Failure to use compass leads to hiker’s death


Failure to use compass leads to hiker’s death

Documents related to the case of missing hiker Geraldine Largay, whose body was found October 2015, were recently released. Although news articles had previously described Largay as “an experienced hiker” recently released document tell a different story.

Largay was hiking the Appalachian Trail in Maine, went off the trail to go to the bathroom, and got lost in the wood.

She attempted to text her husband, who was driving a support vehicle, meeting her in various places along her route, but she was never able to get a cell tower signal.

She died 26 days later.

The documents tell us she traveled down a ridge and up a ridge attempting to find a cell tower signal. All the while walking further and further away from the trail. This is something no hiker would have done thirty years ago, before we had cell phones.

The documents also tell us Largay had a poor sense of direction, a (cheap) compass, and a paper section map of the trail (although we’re not told which section).

Had she used her (cheap) compass to orient herself before going off the trail, she could have easily found her way back to the trail. Instead, she was (apparently) relying upon her cell phone to call for help, in case she got lost. Since her cell phone didn’t work. She died of exposure and lack of food and water 26 days after leaving the trail.

Suffice it to say: If you’re going hiking, take a compass and map with you and know how to use them.

Journal reveals lost hiker survived for weeks, died

Article: Missing hiker Geraldine Largay kept journal during weeks missing in Maine woods

Document: Missing hiker Geraldine Largay kept journal during weeks missing in Maine woods –

“GPS trackers and cell phones give us a false sense of security in the wilderness. And with more thru-hikers than ever set to take on the Appalachian Trail this year, we should be on alert…” Continue reading: Technology Really Does Make Thru-Hiking More Dangerous

“The basics of compass usage are surprisingly simple and can be mastered quickly; and once learned they will certainly become an invaluable skill for any hiker, mountaineer, back country skier or suchlike outdoor enthusiast. However, if you are anything like most of us, chances are you have been packing a compass around for years, on your outdoor adventures, without fully utilizing it. It’s probably time to change that, isn’t it?

“Essentially a compass is nothing more than a magnetized needle, floating in a liquid, and responding to the Earth’s magnetic field consequently revealing directions…” Continue reading: Compass Basics: An Introduction to Orientation and Navigation –


About ajmacdonaldjr

writer, author, blogger
This entry was posted in Accident Prevention, Hiking, Hobbies, Safety, Technology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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