Author Topic: Missing hiker on Mt. Adams found dead  (Read 11875 times)

Offline smartpig

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Re: Missing hiker on Mt. Adams found dead
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2015, 09:24:24 PM »
I think the big change (180 degrees) in the anticipated wind direction for Sunday might have played a part. From what I've pieced together, IF she was working off of Saturday's forecast for SE winds it may have been a reasonable attempt.

From my longer blog post about it...

http://nealpinestart.com/2015/02/18/a-young-climber-perishes-on-mt-adams/

"Did she overlook the forecast? It’s quite likely she didn’t see that day’s forecast given her departure time. Of particular note is the low Nor’ Easter that was the major weather maker during this period travel 100 miles further southeast than originally forcasted.

This made the Higher Summits Forecast shift predicted wind direction for Sunday from Southeast on Saturday Night to Northwest Sunday Morning. That was a 180 degree change in anticipated wind direction within 24 hours, and in this case may have made all the difference. While no fault can be laid in the forecasters (this path change of this system seemed to catch everyone off guard), if Kate was aware of the forecast from Saturday it may have been reasonable to move forward based on the expected winds coming from the Southeast. It is quite likely she did not have access to the updated forecast Sunday morning."

David Lottmann, thank you for your heartfelt analysis and compassion. We will never know Kate's planning, preparation, true experience (perhaps her husband can lend some insight here), and decision making within her own crisis event that resulted in her passing. We have seen this scenario many times in these mountains. We know these mountains and there intricacies and sudden un-expectant weather changes. Even armed with all our knowledge and high tech equipment and technology we can succumb to one fatal mistake. Yet, I say, that those of us that have lived and played in the extremes of our beloved White Mountains know better than even the most experienced outsider when to say no and turn home to safety and the warmth of our loved ones. We have an edge on survival in these mountains but are not immune to disaster (yet, our odds our much better). These White Mountains and the Adirondacks, underestimated by many, prepare us very well for making good decisions in ranges we visit. I am not trying to sound brash or arrogant here.... but I look at our band of mountaineers who call these mountains home, who have exposed their selves to high risk in the greater ranges time and time again, and climbed and continue to climb into their senior years. Many of these tragic events are those who have planned for a specific weekend and will go hell or high water no matter how well equipped or experienced (the Gagne and UPS driver rescue/recovery on the Franconia Ridge come to mind). Some are brash A-types who think they are invincible and will face the teeth of death and survive (usually the young and foolish-Hugh Herr for one....though he more than payed back his brash adventure with his work in prosthetics). Then there are the ones who have no experience or deeper mountain sense who blindly march into harms way. Look at the history. It tells us a lot. The wise learn from these horrible outcomes. Even the wise are prone and can succumb to a trap they may never survive. However, their chances of survival are far greater, through hard won knowledge and experience. Some of us who know we have been on the brink of a crucial life or death decision know this. That is the allure and risk of climbing and mountaineering. What makes the difference between a Reinhold Messner or Doug Scott and their dead contemporaries? Kate's decision to do this hike this weekend was clearly a very poor decision and overly ambitious. I doubt that there were many other hikers up there this past weekend and if there were they limited the scope of their objectives and turned back at tree line once they read the conditions on the ground. Mountain sense counts for so much. It is awful to see such a vibrant and intelligent human being lost in the prime of their life. My heart goes out to her loved ones. ....And I commend and greatly appreciate the unselfish commitment and sacrifice of the S&R Community and the outstanding leadership of NH Fish and Game. RIP Kate.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2015, 10:41:05 PM by smartpig »
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Offline markvnh

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Re: Missing hiker on Mt. Adams found dead
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2015, 09:39:56 PM »
...very well written Jamie.

Offline tradmanclimbz

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Re: Missing hiker on Mt. Adams found dead
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2015, 10:00:58 PM »
In my 20's I would have and did go to Mt Washington in that kind of weather ::) somehow lived through it.....  This weekend we skinned cardigan on sat and climbed Rumny on Monday.   It is a miracle that we survive our youth..... Some of us do not. RIP Kate
« Last Edit: February 17, 2015, 10:05:40 PM by tradmanclimbz »

Offline JBro

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Re: Missing hiker on Mt. Adams found dead
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2015, 10:32:11 PM »
Trad, you've been up there when the wind has picked you up and tossed you 10 feet at a time? While temps with wind chills approached -100?
Have a quiche, now, or maybe a tort.  You deserve it!
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Offline tradmanclimbz

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Re: Missing hiker on Mt. Adams found dead
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2015, 06:16:30 AM »
We did not have internet BINTD, Heck i did not even have TV.  No fancy high peaks weather forcasts other than read the bullitain when you get to Pinkam notch. Never bailed ever back then. the only time I ever bailed was many years later in my mid 40's
I remember eating snickers bars with mittens on and eating a good portion of the PAPER wrapper. The biggest risk came from strapping on the  old style crampons cause the mittens had to come off for that.  Usually did that somewhere down on the fan. We thought it was good training if it was sub  zero with 90mph winds up top.  we never did overnights though other than rarely in the Harvard hut.  mostly it was car to car leave killington VT @ 3:00am. Our packs were light and we moved fast above treeline.  Kates pack was huge and most likely contributed to her problems.  All her modern gear may also have contributed to her decisions to continue up there.  NO I would never have attempted the traverse in winter conditions. I was not that good and did not have the proper winter camping gear.

Offline strandman

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Re: Missing hiker on Mt. Adams found dead
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2015, 10:17:40 AM »
Thanks for the writing jamie..well said.
It happens every year and i guess it always will,,,you must know when to run away....or be very, very lucky.

I 'm so glad to have known John Bouchard  and others.....travel light,, travel fast  and KNOW your gear and what it can and can't do for you

Offline Admin Al

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Re: Missing hiker on Mt. Adams found dead
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2015, 10:21:40 AM »
Trad - my understanding from the F&G report was that all she had was a DAY PACK! no bivy gear, hardly anything. [sigh]

FWIW Here is Rick Wilcox's assessment of the incident on Mt Washington last Sunday. From today's Conway Daily Sun:

http://www.conwaydailysun.com/newsx/local-news/119239-wilcox-says-woman-s-climbing-death-monday-offers-lessons
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Offline steve4464

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Re: Missing hiker on Mt. Adams found dead
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2015, 10:24:13 AM »
I know someone who met her - in the Himalaya, last year. I think this is another case of "I did an 8000 meter peak, this shouldn't be all that hard"... I'm constantly telling others that the Whites are serious mountains and just because it's "only" 5000 feet doesn't mean they can't put a hurting on you.

I can't say that I haven't had a similar attitude in years past, I was just fortunate enough to live and learn from it.

Offline markvnh

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Re: Missing hiker on Mt. Adams found dead
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2015, 11:07:03 AM »
Wow was Rick's article enlightening. Here I was thinking - based on the pic of her all geared up (but indicated it was not from Sunday) that she was prepared for what she was attempting on Sunday. And based on Al's input it sure doesn't seem like it now.

Really makes me wonder how she could have been on Madison - most likely late in the day and not just turn around - even if she had to walk into the wind I would think she'd try to get back down the same way since she'd never hiked in the White's before.

We will never know what her thought process was. All indications were she was a brilliant woman.

Offline Homeless Junkie

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Re: Missing hiker on Mt. Adams found dead
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2015, 11:22:27 AM »
5.12 gym climber from NYC remains me of a quote..

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I'm going to rob banks til I retire or get caught.. Either way I'm set for life!

Offline tradmanclimbz

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Re: Missing hiker on Mt. Adams found dead
« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2015, 08:03:16 PM »
So sad.

Offline om

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Re: Missing hiker on Mt. Adams found dead
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2015, 10:16:21 PM »
What i don't understand is what was happening with her all this time. Even if she has summited Madison it would not take more than 5 hours from parking lot so she should've been back at the hut by 10am, so what was she doing for the next 5 hours or so until she activated the beacon? Has she gone to Adams/traverse and was coming back? I guess we will never know... I just don't think it is realistic to spend 5 hours stumbling around the lake during the day, even if you have to crawl it is feasible to cross that distance in an hour or so...
Very, very sad and hunting not knowing what happened
-om

Offline danf

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Offline tradmanclimbz

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Re: Missing hiker on Mt. Adams found dead
« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2015, 08:36:02 PM »
Wow :'(

Offline om

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Re: Missing hiker on Mt. Adams found dead
« Reply #29 on: February 23, 2015, 01:03:34 AM »
Makes sense now, thanks... So sorry for the first rescue party, worked so hard, got so close... what a heartbreak.
-om