View Full Version : Father, 2 sons die after hiking in cold on Ozark Trail .

01-15-2013, 11:14 PM
Saw this on the news. thought it was relevant to everyone here, especially those with kids. This really touched home, not just because of the fact it was a dad with two sons out hiking like I so often do, but because I have been in that same situation where the weather turned bad, I misjudged the situation, became lost and nearly led us to catastrophe. Why I ever thought it would be a good idea to take the boys to the chimney rocks via Hornet Tree Top in February is beyond me. Why I didn't turn around when I saw the fog was just ignorance on my part. When the temp suddenly dropped and the fog started freezing on the hemlock needles we tried to come down, but I couldn't find the correct ridge back down. It wasn't until the fog luckily cleared at 3:30 in the afternoon that I could orient myself to landmarks in the distance and find the right ridge down. I've experienced all of the stages of panic when lost, recognized them, and tried to fight them off, and still nearly succumbed to the panic. You cannot imagine how that feels until you really experience it. Now compound that with your kids depending on you to get them home.
The only difference in that guy and me wasn't anything I did, I got lucky and the weather turned for the better and I found my way out before the dark and cold set in. This guy wasn't so lucky.
I posted this to remind everyone to never take the weather for granted, especially in winter. No matter how "nice" the day may seem...always, always, always carry the basics, extra warm layers, firestarter, map/compass/gps, even a small tarp (5x7 silnylon at walmart for $10 fits in a pocket and makes a reasonable emergency shelter to get you out of a freezing rain) even on DAY TRIPS. Yes, absolutely every day trip I take now, even if its on completely on highly trafficked trails, I bring all of those things. Stay safe.

I should have turned around already.

This started happening suddenly all around us. I suddenly realized I should have left a long time ago.

01-16-2013, 06:17 AM
Absolutely heartbreaking!

After coming back from our first backcountry overnighter, I realized I had taken WAY too much stuff. Maybe not.

I always try to take gear if conditions get worse. They rarely do, but when it happens, it can make all the difference. Holli & I did a hike to LeConte last year Boulevard to Alum. Supposedly upper 60's really turned out to be 38 with 20-30 mile an hour winds.

Jay, I doubt you were as close as this guy was, but it always a good lesson in keeping it safe.

01-16-2013, 07:02 PM
Great Smoky Mountains Media Advisory

Release Date: Immediate

Contact: Dana Soehn, Dana_Soehn@nps.gov (wlmailhtml:{16DA47B0-82EE-4369-A0CC-B1ED574E3AAA}mid://00000021/!x-usc:mailto:Dana_Soehn@nps.gov)

Phone number: 865-436-1207

Date: January 16, 2013

Hiker Fatality on AT near Tricorner Knob

An overdue male hiker, approximately 50 years of age, was discovered deceased at Tricorner Knob Shelter in Great Smoky Mountains National Park by Park Rangers early Wednesday afternoon, January 16, 2013. The name of the hiker is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of family.

The hiker left Newfound Gap on Saturday morning intending to hike 30 miles along the Appalachian Trail to Davenport Gap in North Carolina. The hiker was reported overdue Monday afternoon by a friend when he failed to show up at Davenport Gap. Rangers initiated an investigation at that time. Rangers were searching trails in the area when the discovery was made today.

Park Rangers are investigating the incident with the assistance of the Swain County Medical Examiner�s Office. The cause of death does not appear to be suspicious.

Dana Soehn
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Management Assistant/Public Affairs
107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
865-436-1207 (office)
865-712-4928 (cell)