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Old 12-22-2016, 09:47 PM   #61
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Lots of clarification of the events that transpired are revealed here:
http://wnyt.com/news/web-extra-rescu...858/?cat=12934

After watching it, I concluded it's an example of the Dunning Kruger effect. His inability to recognize neither his deficit of required skills or his errors is plainly obvious to anyone who has experienced similar conditions.

​The whole implausible "falling down a 100 feet" story is dead (good). Basically they tried to make their own path down and gave up. Winter-hiking beginners, who had just walked up a hard-packed trail, chose to bushwhack to fix the problem (one with snowshoes and the other with none)​. Naturally, it was a gnarly descent complete with stumbling and falling (just not dozens of feet at a time)

​Once they were well and truly stuck, she suggested they return to the summit, where (in his own words) they could be more easily found, but he insisted they stay put because of the "waist to neck deep snow". I won't dwell on the sanity of choosing to descend through that deep stuff in the first place or why it suddenly became impossible (even when your very life depended on it) to re-climb the path you had just plowed. That ship has sailed.

​The first full day (2nd day on the mountain) was spent lying down and waiting for the rescue they were certain was underway.

​She did collect wood for a fire but, predictably, it was nigh impossible to ignite it (they had more than one source of ignition). They tried to burn a polyester shirt (no mention of using the pack) with equally predictable results.

​When asked what he'd do differently, he mentions bringing more stuff (no mention of improving his skills) including a GPS. This statement contradicts the ranger's report that he had one. Not sure what to make of this other than miscommunication somewhere.

​The last minute of the interview is telling. When asked what advice he'd give someone in a similar situation he struggled to answer. After a bit of rambling he claimed one should stay positive and wait for rescue. Dunning-Kruger and no lesson learned.


​If he lived in my town, I'd offer him and his parents a cup of coffee and a friendly chat. If there are any seasoned winter-hikers living near Niskayuna, may I suggest you offer him the benefit of your experience. It'd be a wonderful Xmas gift; one that would serve him well for life.

Last edited by Trail Boss; 12-22-2016 at 09:59 PM..
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Old 12-22-2016, 11:28 PM   #62
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...If he lived in my town, I'd offer him and his parents a cup of coffee and a friendly chat. If there are any seasoned winter-hikers living near Niskayuna, may I suggest you offer him the benefit of your experience. It'd be a wonderful Xmas gift; one that would serve him well for life.
I share the same area code as Nisky, but live in the town of Colonie just down the road from the county line. I don't have as much winter high peak experience as some of us here, but I did send Blake a friend request on his facebook account. If he responds, I'll happily pass along some of my thoughts, and be sure to direct him to this discussion as well.
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Old 12-23-2016, 12:03 AM   #63
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@Justin

Sounds good. Good luck!

I'm not on FB but if he wants to get in touch with me, he can do so via this forum, ADKHighPeaks forum, or my blog.
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Old 12-23-2016, 12:14 AM   #64
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@Justin

Sounds good. Good luck!

I'm not on FB but if he wants to get in touch with me, he can do so via this forum, ADKHighPeaks forum, or my blog.
No twitter?
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Old 12-23-2016, 07:59 AM   #65
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After reading the various incomplete stories (that never added up) this final one confirms what I'd been thinking all along. Once in the sh!t they just rolled over.

Overnight temps were something like 20. Imagine 0.
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Old 12-23-2016, 09:09 AM   #66
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For me, it's a 4-hour drive to Niskayuna. Not exactly in my neighborhood.

Seems to me there must be at least one seasoned winter hiker living closer to Niskayuna. Schenectady and Albany are nearby.

Otherwise, I'm available to answer questions via PM, like I've done many times in the past and, undoubtedly, so have many other forum members (here and ADKhighpeaks).
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Old 12-23-2016, 09:30 AM   #67
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Maddie Popolizio has joined the Aspiring 46ers Facebook page. Not sure about Blake. The tenor of the comments have been toned down a bit to become more respectful after they reached a fever pitch with the GoFundMe/Paris debacle. Lines of communication have been opened and offered over there for sure.
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Old 12-23-2016, 09:46 AM   #68
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" I'll happily pass along some of my thoughts"

Ok, maybe this should be a new thread but I am wondering if I can help. I can't offer sage wisdom from miles of experience but I still consider myself very hungry for knowledge. I love learning from my mistakes. I really love learning from mistakes others may make. And avoiding mistakes altogether is nifty too.

So two questions:
  1. Does anyone know of a publically viewable website with bite sized mcnugget style pieces of ADK specific wisdom that may be easier to consume for people interested in drive thru knowledge rather than really digging into it (ex I just got a copy of "Paradise Below Zero" last night). Not trying to replace or suggest this is the best way to educate oneself but with more and more people walking into the woods lacking adequate preparation this might be helpful. Matching the message to the audience a bit.
  2. If not, and I put something together (it's what I do at day job) would occasionally starting a thread like "Top 10 things to know about water treatment (or GPS systems, maps, SAR tips, Lean To's, pooping) be appropriate? I would probably lead off with what a search of this site and others share but seek help from you guys as editors if you will? Each subject formatted in top 10 list; with an adjoining section of links to detailed info.

Trying to "pay it forward".

I saw the Beginner Hiker thread on this site but there is much more info buried in the forums. If this has been done already that would be great.
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Old 12-23-2016, 10:10 AM   #69
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Does anyone know of a publically viewable website with bite sized mcnugget style pieces of ADK specific wisdom that may be easier to consume for people interested in drive thru knowledge rather than really digging into it
The NYSDEC web site has dozens of pages of useful information such as you suggest. Not always the easiest to navigate to any particular topic of interest, but much is there.
http://www.dec.ny.gov
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Old 12-23-2016, 10:20 AM   #70
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Whole books have been written on the subject so it's difficult to point to a McNugget summary. My winter-hiking education was based on book-learning.

In 1979 I read the Adirondack Mountain Club's "Winter Hiking and Camping" by John A. Danielsen. My first winter-hike was on a bluebird day to a modest peak I had previously hiked in summer, namely Phelps. It was enjoyable, exciting, and the scenery was beyond my expectations.

There's over a decade's worth of information on ADKhighpeaks. However, finding what you want can be challenging. Reading other hiker's Trip Reports can be very enlightening, especially when they share what went right and what didn't. In addition, rescue incidents usually offer something to learn from the misfortune of others.

For example: @Rogue's "winter bushwhack gone bad" is a very sobering account of the challenges of off-trail winter travel and self-rescue.

@mark's account of saving the day through preparation and quick-thinking.

@Snav3's example of inescapable factors that can incapacitate you in the blink of an eye.

My own winter rookie mistake.



Paul Repak's post on ADKhighpeaks "Traditional Methods for Precision Backcountry Navigation" should be mandatory reading for hikers. Your life may depend on it.

Relevant recent threads include:
@Makwa's Total weight of your winter pack? It includes links to past threads on equipment selection.

@FlyFishingandBeer's Emergency Preparedness which looks at ways to avoid or mitigate "bad things".
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Last edited by Trail Boss; 12-23-2016 at 10:47 AM.. Reason: Added more examples.
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Old 12-23-2016, 10:44 AM   #71
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right - familiar with DEC site. Welcome the other sources.

I am the kind of guy that enjoys digging into this. But I work at a college and am used to at times distilling information down. Sometimes it seems that the more writing, the less reading.

Yes, this could be the start of the downfall of civilization and I certainly do not wish to contribute to that. But if collecting information and aggregating it might be helpful.

Of course, those two caution signs on the Algonquin trail were not exactly verbose...
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Old 12-23-2016, 11:06 AM   #72
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I see the wisdom of posting vital information at trailheads (or at treeline). Unfortunately, several of the recent winter rescues involved extracting beginners who failed to heed the signs. The people who need it most don't appear to be receptive to it.

The regulation (not a mere "tip") to "possess and use snowshoes", posted at the Loj's main trailhead, didn't make an impression on the recent victims (he had snowshoes, she did not). I'm not saying snowshoes were the linchpin but "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink."

Perhaps one step towards the solution is to ask rescue victims what they'd recommend to make the signs more effective (or what other means would they suggest to get the message to sink in).
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Old 12-23-2016, 11:17 AM   #73
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The regulation (not a mere "tip") to "possess and use snowshoes", posted at the Loj's main trailhead, didn't make an impression on the recent victims (he had snowshoes, she did not)..
So would it be too harsh a lesson for her to have to pay a fine for violating DEC regulations?
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Old 12-23-2016, 11:31 AM   #74
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I think it's one of those situations where the DEC doesn't wish to "Snatch defeat from the jaws of victory".

Optics. The spectacular success of saving two lives (a difficult and costly effort) can be instantly overshadowed by following it up with a $250 fine.
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Old 12-23-2016, 11:51 AM   #75
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So we should "charge for rescues" (if found negligent with a HakeSafe card or similar), but not charge a fine when violating important DEC safety regulations which nearly cost your life...?
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Old 12-23-2016, 11:55 AM   #76
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So we should "charge for rescues" (if found negligent with a HakeSafe card or similar), but not charge a fine when violating important DEC safety regulations which nearly cost your life...?
Perhaps they did ticket her, but would prefer not to publicize it?
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Old 12-23-2016, 12:02 PM   #77
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Perhaps they did ticket her, but would prefer not to publicize it?
Perhaps. However, as we're discussing ways to help others in the future, why not make it publicly known that a violation of important safety DEC regulations had occurred and an appropriate fine was applied? No exceptions. Help spread the word that these regulations need to be followed.
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Old 12-23-2016, 12:02 PM   #78
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A dilemma, to be sure.

Another possible way to look at it is the odds of NYS charging for rescues is low because they don't even issue (justifiable) citations to the rescued.

Don't overlook the fact that law enforcement has discretionary powers. They are charged to uphold the law but have the leeway to let some things go based on a judgment call.

FYI
Regarding the "snowshoe law", if you possess snowshoes but bareboot along a hard-packed, bulletproof trail without them, the regulation says "possess and use" so you're looking at a $250 fine under your "spread the word" zero-tolerance policy.

Even if the conditions won't allow for so much as a scuffmark, let alone an honest-to-gosh post-hole, your wallet is lighter by $250. Fortunately, Rangers have the power of discretion which means, if they aren't having a bad day and you're not the umpteenth snowshoeless hiker they've encountered, the ranger may simply ask you to put them on.

Refusing to comply would be in violation of yet another DEC regulation ... and just a dumb move that won't win you the ranger's good graces.

Violating a regulation AND giving the ranger a hard time is likely to lead to an escort out of the park plus citations (it's happened).

I think the one thing missing on trail signs is that non-compliance with DEC regulations can result in penalties (and/or jail time). Perhaps if more people knew there's a $250 penalty for failing to use a bear-canister, they'd rent one for a paltry few bucks.
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Old 12-23-2016, 12:14 PM   #79
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Agreed, but I also think we can all agree that there needs to be much stronger DEC enforcement in many areas.
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Old 12-23-2016, 12:54 PM   #80
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Perhaps they did buy her a ticket, but would prefer not to publicize it?
Paris is Nice in the springtime.
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