“The safety of rescuers is paramount in the execution of search and rescue missions. When people put themselves into hazardous situations needlessly or by being ill-prepared, and put rescuers in harm’s way, they need to be held accountable.”– Lt. James Kneeland, New Hampshire Fish & Game Department
This story is the true embodiment of f***ing around and finding out. New Hampshire Fish and Game announced that two adult hikers plead guilty to a Reckless Conduct conviction, along with each of them receiving a $200 fine and a $48 penalty assessment. The two individuals were stuck on Hounds Hump, which is located in Franconia Notch State Park. According to New Hampshire Fish and Game, here is how the situation unfolded:
“At 2:15 p.m. on June 11, a hiker called 911 for help because he was ‘stuck’ on the side of a mountain in a very dangerous position and was laying under a ledge, trying to keep from falling off the cliff. The hiker was unable to relay his position to dispatchers and was only able to say that he could see the highway.
Through 911 tracking, the hiker was determined to be on the east side of Franconia Notch State Park, on a feature known as Hounds Hump, near the Eaglet. The hiker had been with a friend, both of whom had not followed a trail, but started climbing the steep ledges. The hiker told dispatchers, ‘We were exploring.’ The friend had been able to continue ascending, but eventually called for help because he too could not find a way down from the cliffs.”
Fish and Game brought rescuers in who were also professional guides in rock climbing. They had to climb above the cliffs and rappel down to reach the first hiker. The first rescued hiker didn’t know where his friend was, so rescue crews had to conduct a massive search to find the second guy. It took several hours to find him due to the steep terrain, but he was eventually spotted from I-93. After drones gathered additional info, the rescue crews climbed up and rappelled down to save the second hiker. The whole rescue operation took over five hours. That’s not even including the challenging hike back down to the command post right next to I-93, which took more than two hours.