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faegilr
08-15-2008, 07:34 PM
An interesting article in the Boston Globe Magazine: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/articles/2008/08/17/a_beautiful_place_to_die/

If they require you to login, you can go to bugmenot.com to get a generic one.

Brad
08-15-2008, 08:15 PM
Good article

Steve M
08-15-2008, 08:15 PM
Thanks for sharing. Very good article and hopefully it will help more people understand what they are getting into when they hike in the Whites.

TrishandAlex
08-15-2008, 08:16 PM
Great article. I especially like the mention of the family of four who lugged a toaster up to the summit, thinking they could plug it in somewhere and use it.

:eek:

It really is a good article. I hope it does a lot of good. Hopefully this will save a lot of lives, by making people think twice before disregarding the weather, or overextending themselves.

Breeze
08-15-2008, 08:47 PM
I appreciate the effort that went into that article. Good research, good background, and interviews with Eric, Todd, and Rosalie certainly hit some important topics.

Breeze

M_Six
08-15-2008, 11:05 PM
It's listed as the Most Emailed Article in the Globe today. Maybe folks will take it to heart.

Years and years ago I drove up the Autoroad and brought down two day hikers who were cold and exhausted. It was just as the article said, 80 degrees at the bottom and nearly 40 at the top. The two hikers were completely unprepared for the weather and the strenuous hike. At least they had enough sense to ask for a ride back down.

Brad
08-16-2008, 05:38 AM
A couple of years ago we carried a girl down Tux trail to PNVC. There was the mother and 4 small children. No water, no packs, no gear at all. The 11-12 year old could not go any farther.

faegilr
08-16-2008, 07:45 AM
It is really scary what some people bring with them or don't bring with them when they hike. Hopefully this will convince some people to be better prepared. We generally bring one cell phone with us when we go out, but its as a last resort thing since the WM are a huge blank spot on most plans.

donnellyvj
08-16-2008, 10:56 AM
When I was in high school we were doing any over night at hermits with my climbing class (JUNE 7 i think). There was a group of younger students from Canada all in sweat shirts and Jeans stayin the night also. The day started perfect 75F at Pinkhams and beautiful at hermits. Next thing its was snowing (25F) and sustained wind over night of low 40mph. My teacher was a trainer for the Army's Mountain divison. He started to prep us for a rescue. We were very well prepaired and it was still a cold night. They made it. I'm sure it was no fun.

KD Talbot
08-16-2008, 12:12 PM
the Boston Globe print a responsible article about hiking MW. Last year's article where the writer took his cold exhausted kids to the summit in the rain and then thumped his chest about how they had stood up to MW and won was just unbelievable. It may have been the most irresponsible piece of journalism I have ever read. Kudos to the Globe for printing a more responsible article this time around.

KDT

CHRIS
08-16-2008, 12:57 PM
That was a great article thank you for sharing. I have seen a couple teenagers hiking up the Gulfside trail just below the summit with no shoes just bare feet I thought that was a litte crazy. I wish more people would read articles like this before they hike. I just started hiking and I did so much reserch on what I needed and I would not even think of going until I had everything I needed. To many people just do not use good judgement.

Brad
08-16-2008, 02:44 PM
But due the article I know I will be better prepared next time. I am bringing my toaster.

JimS
08-17-2008, 11:07 AM
Agree, this is a great article. I've linked to it in today's comments.

By comparison, here's the article that they published last year that Kevin eludes to:
http://www.boston.com/travel/explorene/newhampshire/articles/2007/08/26/uphill_battle/

Bill O
08-17-2008, 06:38 PM
It was just as the article said, 80 degrees at the bottom and nearly 40 at the top.

Point made...but in the physical universe we occupy that's not possible. Our atmosphere would escape into space.

I'm a little torn. Yes, Mount Washington is a dangerous place. If we didn't have articles like this many more would die. But, as of right now the statistics indicate its remarkably safe. 140 people have died since 1850 and how many visit the summit every year? 300,000! In addition, statistics would indicate that hikers that are more prepared are actually far more likely to perish on MWN. I am all for public education, but I don't like Fox News style scare tactics. You'd save far more people and money convincing people that McDonalds is a special treat not an everyday food than trying to save an average of one person per year from dying on MWN.

Has anybody every been convicted and actually forced to pay the negligence fee? I doubt that anybody has or will. Negligent drivers don't pay for rescue nor do negligent smokers who burn their house down.

While I agree that every hiking party should carry a map, carrying the White Mountain Guide is a little extreme. What's more negligent? Carrying a 3 pound book or not carrying a guide book? Would the guide book have saved that lady who got hit by a rock?

Edit: The above is just a view based on mathematics and statistics, and maybe a different way to look at thins. I consider myself to be a well-prepared, knowledgeable hiker and I do my best to educate and help people on the trail.

mtruman
08-17-2008, 08:06 PM
While I agree that every hiking party should carry a map, carrying the White Mountain Guide is a little extreme. What's more negligent? Carrying a 3 pound book or not carrying a guide book? Would the guide book have saved that lady who got hit by a rock?

I re-read the article and wasn't sure whether the it was advocating having the WMG in the pack or just "having it along" (hopefully to read and understand the planned trails and alternatives). I've had it in my pack on more than one occasion, but not as a safety tool. Clearly it is more important to have map, compass, clothing, food, water - and most of all common sense - over a book. Understanding how to use the tools you have with you and planning adequately for the trip is the most important of all. This is where most of the people that are the target of this article fail. Not sure that the article is going to help, but it can't hurt. There are way too many people out there that treat the White Mountains like a theme park. It is amazing that there aren't more deaths and injuries than there are. If it weren't for the heroic efforts of the many rescue services (and smart, prepared hikers that often step in to help) there surely would be.

Steve M
08-17-2008, 09:59 PM
I am willing to bet in an average summer there are more hiker assisted rescues that go unmentioned than there are by search and rescue crews. albeit, most of them are not too severe but I recall during STP a man nearing the summit fell backward and smacked his head on a rock and had to get a ride down off the mountain.

I myself had an incident I am almost too embarrassed to share while volunteering. I went out one night in the fog, donning all my weather gear and my headlamp, winds blowing steady around 40MPH, trying to experience the summit in bad conditions. I made my way down to the lower parking lot where I was away from the lights of the summit just to see what it was like. After walking across the parking lot I decided to hike up the rocks with my headlamp on to see what that was like. Let me tell you, a headlamp in the fog is not very helpful. It's like driving with your high beams on in the fog, everything is reflected back at you so you have to keep your head pointed down to see the rocks right in front of your feet. Well, with my head down going up those rocks I never saw the huge boulder projecting out over my head and without any awareness whacked my head on it, breaking the skin through my beanie cap and windbreaker hood over that. I thought to my self, look how quickly and easily things can get away from you. If I had been knocked unconscious I would have been lying there and no one would have known I was there until I came too or when they found me at daylight. I had a radio on me but it would have done me no good.

The thing is though, if I spend my time worrying about the things that might happen I will never get out there to enjoy what is there. If I go as reasonably prepared as I can and try to be as safety conscious as possible then that is all I can do. If something bad happens out of my control then I guess it was just my time. After all, I can't think of a better place to go than doing what I love to do most.

TrishandAlex
08-17-2008, 10:15 PM
Bill O, very interesting post. 300,000 people each year? Wow, I didn't know that many people visited.

The stats on how many actually die are interesting. However, how many don't die, but come out severely injured? What about the missing (but not officially declared "dead")? I agree with the above notion that maybe one reason there aren't many deaths is because there are so many search-and-resuce operations, and many, many fellow-hiker rescues. If we had real data on the number of rescues (by SAR and fellow hikers), that would give us more information to better understand the stats. Maybe there aren't that many deaths because of all the rescues that take place each day/week?

mtruman
08-18-2008, 12:01 AM
Bill O, very interesting post. 300,000 people each year? Wow, I didn't know that many people visited.

The stats on how many actually die are interesting. However, how many don't die, but come out severely injured? What about the missing (but not officially declared "dead")? I agree with the above notion that maybe one reason there aren't many deaths is because there are so many search-and-resuce operations, and many, many fellow-hiker rescues. If we had real data on the number of rescues (by SAR and fellow hikers), that would give us more information to better understand the stats. Maybe there aren't that many deaths because of all the rescues that take place each day/week?

Since the 300,000 includes 220,000 from the auto road and cog this leaves a much smaller number of hikers and potential accidents - on Mt Washington anyway. I'd be interested to see what the numbers are for the entire WMNF. Obviously many hikers on other exposed and dangerous areas including Franconia Ridge and the rest of the Presidentials. My guess is that Franconia Ridge is probably the next worst to MW (for unprepared hiker incidents) since it is so accessible and people also get the sense of (perhaps false) security from the hut being on the route. One good source of information about the accidents and rescues is the Accidents section of the Appalachia Journal. Mohammed Elozy has been writing this section for quite a few years now and he provides some great insight into the accidents and a view on how they could have been avoided or more effectively dealt with. All of the AMC lodges and huts have most or all of the back issues of Appalachia (going back to the 1800's). Interesting reading if you have the opportunity. You can also get them here: http://www.outdoors.org/publications/appalachia/index.cfm

TrishandAlex
08-18-2008, 06:07 AM
Mark, very interesting, thanks.

Bill O
08-18-2008, 06:50 AM
True that most of those visitors are from the Cog and Auto Road, but check out the stats included in the magical 140. Most of the early years were Cog and Auto Road related deaths. A full 5% of them died in just one Cog accident.

If I was writing the history books I wouldn't include those who died riding slide boards down the Cog. Nor would I include Auto Road accidents or summit visitors who had a heart attack just because it was their time. It skews the data.

There are some air crashes in there as well. Those probably shouldn't be worked into statistics meant to teach hikers.

spyboy
08-18-2008, 08:27 AM
Brad,

I thought you carried a margarita mixer with you when you hiked?

Kirk


But due the article I know I will be better prepared next time. I am bringing my toaster.

Patrad Fischroy
08-18-2008, 08:41 AM
But due the article I know I will be better prepared next time. I am bringing my toaster.

At least now you know that you also have to pack a generator. And since you have that, why not bring the TV as well?

TrishandAlex
08-18-2008, 09:40 AM
True that most of those visitors are from the Cog and Auto Road, but check out the stats included in the magical 140. Most of the early years were Cog and Auto Road related deaths. A full 5% of them died in just one Cog accident.

If I was writing the history books I wouldn't include those who died riding slide boards down the Cog. Nor would I include Auto Road accidents or summit visitors who had a heart attack just because it was their time. It skews the data.

There are some air crashes in there as well. Those probably shouldn't be worked into statistics meant to teach hikers.

I agree, just the hiker stats would be more appropriate - but instead of just publicizing the deaths, they should also publicize all the accidents and subsequent disabilities/trauma. On all the Whites, not just MW, as previously suggested.

KD Talbot
08-18-2008, 09:41 PM
Pretty much anytime there is a rescue there is an incident report. You will have to sift through the reports to find hiking related rescues and recoveries, but they are there.

http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Newsroom/newsroom.htm

KDT

Brad
08-18-2008, 10:18 PM
At least now you know that you also have to pack a generator. And since you have that, why not bring the TV as well?
When we were hiking up yesterday we talked about the article. No one could imagine someone bringing up a toaster. Even if there were power at the hut, why would someone bring a toaster? But, we talked about the article and how we could be more safe as we enjoy the trails.

TrishandAlex
08-19-2008, 07:44 AM
Pretty much anytime there is a rescue there is an incident report. You will have to sift through the reports to find hiking related rescues and recoveries, but they are there.

http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Newsroom/newsroom.htm

KDT

Thanks for the link.

Jimmy Legs and Little d
08-19-2008, 01:59 PM
Three things come to mind after reading the article. We need to always -- be prepared, know our limitations and respect the mountain. That's it.
little d