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View Full Version : More hikers missing 2/11 on Franconia...



JimS
02-11-2008, 05:06 PM
Not many details now, but it was an awefully cold night last night. I wish the search parties much luck and speed with this unfolding situation!

http://www.wmur.com/news/15272087/detail.html

KathyC
02-11-2008, 07:43 PM
I hope that they are found safe...

Charlie
02-11-2008, 07:54 PM
is the video working i hit play and the commercial works

Bill O
02-11-2008, 08:17 PM
You have to watch the commercial before you can watch the video, just let it play out.

Bill O
02-11-2008, 08:36 PM
Its fairly common for cold and disoriented climbers to put the wind at their back and attempt to hike for safety. I'm sure these people would know that on Franconia Ridge that brings you into one of the biggest roadless areas in the state. Then again, when you are cold you tend to make bad decisions.

Charlie
02-11-2008, 08:53 PM
You have to watch the commercial before you can watch the video, just let it play out.


i do and i can see the commercial and then it goes black and it is playing but no sound or picture
i will try a different computer

KD Talbot
02-11-2008, 09:10 PM
Many hikers have accidently passed the Greenleaf Trail that leads down off the summit of Lafayette while heading north on the Franconia Ridge Trail. This was the planned hike these two had. A woman died of hypothermia on North Lafayette a few years back. If you miss the trails the best thing to do is get down in the woods. A guy survived this last year when he became disoriented and started down the east side of the ridge into the Pemi Wilderness. The terrain is extreme on the west side towards the highway unless you're on a trail, but the east side is often used in winter.

http://www.ghostflowers.com/forumshots/05bfwlaffayette.jpg

The Lincoln Slide bushwhack to Owl's Head is an often used route in winter. From there they could follow the Lincoln Brook Trail and if they knew the terrain, take the Black Pond Bushwhack down to the Wilderness Trail. Definitely the long way out, but out of the wind and down in the trees and deep snow where they could dig a snow cave, and have wood to start a fire. Real deep snow, though, fifty plus inches.

I hope they pull through. Real tough conditions.

KDT

Bill O
02-11-2008, 09:16 PM
I wonder if they had snowshoes. With all the fresh snow around that would make a huge difference.

Bill O
02-11-2008, 09:27 PM
The cold front that moved in on Sunday afternoon was another well-advertised system.

Let's hope they are found tonight as another cold night is forecast with a winter storm hitting the area Tuesday night.

KD Talbot
02-11-2008, 09:28 PM
Man, I hope so, but I'll tell you, a lot of folks go without them, bare booting on the snowshoe packed trails. If they don't and they try something like I said in the previous thread, they're screwed.

KDT

FisherCat
02-11-2008, 10:11 PM
Lafayette can be a real you-know-what, she can kill. Along with the Northern Presi's, like Madison and Adams, it gets underestimated way too easy. KDT brings out a good point, if one is unfamiliar terrain -wise it is easy to assume 'let's go down the west side, that's where the highway is', but it is also into the N-NW winds, despite the inconvienence of going down into the Pemi (related to where you may be parked or some other stuff like that)it could save your life. Those N-NW winds can really rip ya, they start at Hudson Bay and there ain't nothin' stoppin' them in between.

billysinc
02-11-2008, 10:35 PM
I just did this loop about a month ago. It's really easy to miss the trail down to Greenleaf hut/trail on a good day. It wouldn't be difficult to unknowingly continue on to North Lafayette. In a whiteout it would be even tougher to find the trail and who's to say they even got to Lafayette.

KD Talbot
02-12-2008, 06:18 AM
While we were discussing this last night, the brave members of SAR, NHF&G ang NHANG were out there finfding them:

http://www.wmur.com/news/15272087/detail.html

KDR

Bill O
02-12-2008, 06:47 AM
One of the hikers is in hospital severely hypothermic and one didn't make it.

Just watched the news clip from last night. It appears they were found exposed on Haystack and rescued by helicopter around 7:30 last night.

lwa11
02-12-2008, 07:39 AM
Such a tragedy. Hopefully the other one will pull through.

billysinc
02-12-2008, 07:49 AM
Such a tragedy. Hopefully the other one will pull through.


Just gotta pray now. Truly a sad story. The mountains can be so beautiful and so ugly at the same time.

KD Talbot
02-12-2008, 02:15 PM
Here is the press release sent out by N.H. Fish & Game: (Mods, I hope it's okay to post this instead of link to it elsewhere since it's a press release.... if not, feel free to delete.)

MISSING HIKERS FOUND IN FRANCONIA NOTCH; ONE DEAD

CONCORD, N.H. - Two hikers missing on Mt. Lafayette were found about 7:30 p.m. yesterday evening (February 11, 2008) by a 7-man rescue team of New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Conservation Officers and members of Mountain Rescue Service. Laurence Fredrickson, age 55, of South Sutton, N.H was pronounced dead at the Littleton Hospital a short time after his arrival. James Osborne, age 36, of Manchester, N.H., was last reported to be in critical condition suffering from severe hypothermia and frostbite. Osborne was airlifted from Littleton Hospital to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.

The search team that found the hikers (one of six teams involved in the mission) had started up the Falling Waters Trail at 1:30 p.m. Searchers had to alternate breaking trail through deep snow; it took 6 hours of difficult hiking to reach the summit of Little Haystack Mountain. Weather conditions during the search effort consisted of sub-zero temperatures and strong winds.

The hikers were found near each other, close to the summit of Little Haystack Mountain (altitude 4,800 feet), about 200 feet north of the intersection of the Falling Waters and Franconia Ridge trails. Fredrickson was lying near the trail in an unresponsive condition with his pack still on his back. Osborne was found a short distance away, near some scrub trees, and was in a semi-comatose state.

According to New Hampshire Fish and Game Lieutenant Todd Bogardus, it appears that both hikers were equipped only for a day hike and did not have adequate winter gear for overnight or for the severe winter conditions encountered. They reportedly did not have snowshoes, which was a prerequisite for the snow conditions on most of the trails, especially below the treeline.

By the time the hikers had been found, the Army National Guard Blackhawk Helicopter had already returned to Concord and was in the process of being garaged in the hangar. They immediately reactivated to return to the search area. Despite high winds and dangerous nighttime conditions, they were able to land twice on the summit of Little Haystack Mountain to retrieve the victims and exhausted rescuers.

The helicopter first retrieved Osborne and one Fish and Game rescue team member at 8:50 p.m. A second trip was accomplished at 9:35 p.m., when Fredrickson was evacuated, along with the rest of the rescue team members at the summit.

A total of 24 experienced mountaineers from N.H. Fish and Game, Mountain Rescue Service and Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue were involved in this mission. Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue Team Members also responded to the scene to participate in the later stages of the rescue. Teams searched the following trail systems adjacent to Franconia Notch: Greenleaf Trail, Old Bridle Path, Falling Waters Trail, Liberty Springs Trail, Skookumchuck Trail and the Pemigewasset Wilderness Trail. Rescue teams were still making their way back out as late as 11:30 p.m. last night.

"This tragic situation, once again, underscores the importance of proper planning and the need for appropriate equipment when winter hiking," said Col. Jeffrey Gray, Chief of Law Enforcement at Fish and Game. "Individuals must carefully evaluate and acknowledge their physical limitations and level of experience. Winter hikers should not hesitate to turn back or postpone outings when severe weather is predicted or encountered. Even the best of clothing and equipment may be no match for the severe winter weather often encountered in New Hampshire's White Mountains!"

The two hikers had been reported missing on Monday morning (February 11, 2008) when they failed to show up for work at Concord Trailways. A vehicle registered to Fredrickson was located at the Falling waters trailhead in Franconia Notch and that, along with information from coworkers, led officials to believe that the itinerary was to ascend Mt. Haystack via the Falling Waters trail, traverse the Franconia Ridge Trail to Mt. Lafayette and then descend to the trailhead via the Old Bridle Path, a total distance of approximately 9 miles. Fredrickson had some winter hiking experience, and Osborne is described as a novice winter hiker.

No further information is available at this time.

Bill O
02-12-2008, 02:29 PM
Does anybody have photos of this ridgeline including Lafayette, Lincoln and L Haystack?

billysinc
02-12-2008, 02:43 PM
http://www.mountwashington.org/forums/showthread.php?t=882&page=32

in post 312 the top picture in BikeHikeSkiFish's post is taken unfortunately from right around where they were found. The picture is looking at Lincoln from the summit of Little Haystack.

JimS
02-12-2008, 03:28 PM
Truly just about the worst ending to this story that you can hope for ... RIP fellow hikers!


Does anybody have photos of this ridgeline including Lafayette, Lincoln and L Haystack?

The classic view of the ridge from Lonesome Lake...
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2297/2196571655_c5fa26face.jpg

Bill O
02-12-2008, 04:07 PM
The classic view of the ridge from Lonesome Lake...


That photo is no good...it doesn't even look like NH. Looks more like the Canadian Rockies. Just kidding, thanks for sharing.

Steve M
02-12-2008, 07:37 PM
In the press release it says that Osborne was removed from the mountain first at 8:50 PM and Fredrickson at 9:35 PM. It also said that Fredrickson was in worse shape than Osborne. Did they remove them in that order because they new there was no hope for Fredrickson? Not sure of the reasoning here.

Bill O
02-12-2008, 07:42 PM
In the press release it says that Osborne was removed from the mountain first at 8:50 PM and Fredrickson at 9:35 PM. It also said that Fredrickson was in worse shape than Osborne. Did they remove them in that order because they new there was no hope for Fredrickson? Not sure of the reasoning here.

Not to speculate...but yes. Osborne was removed first because he was and is still alive.

Jim posted the weather chart for Sunday on another forum. You can almost pinpoint to the minute things started to go bad for them.

Steve M
02-12-2008, 07:52 PM
I can understand the situation was critical for both so I guess rather than lose both of them the logical thing to do is to take the one who at least has a chance of surviving, as apposed to losing them both.

lwa11
02-12-2008, 09:19 PM
here is one of my panos from cannon

http://public.fotki.com/lwa11/best-of-collections/panoramics/cannonmtnpano17307.html

billysinc
02-12-2008, 09:19 PM
More than likely (speculating here) Mr. Fredrickson was already gone at that point.

Bill O
02-12-2008, 09:23 PM
More than likely (speculating here) Mr. Fredrickson was already gone at that point.

That's what I was trying to get at.

KD Talbot
02-12-2008, 09:35 PM
Unfortunately rescuers are forced to make decisions like this in these situations. Tend to the ones who have the best chance of surviving or recovery first. Just a nasty fact of being in that business.

I hate that fellow hikers lose their lives in the White Mountains, but it is a fact of life. I pray there are no more for a while. No more ever, but I know it's a risky business, especially in winter. A shame this had to happen, I just hope others will learn from it. I have learned to make no judgement. Despite the best planning and equipment, the weather can be fickle and conditions change in a heartbeat.

The mountain gods have smiled on me and my little troop over and over and I consider myself blessed. I have learned to respect, not fear them, and I hope they continue to smile on us. My way of giving back is to share what I know about them, and I hope, I HOPE, that through my meager knowledge of their ways I can spare someone else their wrath.

Please stay safe out there. If forecasts are bad, change your plans, stay below tree line. If conditions turn bad, turn around, get back in the trees, get down out of the wind. Turn around before you can't see the next cairn. Respect the wind. The mountain will still be there next time.

KDT

lwa11
02-12-2008, 11:02 PM
I live in Portland and was out taking pictures of birds on Sunday
afternoon when the front came through my area. Things changed within a
minute.

Here is a picture of a police car 50 yards away. Just minutes before
this I could see across the harbour and into the City which is a mile
or so away.

Things change so quickly. The ridge hikes are wonderful but not the
place to be when things turn.


http://public.fotki.com/lwa11/2008/february-2008/2-9-08-birds-n-pola/21008002.html

JimS
02-13-2008, 07:32 AM
Not to speculate...but yes. Osborne was removed first because he was and is still alive.

Jim posted the weather chart for Sunday on another forum. You can almost pinpoint to the minute things started to go bad for them.

Here's that frame...I imagine that without snowshoes, things weren't good for them before this point, but when the wind force quadrouples in a matter of 15 minutes to unmanageable, you definately have a bad to much worse situation...

MWO Conditions Sunday (http://public.fotki.com/MWO/saved/2008/conditions-archive/20080210200824conditions.html)

lwa11
02-13-2008, 07:45 AM
That is just scary. Such a quick and devastating turn in the weather.

donnellyvj
02-13-2008, 10:02 AM
Yeah. I was out Sunday night in the Green Mountains on a snowmobile around 5:00pm watching a beautiful sunset. On our way back from dinner 7:00pm Okemo to Plymouth, VT. Complete white-out and all tracks were completely covered. We could only see 20 to 30ft at best. We were at a crawl the whole way back. 1 hour there and 2 1/2 back at least. Amazing Change! I couldn't imagine the change of above tree line. My feelings go out to the Family's of both hikers.

rockin rex
02-13-2008, 04:30 PM
I have trail run this trail many times. I don't understand how someone could lose their life so close to the junction of Falling waters and Franconia ridge. You are almost completely in tree until the junction at the big rock. I guess the lesson learned here is if you are tired below tree don't venture above. How heart breaking that lives are lost. I really struggle with this since I helped with the rescue in 86 on Madison where the father didn't make it. Life is so fragile and so taken for grant it. My prayers are for the families of these lost hikers.

billysinc
02-15-2008, 02:01 PM
I don't know Rex, Maybe at some point we'll hear from the survivor about what really happened up there. It's all speculation that's being hammered out on other internet bulletin boards. People just assume that because someone got hurt and in this case died that they were somehow "lesser" hikers. I'm not entirely sure how anyone over the internet can pass judgment about one's abilities and experience.

spyboy
02-15-2008, 02:14 PM
Disasters are always a chain of (bad) events, and break any part of that chain and the disaster is averted (learned that in an safety class years ago).

If you get lost in a white out, then get tired and disoriented, it can go bad very quickly.

You can plan everything and carry all the gear and still slip and crack your head on a rock (schist happens!), throwing all that planning out the window.

KD Talbot
02-15-2008, 05:15 PM
Billysinc makes an excellent point. I'm not speaking of anyone on this forum, but people are very quick to judge when they don't know the exact circumstances. Some of the comments made after the story on news sites, mostly by people who wouldn't walk to the store for a gallon of milk, are just ridiculous. On other hiking forums everything from bill boards at trailheads and again at tree line, to rangers at every trail head and hiking insurance have been discussed.

Great hikers with decades of experience have slipped and broken an ankle. Nobody that has ever hiked has done so without making some mistakes, maybe even some serious ones. Most of the time you get away with it, but sometimes, as Kurt points out, one little thing goes wrong and things start to snowball. Nobody knows exactly what happened out there, and I'm sure that even the best hikers could have gotten in trouble in those circumstances.

The thing is, one fellow hiker lost his life, and another has had his life forever altered. No amount of hindsight can change that, and no amount of regulation can make things safer for future hikers. It is a fact of life that hiking in the mountains brings certain risks, especially in winter. Sometimes there is disaster. Let us focus on letting his family grieve in peace without everyone passing judgement. Again, I'm not referring to any comments made on this forum.

KDT

Bill O
02-15-2008, 05:46 PM
I also think people on this forum have been very respectful about judging these people.

Some of the others forums are a bit over the top and I find it easier to stay away. As for the comments posted on news articles....those have to be the most ridiculous things I have ever read.

Passing judgment so quickly is very common. Its a way to convince yourself that what happened to them wont happen to me. After all, what they did was stupid and I don't do stupid things. In reality, by the time you've realized you did something stupid the cascade of mistakes might be unstoppable.

spyboy
02-15-2008, 06:51 PM
I think it shows the mentality of most Americans (not on this forum thankfully) that everything is reactionary. Instead of griping from their computer chair, they should do something, like teach an outdoor survival course, but they probably don't have enough knowledge themselves to survive. And those courses do exist, if you have enough foresight to take one (I took 2 while in Texas, that's how I learned about the stick/shadow/north thing I mentioned a few posts ago).

I find it ironic that people say "there should be a law against that" but then later say "I don't want the government telling me what I can and can't do" (usually when it relates to regulation on something they're passionate about.)

Regulations will not solve the problem. We have to pass a driving test and carry a drivers license and insurance (well, not in NH) yet people still get killed in accidents everyday. So regulation doesn't make up for stupidity (or bad judgement) (and you can be the best driver in the world but if the guy behind you is doing 70mph on an icy road, you're probably going to get killed by him).

Just like the guy the other night hiking up the auto road. Was it a smart move to head out at 9:30pm on a -70F windchill evening...no. Should it be illegal? Of course not. (unless there's a no tresspassing policy on the auto road, but that's a different story).

I do think people should be responsible for the rescue efforts and get charged for them. I know they started doing that in Hawaii with surf rescues. Because it's not cheap to send a helicopter out past the big waves to save someone.

Ok, enough venting from me :)

Everyone have a great weekend and get out there and hike and take pictures (I'll be stuck home working all weekend)

Kirk

Bill O
02-15-2008, 07:42 PM
I do think people should be responsible for the rescue efforts and get charged for them. I know they started doing that in Hawaii with surf rescues. Because it's not cheap to send a helicopter out past the big waves to save someone.


I respectfully disagree...and here's why.

....I wrote a very long post with many reasons. But I decided that the best argument was that rescues don't really cost much. Volunteers are free, military resources are paid for, state and law enforcement are getting paid either way. And for everybody its great practice for when the schist really hits the fan. Like when an airliner crashes in the mountains or the entire city of New Orleans needs to be evacuated.

KD Talbot
02-15-2008, 08:34 PM
There is no tone to this post, I just want to raise these questions.

Who gets charged? A kid that gets lost in the woods? F&G are out on all lost hiker/hunter/grandmother/father incidents, not just in the mountains. Do we charge an alzheimer patient? My point is lots of people need rescuing, not just hikers who may or may not have been negligent. If we charge just those that we deem were negligent, then who makes the judgement that they were negligent?

On other forums it has been stated that they were negligent for not having snowshoes. Many hikers do this loop w/o snowshoes. Snowshoes are seldom needed above tree line, and it is easy to bare boot a well packed trail below tree line. Maybe they had snowshoes that they stashed somewhere when they went above tree line. Like the posters, I can only guess.

It has been stated they were negligent for not checking the weather report. Who says they didn't? Who hasn't gotten to tree line and the conditions looked OK and forged on. On this hike you could say, "OK, let's at least get to Lincoln, if things turn bad, we can turn around." Or, "we should have enough time before the front moves in to bag at least one." We all push our luck. Who knows what they did?

It's been said that they were negligent for not having "The right gear". If I had been on this loop I would have carried minimum winter gear, as would most hikers. Hikers who carry gear to spend a night in the woods in case of an emergency are few and far between. The F&G officer stated they had good equipment.

So, how do you decide who was negligent and who should get charged when all you have is conjecture? Possibly the survivor can shed light on the incident and many unsolved pieces of the puzzle will be explained, maybe not.

Common sense to a guy that has never climbed a mountain, let alone gone above tree line in winter is, you don't go up there in winter. This is NOT common sense to one who enjoys the mountains in winter. Different strokes.

I'm sure many will disagree, but what I see is a bad luck tragedy. No more, no less.

KDT

billysinc
02-15-2008, 08:50 PM
Kevin,

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Bill O
02-15-2008, 08:54 PM
Thanks Kevin. You nailed some good points.

I'll add some to your list.

What about the guy and his family who got lost last winter driving in Washington?

What about all the people who chose to stay in New Orleans?

Or what about a smoker that smokes in bed and burns his house down? Should he have to pay the fire department?

I agree with you about the snowshoes. You rarely bring snowshoes on Mount Washington. Above treeline they aren't needed and below you count on a boot pack. Its a risk, but one most people choose to take.

edog2007
03-10-2008, 05:38 PM
Any body now the current condition of the survivor?

Thanks

KD Talbot
03-10-2008, 08:00 PM
This is the latest report I could find:

http://www.wmur.com/news/15399750/detail.html

KDT

Bill O
03-10-2008, 08:07 PM
Fully recover? He's not going to lose any fingers or toes?

edog2007
03-10-2008, 08:14 PM
Fully recover? He's not going to lose any fingers or toes?
Excellent!!!!

I had a very milled case of frost bite this winter.Lost a little skin on my toes.But all is good.

KD Talbot
03-10-2008, 08:36 PM
Originally Posted by Bill O
Fully recover? He's not going to lose any fingers or toes?

That's what they're saying, hard to believe, though. His core temp when they got him at the hospital was 70 degrees. The doctor said he had never seen anyone in that condition survive. I'm guessing though, he's never seen too many in that condition.

KDT