GSMNP hypothermia death

GSMNP hypothermia death

patrick
patrick

December 24th, 2000, 3:26 pm #1

Thursday night father of three from Chapel Hill NC was found dead at 4400 ft, on the Alum Cave Bluff trail, on 6593 ft Mt LeConte(southern sixer, not a HP, though not far from Clingmans Dome) in the GSMNP. He was wearing blue jeans, two cotton t-shirts and a wool sweater. Receipts show he purchased gloves near home, drove 300 miles,and likely arrived at the trailhead at dusk. He was found 1.5 miles from the TH with food and a thermos jug. Temps at that elevation that night were near or below 0. Has been a cold December here in the south with some high mountain/valley lows approaching -10. Weather in the Smokies, the Blacks(Mt Mitchell), other 6000+ peaks, and Mt Rogers(Virginia) can be extreme:Be Prepared!
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Craig
Craig

December 24th, 2000, 4:31 pm #2

For the Knoxville News-Sentinel story go to:

http://home.att.net/~noload54/NPage.htm
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roger
roger

December 26th, 2000, 11:10 am #3

Thanks for posting this info. I'm getting tired to being the grim reaper. But it's a lot safer to learn from others' mistakes.

The hiker in question was wearing gloves, hiking boots and a light jacket.

I was struck by the item in the item you posted that there have been 9 fatalities in the Smokies in 2000.

http://home.att.net/~noload54/deadgsm.htm

In addition my hiking news page also picked up an item that a diabetic hiker had to be airlifted out the snow covered Smokies.

http://www.thedailytimes.com/news/hi122100.html

The hiking news page:
http://americasroof.com/news-hiker.shtml
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Travis Sutton Byrd
Travis Sutton Byrd

January 8th, 2001, 6:42 pm #4

Thursday night father of three from Chapel Hill NC was found dead at 4400 ft, on the Alum Cave Bluff trail, on 6593 ft Mt LeConte(southern sixer, not a HP, though not far from Clingmans Dome) in the GSMNP. He was wearing blue jeans, two cotton t-shirts and a wool sweater. Receipts show he purchased gloves near home, drove 300 miles,and likely arrived at the trailhead at dusk. He was found 1.5 miles from the TH with food and a thermos jug. Temps at that elevation that night were near or below 0. Has been a cold December here in the south with some high mountain/valley lows approaching -10. Weather in the Smokies, the Blacks(Mt Mitchell), other 6000+ peaks, and Mt Rogers(Virginia) can be extreme:Be Prepared!
Being a Gatlinburg-area local, the high death toll in GRSM this pst year doen't surprise me. Our most heavily visited National Park continues to recieve high usage, and although much of that visitation is in the form of leaf-peepers and other GORNS (get out, ride non-stop) who never leave the airbag saftey of their vehicles, many visitors do go into the backcountry-- people who are woefully unprepared for the conditions they encounter. While a crew member at the LeConte Lodge several years ago, my wife encountered a family of four trapped on Gracie's Pulpit by Boomerang (a notoriously short-tempered panhandling bear) and her two cubs; while Mommy and children screamed and prepared to jump off the outcrop, brave Daddy tried to get the ursine trio to depart by throwing packages of snack food down the trail. Such idiocy is, unfortunately, all too common among the mo-roons and buffoons who invade the backcountry. The recent unfortunate death on a lower section of this same trail is yet another example. People think that just because GRSM is such a popular Park, it is sanitized and safe; nothing could be farther from the truth. The Smokies are a rugged locale, an area which does not suffer fools gladly. People need to be aware of this, and to act accordingly-- for instance, not wearing cotton during cold weather outings.
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