Saturday's Lightning Storm
The Old Rag Mountain Stewards had been practicing natural anchors and rappeling but retreated to the Byrds Nest Shelter when they noticed approaching thunderstorms.
During the downpour, hiking groups streamed off the summit and into the Byrds Nest Shelter for protection from the intense but short downpour.
Two groups coming down the Saddle Trail said that they had felt shocks in their feet when lightning struck near them while they were up close to the summit. One hiker told the story of being blown off her feet and looking down to see smoke coming off her sneakers. No one got badly hurt but clearly the potential is there. Please take appropriate shelter when you see approaching thunderstorms. Get away from open high points until after the storm passes.
I periodically see hikers using umbrellas. During a thunderstorm these will act as personal lightning attractors.
Byrds Nest is protected by a couple of well grounded lightning rods.
On Sunday we had practiced bear bagging and tarps. During the tarp exercise we had to put up a tarp with an assumption that the simulated patient could not be moved. In the picture below this meant there was a tree in the way.
On Sunday I only went as far as the first false summit and then hung out for there until early evening. Had there been an emergency it would have been relatively easy for me to respond from this location and I could keep an eye on the rock scramble between the first false summit R22 and the top of the Chute R30. Of course Byrds Nest Shelter, the top of the Chute, Skyline Wall and the Summit are all good spots from which Old Rag Stewards can fairly quickly respond to emergencies while providing passing hikers with PSAR(preventative search and rescue) advice and or Old rag interpretations. If you happen to see us at one of these locations we encourage you to ask us questions.
Looking up towards Old Rag's lower summit from near Byrds Nest. The Saddle Trail passes over the slab in the middle of the picture.