Kid just loves him some cows (komos) wrote,
Kid just loves him some cows

-4.6°F, 116 MPH winds

Those of you who have known me long enough likely have heard me voice frustration over hikers who, either through overconfidence or outright pride, don't give enough respect to the dangers of the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It seems that every year there's a new story that begins "He had been hiking in the Whites when..."

This all began a several years ago when, on the coldest weekend I could remember, a man stumbled into the Mt. Washington Observatory with obvious signs of frostbite with stories of setting out to hike the Presidentials under "extreme conditions" with a friend. He had left his friend for dead when he began to exhibit signs of hypothermia because the two had an understanding that "anything that happens out there is purely and individual effort." His friend died. His body was recovered, but several of the rescue workers suffered frostbite-related injuries in the process. All of this was made worse because a couple of years earlier, he had led someone else out in similar conditions who lost 7 toes to frostbite.

Conditions this week have been about as bad as they were then, and lo, there's been another death. I honestly don't know what possesses people.

If you've been to the Mount Washington Observatory and have seen the photographs, you know that it's like a different planet up there during the winter. Yes, it makes for a challenging climb. Yes, I know that we are starved for visceral experience. Still, there has to be a point where pushing the envelope descends into rank stupidity.

Go when the conditions favor it people, and for the love of all that is holy, pay attention.

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