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#82675 - 11/19/07 03:00 PM Re: missouri hiker found dead in Arkansas [Re: Tango61]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
10-15 miles is about average for a backpacker,



Well, Tim Ernst, I'm sure, goes that far and further in a day, so, while he is THE Guru of the Ozarks, he must be basing that on the people he hangs with most and not figuring in the rest of us. There are many around here that I hang with that would consider it a real waste to put that many miles in one day of hiking anywhere in the Ozarks. It reminds my of Chevy Chase in "Vacation" when he visited the Grand Canyon.

At the same time, the Sheriff's statement,
Quote:
ten miles seemed about right for a hiker being on the trail for 7-8 days
seems way short of what even novice backpackers and snails like myself might do.

I'd say 8 miles is probably closer to average on the OHT and many others in the area.

Bill

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#82676 - 11/20/07 10:25 AM Re: missouri hiker found dead in Arkansas [Re: billstephenson]
Slowfoot Offline
member

Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 157
Loc: Missouri
Since he was thru-hiking the entire trail, 10-15 miles does seem about "average" to me. And Tim says he talked to him right before he started, so he probably does know what the guy was planning.

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#82677 - 11/20/07 02:11 PM Re: missouri hiker found dead in Arkansas [Re: Slowfoot]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
And Tim says he talked to him right before he started, so he probably does know what the guy was planning.


I don't think Tim told the guy without knowing him and his abilities personally that hiking 10-15 miles was "Average" on the OHT.

I'm not sure where exactly he started or was found, if I knew I'd like to do an elevation profile with my National Geographic Topo software to see what he was up against.

I hiked a nearby trail from Hemmed-in-Hollow to Compton twice, It's around 5-6 miles with a 1200 foot gain and it wore me out good. Now, I'm not in great shape so that did not surprise me, but I don't think that any of the other 3 people with me would have said "Let's do another 8-10 miles today" after packing out of that hollow.

If Tim is right, the guy hiked one day and passed on. Then he wasn't found for several more. That could be right and it could have led to the cause of death. Sweating, hypothermia, exhaustion... Sounds plausible to me.

Bill.

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#82678 - 11/20/07 03:05 PM Re: missouri hiker found dead in Arkansas [Re: billstephenson]
Jon Offline
member

Registered: 10/17/03
Posts: 328
Loc: Missouri Ozarks
As a solo hiker, my average is probably 10-15 miles per day. I've backpacked about 60 or 70 miles of the OHT and I would say that 12 is a comfortable day although I would sleep very well. As far as the elevation profile for his hike, just glancing at Tim's guidebook, it looks like it ranges from 900 to 2380 feet. I could be a little bit off on the low end, but 2380 is the highest point on the trail. I don't think he made it that far.

I've backpacked to the falls at Hemmed-In-Hollow at least 10 times and would have no problem with backpacking another 8 or 10 miles the next day.

In Tim's guide for this trail (Fourth Edition, page 17) he states the typical hiker in great shape can do the trail in 14 days (165 miles). That would come to roughly 12 miles a day.

I'm waiting to hear the rest of the story on this one...

Jon

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#82679 - 11/21/07 09:53 AM Re: missouri hiker found dead in Arkansas [Re: Jon]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
I've backpacked to the falls at Hemmed-In-Hollow at least 10 times and would have no problem with backpacking another 8 or 10 miles the next day.


From Hemmed-in-Hollow to the Compton trailhead? Wow!

Here's what Time Ernst said about that hike in his book, Arkansas Hiking Trails (2nd edition, page 76)
Quote:
But let me warn you - the hike out on this trail will humble even the greatest of hikers.


Humbled me, that's for sure.

Kindest Regards,

Bill

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#82680 - 11/21/07 12:55 PM Re: missouri hiker found dead in Arkansas [Re: billstephenson]
Jon Offline
member

Registered: 10/17/03
Posts: 328
Loc: Missouri Ozarks
It's about a 1000' drop in 2.5 miles to the falls. Never seem to get down there after a good rain. Usually just a trickle. One of my favorite areas. If my math is right, that's about a 7-8% grade, although it is greater than that in spots. I just go really s....l....o....w uphill.

Jon

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#82681 - 11/21/07 02:06 PM Re: missouri hiker found dead in Arkansas [Re: billstephenson]
Slowfoot Offline
member

Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 157
Loc: Missouri
I don't have any polls or studies about what's average for a backpacker, obviously it's just my opinion, based on my own experience, talking to other backpackers, reading people's trip reports, etc. All I was trying to say is that I didn't see anything wrong with that statement. Some people do more mileage per day, some people do less.

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#82682 - 11/21/07 02:34 PM Re: missouri hiker found dead in Arkansas [Re: Slowfoot]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I just point out that I don't personally believe it's average for most backpackers on the OHT trail.

Jon quoted one of Tim's books:

Quote:
In Tim's guide for this trail (Fourth Edition, page 17) he states the typical hiker in great shape can do the trail in 14 days (165 miles). That would come to roughly 12 miles a day.


Tim points out in that passage that he is speaking of someone in "Great Shape". My point is, this does not describe the "Average" OHT backpacker. It probably does describe those who Tim hikes most with though so, for him, it may be a valid average.

I failed to mention that the reason I think that 10-15 miles per day is above average also has to do with the topography of the Ozarks. While we don't have high mountains, or even low valleys, we have almost no flat land at all and in between the two it's not ever very far and it's almost always very steep.

Kindest Regards,

Bill

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#82683 - 11/22/07 01:37 PM Re: missouri hiker found dead in Arkansas [Re: Jon]
demo Offline
member

Registered: 04/07/04
Posts: 221
Loc: Arkansan displaced in the PNW

he was found around about at mile 21. I wrote this comment last week...

regarding him being found at mile 21, it isn't in a particularly tough section of the trail, however, the Salt Fork Creek crossing is at mile 20.2. while most of the time it is a dry crossing, it does have the reputation of being flooded on occasion and can be dangerous. it is very possible he got wet here and was trying to dry off at camp a little ways down trail.

in the OHT Guide, 4th edition, page 49. From the main trailhead at White Rock Mtn. (very beautiful, btw) down to Salt Fork Creek is 2.1 miles and about 1000 feet elevation LOSS. from the creek to mile 21, where he was found is about 3/4 mile and 300 feet elevation gain. needless to say, I don't think the elevation in this section got him...in this section, the elevation was just starting where he was found.

I still hypothesize that it was hypothermia that got him. Salt Fork Creek is pretty unpredictable and all of us that hike in the Ozarks regularly know how slippery the rocks in the creeks are.
_________________________
Hike Arkansas! and Hike it All!

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#82684 - 12/03/07 02:25 PM Re: missouri hiker found dead in Arkansas [Re: billstephenson]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
Quote:
Quote:
I've backpacked to the falls at Hemmed-In-Hollow at least 10 times and would have no problem with backpacking another 8 or 10 miles the next day.


From Hemmed-in-Hollow to the Compton trailhead? Wow!

Here's what Time Ernst said about that hike in his book, Arkansas Hiking Trails (2nd edition, page 76)
Quote:
But let me warn you - the hike out on this trail will humble even the greatest of hikers.


Humbled me, that's for sure.

Kindest Regards,

Bill


Bill, I have to agree with you and say that most backpackers OVER estimate their fitness level and this is what leads to trouble on the trail <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> Least of which is a guide book that describes what a hiker in 'great shape' could do in a day <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" /> Well, no one wants to consider themselves a lard a**; so most WILL make themselves redder in the face than a male cardinal during breeding season, in order to 'accomplish' these type of 'feats'. Not I, I'm the tortoise on the trail, especially one that I'm backpacking from a guidebook with no firsthand knowledge of what's ahead down the trail. In the topography you describe I would say that the majority of folks who head out backpacking will be sub 10'ing it for at least the first few days. Every region has it's own demons to deal with trailwise, and the undulating terrain of the OHT is going to hand you yer' A** if you race it <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!

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#82685 - 12/12/07 08:37 AM Re: missouri hiker found dead in Arkansas [Re: demo]
jamieS Offline
member

Registered: 09/29/04
Posts: 271
Any conclusion to this story?

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#82686 - 12/12/07 05:54 PM Re: missouri hiker found dead in Arkansas [Re: jamieS]
jshannon Offline
member

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 410
Loc: North Texas
Tim Ernst will post any more info he gets from the family about cause of death on his site linked above.
_________________________
Ten Essential Groups

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#82687 - 01/02/08 04:22 PM Re: missouri hiker found dead in Arkansas [Re: demo]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
From the main trailhead at White Rock Mtn. (very beautiful, btw) down to Salt Fork Creek is 2.1 miles and about 1000 feet elevation LOSS. from the creek to mile 21, where he was found is about 3/4 mile and 300 feet elevation gain. needless to say, I don't think the elevation in this section got him...in this section, the elevation was just starting where he was found.

I still hypothesize that it was hypothermia that got him.


You may be right. I don't mean to keep dwelling on this subject but I just upgraded my National Geographic TOPO! software and found a gps route and waypoints on their MapXchange site so I did an elevation profile on that section of the trail. You can view it here:

OHT Topo Map

The elevation profile calculated the following:

Mile Marker 21 is 8.61 miles from the trail's current starting point.

He climbed Uphill a total of 2836 feet

He climbed Downhill a total of 2886 feet

That's a mile of straight up and down in just 8.6 miles of flat land hiking and you have to add it to the total distance of your hike and then realize that this extra mile is by far the toughest part of the hike. This helps illustrate the point I made earlier about hiking in the Ozarks and being conservative with mileage goals here.

Almost all of it is before the Salt Fork Creek crossing too. That looks like a nasty route for backpacking to me. I've never been there but I know hiking Ozark ridges can get windy and cold.

Bill

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#82688 - 01/03/08 09:56 AM Re: missouri hiker found dead in Arkansas [Re: billstephenson]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
Like I said in my posts Bill <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!

Top
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