Thursday Mayhem Round-Up

Tragedy, comedy, and foreboding

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Idaho hiker’s skeleton found in the Selway-Bitteroot Wilderness

Robert Noble (41) of Post Falls, Idaho disappeared in 2006 while hiking in the Little Rock Creek drainage fives miles west of Lake Como. About two weeks ago, skeletal remains were found by a mountain goat hunter about half-way up a steep, rocky slope three-quarters of a mile west of Little Rock Creek. On Monday, October 27th, medical examiners identified the remains as Noble. He probably died in a fall.

The goat hunter initially spotted Noble’s backpack and camera gear, and reported it to a backpacker walking through. The hiker investigated, found the remains, and hiked out to report the body. Noble was an experienced backpacker, and had been seen by other hikers around the time of his disappearance, but an intense two-week air and ground search failed to find him. Gear found at the site included a backpack, sleeping bag, canteen and dented medium-format camera. It is not known whether Noble died immediately from the fall, or was injured, stranded, and died later.

There are rescues and there are ‘rescues’

Last Sunday in Massachussetts, near the town of Hollis, Robert Ferreira of Ashland was finally located after a five-hour foot and ATV search by Fish and Game officers and local firefighters. The woodland was only two square miles, and Ferreira was found only 100 yards from civilization. Turns out Ferreira and a friend, Eric Korsak, went hiking around 1:30p.m.on Saturday, encountered a bonfire party, pounded considerable brewskis, then resumed their hike, got lost, and then separated. Korsak managed to find his way out of the hostile wilderness about 9 p.m., but Ferreira floundered until authorities found him. “He was lucky the temperature was as high as it was,” said Fish and Game conservation officer Todd Szewczyk. The Attorney General’s office will determine if either of the men will face criminal penalties or be charged for the search.

English Adventure Race Gets Blown Apart

Last Saturday in England’s rugged Lake District, 2,500 competitors in the Original Mountain Marathon got hammered by torrential rains and winds estimated at 90mph. Experienced adventure racers had to crawl on their hands and knees over mountain passes in the Scafell Pike and Great Gable area. Creek crossings that were normally trickles became raging, waist deep torrents, and visibility was reduced to mere feet. Many turned back within the first few hours, and the event was called off not long after it started, but 900 competitors were stranded in cabins and barns overnight, triggering massive search and rescue efforts that proved largely unnecessary thanks to the experience level of the competitors and the race’s mandatory gear list. Only 13 people were treated for minor injuries and hypothermia.

By Sunday afternoon, all entrants were reported safe, but many returned to the parking lot to find their cars door-handle-deep in flood water. Police and media criticized the event organizers for not canceling in the face of storm warnings, but never let it be said that the Brits (among other international entrants) don’t buck up. Virtually every competitor interviewed supported race organizers and called the experience an adventure. So how adventurous was it? Just look at the linked video clip. Apparently mad dogs and Englishmen go out in more than just mid-day sun.

Now for the real punch line: Eight of us Backpacker staffers and gear testers are heading to the same general region this Saturday for Editor’s Choice gear testing. >:0

I lobbied for Tahiti or Cabo, but nooooo.

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