View Full Version : Deaths on the AT

01-16-2003, 11:11
Does anybody know how many have deaths have occured on the AT either Section Hikers or Thru Hikers? Not including murders.

01-16-2003, 13:39
Good question, I wonder if those numbers are kept and by whom.
Maybe someone will respond with this information.

In the last couple of years I know there was a heart attack death on Blood Mountain and another on Cowrock mountain. Somewhere in the area of Hightower gap, during winter two years ago, a guy died from being in a bag that was not warm enough.

During December of 2001, I was at Neels Gap and the county rescue team was retreiving the bones of a SOBO thru-hiker that was missing since January, 1998 or 1999. Theory was he set up his camp, tent, bag, etc. and went looking for water, got lost and froze to death. In the tent they found some very, very weird type journals--must have flipped out?

Blue Jay
01-16-2003, 13:54
Hey, how are Sneezy and Doc doing (sorry I couldn't resist).

Sleepy the Arab
01-16-2003, 18:37
In 1999, a NOBO hiker passed away at Big Bald Shelter in the middle of the night. Apparently he had a heart attack or something, but I heard he was not a well man to begin with. Rumor had it that he had packed along a copy of his last will and testament.

I also heard a rumor that a few years ago a man hung himself in the woods by the trail in Duncannon. I can sympathize. If I lived in Duncannon, I'd hang myself too.

01-16-2003, 21:12
Sleepy the Arab,

If it was the same one that I knew it was "Green Mountain Man" that died there in the shelter. I had only met him a time or two and did not really know him that well. However, it was told to me by someone that was there that night, that he did not seem sick or anything, and it was not realized that he was dead until the late morning when someone went to wake him up. Usually when people start cooking and ect, it wakes everyone but he was still asleep and they thought it was unusual so someone checked and found he was dead.

That same year a hiker died on Mount Layaffette in Sept. or Oct. I don't think he was a thru-hiker but a friend of mine stayed with the body until he was removed.

I would not be surprised that there are several each year that die in the White Mountains, and I do know they have a very long list posted of people who have died up there.

Just my .02....


Sleepy the Arab
01-17-2003, 00:03
Yup, it was Green Mountain Man. I found out later that a thru-hiker (Jambone) I met at Amicalola as we both started out, shared the shelter with him the night GMM died. At the following Trail Days, he told me how the poor guy was making odd noises in the night and that he thought the guy had indigestion or was just sore.

But I had forgotten all about that fellow on Mt. Lafayette that year until you mentioned it. I shouldn't have - a few friends of mine got their work for stay by - urk! - helping the hut crew with the body. That happened when Hurricane Floyd passed through the Whites, and I spent a forgettable two nights in Beaver Brook Shelter waiting the ordeal out. I think I might still have the newspaper article of this guy's demise saved somewhere.

Anyway, just before that guy died on Lafayette, he was at a hut and begged by Hut crewmen (I can't remember if it was Galehead or Greenleaf...I want to say Galehead) to remain there. Seeing as how death in the Whites is nearly a weekly occurance, I think he should have heeded the advice.

01-17-2003, 08:52
Least we forget, Harley passed away in August or September 2002 just south of Madison Hut in the Presidential Range.

01-28-2003, 14:28
How did Harley Die?

Jack Tarlin
01-28-2003, 16:03
This seems to be kind of a morbid thread.....what exactly is your interest in the subject?

A few facts: It seems that every two or three years, a long-distance hiker dies on the Trail, almost always of natural causes, and usually from something they may well have died from back home---heart failure, brain aneurysm, etc.

Deaths from un-natural causes (i.e. crime) are EXTREMELY rare; deaths from "trail-connected" natural causes---bears, snakes, lightning, injuries, drownings, etc. are rarer still.

You're safer on the Trail than in your own house, and while it's perfectly OK to talk about deaths on the AT, and the possibility that you won't come home, I just want to assure folks that it isn't something you need to worry about. You're far more likely to die in your office, your car, your bathtub, or asleep in your bed.

01-28-2003, 16:11
Jack I do have to agree with the thought of it being morbid and since I have logged over 400 miles on the AT I'm not worried about it. My interest sparked when my wife was reading the latest ATN about the maintainer who passed away and she asked me about it so I thought I would pass it out and see if there were anybites.


01-28-2003, 19:04
Probably the most dangerous thing we do on the trail is hitching into towns in the back of pickups. I've a drunk pick me up once (he let me drive), but a crash in the back of a pickup would be BAD.

Probably the next most is crossing the road...

just a thought...

gravity man

01-28-2003, 23:28
Jack's right, of course.

On the other hand, for every 1500 thru hikers who have spent six months or so hiking the entire Trail, one thru hiker has been killed by a complete stranger.

Rick B