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NNE Cold Season Thread 2022/2023


bwt3650
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So sad. Lafayette brook is found on the north side and runs parallel to the greenleaf trail which is accessed at the Cannon Tram parking lot. It comes out at the AMC's greenleaf hut (intersecting with the bridal path trail) and from there you ascend to the summit. After you go above the AMC hut, you quickly are exposed to the elements - no trees. I've been up there with almost no visibility and it can be very disorienting. What a shame. Just a series of bad decisions I'm guessing.

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19, her 20th birthday is today. She was trying to finish the NH 48 before her birthday. Just tragic.

She was completely unprepared for the weather conditions.

Ugh, I see that all the time. People think they can hike up to the ridge line in khaki shorts, flip-flops, and a 16oz water bottle.  

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30 minutes ago, #NoPoles said:

19, her 20th birthday is today. She was trying to finish the NH 48 before her birthday. Just tragic.

She was completely unprepared for the weather conditions.

Ugh, I see that all the time. People think they can hike up to the ridge line in khaki shorts, flip-flops, and a 16oz water bottle.  

The thing that I’m confused about is she would be pretty experienced if she has done that many 4000’ ers. I.E I would assume , those folks check high mountain weather closely or have really advanced cold weather gear . Meaning I wonder if she broke something during her hike and was stuck or was it revealed she was lacking sufficient weather gear 

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2 minutes ago, STILL N OF PIKE said:

The thing that I’m confused about is she would be pretty experienced if she has done that many 4000’ ers. I.E I would assume , those folks check high mountain weather closely or have really advanced cold weather gear . Meaning I wonder if she broke something during her hike and was stuck . 

Yeah, that’s what seemed odd to me too. That’s why I wondered about suicide. It doesn’t make much sense. 

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3 hours ago, STILL N OF PIKE said:

The thing that I’m confused about is she would be pretty experienced if she has done that many 4000’ ers. I.E I would assume , those folks check high mountain weather closely or have really advanced cold weather gear . Meaning I wonder if she broke something during her hike and was stuck or was it revealed she was lacking sufficient weather gear 

Given that weather forecast they said she went up in “workout pants” which I hope they don’t mean tights or spandex type stuff!  I mean it was going to be 0F that night.  No where does it say she had winter gear.  It’s all very confusing.

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1 minute ago, powderfreak said:

Given that weather forecast they said she went up in “workout pants” which I hope they don’t mean tights or spandex type stuff!  I mean it was going to be 0F that night.  No where does it say she had winter gear.  It’s all very confusing.

It obviously tragic but I am interested In learning more detail regarding her hiking experience in cold weather and her gear she had on  . 

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3 hours ago, #NoPoles said:

19, her 20th birthday is today. She was trying to finish the NH 48 before her birthday. Just tragic.

She was completely unprepared for the weather conditions.

Ugh, I see that all the time. People think they can hike up to the ridge line in khaki shorts, flip-flops, and a 16oz water bottle.  

Ahhh that is often a common thread seen in bad mountaineering decisions… goals. Whether it’s on Everest or some backyard hill.  Setting a goal and the desire to complete the goal vs. turning around or saying nah, this isn’t the time… that has been at the forefront of many mountain accidents over the years.  From skiing to backpacking, the desire to complete the mission or objective has killed more people in the mountains (sometimes the conditions and timing just isn’t right) than any other human factor.

It can be very hard to accept defeat and turn around.  Though it’s not defeat… staying alive should be considered winning.

I’ve read many mountaineering books from people climbing high summits and that internal struggle to realize it isn’t happening and to turn around is often the biggest mental hurdle.  That Everest disaster 2-3 decades ago was all because of that desire to complete the goal of summiting.  They pushed past the point of no return, it got late, dark, and it killed people.

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I powered up my drone and drove up to the Notch this morning with the idea that perhaps I could aid in the search.  There were 2 helicopters in the air when I was there around 10:30am.   I was surprised that I could not find a "base" camp that was co-ordinating the search.  I went to all the pull offs and the Cannon parking lot.  Long story short the wind was pretty strong and ceiling about 3500 feet with snow showers so I did not attempt to fly the drone.  I also would not have flown  without co-ordinating with Fish and Game.  Sorry that she didn't make it.  

PS  There is no snow cover south of Franconia Notch.  The Notch only has a couple of inches.  

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The main base camp on Monday and Tuesday was at the Flume area parking lot with the NH main trailer vehicle, but the SAR teams were being deployed from various locations and also being dropped at the peaks via the helicopter. One report by a SAR team was that it was so intense up top, they had to crawl on hands and knees for a period of time, and there were some drifts near chest high deep of snow.

From what I've gathered from the various outlets, she had on trail running shoes, at least 2 layers on her lower body and a camelbak for water, but didn't have winter experience. My suspicion is that she likely didn't have the 10 essentials.

Apparently on Tuesday end of day they found personal belongings in the areas between the headwater of Lafayette brook and the summit, and made that the area for search today, one of the officers reported that she could of literally been blown off the mountain.

I was driving through Jefferson/Randolph on Sunday between 5pm and 6pm and the snow squall that went through was pretty intense, she was supposed to be at her pickup spot by 4pm that day.

Very sad and tragic, the only good thing is there is closure for the family that she was found.

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I think she hiked most of the 48 during warm-ish/calm weather. I don't think she had any cold weather hiking experience. She was from MA and would drive up when it fit her schedule and do day hikes and check some peaks off the list. I honestly don't think she realized at all how drastic the weather deteoriates as you go up in elevation. Her family and friends also didn't understand because she had arranged for her mom to drop her off and her dad and best friend to pick her up. That is 3 other people who thought everyrhing would be fine. All around tragic. I had hoped for a better outcome. But I knew they weren't going to find her alive. It was cold and windy and snow-squally at my elevation and the temps and wind just got worse as the day went on. There is a misconception in the flat-lander population that 4000ft is just a big hill, that will get you out of breath but will give you good views- but 4000ft isn't nearly as high as Mt Washington so the weather will be fine.

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I don't want this to be taken the wrong way, as I said earlier, this is an unimaginable tragedy for the young woman, her family and her friends. However, I am somewhat annoyed by the descriptions of her in the boston papers as being 'experienced' - clearly, she was not and her lack of preparedness and  bad decision-making had a cascading effect that resulted in her death. I know there will be reports issued later but the general public will not see them nor will they be covered on the front page of the newspapers. Not sure what the appropriate way of messaging should be but I feel like this is an opportunity for educating the general public to hopefully avoid these tragedies in the future. Again, this is just a terrible situation and I write this as someone who has made plenty of mistakes on the high peaks of NE.

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Just hearing about the tragedy with the hiker today.  I think NoPoles and PF nail it:

- She was set on a goal, stubborn to a fault

- Only experienced in non-hostile conditions

- Perception is that 4K is NBD

- No responsible adult thought about prepardness

 

Sad.  Hopefully a lesson to others down the road.

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On 11/23/2022 at 10:02 PM, #NoPoles said:

I think she hiked most of the 48 during warm-ish/calm weather. I don't think she had any cold weather hiking experience. She was from MA and would drive up when it fit her schedule and do day hikes and check some peaks off the list. I honestly don't think she realized at all how drastic the weather deteoriates as you go up in elevation. Her family and friends also didn't understand because she had arranged for her mom to drop her off and her dad and best friend to pick her up. That is 3 other people who thought everyrhing would be fine. All around tragic. I had hoped for a better outcome. But I knew they weren't going to find her alive. It was cold and windy and snow-squally at my elevation and the temps and wind just got worse as the day went on. There is a misconception in the flat-lander population that 4000ft is just a big hill, that will get you out of breath but will give you good views- but 4000ft isn't nearly as high as Mt Washington so the weather will be fine.

I completed the Adirondack 46 this fall and have hiked them in all seasons. Winter hiking in the high peak region of the Northeast is no joke and you need to plan for weather conditions to turn on a dime. I did one hike in which temps were in the -20-30 range with wind chills in the -40 to -50 range, and my water completely froze halfway up. Mind you everything was insulated. The trail was also unbroken after a decent size snowfall so every step was breaking new trail, it was absolutely brutal. I wanted to turn around a few times but kept trekking through it. 3/4 of the way through the hike it started snowing heavily and whiteout conditions hit out of no where. The weather forecast did not hint at snow like what fell. It was a 20 mile hike and it was the only one out of the 46 where I felt like I shouldn't have been there. I have completed over 15 hikes in the winter up there. I did one hike solo in the winter, but would never recommend going up on these high peaks without a partner. I've seen so many people unprepared for these hikes in all the seasons. You need to watch countless videos on youtube to learn what to bring, how to plan out your trip, and back up options incase your GPS has issues. With temps in that range your phone battery dies so fast, people that use alltrails or other apps can have no navigation if their phone goes down. Here is a picture from that hike about half way up. 

I've hiked some 10k+ peaks in the west and the northeast hikes were much more difficult for me. The terrain is very rough compared to out west where its smooth. 

9E201F6A-41CD-41BC-A0CD-CD00C9A6ECDD.jpeg

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I was up at Bolton Valley for some turns yesterday afternoon, so I can pass along some observations.

After some initial frozen precipitation at our house in the in the morning, we’d had on and off rain in the valley heading into the afternoon.  It had been steady at times, but nothing too heavy.  I got a bit worried when I encountered a couple of downpours while driving through Bolton Flats, because the thought of skiing in the pouring rain wasn’t all that enticing.  I was happy to see that the rain changed over to snow around 1,500’ at the Timberline Base, so that alleviated the concerns about having to potentially be out on the mountain in a downpour.  The drive up the Bolton Valley Access Road definitely gave its usual introduction to the local temperature profile – the temperatures ticked right down at a steady pace and dropped from the lower 40s F in the valley to the lower 30s F by the time I hit the base village.

I was getting concerned that the snow surfaces were going to be quickly tightening up as colder air moved in, but the lower mountain seemed to be just enough around the freezing mark that the snow remained soft.  I could tell it wouldn’t be too long before the surfaces would be getting firm though – the wind had really picked up as the back side of the storm system was pushing through, and the Mid Mountain Chair appeared to close early because of it.

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25NOV22D.jpg.2e20e8ea97e5368fc7ad134f096b2a87.jpg

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2 hours ago, Lava Rock said:

Wonder how the County will fare after the rn. Looks to stay in upper 30s to 40 F there, so they probably won't lose much.

They should be okay after this one - New Sweden (NW from CAR) reported 8" OG and there's more in the woods above 1000' elev.  However, another rain/thaw is forecast for Saturday and the early-next-week event is a p-type toss-up at present.  Aroostook won't lose all its snow but may end up with a crusty mess, at least east of Rt 11.

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Snow squalls today. Had some good wind gusts yesterday afternoon and into the evening. Lots of small tree branch pieces in the roads and my little corolla was getting pushed around while I was out running errands. Power flickered a lot. But all good now. Just cold and breezy with squalls

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6 hours ago, #NoPoles said:

Snow squalls today. Had some good wind gusts yesterday afternoon and into the evening. Lots of small tree branch pieces in the roads and my little corolla was getting pushed around while I was out running errands. Power flickered a lot. But all good now. Just cold and breezy with squalls

My wife left for Florida (visiting her sister) during a BGR snowsquall about 12:40 this afternoon.  Ground is white here again, sort of, thanks to a late morning squall (only 0.1") while we were at the AP.

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