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[at-l] Whites and slackpacking

Concerning the story about the hypothermia victim in
the Whites. I don't know the whole story, but I know

In 1998, I hiked from Beaver Brook Shelter to the
Lonesome Lake Hut, a total of about 17 miles, if I
recall. The day began fairly warm but damp, and rain
was forecast.

As the day wore on, the weather worsened. By the time
I climbed up and over Kinsman Mountain, there was
about a 40-mile-an-hour wind and driving sleet.

In hindsight, it might have been foolish to press on
to the LL Hut, but I knew once I got there I could get
dry, warm and fed. And, being a thru-hiker, I was
confident in my fitness level after about 1,700 miles.

I was the only person to pass through the hut that
day, and the caretaker figured everyone else had
decided to stay put.

About two hours after I got there, sometime near dark,
an older couple, probably in their 60s, came literally
staggering in. They had been slackpacking south, and
I'm not sure exactly where they were headed, but they
gravely underestimated the difficulty of hiking on
that terrain in that weather.

They were carrying no shelter, very little food, and
no extra clothes. They were exhausted, hungry and
freezing, and this was prime hypothermia weather. In
short, they were DAMN lucky they got to the hut. And
it proved how dangerous slackpacking can be in the

As far as I'm concerned, slackpacking is an individual
choice. Do it or not, hike your own hike and all that.
But when you're in the Whites, you need to use common
sense or you can run into serious trouble.

Victory Gallop
GA--->ME  '98

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