View Full Version : now this is what a lost hiker should do

08-24-2009, 09:41 PM
CO Alex Lopashanski: (603)-419-0127
August 15, 2009

Hiker Rescued on Mt. Chocorua

ALBANY, N.H. -- Wayne Shirley, age 73, of Durham, N.H., became disoriented after dark on the Carter Ledge Trail on Mt. Chocorua in Albany, N.H., on Friday, August 14, 2009, after hiking alone from White Ledge Campground to the summit of Mt. Chocorua via the Middle Sister Trail. While descending on the Carter Ledge Trail, he lost the trail for approximately 1 hour. After regaining the trail, he was overcome by darkness. He continued hiking to a point approximately one-quarter mile from the trailhead. At this point, the trail became difficult for him to follow, so he stopped and prepared to wait for daylight to continue.

Shirley had left a complete itinerary of his hike with his wife; when she realized he was overdue, she called for assistance. N.H. Fish and Game Conservation Officers responded to the scene and were able locate Shirley and assist him back to his vehicle by 1:10 a.m. on August 15, 2009. Shirley was well prepared with a map, compass, food water and a flashlight.

"Leaving a detailed itinerary and sticking to it is a key factor in quick and successful recoveries," said Conservation Officer Alex Lopashanski of Fish and Game Law Enforcement.

08-25-2009, 06:39 AM
I do this every time I go out. Everybody who hikes should do the same. However there is always a few that think this will never happen to them and we all know how that turns out.

08-25-2009, 06:48 AM
Hmmmm....OK so he helped himself by allowing others to be able to find him, but he did not have a night contingency very well planned. Hiking that close to dark without any kind of light, especially knowing that it would be the end of a long hike (Chocorua and back via Carter for a 73 y.o.).

Snow Miser
08-25-2009, 08:00 AM
Good reminder to all of us Charlie. Funny thing is, the article says he had a flashlight. Wonder why he had to stop for the night? Maybe it wasn't bright enough to see the trail ahead of him.

Mahony, you should have been there to give him some pointers on night hiking.:D

08-25-2009, 09:38 AM
Having a flashlight or headlamp at night is good - but on some trails it is still hard to find the trail at night. When the trail gets to an open area many times the marker is on a tree on the other side - or painted on the rocks. In daylight it is somewhat easy to see. At night it can be impossible. You have to carefully enter the open area - know where the trail is you just came in on - and then look for the next marker. Many open areas are very confusing.

08-25-2009, 10:34 AM
I'm not familiar with the trails mentioned, but if they include features like Brad describes, I can attest to that issue. I attempted a pre-dawn hike up Kearsarge with the intent of capturing sunrise photos from the top. Several times on the hike the trail enters large clearings and even with a headlamp I had to walk the perimeter to find the continuation of the trail. A couple of times, I actually had to walk back to find the entry point again just so I could get my bearings (and feel safe) and try again. Upon descending at 10 or 11am, each of these clearings was easily navigated. Given the guys age .. vision may have also been a problem .. even with the flashlight.

FYI: I did get some great shots (despite being later then planned). Scroll down to Oct 17th and click on the image in this link (http://www.mountwashington.org/photos/journal/index.php?month=10&year=2008).

Snow Miser
08-25-2009, 12:28 PM
Thanks Brad and Corey. Have not done much night hiking, and I didn't think of the open areas being a problem when one isn't familiar with a trail. Nice photo of the tower Corey!

08-26-2009, 07:49 AM
OK, so after reading MORE CAREFULLY, I take it back...he had a flashlight and seemed reasonably prepared and played it smart.

Having hiked that way last week at night, I found the trail fairly easy to follow, but that doesn't mean a reasonable person couldn't get off trail or risk getting lost.

Snow Miser
08-26-2009, 07:59 AM
Having hiked that way last week at night, I found the trail fairly easy to follow, but that doesn't mean a reasonable person couldn't get off trail or risk getting lost.

Well put. I don't think I would attempt a night hike on a trail that I didn't do first in daylight.