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Distributed for University Press of New England

Critical Hours

Search and Rescue in the White Mountains

Distributed for University Press of New England

Critical Hours

Search and Rescue in the White Mountains

A misread map, a sudden storm, a forgotten headlamp—and suddenly a leisurely hike turns into a treacherous endeavor. In the past decade, inexpensive but sophisticated navigation devices and mobile phones have led to alarming levels of overconfidence on the trail. Adding to this worrisome trend, the increasing popularity of ventures into mountainous terrain has led hikers seeking solitude—or an adrenaline rush—into increasingly remote or risky forays. Sandy Stott, the “Accidents” editor at the journal of the Appalachian Mountain Club, delivers both a history and a celebration of the search and rescue workers who save countless lives in the White Mountains—along with a plea for us not to take their steadfastness and bravery for granted. Filled with tales of astonishing courage and sobering tragedy, Critical Hours will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts and armchair adventurers alike.

304 pages | 6 x 9

Sport and Recreation


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments • Abbreviations • A Note on Names • Introduction • Where We Come From: Thinly Settled to Thickly Surrounded • Finding Kate: Searchers’ Stories • Seven Calls: Help Me Who’s Coming What Took You So Long? • In the Beginning • White Fingers Pointing toward the Wind: The Incident That Helped Shape Our Modern Mountains • The Woods Are Whacked, and the Feds Arrive • Getting into Dodge: Incidents from the Joe Dodge Era in the Whites • The Gathering: Steep Enough to Slide, 1954 • It’s the Law: New Hampshire Fish and Game Assumes the Lead • When the Angles and the Odds Rise: The Need for a Technical Team • Answering the Call: One for Many—Albert Dow • Colorful Chips: White Mountain SAR’s Modern Mosaic • Women and Men in SAR • Go-Go or No-Go: Up against Extremes • The Other Side: The Case for Doing Nothing • Command: A Meditation on Being in Charge of Rescue (and of Self) • The Law Goes Up Too • Call in the Suits: The Courtroom in the Hills • Who Pays? (and What That Says) • New Extremes: Superlative Adventure and Search and Rescue • The Exception of Air • Back to the Future? White Mountain SAR in 2020 and Beyond • Next Gen • What’s at Stake: How Search and Rescue Shapes Our Mountains • Why Go? Saving Others, Saving Yourself • Appendix A: The HikeSafe Program • Appendix B: Pack Like a Rescuer • Sources and Further Reading • Index

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