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#48770 - 11/16/16 01:50 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: wbtravis]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 502
Loc: Nashville, TN
I agree regarding hiker education. I agree that people willfully risk their lives. You've also mentioned how some people don't want to heed warning.

We shall continue to do so as we have done on this group for years.

That being said, trail improvements can't hurt, and petitioning the FS can't either.

Does anyone know of a trail maintenance volunteer crew? Who maintains the MWMT? I'd be willing to drive up and give some work days next season to help.
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#48772 - 11/16/16 03:21 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Snacking Bear]
JOHN heinz Offline


Registered: 11/16/16
Posts: 6
Loc: Nor Cal
Snacking Bear, you are right, even experienced perished. That section of the trail where the hiker passed away a few weeks ago should be avoided at night. I personally don't like to see signs in the wilderness. To my knowledge that person was lost and did not have GPS or a map and other events led to that terrible consequence. Educating novice hikers and climbers is the solution here in my honest opinion and not a sign or barrier. I feel for those who we lose on mountains I know I might face that faith out there but preparedness and knowledge will save me more than any sign, rail or wall. Think of those who have lost their lives on the cable section of half dome, they chose to climb outside and even when the cables are down and fatalities still happen. Most of these deaths I see in the wilderness are cause by very poor judgement.

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#48773 - 11/16/16 03:50 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: JOHN heinz]
JOHN heinz Offline


Registered: 11/16/16
Posts: 6
Loc: Nor Cal
Steve, I cannot give any details yet. I'm sure there's an investigation happening right now but in a couple of days there will be a report.

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#48776 - 11/16/16 08:33 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: JOHN heinz]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
Just a couple of points:
Educating hikers is not going to prevent the deaths that have occurred. In the situation we are talking about here, and many others, we have someone quite unfamiliar with the trail -- probably their first time on whatever route they are trying. Most situations cannot be prevented easily. Only this one, with a better boulder barrier would help. And people, we're ONLY talking about something about 5-6 feet in length, and high enough (knee high?) to cause someone to recognize they were heading off the trail.

Second point: JH, you refer to deaths on the HD cables. ...I am just not aware of any. I think if people were falling, they would be completely removed. Deaths have occurred due to lightning, and in the waterfalls, but I am not aware of any recently on the cable section.

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#48785 - 11/16/16 11:18 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
JOHN heinz Offline


Registered: 11/16/16
Posts: 6
Loc: Nor Cal
Steve C, I've done half dome a few times and dido my homework before I went up and if you do a bit of research online you will find that there's been a few falls on half dome where people got outside the cables and fell. It was mainly because people got frustrated at the heavy traffic going up the cables which is why now they have a permit system.

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#48788 - 11/17/16 09:04 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: JOHN heinz]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
The only cables accidents I can find on the web talk about icy or drizzly conditions. What am I missing?

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#48789 - 11/17/16 09:31 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Snacking Bear]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Snacking Bear
Yes. Not every issue is an issue of hiker experience. The experienced die all the time

In the case of Mirror Lake switchbacks, some trail improvement can help. It won't solve it, but it can help. To argue that trail improvement won't help at all, is untrue. Ergo, worth petitioning.

Nothing helps like experience, but even experience falls to tragic mistakes, and even bad timing.


Again, tell me how this happens? A petition is not worth the bytes and time. I know what it took to put 7 or 8 directional signs on Mt. Baldy this summer and that is not in a Wilderness area...a friend was involved in this project. Mt. Baldy was and is the land of the lost, and dead in winter. The only thing that will work right here and right now is hiker education.

The problem is we have a new bred of hiker. They young, aggressive and narcissistic...want to do what they want to do when they want to do it. Mt. Whitney is a magnet for these people...just like the Six-Pack of Peaks. They are experienced but they come without the 10 essentials to varying degrees and very little knowledge of the area they hike in. I ask them quite regularly, how do get out of an area, if a fire blocks your return route. I get a 10,000 yard stare. When I ask do you have a map, they have a picture of the message board or less. These are your experienced hikers today.

Experienced hiker is a useless term used by the media to describe those involved in a backcountry incident. I know a lot of experienced elite hikers I would not to out with to PCH at Main in Huntington Beach. They are that unsafe. All you need to do is read the US Hiking Club Meetup 2/6/16 outing at Wild ideas.

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#48790 - 11/17/16 10:04 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: wbtravis]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 502
Loc: Nashville, TN
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
Again, tell me how this happens? A petition is not worth the bytes and time. I know what it took to put 7 or 8 directional signs on Mt. Baldy this summer and that is not in a Wilderness area...a friend was involved in this project. Mt. Baldy was and is the land of the lost, and dead in winter.


Human life exceeds the value of time and bytes. Unless you disagree, then I have no idea why you are commenting. It's impossible to quantify lives saved by good trail management, because they prevent people from getting into bad scenarios.

If we send letters to the FS we can also ask if we can get a trail crew together, and explore our options

Originally Posted By: wbtravis
The {only thing that will work right here and right now is hiker education.


Agreed! Education can help, it isn't the only recourse though.

Originally Posted By: wbtravis
The problem is we have a new bred of hiker. They young, aggressive and narcissistic...want to do what they want to do when they want to do it.


Try an educate them, but they will do what they will do. On a practical note: openly deriding them or educating them in a way that infers that they are stupid or ridiculous isn't a constructive way to get them to consider your wisdom.


Originally Posted By: wbtravis
Experienced hiker is a useless term used by the media to describe those involved in a backcountry incident. I know a lot of experienced elite hikers I would not to out with to PCH at Main in Huntington Beach. They are that unsafe. All you need to do is read the US Hiking Club Meetup 2/6/16 outing at Wild ideas.


No, experienced hiker means they are experienced at hiking. They can still make a mistake. Qualifying anyone as experienced until they make a mistake is an informal fallacy (see "No true Scotsman fallacy").
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#48791 - 11/17/16 11:13 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Snacking Bear]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Get a trail crew together, How? Who will be the sponsoring group? Who will develop a plan that has a chance at FS approval? Petitions are a waste of time.

It's be been three days and no one here has come of with better than education. Heck, it's been two years since John Likely died and no one has come up with a better workable idea.

The first this you have to do is recognize facts and not hide from them. This is the new hiker. They want to take 40 of their friends, who they met for the first time in the parking, through an avalanche zone to summit an arbitrary peak in the middle of winter with gear the can be best described as substandard. When told they need more gear, there is an avalanche zone and their group size is about 34 too large. They shrug just keep on going...absolutely no introspection.

Experienced hiker is a meaningless term. Especially when used by the media. They use it to denote competence.

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#48797 - 11/18/16 11:35 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: wbtravis]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
Yet another report of someone getting lost at that spot. This hiker had the good sense to stop and wait for someone to come along. From 10 years ago: Disoriented hiker

Inyo staff tells me it takes 2-3 years to fund a trail improvement. But "an offer to help with a volunteer day of trail work might do more to affect change".

...I am tempted...

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#48799 - 11/18/16 04:47 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Isn't there an annual trails Day Event out of the Portal?
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#48801 - 11/18/16 05:47 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: saltydog]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: saltydog
Isn't there an annual trails Day Event out of the Portal?

Yes, but they were working on the trail from Lone Pine up to the Tuttle Creek campground. They finished it this year.
Two issues though:
1. A project near Trail Camp is a lot more strenuous than one parallel to W.P. Road.
2. I'm not sure Doug would want to participate on anything from this site. frown

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#48802 - 11/18/16 11:31 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 502
Loc: Nashville, TN
I'm in.
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#48804 - 11/19/16 06:51 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Originally Posted By: saltydog
Isn't there an annual trails Day Event out of the Portal?

Yes, but they were working on the trail from Lone Pine up to the Tuttle Creek campground. They finished it this year.
Two issues though:
1. A project near Trail Camp is a lot more strenuous than one parallel to W.P. Road.
2. I'm not sure Doug would want to participate on anything from this site. frown


Healing opportunity?
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#48806 - 11/20/16 06:53 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: saltydog]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1148
Loc: NorCal
What Steve is proposing is a rock guidewall about 6 ft in length, however high. If lots of hikers chipped in by bringing a rock to this area from either direction it would eventually get done. Breaking the job down into loose ideas:

1. Get the word out. Internet, flyer at trailhead, etc. Use marketing basics. "Move a rock campaign" of some sort.

2. Motivation. Honor fallen hikers. Help improve safety. Be a good person.

3. Knowledge. Basically all that's needed is a map location and GPS coords of where exactly is the guidewall and where does a hiker find a rock just before getting there (climbing and descending).

There may be better ways, but this just might work. Probably much quicker than getting official action on this project.

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#48811 - 11/23/16 09:09 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: SierraNevada]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Again, it is a structure in a Wilderness area and you will have to get approval of the Inyo. The latter might seem simple but it is not. It would be a lot more simple if there was something there, which needed to be repaired. Those eight new signs put on Mt. Baldy this summer took well over two years to get them planted in the ground, this after multiple deaths and weekly mostly free helicopter rides to hikers that wandered down Goode, San Antonio or Cattle Canyons. And this property is not governed by the Wilderness Act of 1964.

The best this that can be done here is to put a new "PEOPLE DIE HERE!!!" sign on the patio cover with pictures of the surrounding area. It could be done today...but then again, it would need approval of the Inyo. Followed up by a coordinated effort of Yosemite, SEKI, Inyo, this website and Doug's with a sign posting...another pig will fly first scenario.

BTW, all those wind blocks at Trail Camp should be taken down and would be, if the Inyo could. It is done all the time in the San Gorgonio and Cucamonga Wildernesses.

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#48812 - 11/23/16 09:29 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: SierraNevada]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada


3. Knowledge. Basically all that's needed is a map location and GPS coords of where exactly is the guidewall and where does a hiker find a rock just before getting there (climbing and descending).

There may be better ways, but this just might work. Probably much quicker than getting official action on this project.


Today's hiker has very little basic knowledge and wants even less...unfortunately. Most cannot find the north side of Sunset Blvd. from the southside. When asked how to they would get out of an area if their ascending route was block by fire 1 in 1,000 might know...I know this because I ask. Good luck getting many who think it just fine to leave egg shells, banana peels, apple cores and WAG bags behind to carry a rock.

If you do not get official approval, this structure will get torn down. This is how things work.

Lastly, for everyone who wants this wall, there are a like amount who do not. Last winter, the Angeles National Forest was inundated by calls for elected officials after they "soft" closed the forest in the Mt. Baldy area after multiple deaths in February. This after they had been called by the the citizenry to close it.

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#48815 - 11/23/16 12:49 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: wbtravis]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1024
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
Today's hiker has very little basic knowledge

This reminds me of an experience I had in Nepal in 2014.
This is from my trail memoirs:

As we descended from 17,000 to 11,000 ft, in damp fog and dark by headlamp, it was about 35 F as we were finally returning to small towns after a long day. We had several discussions about trail junctions. There were rarely signs at junctions, and the maps were incomplete or inaccurate. We used judgment quite a bit. We were surprised to see a young American, his way barely lit by only his Smartphone, no headlamp. His dayhike had turned into a nighthike. He asked us for directions. He had missed the three-way junction about 1.5 hrs above Namche and wanted to go to Khumjung to see the Edmund Hillary monument. Without data transmission available, he had neither current GPS nor did he have a stored map. He also had no pack or extra clothing in event of getting stranded. But he did have a Smartphone picture of one trail junction he had passed, probably the largest signed junction (not in English) that we had seen. He did not understand the signs, the trails or his situation, including battery life or his risk of exposure. We got him turned to the right direction. Hopefully he made it in the dark to Khumjung. If he got lost again, died in the cold unprepared, then I can visualize what monument they could erect for him, not next to Sir Edmund:
"Here lies modern man:
SmartPhone but DumbAss."

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#48816 - 11/23/16 03:41 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Harvey Lankford]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
I don't know how many times my friends and go into a blizzard from the PS Tram. We usually do not go to the San Jacinto via the winter yak route. It is not unusual for the elites to catch up to us, since we are old and slower. We always ask the same question, "Do you know where you are?". We always get the same answer, "On the trail." When informed of where they are not, they just keep going forward, I guess in search of the trail. We usually stop to see how far they go but eventually they head back towards the tram.

It is not unusual for the smartphone equipped to have a less than navigable map. It usually ranges from pictures to pictures of the message board. I had two military people who told me they did not need a paper map. What they had in their phone was sufficient and they had a GPS. We stopped just past their junction for lunch. Of course, they walked by their semi-signed junction. We directed them back.

Then there was the trailrunner with a tourniquet for a first aid kit...


Edited by wbtravis (11/23/16 03:42 PM)

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#48817 - 11/23/16 05:59 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1148
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Steve C
James, I emailed my contact in Inyo N.F. and was told that SAR members had already added some rocks along the trail there.

So the SAR team saw a benefit to building this line of rocks, they somehow managed to start it without a trail crew or train of mules, and they didn't see a need for special permission. I trust that judgment for a 6ft line of rocks you see all over the wilderness. Seems like common sense and it might save them from coming back to this area AGAIN to recover another dead body. Some of the 17,000 hikers using this trail every year just might appreciate this little safety feature.

But let's be real, its a frigging 6ft line of rocks you see lining trails at many of these critical locations IN THE WILDERNESS. The only problem is getting enough small rocks into the general area and aligning them. The Whitney Zone seems like a good site to post a map and some instructions for people who are solution oriented. We don't even need Mexico to pay for it.


Edited by SierraNevada (11/23/16 06:00 PM)

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