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#48586 - 10/19/16 09:14 AM Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16
IncredibleHuck Offline


Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 2
Loc: Southern California
Just heard the bad news that a fellow hiker from Southern California fell and died after he summited on Monday. Does anyone have any information on where he fell? Was it icy conditions or bad weather that caused it?

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#48587 - 10/19/16 11:07 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: IncredibleHuck]
surf1div1 Offline


Registered: 10/19/16
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
Hearing from various sources that it was West of the area preceding Mirror Lake. Don't believe weather was casual in this one though.

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#48588 - 10/19/16 11:25 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: surf1div1]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 502
Loc: Nashville, TN
The bluffs up-slope of Mirror lake? That is a place where many people have fallen and gone missing.

It seems the most likely, unless of course it isn't the spot.
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#48590 - 10/19/16 04:41 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: IncredibleHuck]
IncredibleHuck Offline


Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 2
Loc: Southern California
Just found the article:

Quote:
SAR Recovery - Inyo County Sheriff's Office was contacted on October 18th at approximately 4:30am regarding a fall victim. According to the reporting party, he was frantically woken up at approximately 2:45am at Outpost Camp by a hiker whose companion had fallen and was believed to be badly hurt or deceased. The reporting party activated his emergency satellite messenger and also descended the trail until he had enough reception to make a 911 call.

Inyo Search and Rescue and China Lake Mountain Rescue Group responded to the Whitney area, with the assistance of CHP H-80 out of Apple Valley. The fall victim, who was identified as 36-year old Michael Powell from Irvine, California, was discovered deceased in a chute near Mirror Lake.

Further interviews with Powell's hiking companion indicated that the two-person team summited Mt. Whitney on October 17th at 7:30pm. While descending they lost the trail in the dark above Mirror Lake; Powell was heard falling along with the sound of tumbling rocks. After many attempts to call out to Powell and to attempt to locate him, his hiking partner decided to find her way back to Outpost camp and get help.

This is a very tragic incident and our thoughts and prayers are with Michael Powell's family and friends.

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#48592 - 10/19/16 10:13 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: IncredibleHuck]
surf1div1 Offline


Registered: 10/19/16
Posts: 3
Loc: CA


Edited by surf1div1 (10/19/16 10:28 PM)

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#48595 - 10/20/16 01:27 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: IncredibleHuck]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7870
Loc: Fresno, CA
So sorry for Mr. Powell and his friends and family.

This tragedy is certainly similar to John Likely's death in June, 2014. Here's the link.

While descending, just above Trailside Meadow, the trail makes several switchbacks, reversing direction and heading west, then back to the east. See this map. If one is hiking in the dark, it is easy to miss the switchback, and in fact, the terrain almost invites you to continue to the east.

Unfortunately, the flat bench-like path eventually cliffs out, and if anyone tries to continue that way...

It took 5 days to find Likely's body, even though it was really close to all the searching.

Edit: And here is the Shyam Das thread from August, 2012: Missing Hiker for 36+ Hours

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#48596 - 10/20/16 02:38 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
surf1div1 Offline


Registered: 10/19/16
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
Steve, 100% agreed. While I've looked at the link for John's death and a review of the SAR photo with a pic of the lake and chopper and matching it in GE where it was taken has me at least concurring that it was in that area. The photo SAR has is I believe taken here: 36.570262į -118.264830į (go to street view) or coming down from the West from Trail camp here: 36.567494į-118.267758į, or 36.567487į -118.267324į ( FirstChute) (Prior to the descent to Trail Meadow). Using GE those drops are hundreds of feet prior to trail meadow. Being that they started around 3:00 AM and it took them until 5:00 PM or 7:30 (depending on how accurate the source) to summit that's one hell of a day. Winds were crazy and based on those times extreme fatigue would saddle most people from continuing on. Tragic for Michael and his family and friends.

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#48598 - 10/20/16 08:15 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 502
Loc: Nashville, TN
Yep, we had a family friend get lost here in the twilight back in '96. He started down some steep (wrong) bluffs. His knees gave out and he slid 100ft onto a ledge he couldn't climb off of. He huddled in his windbreaker all night until a chopper could get him the next morning.

Dangerous area.
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#48607 - 10/20/16 04:24 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
"lost the trail in the dark above Mirror Lake;"

John Likely And Shyam Das. Both descending in the dark. It also took days to find Das, who barely survived
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#48610 - 10/21/16 06:52 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1255
Loc: Atlanta
I've been pretty remiss the past few months about checking in on the WZ, partly due to not making it out there this year and partly because I keep up with so many of you on FB. I finally open up the Zone in my browser and what do I see right off the bat? Another falling death from above Mirror Lake. Unbelievable. This is getting to be like a broken record. This is at least the 3rd in the past few years. By now I think it would be incumbent on Inyo to re-work the trail in that section for greater safety, or at least post signs identifying it as a dangerous area and advise hikers to use extra caution.

These slabby areas can be tricky if you're not paying close attention, especially in the dark. Going up doesn't seem to be a problem, but descending is another matter. I can recall twice I've had to backtrack while descending here because my mind wandered and I got off route. Easy to do.

Condolences to the family. I hope this is the last sad story I read about this area of the trail.

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#48615 - 10/21/16 08:23 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: saltydog]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 431
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Good to have you back, Gary!

Itís easy to get lost in that area. On a cold night in December 2012, happytrails and I spent some time wandering around searching for the trail on the way down from the summit.

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#48649 - 10/27/16 10:28 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: bobpickering]
JPowell Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 5
Loc: California
Thanks to everyone who commented here. It was a big help in understanding where and what happened to my dear boy. According to sheriff's office, time of summitting was corrected to 5:30 pm. I don't know when they started . . .

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#48650 - 10/27/16 10:49 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: JPowell]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 502
Loc: Nashville, TN
We are so sorry for you loss. At least, I'm glad this has helped you understand what happened.
_________________________
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#48651 - 10/27/16 11:45 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: JPowell]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7870
Loc: Fresno, CA
JPowell, we are REALLY sad for your loss. I cannot imagine the pain I would feel to lose a family member or a friend this way.

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#48710 - 11/06/16 09:39 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7870
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's a memorial post from Instagram from Josue Sanchez


Posted Nov 6, 2016 by n3r0dstroys
Quote:
It's been three weeks since you've been gone man, and it all still feels like it happened yesterday. No point in retelling the story, everyone that matters already knows what happened... not that my mind doesn't replay every step of the way, every part of the climb, every action and every word I said, everything I could have done different that day and you'd still be here. After all this dwelling, talking to friends about it, sleepless nights, and countless replays in my head of that day I'm happy you left on a highlight doing what you loved the most after conquering one of the baddest peaks in the land. Your positivity, your smile, your attitude towards life, our conversation that day and most importantly your last words to me at the summit of Whitney the last time I saw you will be with me for the rest of my life, and in time I hope will help drown out the echoes that keep replaying in my head of what could have, should have, did and didn't happen that day.
Rest in paradise brother... we'll hike again in time... like you told me that day, fate put us together on Whitney Trail that night, and fate also set us on different trails for now...
Thanks to those of you who reached out, you know who you are and how I feel. Meant the world to me.
I'll see some of you at the memorial later.

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#48711 - 11/07/16 07:35 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
RenoFrank Offline


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 437
Loc: Reno, NV
Re: Memorial post picture - where on the trail is this?

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#48712 - 11/07/16 08:09 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: RenoFrank]
Dave F Offline


Registered: 06/24/14
Posts: 17
Loc: Northern California
Frank - it's towards the top of the 97 switchbacks, above the cables. Trail Crest is approximately on a straight line above the hiker's head where the ridgeline meets sky.

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#48718 - 11/07/16 09:21 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Dave F]
RenoFrank Offline


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 437
Loc: Reno, NV
Originally Posted By: Dave F
Frank - it's towards the top of the 97 switchbacks, above the cables. Trail Crest is approximately on a straight line above the hiker's head where the ridgeline meets sky.


Thanks. I thought it was there or between the summit and Trail Crest. When I look at this beautiful picture, I can imagine that the trail is going up or down.

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#48731 - 11/09/16 11:53 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: RenoFrank]
JPowell Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 5
Loc: California
Earlier that day.





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#48732 - 11/09/16 12:52 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
CanadianGirl Offline


Registered: 10/20/16
Posts: 36
Loc: CA, USA
Thank you for sharing that. So very sad.
_________________________
CanadianGirl

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#48740 - 11/14/16 11:50 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: CanadianGirl]
JPowell Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 5
Loc: California
All,

I have written the following letter to the managers of the Inyo National Forest.

I invite others, especially those who have lost the trail above Mirror Lake, to join me in this effort.

November 14, 2016

Ed Armenta, Forest Supervisor (earmenta@fs.fed.us)
Paul Fuselier, Acting District Ranger (pfuselier@fs.fed.us)
Inyo National Forest

Dear Mr. Armenta and Mr. Fuselier,
As you already know, my son Michael Powell died in a tragic hiking accident on October 18, 2016.

This accident is disturbingly similar to those of John Likely in June of 2014 and Shyam Das in August of 2012. I've been reading the accounts of experienced Mt. Whitney hikers on the thread discussing Mike's accident at http://www.whitneyzone.com/Ö/Fallen_Hiker_on_Monday_10-17-1Ö

From what I've been able to surmise from talking with Mike's hiking companion and reading about that location on the trail, I'm estimating that they lost the trail while descending in the dark (in the area of 36.567484 N; 118267251 W) and, while looking to find the trail, wandered out to the dangerous cliff area above Mirror Lake.

As discussed on the Whitney Zone website, this part of the trail is difficult to navigate on descents, especially in the dark, and has fooled even experienced hikers.

I am writing to ask you to take a look at this part of the trail with an eye toward improving the trail marking of the switchbacks in this area; there needs to be better visual cues (cairns, small signs) to guide hikers to keep them on the trail and away from the cliffs.

I appreciate your attention to this request and I ask to be kept informed of actions taken by the National Forest Service in this matter.

Sincerely,
James C. Powell, Jr.

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#48742 - 11/14/16 08:24 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: JPowell]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7870
Loc: Fresno, CA
James, I emailed my contact in Inyo N.F. and was told that SAR members had already added some rocks along the trail there. After John Likely's accident, I started a rock berm (small ridge) there, maybe a foot high. This past summer, I noted it had been diminished a little -- probably by people stumbling over it in the dark.

In your letter, you asked for better visual cues -- cairns, small signs. I disagree. In every situation where someone missed the turn, it was in the dark. Small rock walls won't help in the dark.

There needs to be a major wall of boulders moved into that spot!!!

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#48746 - 11/15/16 06:41 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
JPowell Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 5
Loc: California
Steve, I can agree with your disagreement. We need to let Inyo NF that some changes need to be made.
Jim

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#48747 - 11/15/16 07:51 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: JPowell]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Mr. Powell, this said with no disrespect and with a heavy heart...

This is a Wilderness area under the Wilderness Act of 1964. As such, no structures can be built. This is the most obvious reason nothing is built here. Anyone who has been involved in the solar powered latrine controversy will know this.

Secondly, even if you were to put boulders in place...it has to be done with human power. This means volunteers with hand tools. What you are talking about is beyond this. Again, because this area is covered by the Wilderness Act

Over the past winter, we had 4 people die in the Southern California mountains in the same places they always die in the winter. The Devil's Backbone and Ice House Canyon. Most, off the top of their heads, can't name these names like many can here with this spot. We have the same do something, do anything about this problem cries but in the end the best you can do is limit the problem. This means in this case telling those who do not want to be told to be through this area before dark. As someone who has told many not to go where it unsafe for them go in winter, the response is almost universal. I know what I am doing, as they walk into an avalanche zone.

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#48748 - 11/15/16 08:39 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: wbtravis]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7870
Loc: Fresno, CA
wbt, a line of boulders at least knee-high is not prohibited in the wilderness. It is no more obtrusive than boulders moved around to create a switchback on the mountainside.

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#48749 - 11/15/16 10:47 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Again Steve, you need people power, volunteers. Is there a trail building group in the Eastern Sierra? Even if there is, are there boulders that people can move into place without injury. Also, this does not sound like trail building, it sound more like structure building.

We have well publicized deaths here and as we have had on Mt. Baldy and in Ice House Canyon last winter. A week later people are back going through these areas oblivious to what happened or they assessed the danger and still went. You can't change things in the wilderness, all you can do is educate the people to the dangers and let them make the decisions. I have made the decision it is too dangerous to go through that area in the dark after going through in the late afternoon. Just like I have made a decision not to go back to Cucamonga Peak via the trail in the winter for the same reason. I made the decision in the summer when I saw the avalanche chutes. When asked about these area I tell people what I think and why. It's their decision from that point. What I have found people are going to do what they want to do no matter what you advise.

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#48750 - 11/15/16 11:10 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: wbtravis]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
WBT: In this case, it is not a matter of advise. The problem is losing the trail accidentally, not leaving it deliberately. At the point Steve is discussing the route of the trail is deceptive. To correct that is no more intrusive on wilderness values than any other form of trail maintenance. There are signs, borders, buttresses, bridges, all kinds of structures placed by the land managers on under and around trails all over the wilderness. Not an issue.
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#48751 - 11/15/16 01:15 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: saltydog]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
I have accidentally lost the trail up there more than once. I know the issue. I have not found the route deceptive. I found if you don't pay attention you can lose it, even in the bright shiney morning. At night with less than a good lamp, you are looking for trouble.

We live in the world of the possible. Explain to me how we get boulder delineators up there, please. This is a Wilderness, think volunteers qualified on various hand tools and the materials being there. Is there a there a volunteer trail building group up in the Eastern Sierra? Also, these delineators guarantee nothing.

A couple of people are going to die on the MMWT every year. Just as 2 to 4 people are going to die in the SoCal Mountains this winter. It is just the way it is, sorry if this sounds cold. These are facts. This is a Wilderness and it should be kept as close as it can be to this state.

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#48752 - 11/15/16 07:08 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: wbtravis]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
I agree with you, very much so. Just imagine the Whitney trail looking something like the trail to Vernal Falls, in Yosemite: paved, and perhaps benches every now and then for resting... Groan.

No volunteer trail groups over here. All trail work by the USFS is kept to a minimum: removing rock slides, cutting paths through fallen trees, etc. The biggest project in recent years was the construction of a bypass below Bishop Pass, to avoid a very dangerous rock slide area.

Try to imagine long pack trains laden with heavy equipment rumbling up and down the Whitney trail. And then the protests from people who want those nasty mules and horses banned from the wildness.



Edited by Bob West (11/15/16 07:08 PM)

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#48753 - 11/15/16 10:03 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Bob West]
Sloper Offline


Registered: 09/20/12
Posts: 5
Loc: California
I tend to come down on the side of leaving the wilderness alone as much as possible, but I have to admit I have mixed feelings about that area. It sticks out in my mind as one of the most deceptive bits of trail I have encountered, and the whole Whitney trail tradition is pretty far from being a wilderness situation to begin with, not the same as doing something to the E-ledges on the mountaineers route or whatever (although it is my understanding that some effort was made to keep people from taking a low route on the ledges that people were falling off of).

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#48755 - 11/16/16 06:50 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: IncredibleHuck]
RichardK Offline


Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 104
Loc: East Coast Florida
About 10 years ago, on one of our Whitney dayhikes, we saw a trail maintenance crew working on the upper part of the 97 switchbacks. They were using 6 foot long pry bars to move large rocks. I don't know if they were forest service employees, contractors, or volunteers. We never had any trouble going up that difficult section at night by headlamp. Strangely, coming down in daylight was different. There are spots where you have to look ahead dozens of feet to see where the trail continues. Then, all you see are scuff marks on the granite. Once we were sitting on a large rock by the creek just past Outpost Camp about 3AM drawing water. A group of six hikers came by descending. They had started the day before on the Mountaineer's Route. They complained about how difficult the section above Mirror Lake was. They said they lost the trail several times.

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#48756 - 11/16/16 07:44 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Sloper]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
As a hiker, you bear the responsibility to know the dangers of any piece of real estate you hike. Sadly today, we have too many going out without many of the 10 essentials, let alone knowing anything about the area they are hiking through. This is a known problem and should be accounted for before you walk on the trail.

This trail is a part of the John Muir Wilderness, which means it is going to be kept as close to its nature state as possible. This does not include putting a bunch of rock delineators along the trail.

Over the years, we have discussed solar latrines up along the trail and how you need an act of God to get them put back in because this area is covered under the Wilderness Act of 1964. Personally, I have changed my position on this from putting them back in to leaving it as is. If anything changes are made, it should be access.

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#48757 - 11/16/16 07:51 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Sloper]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Sloper
I tend to come down on the side of leaving the wilderness alone as much as possible, but I have to admit I have mixed feelings about that area. It sticks out in my mind as one of the most deceptive bits of trail I have encountered, and the whole Whitney trail tradition is pretty far from being a wilderness situation to begin with, not the same as doing something to the E-ledges on the mountaineers route or whatever (although it is my understanding that some effort was made to keep people from taking a low route on the ledges that people were falling off of).


The only solution in this regard is to cherry stem it but that is not going to happen. No California pol would propose it.

Much of what we are seeing today goes along with the new hiking ethos. Let's meet in the parking lot for the first time and go out as individuals, we share a permit but we are not a group. There is safety in numbers as long as the numbers are kept reasonable.

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#48759 - 11/16/16 08:07 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Bob West]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Bob West
I agree with you, very much so. Just imagine the Whitney trail looking something like the trail to Vernal Falls, in Yosemite: paved, and perhaps benches every now and then for resting... Groan.

No volunteer trail groups over here. All trail work by the USFS is kept to a minimum: removing rock slides, cutting paths through fallen trees, etc. The biggest project in recent years was the construction of a bypass below Bishop Pass, to avoid a very dangerous rock slide area.

Try to imagine long pack trains laden with heavy equipment rumbling up and down the Whitney trail. And then the protests from people who want those nasty mules and horses banned from the wildness.



The only way things get done in the forest is with volunteers. The FS has no budget for this and will find no budget for this. Almost all the work done in our forests are done by volunteers from the visitors centers to trail crews.

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#48762 - 11/16/16 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
We're not asking the FS to make improvements because it will inexorably affect change. We try and petition because it might improve the situation.

We have some concerned parents who lost a son. If by virtue of petitioning we can affect the FS to make SOME improvements, it might prevent the loss of another life.

In this case it is worth asking the FS to make a change to the trail. It is not harmful to petition and ask. It is not harmful to be heard.

Not petitioning because it might not change anything, best case scenario, is ineffective. Worst case scenario, it is harmfully negligent. This fact is indisputable.

Perhaps our area of dispute may be better spent proffering effective solutions, i.e. building a volunteer force for trail improvement under the auspices of the USFS approval.
_________________________
@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for landscape and mountain photo spamming...

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#48764 - 11/16/16 12:45 PM 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
We're not asking the FS to make improvements because it will inexorably affect change. We try and petition because it might improve the situation.

We have some concerned parents who lost a son. If by virtue of petitioning we can affect the FS to make SOME improvements, it might prevent the loss of another life.

In this case it is worth asking the FS to make a change to the trail. It is not harmful to petition and ask. It is not harmful to be heard.

Not petitioning because it might not change anything, best case scenario, is ineffective. Worst case scenario, it is harmfully negligent. This fact is indisputable.

Perhaps our area of dispute may be better spent proffering effective solutions, i.e. building a volunteer force for trail improvement under the auspices of the USFS approval.




I have asked for the better part of two day how this gets done. There are no trail maintenance volunteer groups in the Eastern Sierra. You have to use materials that are there. And there is the question of it being a structure. This is after all a Wilderness...see the Wilderness Act of 1964.

The only thing that has been suggested that can work immediately is hiker education. I know enough not to go through this area after dark. I learned that the first time up. All you need to do run a search deaths on Mt. Whitney and John Likely shows up. Part of the problem here is most coming here are willfully ignorant of the dangers from the moment quota season begins..."Where can I rent clampons and a ice pick?" sound familiar? and continues into October where people have been killed glissading the chute using trekking poles as a break.

There used to be a sign on the patio cover and at the John Muir Wilderness entrance...PEOPLE DIE HERE!!! God, I wish these signs were never taken down.

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#48765 - 11/16/16 01:28 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: wbtravis]
JOHN heinz Offline


Registered: 11/16/16
Posts: 6
Loc: Nor Cal
Everybody let me just end this topic now. The wilderness is the wilderness, you cannot protect those who go out there unprepared, with no experience and very poor judgement. I just learned that another hiker died on Whitney late last night. The female was unprepared. Like someone mentioned above, hikers should research areas and know what they are getting themselves into before a tragedy occurs. You can build all the walls and signs you want but hikers will still climb even with bad weather or no gear or knowledge to hunker down. I'm sorry for those who want more safety out there, the number one safety tool is your HEAD...

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#48766 - 11/16/16 01:31 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: JOHN heinz]
JOHN heinz Offline


Registered: 11/16/16
Posts: 6
Loc: Nor Cal
Snacking Bear, the person who perished last night did not have an ice axe, helmet or crampons. Do you see the severity of this up the mountaineers route??? Any changes to the trail cannot avoid this stuff.

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#48768 - 11/16/16 01:42 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: JOHN heinz]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7870
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: JOHN heinz
I just learned that another hiker died on Whitney late last night.

JH, is there a report somewhere of this?

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#48769 - 11/16/16 01:43 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: JOHN heinz]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 502
Loc: Nashville, TN
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.
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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: 7870
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: 7870
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: 7870
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: 7870
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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#48822 - 11/24/16 08:08 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...
SN,

1 in 34,000 death bring on a do something, do anything response many here. What search and rescue did was temporary and meant to be just that. There were many such responses on Mt. Baldy, still people died and people got lost. My guess is the lost is down with the addition of the signage but the deaths will be back this coming winter when the willfully ignorant return with their Microspikes and trekking poles.

Your response is to do something outside the rules and regs, which by definition is a non-permanent response. Why don'cha call the rec. officer for the Inyo and do this the right way? I know all the forests love what their volunteers do for them.

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#48823 - 11/24/16 08:55 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: wbtravis]
Mescalito345 Offline


Registered: 02/14/12
Posts: 24
Loc: Las Vegas, NV
Iíve been on the Whitney main trail about 15 times, and have occasionally lost the trail near Mirror Lake. But the terrain is pretty mellow there, so Iím not understanding how a long fall is likely. Iím sure that there some drop-offs a few hundred feet away, but it seems like they would be easy to avoid, even in the dark.

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#48825 - 11/24/16 09:28 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: wbtravis]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1148
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
Your response is to do something outside the rules and regs, which by definition is a non-permanent response... Why don'cha call the rec. officer for the Inyo and do this the right way? I know all the forests love what their volunteers do for them.

The original poster has already contacted Inyo with a letter. Steve called them also. Its assumed they would be informed and fine with this. We're not talking brick and mortar permanent, its just piling more rocks on top of what the SAR team already started.

Using social media to crowd source the manual labor seems like a good approach, but if a volunteer group takes it on, that's even better. Despite all the "dumb hiker" stories on this thread, I think there are plenty of hikers capable and willing to pitch in, if they were just aware of it.

This thread has turned into a big "no can do" "hikers are stupid" bummer. I hope the families and friends of anyone who perished at that spot never reads it.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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#48831 - 11/24/16 09:27 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: SierraNevada]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7870
Loc: Fresno, CA
I used Google Earth to try to find the spot.


Here's the image from G.E., I marked the zig zag with the x pointer. The other pointer is the location of the dot on the topo map I found related to John Likely's search.
Click the map to see the full-size:


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#48834 - 11/25/16 06:33 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: IncredibleHuck]
RichardK Offline


Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 104
Loc: East Coast Florida
According to Doug on 11/21

Quote:
Sunday night it started raining in the Valley , snow level was down to about 6500' so the upper elevations got hit. This storm most likely closed the season for day hikes and for sure full winter mountaineering skills , well for a safe trip anyway.


The section where people want a rock wall is now under snow and cannot be reached without winter hiking abilities. That means the earliest that random volunteers can build a wall is next June. By then, no one will remember this thread or the incident. I mean no disrespect for the departed. It's just human nature, today's emergency is tomorrow's ancient history.

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#48835 - 11/25/16 08:37 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: RichardK]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1148
Loc: NorCal
You're right, this thread will be buried on page 12 soon, but Steve could "stick" a longterm thread that stays near the top like some other important threads. Any attempt to motivate volunteers for any project requires an on-going information campaign of some sort. It would help if the folks at the store were supportive, maybe post a flyer.

Now if people dropped off their full wag bags instead of rocks, heck, there would be a huge wall there in no time. grin
[Do I really have to declare that I'm kidding? I guess I do, and I am.]

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#48837 - 11/25/16 09:24 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: SierraNevada]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1148
Loc: NorCal
Here's another Google Earth view, this one on the descent. I see two switchbacks of concern right in this area. I've outlined a portion of the trail where it gets very faint.


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#48839 - 11/27/16 09:32 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
[quote=wbtravis]
Using social media to crowd source the manual labor seems like a good approach, but if a volunteer group takes it on, that's even better. Despite all the "dumb hiker" stories on this thread, I think there are plenty of hikers capable and willing to pitch in, if they were just aware of it.

This thread has turned into a big "no can do" "hikers are stupid" bummer. I hope the families and friends of anyone who perished at that spot never reads it.

Happy Thanksgiving.


"No can do." Actually, all I have said is do it right. Not no can do. Based on your words, I would say I am a lot more involved in hiker safety than you. I have doing passively for years, actively for the last four years. The only thing that has a chance of working is education. The Wilderness Act of 1964 comes into play here as does the fact this is a sparsely populated area. You cannot get critical mass for a volunteer group. Nothing is going to happen here without an organized volunteer group and under the auspices of the Forest Service.

I don't write for the families. I write for those who pass this way in the future. What is past is past. Learn from it, talk about. Keep it pertinent. So the next group of hikers who go up there know about Powell and Likely. Do you know about Lopez? Nguyen? Goodman? I use these names all the time because I don't want people to end up in the hospital or cemetery.

"Hikers are stupid"...actually to a great extent the meetup/modern hiker are but that is at best a tangential issue.

People willing to pitch in, that is something that I have not found in evidence. They willing to put a few rocks up...maybe. They are not willing to do the heavy lifting. Getting qualified by FS to use a pry bar and other tools required do something permanent within parameters of Wilderness Act that is doing something. Phone calls to a RSO shows very little.

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#48840 - 11/27/16 09:57 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: wbtravis]
Mescalito345 Offline


Registered: 02/14/12
Posts: 24
Loc: Las Vegas, NV
wbtravis: I agree, itís important to learn from the mistakes made by others. Too often, the details about hiking and climbing accidents are kept secret. I usually go hiking or climbing 7 or 8 times a month. If eventually I have some type of accident, Iíd want others to know exactly what type of mistakes I made.

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#48842 - 11/27/16 10:23 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Mescalito345]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 144
Loc: The OC
The last two times I've been on the main trail have been in snow. On the earlier hike, the snow was only holding in the Consultation drainage. However, the latter was a spring ascent - I ended up turning around after climbing the Chute.

Anyway, it began to snow during my descent on the earlier occasion, and having missed the trail in the section being discussed, I decided to backtrack and downclimb to Consultation. I then just post-holed and slid down to Trailside meadow and continued on the (clear) trail.

For the spring ascent, I didn't even follow the trail above LP lake. People had been attempting summits the previous week, so there were boot tracks to follow. When the snow level if high enough - maybe 3-4', it's easier to just follow the Consultation drainage and forgo that faint part of the trail altogether.



PS There was a party of 6 that arrived at Trail camp later in the day that didn't bother to try and summit the next day. I ran into them @ Outpost while they were drying their gear. Turns out during their descent, they missed the cut-over to Mirror altogether and descended via the waterfall to Outpost. They were happy to be back on level terrain!

Snow conditions are weird - they are both more dangerous, yet also provide some buffer - like descending next to a waterfall - because the talus is buried and you can crawl down on top of the snow.

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#48844 - 11/27/16 01:34 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: wbtravis]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1148
Loc: NorCal
WB, I admit, you do seem to run into a lot more dumb hikers than I do, but then again I hike mostly in Northern California. We don't have much graffiti or broken window glass at our trailheads either. I lived in Wrightwood near Baldy for a year and San Diego for 15 years, so I think I can speak fairly to the differences in hiker intelligence between SoCal to NorCal, as a general observation of course.

Getting the word out about this location serves as an information campaign - making people aware of past accidents there, and also a chance for people to grab a hand-size rock or two on the way up from Trailside Meadow or on the way down. Minor trail work, well within the Wilderness Act. This situation happens all over the wilderness where a trail is on solid granite and easy to lose. The common solution is to erect cairns (ducks) or line the trail with small rocks. Or perhaps build a small guidewall.

Looking at the Google Earth shots, it appears that a small line of rocks on each side of the trail would do well to guide hikers through this section over solid granite. I even see a small borrow area just below the second switchback where hikers could pick up a small rock or two.

Lastly, again, any plan would be cleared with Inyo. We're just talking hypothetically at this point. If we can't get over the "no can do" stuff, than nothing happens, as usual.

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#48846 - 11/28/16 07:10 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...
NoCal has the same problems we do, unfortunately, according to an article I read last week out of El Dorado County. The one major difference is their more people lost up north, most likely because of we have more people on our trails keeping people with pictures of the message boards as map found.

Lasting solutions take thought and time. The location makes things difficult because there are not a lot of people there. What I would suggest to those who want something longer last is to contact the Inyo's Volunteer Coordinator and Recreation Officer. In the interim, pound into people's head that this is a dangerous area after dark, just like we pound into people's head that the chute should only be done by those with ice axe, crampons and basic snow skills. We do this in SoCal and people get hurt in the same places every year there doing the same things. However, it does get through to some. That is what this and Doug's board should be about.

Tangentially, after God knows how many news articles, clarion sirens blasting on the local news and eight new signs on Mt. Baldy. 5 people still got rescued on Mt. Baldy over the weekend...one seriously injured and one had a near death experience. Still Sunday night people wanted to use there brand new state of the art mountaineering gear to them...Microspikes, on this mountain for the first time. It you think a line of rock is going to make much of a difference above Mirror Lake, I got this bridge in San Pedro that needs selling.

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#48847 - 11/28/16 07:37 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: wbtravis]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
I agree; no matter what aids are provided hikers, stupid mistakes will still be made.

As far as the idea of adding rocks to the areas in question... Any trail work must be left to the professionals of the USFS. Just piling up rocks, with individuals added their little bit, will create another hazard: rock-fall on those on the trail below. Don't do it! Posters here who are encouraging that are just creating problems - knock it off!

Folks need to take their concerns to the USFS and let them decided how and if to improve the trail. Their crews know best; not wanabe trail builders.

If any trail makes people nervous, they shouldn't go there. Mt. Whitney is not Disneyland. Get over it.


Edited by Bob West (11/28/16 07:38 AM)

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#48852 - 11/29/16 07:23 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Bob West]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1148
Loc: NorCal
Well, I too am done trying to discuss solutions here. One by one everyone trying to organize a response to this trail defect has given up to the relentless "no can do" responses.

Hopefully Inyo will respond to the letter and phone calls discussed in this thread and build on the rock piles started by the Search and Rescue Team. I believe something will get built here some day to fix this trail defect, the only question is when and how many more times SAR will have to come back to this spot.

As for hiker education, its always a good thing, but it doesn't help people from losing a faint trail switching back over solid granite with no markers. It can happen to anyone. BTW, many of these "dumb hiker" stories might mean well, but in general its not very effective to mock people when teaching them.

Lastly, there are rocks lining both sides of the trail about 100 ft downhill from this spot, as seen in Google Earth. There are plenty of rocks in that area just below the dangerous spot leading over the cliff. That's all we're talking here folks. A simple trail improvement as seen all over the wilderness, even 100 ft away. But let's just leave it to the experts to carry a rock 100 ft and place it along the solid granite trail where there are no rocks available.

Peace out.

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#48854 - 11/29/16 07:59 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Mescalito345]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1148
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Mescalito345
Iíve been on the Whitney main trail about 15 times, and have occasionally lost the trail near Mirror Lake. But the terrain is pretty mellow there, so Iím not understanding how a long fall is likely. Iím sure that there some drop-offs a few hundred feet away, but it seems like they would be easy to avoid, even in the dark.

This aerial might help explain the problem in this area above Mirror Lake. The cliff has a chute that someone might attempt. Combine this with the more distant views and a map to complete the picture.

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#48855 - 11/29/16 08:19 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: SierraNevada]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7870
Loc: Fresno, CA
SN: Nice Google Earth work!
- - - - - -

So, William, since you have posted so many times, if I get the volunteer trip set up, will you come along?

I can hardly believe the incredible negative attitude -- no wonder people you talk to ignore everything and push on. Telling people they are "dumb noobs" is a sure fire way to convince them to ignore you.

Let's see what we can do for late June or early July.

- - - - -

Seriously, I am blown away by the lack of logic used here. All we need a row of rocks as shown in the G.E. picture above at just two turns. Amazing that violations of the Wilderness Act is even mentioned. Hiker education does NOT help the hapless hiker who is trying to get off the mountain after falling behind schedule and wandering down the trail in the dark. But a row of boulders sure would.

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#48856 - 11/29/16 08:32 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
There are many places on Eastern Sierra trails where it is possible to get lost. I've been temporarily lost more than once on supposedly easy trails when I was in too big of a hurry. There are so many vague trail spots in the Eastern Sierra, that it would probably take several life-times of work to "make them safe".

It will be interesting to see if your and SNs efforts come to anything. Keep us informed, will you?

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#48858 - 11/29/16 09:52 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 502
Loc: Nashville, TN
Let me know when you are thinking. I would like to help.

A weekend or two of work is worth possibly helping a helpless OR "stupid" hiker stay safe. Deaths avoided are far harder to quantify over lives lost. Still, I wouldn't be mad at a day out in the mountains, getting my hands dirty.
_________________________
@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for landscape and mountain photo spamming...

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#48860 - 11/29/16 10:23 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Snacking Bear]
Mescalito345 Offline


Registered: 02/14/12
Posts: 24
Loc: Las Vegas, NV
SierraNevada: thanks for the aerial photo. I agree that a few extra cairns in that area would probably be useful.

But my main question is the part about ďdeadly cliffĒ. It seems like if you reached a place like that at night, it would make sense to turn around. In October 2013 on the Mountaineerís Route, I missed a switchback in the dark, while hiking alone. Eventually I found myself on a very narrow ledge, with a long drop-off. So I made a U-turn, and found the correct route.

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#48864 - 11/29/16 02:07 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Mescalito345]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 144
Loc: The OC
Originally Posted By: Mescalito345
I found myself on a very narrow ledge, with a long drop-off. So I made a U-turn, and found the correct route.


Because you were still thinking rationally. Introduce even the slightest hint of panic - racing thoughts like: it's getting dark, I'm cold, my friends/parents/kids will be worried, etc - sets into motion a whole different level of reaction(s), most of which most would not be classified as 'calm'.

In the vignette I shared above, I'll admit I had around 10 seconds of 'what should I do'? I'll repeat - I'd been out for 4 days hiking from Kearsarge, I wanted out, and it was beginning to snow. But, because I've been up there a number of times before, I knew in general where I was ie the trail drops down to Trailside meadow, so I had no problem backtracking knowing that the Consulation drainage would get me to the same place.

I don't know if anyone from this board saw this TR from last spring (http://www.highsierratopix.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=14472), but there was a moment where I lost the trail (ie boot tracks) for around 5-10 minutes below Muir pass.

Finally, I reached a ledge where I could see boot tracks way down below. For around 5-10 seconds, I was tempted to downclimb the cliffy area (made easier by the snow), rather than hike back up for 5-10 minutes in deep post-hole conditions to regain the point where I should have turned.

However, because I've been in these kinds of situations before, I just had to relax, laugh at myself, and begin trudging back. But, if you take someone who is placed in this kind of situation for the first time, and take into consideration basic human nature, then the annual death tolls (including one just a few days ago) begin to make more sense.


Edited by Hobbes (11/29/16 02:09 PM)

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#48865 - 11/29/16 02:14 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Hobbes]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7870
Loc: Fresno, CA
Hobbes, what you are relating to is spot on. We are all familiar with the Sierra and hiking in general. The people who lost their way in the area were on the trail for the first time, and some from out of state.

I'll bet they just figured they could down-climb and hit the trail somewhere below.

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#48867 - 11/29/16 08:28 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Mescalito345]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1148
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Mescalito345
Iíve been on the Whitney main trail about 15 times, and have occasionally lost the trail near Mirror Lake. But the terrain is pretty mellow there, so Iím not understanding how a long fall is likely. Iím sure that there some drop-offs a few hundred feet away, but it seems like they would be easy to avoid, even in the dark.

There is a chute down the cliff side that someone might try to descend (from the white arrow switchback). Combine that possibility with Hobbes's post about how people tend to panic when lost in the dark, and it all adds up, starting with losing the trail.



Edited by SierraNevada (11/29/16 08:31 PM)

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#48868 - 11/30/16 09:06 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Steve C
SN: Nice Google Earth work!
- - - - - -

So, William, since you have posted so many times, if I get the volunteer trip set up, will you come along?

I can hardly believe the incredible negative attitude -- no wonder people you talk to ignore everything and push on. Telling people they are "dumb noobs" is a sure fire way to convince them to ignore you.

Let's see what we can do for late June or early July.

- - - - -

Seriously, I am blown away by the lack of logic used here. All we need a row of rocks as shown in the G.E. picture above at just two turns. Amazing that violations of the Wilderness Act is even mentioned. Hiker education does NOT help the hapless hiker who is trying to get off the mountain after falling behind schedule and wandering down the trail in the dark. But a row of boulders sure would.


Actually Steve, I have done quite a lot locally where comes to hiker safety. You would not know because I don't talk about it much. As far going to the Sierra, I would love to but family matters have cut down what I can do. And I would be more inclined to that time in SoCal with its problems, many of which I have fixed over the last 4 years. Why do you think I know what gets things done with the FS? Why do you think I know the Wilderness Act of 1964 comes into play here?

I love your if you disagree with me you are negative language. All I have said is to do it right rather than some willy-nilly nonsense that can cause other problems, as Bob West said. If you want to ride heard call the Volunteer Coordinator and see if you can work something out. You just don't go out with a pry bar and a mattock...believe me, not with the FS. All I have said is do something that will last and will be compliant to the Wilderness Act.

The hapless hiker should educate him or herself. There are only 297,000 death on Mt. Whitney responses at Google in a second. You are responsible for you, period. It is not the government's fault that you decided to go up the trail unprepared and unprepared is not knowing about this area after dark.

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#48869 - 11/30/16 11:19 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: wbtravis]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
The USFS can be quite responsive if one approaches them in the right way.

Every Spring, as we locals start using trails, many of us watch for potential trail problems: fallen rocks, trees, erosion, etc. Then those problems are reported, in person, to either the White Mountain visitor center or the visitor center south of Lone Pine, depending on which one is nearest the trail in question. The FS is very good at following up on those reports, and dispatches a trail maintenance crew, as soon as one is available, to fix the trail. This approach seems to work a lot better, and in a more timely manner, than writing letters, signing petitions or making 'phone calls.

Also, the various pack stations on the East side (and probably on the West side) are very good at fixing damaged trails as they begin their packing season. This work is done with the approval of the FS. Every year we see packers working to clear snow on the switch-backs below Bishop Pass; makes it safer for hikers and pack animals. They are very good at this work, and have been doing it for generations.

I would recommend that those who have concerns about the Mt. Whitney trail conditions make an appointment with the Forest Supervisor, and explain the situation as you perceive it.

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#48870 - 12/01/16 08:07 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: JPowell]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1148
Loc: NorCal
Bob and WB. I'm reposting the letter from page 2 of this lengthy thread, from the father of the deceased, Michael Powell. There is another letter going around as well to the Forest Supervisor. So Inyo is well informed at this point and some official response will probably be forthcoming to improve the trail navigation in this area. In addition, the Search and Rescue team should also be following up with Inyo NF regarding their impromptu trail work at this spot (which is NOT a violation of the Wilderness Act).

If you're truly concerned about people moving small rocks along the trail, perhaps you two could use your experience and contacts to organize a properly sanctioned trail improvement. Its probably going to happen either way, but your support would be welcome.

Originally Posted By: JPowell
All,

I have written the following letter to the managers of the Inyo National Forest.

I invite others, especially those who have lost the trail above Mirror Lake, to join me in this effort.

November 14, 2016

Ed Armenta, Forest Supervisor (earmenta@fs.fed.us)
Paul Fuselier, Acting District Ranger (pfuselier@fs.fed.us)
Inyo National Forest

Dear Mr. Armenta and Mr. Fuselier,
As you already know, my son Michael Powell died in a tragic hiking accident on October 18, 2016.

This accident is disturbingly similar to those of John Likely in June of 2014 and Shyam Das in August of 2012. I've been reading the accounts of experienced Mt. Whitney hikers on the thread discussing Mike's accident at http://www.whitneyzone.com/Ö/Fallen_Hiker_on_Monday_10-17-1Ö

From what I've been able to surmise from talking with Mike's hiking companion and reading about that location on the trail, I'm estimating that they lost the trail while descending in the dark (in the area of 36.567484 N; 118267251 W) and, while looking to find the trail, wandered out to the dangerous cliff area above Mirror Lake.

As discussed on the Whitney Zone website, this part of the trail is difficult to navigate on descents, especially in the dark, and has fooled even experienced hikers.

I am writing to ask you to take a look at this part of the trail with an eye toward improving the trail marking of the switchbacks in this area; there needs to be better visual cues (cairns, small signs) to guide hikers to keep them on the trail and away from the cliffs.

I appreciate your attention to this request and I ask to be kept informed of actions taken by the National Forest Service in this matter.

Sincerely,
James C. Powell, Jr.

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#48871 - 12/01/16 11:09 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: SierraNevada]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 144
Loc: The OC
First & foremost, the FS should place a (metal) sign warning people to turn back at the point were so many have lost the trail (including myself).

Secondly, it would be fairly trivial to drive in a handful of cable linked stakes/poles (similar to the Cables) on that same part of the trail in order to provide some kind of direction reminder. However, unlike the Cables, they wouldn't have to perform any real physical function; rather, they could be 2-3' high like a golf course barrier.

Thirdly, if the FS can build large obelisk monuments to Kek (praise be Kek) on Langley, a few well placed directional reminders above Mirror would be fairly easy in comparison indeed.

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#48872 - 12/01/16 12:40 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: SierraNevada]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
The final decision on your project will be in the hands of the USFS. Perhaps this thread will resume next Spring if and when the FS decides what to do.

Sorry, no help from me on this. I've stated my case on this and have no desire to get on board with your cause. Good luck.

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#48873 - 12/01/16 02:18 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Hobbes]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Hobbes:

Pretty sure the "Kek" Cairns are NPS, if they are the ones I am thinking of: route markers on the west slope? Inyo may have a different view and budget for such things
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#48874 - 12/01/16 04:54 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: saltydog]
dbd Offline


Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 216
Loc: San Diego
Originally Posted By: saltydog
Hobbes:

Pretty sure the "Kek" Cairns are NPS, if they are the ones I am thinking of: route markers on the west slope? Inyo may have a different view and budget for such things


NPS tries to limit damage by concentrating use. From the alternative selected in their Wilderness Stewardship Plan:

Issue:
"The Mount Langley area is being impacted
from social trailing and opportunities for
solitude in this area are decreasing."
Action:
"To address the social trailing and resulting
resource damage, Class 1 trails would be
constructed to the summit of Mount Langley from
Army Pass, and from Soldier Lakes to the Mount
Langley Trail. Informal trails would be
rehabilitated."

The cairns are there to protect the slopes from the people (as an alternative to limiting the number of people), not to protect the people from the slopes.

Dale B. Dalrymple

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#48876 - 12/02/16 09:38 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: dbd]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 144
Loc: The OC
You are correct, NPS side.

Still, the fundamental question remains: do we serve the government, or does the government serve us? Thankfully, that question is answered in the preamble:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I cannot quite grasp why some defer to language that is meant to be interpreted, rather than followed in rote manner. In other words, we need to look to intent. The '64 act was designed primarily to prevent the kind of development activities being planned like Disney's proposed ski resort.

It was not crafted to prevent common sense, low impact measures to protect both people and nature. To argue otherwise, to hide behind the true meaning of the law, could easily be construed as just a cover for serious social impairments.

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#48878 - 12/03/16 06:44 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Hobbes]
RichardK Offline


Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 104
Loc: East Coast Florida
Originally Posted By: Hobbes
Still, the fundamental question remains: do we serve the government, or does the government serve us?


What happens when one of us wants the government to serve one way and the other wants the government to serve a different way? Somebody will pout that the government isn't serving the people when they really mean that the government isn't serving them the way they want to be served.

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#48881 - 12/03/16 04:08 PM 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
Bob and WB. I'm reposting the letter from page 2 of this lengthy thread, from the father of the deceased, Michael Powell. There is another letter going around as well to the Forest Supervisor. So Inyo is well informed at this point and some official response will probably be forthcoming to improve the trail navigation in this area. In addition, the Search and Rescue team should also be following up with Inyo NF regarding their impromptu trail work at this spot (which is NOT a violation of the Wilderness Act).

If you're truly concerned about people moving small rocks along the trail, perhaps you two could use your experience and contacts to organize a properly sanctioned trail improvement. Its probably going to happen either way, but your support would be welcome.


As I said to Steve, I do my bit in SoCal and do not have the time to spend in the Sierra because of family issues.

Bob West just told you how to get things done. Why don't you either stop in WMRS or call the volunteer coordinator and tell him you want to volunteer for any work on the MMWT in the Mirror Lake area.

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#48882 - 12/03/16 04:11 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Hobbes]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Hobbes
First & foremost, the FS should place a (metal) sign warning people to turn back at the point were so many have lost the trail (including myself).

Secondly, it would be fairly trivial to drive in a handful of cable linked stakes/poles (similar to the Cables) on that same part of the trail in order to provide some kind of direction reminder. However, unlike the Cables, they wouldn't have to perform any real physical function; rather, they could be 2-3' high like a golf course barrier.

Thirdly, if the FS can build large obelisk monuments to Kek (praise be Kek) on Langley, a few well placed directional reminders above Mirror would be fairly easy in comparison indeed.


Nothing you suggest for will be done. This area is governed by the Wilderness Act.

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#48883 - 12/03/16 07:26 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: wbtravis]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
WB. Is this the paragraph in the Wilderness Act to which you refer?

"c) A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value."

After years hiking on the East side of the range, I am aware of sections of many trails that could be considered dangerous, but have no permanent cables or walls for the protection of hikers. And I hope it never happens. Trails have been rerouted to avoid dangerous rock fall zones or in order to protect areas of overuse, but those activities don't violate the Wilderness Act.





Edited by Bob West (12/03/16 07:38 PM)

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#48888 - 12/05/16 10:14 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Bob West]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7870
Loc: Fresno, CA
Just found this! With all the other political news, this one barely gets noticed...

Want To Build Trails? New Law Bolsters Volunteerism



Quote:
President Obama this week signed a sweeping bill that will improve nearly 120,000 miles of national trails with volunteer labor.

The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act is a bi-partisan effort to expand volunteerism within the U.S. Forest Service. It also aims to make federal lands more accessible to the public.

The new law requires the Forest Service to develop and implement a strategy to increase the number of volunteers working on trail maintenance....

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#48889 - 12/05/16 01:56 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: SierraNevada]
JPowell Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 5
Loc: California
I received a written response from the Forest Supervisor. I thought it was a good letter. Mike's accident (and others in the same area) was reviewed by NFS and Inyo SAR. At the Supervisor's request, the site was visited by the NFS trail coordinator and Whitney wilderness ranger; while there, they added more rocks to the berm. The letter further indicates staff will revisit the site soon after the snow melts to "determine if there is something that could reasonably be done to reduce confusion along this section of the trail."

I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread.

Jim Powell

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#48890 - 12/05/16 02:03 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: JPowell]
Paul Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 199
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
Hopefully they visit the site at night when most, if not all the accidents occur.

As pointed out in earlier posts, the area in question seems to be a problem for hikers descending at night, after a long day of hiking.

These hikers are usually in a zombie state from exhaustion.

paul

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#48891 - 12/06/16 05:49 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: JPowell]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1148
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: JPowell
I received a written response from the Forest Supervisor. I thought it was a good letter. Mike's accident (and others in the same area) was reviewed by NFS and Inyo SAR. At the Supervisor's request, the site was visited by the NFS trail coordinator and Whitney wilderness ranger; while there, they added more rocks to the berm. The letter further indicates staff will revisit the site soon after the snow melts to "determine if there is something that could reasonably be done to reduce confusion along this section of the trail."

I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread.

Jim Powell

Thank you, Mr. Powell, for following up during your time of immeasurable grief. Your effort has already made a positive impact toward preventing future disasters at this confusing and dangerous section of trail. Rest assured, more will be done to complete a reasonable trail improvement and there will be plenty of volunteers if needed.

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