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    High Peaks Wilderness
    Lost hiker: On October 1 at 7:05 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from Essex County 911 from a 73-year-old male from Dixson, TN who was lost on Blueberry Mountain along with his two hiking companions, a 35-year-old male and a 27-year-old female, both from Montreal, QC. The group had lost the trail while descending due to darkness. They did not have flashlights or headlamps. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and located the party at 8:04 p.m. and escorted them out to the trailhead. The incident concluded at 8:15 p.m.

  • #2
    Don't know the whole situation or the lost hikers perspective but methinks I would be too embarrassed to call for help.
    "A culture is no better than its woods." W.H. Auden

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    • #3
      You'd be surprised how many people out there don't have a flashlight or any source of light. On a busy summer weekend, I would estimate that at least 20-30% of hikers on any easy to moderate-difficulty peak probably have no source of light at all- and that's a conservative estimate.

      To a lot of beginner hikers, the idea of anything like the 10 Essentials is revolutionary information.

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      • #4
        No compass, no map, no light is a common finding in these ranger reports.
        "Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman

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        • #5
          One my favorites from this past summer...

          Lost hikers: On June 23, 2016 at 9:21 pm, Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch from an 18-year-old male and 17-year-old female Odessa, NY reporting they were lost on Mt. Jo. They told dispatch they were near a sign that said “Indian Pass Summit.” Essex County 911 provided coordinates that placed the pair on the Indian Pass Trail near Wallface Mountain. Due to their location, it was more feasible to reach them from the Upperworks side. DEC Forest Rangers responded by 6 x 6 and made it to Wallface Lean-to with no sign of the hikers. At 11:54 pm, the pair called Dispatch and reported they were one mile past the Scott Clearing Lean-to heading toward ADK Loj. Against the instructions from Dispatch to stay at their location, the lost hikers decided to try to find the trail themselves. Forest Rangers from the south side were turned around and one Ranger from the north side met the couple at ADK Loj. After a brief interview and some safe hiking tips they were released. The incident concluded at 1:10 am on June 24.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Wldrns View Post
            No compass, no map, no light is a common finding in these ranger reports.
            The fact that probably 80% of them have cell phones and enough signal to call 911 so the rangers can get their coordinates, and no gps app on their phone so they would know where they are blows my mind. Maps and compasses are hard, I get it, but if you can take a selfie you can download Gia gps or some such. Call me paranoid, but I have a flashlight and means of making fire whenever I leave pavement.

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            • #7
              ...not to mention most (if not all) smart phones have a flashlight app already installed.

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              • #8
                Last year Mtnrunner and I were heading by the interior outpost heading for Bennie's Brook slide when the Ranger came out to talk to us.Doing his job sizing us up he asked about our plans,we must of passed muster because he told us he'd been up the day before and it was fairly dry.Further along in the conversation he said most people called 911 and said they were lost when actually they were on trail but couldn't see.Also when sizing people up asked if they had map,compass and flashlight ,most said no I have my smartphone,which he added using the flashlight quickly drained the battery.Another funny quip was when people called and said they broke their ankle he would ask are you walking on it,they would say yes.His response was no you didn't break your ankle.Luckily our trip went well and didn't need his help.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Justin View Post
                  ...not to mention most (if not all) smart phones have a flashlight app already installed.
                  Ha, yeah, good point. Here's one: an avid 46er I am acquainted with admitted to pressing the SOS button on his SPOT because he was lost. He had no map or compass, but did have a GPS program on his phone. The problem? He thinks he was in the beginning stages of hypothermia and he blew his iphone code three times and locked himself out of his phone.
                  Last edited by JohnnyVirgil; 10-04-2016, 08:41 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Two words: Map & Compass

                    I live near Sleeping Beauty, Pilot Knob and Buck Mt. and between the Forest Ranger who lives nearby and my friends in the fire dept. I hear about the rescues all the time. 'Still, my favorite is those two idiots who tried trail running the NPT out of Long Lake a few winters ago with sweats and sneakers.

                    As for flashlights, we learned a lesson about five years ago. We were hunting on Tongue Mt and decided to make that "one more drive" late in the afternoon in mid-November. We were off trail and in blowdowns. Luckily, one guy had a good light, I had a mediocre light and my cousin had his cell phone light. These days, we ALL have lights. We still didn't get out of the woods until close to 6:30. Our wives weren't worried about us, but the barmaids at the Ole' Log Inn in Lake George gave us hell for being late.
                    Life's short, hunt hard!

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                    • #11
                      What bothers me most about people who carry a cell phone and call for help is the mentality and attitude that comes with that idea, and probably is the reason they are there in the first place. Way back in the dark ages, when hikers got "turned around" or "mixed up", they would take a break, sit down with a snack and contemplate the situation. With map and compass in hand, "where did I go wrong?, did i follow the wrong drainage?" "if so, where does that put me now?" "Oh, now I see, I only have to take a compass bearing this way to intercept the trail/lake, river, and then I'm out free to the road". A little well placed panic and some time to reflect are good things that may lead to becoming a wiser outdoors person.

                      Instead, now days the instant response is "I have a cell phone, and I can't figure out where I am and I'm tired, and that's what the rangers are for, so come rescue me"

                      A true injury (including hypothermia) is different. Call if help is really required. "Lower leg injury" is another common reason in the SAR reports. I wonder how many of those really are non-mobile injuries.

                      A a recent guide training session, a ranger friend of mine spoke of the importance of carrying minimal navigation and survival equipment. Among other advice, he said to at least always carry a bic lighter in your pocket, as it could save your life, upon which I pulled mine out of my pocket to show.
                      Last edited by Wldrns; 10-04-2016, 03:38 PM.
                      "Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman

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                      • #12
                        We hike with the 10 essentials.

                        We also hike with an appreciation of our skills. We are equipped for dark, but do not yet plan night hikes (catching dawn on a peak). We are equipped for navigation (map & compass, phone & app) but do not plan to bush wack. We are equipped for cold weather (spikes, primaloft, layers) but do not yet plan deep winter hikes. We will get there but for now are having fun with what we do.

                        With that said a year ago this weekend I hiked into Flowed Lands with my 13 year old daughter. Had trouble finding a place to set up tent; tired from over-packing; temp dropped when sun went down. I was asked if the rangers had helicopters and how does one go about sending for one. After some reassuring words, eating, layering up and than jumping into our mummies the next morning she agreed it was the best night she ever slept out - perfect.
                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                        Eyes on the Forest, not on the Trees

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                        • #13
                          What we've got here is failure to communicate.

                          The information needed to keep people safe isn't making its way to those who need it most, namely new hikers.

                          Hiking is just walking in the woods so it doesn't require much in the way of equipment and knowledge; it's a low bar to entry. However, "the woods" aren't a city park and there's lots of opportunity for things to go sideways.

                          Knowing how to prevent or mitigate these "opportunities" is the difference between walking out unscathed or becoming another DEC statistic. It's this knowledge that isn't getting to the people who need it.

                          How does one educate all new hikers? I don't know. There's certainly no shortage of available information (books, online, trailheads) yet it doesn't seem to reach everyone who needs it.

                          Perhaps the key is to ask rescued individuals, where they learned about the place where they ultimately required a rescue? Maybe the source of their information was incomplete, flawed, and/or misleading.
                          Looking for views!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Trail Boss View Post
                            What we've got here is failure to communicate.

                            The information needed to keep people safe isn't making its way to those who need it most, namely new hikers.
                            You are 100% correct. The media, outdoors and news in general, struggles with this all of time. How do you reach the tourist that shows up in Lake George or Lake Placid, looks up and says "I'm going to climb that mountain today," when there's about three hours daylight left? We see it in the Hogtown area constantly. If we could only convince people not to climb at Shelving Rock Falls, but that's another story.
                            Life's short, hunt hard!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Buckladd View Post
                              If we could only convince people not to climb at Shelving Rock Falls, but that's another story.
                              Katterskill Falls in the catskills has this problem. People "hiking" to the top of the falls in dress shoes, flip flops, high heels, you name it.

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