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Deceased NH - Emily Sotelo, 20, missing at Franconia Notch in the White Mountains; Nov 2022

Rainforest

Laidback
Hard to believe, but Daily Mail has come up with another fantasy-land story this evening. This time they've rounded up someone who speaks as a hiking buddy of ES.... It turns out, though, that this person only seems ever to have been with ES for a couple of miles on one trip. And she wasn't part of any search.

I know that I only met her briefly for a magical interlude in the woods,' Callaghan wrote. 'Talking for a couple miles. But her joy, when I met her, brought me joy. It just sucks that it has been snuffed out.

This person also calls the catastrophe a "coming of age experience". Ummmm.... this isn't a novel: she DIED.

 
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Nitty Gritty

Hangin' Out
Mindblowing. People from out of state are out there as we speak starting up the trail to Lafayette, laughing and giggling about how they're not carrying any emergency supplies and are "just out for a day hike". Look at their footwear.... This is the very trailhead ES set out on. The Colonel is trying to keep from sputtering... @One Fat Marmot , let the grumps begin.

 

Cabin Fever

Laidback
Mindblowing. People from out of state are out there as we speak starting up the trail to Lafayette, laughing and giggling about how they're not carrying any emergency supplies and are "just out for a day hike". Look at their footwear.... This is the very trailhead ES set out on. The Colonel is trying to keep from sputtering... @One Fat Marmot , let the grumps begin.

"Oh, we're just going for a day hike. Maybe find a view. If we like it, and find a good trail, we'll continue on" And off they trot, in city boots, heavily-worn scuffs, cotton sweatshirt, only one with a bag, but "we have a phone...."

And the lieutenant looks grim. Of course, after what he and a hundred others have gone through this weekend. And now, he's upped his message: you need winter hiking experience to venture onto these trails.
 

Breaking Trail

In the Groove
"Oh, we're just going for a day hike. Maybe find a view. If we like it, and find a good trail, we'll continue on" And off they trot, in city boots, heavily-worn scuffs, cotton sweatshirt, only one with a bag, but "we have a phone...."

And the lieutenant looks grim. Of course, after what he and a hundred others have gone through this weekend. And now, he's upped his message: you need winter hiking experience to venture onto these trails.
They are all women, young women.... Completely clueless.
 

I Am A Rock

For Real
@One Fat Marmot is on a roll, and I'm adding to it. November 16, 4 days before ES went missing. To be fair, I'm not sure if these photos are exactly contemporaneous, but the warning is.... Ohhhhh....

I hadn't really thought about this before; knowing the cell coverage at the trailhead, not just during the hike. I'm not certain ES's mom actually had cell phone coverage at the Flume parking lot where she was waiting for her daughter. She would've had to go into town (Lincoln), maybe?

I still don't understand the whole "I'll meet you at the Flume parking lot between 3 and 3:30" thing. What if ES got there early or mom got delayed? She'd have frozen to death in the parking lot waiting for her mother.

Screen Shot 2022-11-27 at 10.19.39 PM.jpg

315935679_517745767059775_7974015555113227287_n-2.jpg
 

Grok

Hangin' Out
I sent to look at that video @Cliffed Out , and found another one, on the same peak as ES, with photos…This guy was so lucky, but he also had a clue. It sounds like he realized there was a problem the moment he hit treeline. He was able to communicate with at least someone, and had the presence of mind to build a snow cave.


Maybe we should start a thread just for White Mountains rescue videos? People are making the same mistake over and over.
 
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Bucket Hat

Administrator
I’ve seen some folks on SM jumping to the conclusion that “getting blown off the mountain” is some kind of exaggerated NH-speak. It’s not. This is a search on Mount Washington in the Matrosova case:

[Video]
Matrosova discussion:

 

Sora

In the Groove
The obituary for Emily is online and her funeral service is today.
They are asking for donations to the various volunteer organizations who searched for her and recovered her, in lieu of flowers.
They also include the hikesafe website in the obituary.
 

Hates Ramen

Diggin' It
The obituary for Emily is online and her funeral service is today.
They are asking for donations to the various volunteer organizations who searched for her and recovered her, in lieu of flowers.
They also include the hikesafe website in the obituary.
It's all so unfortunate. I'm glad family is asking for donations to SAR; some families can't bring themselves to do that.
 

Rainforest

Laidback
Captain Eastman sure doesn't pull any punches. that's been true this whole event, but now he's doubling down. It seems there were so many levels of poor decisionmaking:

Head shake #1 She was wearing COTTON? Jaw drop....
Head shake #2 She passed the junction between the trail she was on (Greenleaf) and a second trail where she could bail right down to the valley (Old Bridle Path). She must already have been in dire straits, but was overriding concerns.
Head shake #3 She was wearing TRAIL RUNNERS. No spikes or lugged boots.
Head shake #4 The forecast was for nasty weather on every channel: big temperature drop and high wind.
 

Sora

In the Groove

Cliffed Out

Diggin' It
Oh, wow, @Rainforest ! You can see practically the whole trail from the hut to the peak in that photo. The map shows a spot where the trail zig zags. I'm trying to identify it in the photo, since that seems to be where Eastman is describing ES went off the trail.

I got a better map from CalTopo:

Screenshot 2022-12-05 at 5.01.30 PM.jpg
 
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Sora

In the Groove
Oh, wow, @Rainforest ! You can see practically the whole trail from the hut to the peak in that photo. The map shows a spot where the trail zig zags. I'm trying to identify it in the photo, since that seems to be where Eastman is describing ES went off the trail.

I got a better map from CalTopo:

I am also trying to figure out the wrong turn.

Eastman says “hairpin turn” which would be a 180 degree turn (right?) - but I only see a 90 degree turn at green leaf Hut towards mount Lafayette.
Maybe he meant 90 degree and not hairpin?

I’m assuming she came up Old bridle path and then instead of taking the right on Greenleaf trail towards the summit she hung a left toward eagle cliff by accident.

What’s I also don’t understand is that the article’s author (Giles) says ES started out on Greenleaf trail - but I think this might be a mistake in reading the map because it’s the Old Bridle Path trail that leads up from the Lafayette Place parking lot. Any ideas here?
 

Cabin Fever

Laidback
I figure ES was at the point where she got lost (the zig zags) just over 2 hours into her hike. On Greenleaf Trail, that would be about 3 miles, using rule of thumb 1/2 hour for each mile and 1/2 hour for each 1000' elevation gain.

Looking at CalTopo, it doesn't make sense to me that she was dropped off at Lafayette Place Campground to go on the Greenleaf Trail. I wonder if there's a mistake, and ES went up on the Old Bridle Path or her mom dropped her off in a different place, i.e. closer to the Greenleaf trailhead?
 
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