OT: Psycho on the Appalachian Trail

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Gunkie

Trad climber
Valles Marineris
Topic Author's Original Post - May 12, 2019 - 11:08am PT
https://www.wsls.com/news/virginia/southwest-virginia/two-assaulted-on-appalachian-trail-in-wythe-county
formerclimber

Boulder climber
CA
May 12, 2019 - 12:23pm PT
He was with a dog, apparently - and was seen hitting his dog earlier.
Hope the dog is in a good shelter now (and not running around starving)
formerclimber

Boulder climber
CA
May 14, 2019 - 01:48pm PT
Some new details are coming out:
https://www.outsideonline.com/2396150/appalachian-trail-murder-2019-james-jordan

So, 4 hikers - 2 men and 2 women - were hiking way out there unarmed (bad idea)
Next, the raving mad dude approaches them and acts dangerously.
They later setup camp for the night and the dude finds them at night in their tents saying he'd pour gasoline over them and burn them (!)
The hikers, apparently, still haven't prepared at least some heavy logs to provide coordinated response and turn that guy into mashed potatoes.
They come out of the tent and he threatens them with a very big knife.
They didn't have trekking poles and camping axes to deal with him, seems like...
2 of them just run off and the guy chases after them (but doesn't reach them, so he turns around)
2 remaining hikers are still in their campsite at that point (!). He comes up and fatally stabs the male hiker, then he chases after a woman who'd run at that point. He catches up and stabs her - she survives - only because she played dead.
Some lessons to be learned here!
And one would think they're safe peacefully hiking in the group of 4.

The guy's dog was the one who lead his capture. Earlier, he publicly threatened to eat his dog putting a knife to his throat. After what happened, the dog run straight to the ...police. They followed him and it led them right to his owner hiding in the woods.
The hero here is the dog.
Hope it gets the best kind of food from now on.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 14, 2019 - 01:58pm PT
Some lessons to be learned here!

Very sad. It is amazing how few people are able to think on their feet.
More amazing that they would camp and have no plan. Not even sticks?
skywalker1

Trad climber
co
May 14, 2019 - 02:03pm PT
Yikes! I have 2 friends that did the whole thing and talked about running into odd folks here and there but no issues just concern. They did say that they would kinda form groups depending on pace.

For my part I have found myself in the back country of the desert twice with sketchy people nearby. I think one was schizophrenic the other I think did something and was hiding out. I didn't sleep those times and just burned all my wood till sunrise and left. Obviously nothing happened just weird.

S....
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
May 14, 2019 - 02:04pm PT
You say itís a bad idea to go hiking unarmed...I think itís a terrible idea to go hiking armed. Iíve been hiking, often alone, for well over half a century and have never run into the occasion to wish that i was armed.
On the very rare occasions that I encountered another hiker who was armed I saw it as an aberration and gave them a wide berth.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
May 14, 2019 - 02:07pm PT
They didn't have trekking poles and camping axes to deal with him, seems like...

I've never done any long distance hikes like the AT, but I wouldn't think a camping axe would be a standard thing to bring. Maybe large knife, or maybe a small gun . . .
formerclimber

Boulder climber
CA
May 14, 2019 - 02:07pm PT
I'd guess they'd at least have the bear sprays on the AT...it has pretty good range.
Would make sense to be sleeping in turns after prior encounter, especially since there're whole 4 people.
My guess is they felt overconfidence that he wouldn't really mess with 4 of them.
formerclimber

Boulder climber
CA
May 14, 2019 - 02:09pm PT
You say itís a bad idea to go hiking unarmed...I think itís a terrible idea to go hiking armed

Nope. It's a very very bad idea to be hiking unarmed. Not everyone would like to defend themselves with "tooth and claw", especially against prevailing physical force and weight class or someone very determined.

Iíve been hiking, often alone, for well over half a century and have never run into the occasion to wish that i was armed.
Privilege...it goes the long way

gave them a wide berth
That's good, that's exactly what they wanted, especially a solo female hiker.
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
May 14, 2019 - 02:35pm PT
Having done the JMT, but not the AT, the standard approach is to measure and trim weight down to the tenths of ounces. Things like camping axes and bear spray weigh far too much for most anyone to carry on these type trips. Pick up a rock or a stick. More likely to encounter an idiot like this at the grocery store anyway. I'll start carrying my bear spray into Whole Foods.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
May 14, 2019 - 03:01pm PT
Very unusual case. But it is good reason to camp well off the trail when you are a short days hike from civilization, and keep the yapping to a minimum, which is good trail etiquette anyhow. If everyone carried a gun we would all be pulling them out every time we got approached by a stranger because a gun in the bottom of your pack is next to worthless. Not sure I want to travel like that. That is especially scary in stand your ground states. I am more worried late in the evening when arriving at trailheads, guard is down and the day was successful.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 14, 2019 - 03:08pm PT
A 3Ē knife weighs 3 oz. You can make a very serviceable spear in a couple of minutes, but if youíre not mentally prepared to use it just run or play dead. But 4 people not staying together and working together just shows their incompetence.
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
May 14, 2019 - 03:14pm PT
Special zipper/velcro Fanny pack right in front over my pack belt/buckle. Takes about 2 seconds with no motivation.

Looks like a camera. Let's call it a Cannon. High Speed wireless too.

I wouldn't worry where Donini hikes either. Around here or on the AT there can be crowds of all sorts.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
May 14, 2019 - 03:16pm PT
I may stay away from the AT. About a year ago another zany killed a woman and man hiking the trail.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
May 14, 2019 - 04:39pm PT
Former climber...if hiking in America gets to the point where I feel I need to be armed this country is in serious trouble.
And no, Iím not someone who doesnít know about or hasnít used firearms. The more people who walk our trails armed, the more violence there will be.
ron gomez

Trad climber
May 14, 2019 - 04:48pm PT
Iím with Jim! Firearms in the backcountry....BAD idea. If I think I need one, Iím not going in. I see what guns and loons do in urban settings. Not anti gun if using it for sport or food. For people, NO.
Peace
originalpmac

Mountain climber
Timbers of Fennario
May 14, 2019 - 04:52pm PT
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.blueridgeoutdoors.com/features/murder-woods-shenandoah-national-park/

Happens occasionally, unfortunately. Virginia definitely has some weird folk in the hills.

I remember when this happened, I was in elementary school. Not far from where I grew up.

I've hiked plenty unarmed, a few times armed. Felt good knowing it was there. Solo overnight motorcycle trips feels a LOT better with a gun. Can only get a large expensive motorcycle so far off the road.

Edit per Ron. It would be a terrible thing to use a gun in self defense from a person. I bet those hikers wish they had one though.

10b4me

Social climber
Lida Junction
May 14, 2019 - 09:34pm PT
Iím with Jim! Firearms in the backcountry....BAD idea. If I think I need one, Iím not going in. I see what guns and loons do in urban settings. Not anti gun if using it for sport or food. For people, NO.
Peace

agreed
Gunkie

Trad climber
Valles Marineris
Topic Author's Reply - May 15, 2019 - 05:08am PT
...were hiking way out there unarmed (bad idea)

formerclimber, I can say this with certitude, you've never been on the Appalachian Trail. Unless, of course, your definition of 'way out there' is a day hike from a parking lot.

And by 'unarmed' I'll assume you mean they should have been carrying a gun (or two).

Wow, just wow.
kpinwalla2

Social climber
WA
May 15, 2019 - 06:21am PT
I agree with Jim, but I have to admit that when I'm solo in the backcountry these days I often take a can of bear spray and a sound grenade to deter animals - both weigh next to nothing. Bear spray would have stopped the dude on the AT.
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