SAR on Big Indian Mountain

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SAR on Big Indian Mountain

New postby dave » Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:21 pm

Town of Shandaken - Ulster County

Search: On Jan. 22 at 8:52 p.m., DEC's Central Dispatch received a call from Ulster County 911 reporting an overdue/lost hiker. The subject had been bushwacking with a group of 17 other hikers who made their way to Fir Mountain and then on to Big Indian Mountain. At Big Indian Mountain, the subject became tired and was left behind by the group at approximately 1 p.m. The group exited the trailhead at 5 p.m. at McKinley Hollow Road, where the subject's vehicle was parked at the trailhead. Four Region 3 Forest Rangers searched the Big Indian Wilderness Area throughout the night with negative results. Eight additional Forest Rangers were requested from Regions 3 and 4 to be at the command post at the Belleayre Mountain maintenance building the next day. On Jan. 23, Forest Ranger crews departed for their assignments, focusing on the trails and stream beds. A crew working from the McKinley Hollow Trailhead located the subject hiking out approximately three quarters of a mile above the lean-to. The subject was escorted out of the woods. During an interview the subject explained that he had hunkered down in a protected drainage for the night and began hiking out at daybreak. All crews were cleared of the scene by 9:30 a.m.
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Re: SAR on Big Indian Mountain

New postby Jon » Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:41 pm

I've ran into a few of these large "meetup" groups before. For exactly this reason I don't participate. What I don't understand is with 17 people why you couldn't leave 1 or 2 behind with the slow/tired hiker to make sure they are OK? This behavior is disgusting. They are random strangers meeting up for hikes with huge groups and zero responsibility.

I looked up the HVH "legal disclaimer" and it expressly mentions this:
" There are no leaders on these hikes, you are your own leader- This is YOUR hike."

I would never leave someone who I set out with who was injured or further unable to proceed to hike out on their own. People who I hike with know this. There are more important things than getting to the summit, and making sure everyone in your party is OK is a must. Most of the time slow/tired/injured hikers will try to reassure you that they are OK. They will say things like "go on without me I'll be fine" or "I'll catch up". Chances are that they won't. If they're already falling behind for some reason, they aren't going to magically catch up, and likely they aren't fine.

edit: Kenny I wasn't really going to leave you on the top of blackhead that one time in the winter :lol:
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Re: SAR on Big Indian Mountain

New postby mike » Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:27 am

There was a very heated discussion on facebook. The trip leader (they call them host) should have broken up the group into 3 groups. People should have stayed behind to help the hiker. But, instead they abandon him on the summit of Big Indian. He spent the night in the woods. Other members were complaining that he was going too slow, and deserved to be left behind. The trip leader did stay in the PA and waited. After a couple of hours he called 911. Four rangers spent the night in the wood looking for the hiker. Then another team came in at dawn. He was found around 9:30am. If it had been cold, he may have died. The trip leader should have gone back up the trail and found the hiker, and stayed with him.

Sadly, the trip leader and other members didn't think that they did anything wrong. They then went on a diatribe of how wonderful they are.
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Re: SAR on Big Indian Mountain

New postby dundee » Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:27 am

Pretty sad, but it isn't just meetup groups. I've been on more organized trips with VERY well-known hiking clubs and this happens even there. Sometimes there is just no screening of participants before the hike.
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