but also the human error part. That or the nuclear option chosen by New Hampshire where hikers deemed negligent or reckless get billed for rescue. If they buy a cheap Hike Safe card then they only get billed if found to be reckless. NH's rescue bills are north of $10K.
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Old 12-18-2016, 08:44 AM   #15
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Was it reported that they didn't have a compass (or knew how to use one), or are we just assuming that?
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Old 12-18-2016, 09:27 AM   #16
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Well, Trail Boss it's the news that sells that makes the news. It's been spun into a feel-good story for Christmas and dished up to a beleaguered public.

It was reported by the ranger who found them that they had a GPS. My guess is they fell before digging it out and switching it on.
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Old 12-18-2016, 09:41 AM   #17
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Well, Trail Boss it's the news that sells that makes the news. It's been spun into a feel-good story for Christmas and dished up to a beleaguered public.

It was reported by the ranger who found them that they had a GPS. My guess is they fell before digging it out and switching it on.
That sounds plausible!
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Old 12-18-2016, 09:59 AM   #18
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Most catastrophic situations are not the result of a singular decision or happenstance, but the cascading effect of many small decisions and events. This was a close call, and it is likely that a few small decisions and events contributed to their plight and also their ultimate survival.
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Old 12-18-2016, 11:20 AM   #19
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Was it reported that they didn't have a compass (or knew how to use one), or are we just assuming that?
There's no report of them having one but, I agree with your point, it doesn't mean they didn't have one. So let's go through a process of deduction:

If they did possess a compass, their story doesn't mention using it (like the GPS they had).

If they used either the unmentioned compass or the mentioned GPS, the evidence indicates they used it incorrectly. Their bearing on the summit was 135 degrees in the wrong direction.

By their own testimony, they walked off the summit towards a clearing and shortly thereafter fell and became mired in snow, southeast of the summit. The trail is due north.

In a nutshell, they became disoriented and walked in whatever direction offered visibility (without the aid of a bearing or with an incorrect bearing).

Beginner winter hikers must accept the fact the alpine zone isn't just a treeless tundra. It's colder and windier and, especially in winter, nearly featureless. Clouds roll in and reduce visibility, sometimes to zero. Once you lose sight of the rut you were following, and your tracks, and the cairns, what is your exit strategy? Will your direction be randomly chosen from one of 360 degrees? You should have the answer in advance because your life may depend upon it.
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Old 12-18-2016, 12:01 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
Beginner winter hikers must accept the fact the alpine zone isn't just a treeless tundra. It's colder and windier and, especially in winter, nearly featureless. Clouds roll in and reduce visibility, sometimes to zero. Once you lose sight of the rut you were following, and your tracks, and the cairns, what is your exit strategy? Will your direction be randomly chosen from one of 360 degrees? You should have the answer in advance because your life may depend upon it.
Another perfect example why I would support some sort of user permit system for high-use areas, especially in the High Peaks.
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