In June, two hikers in New Hampshire’s Franconia Notch State Park decided to wander off-trail and try their hands at climbing Hounds Hump, a treacherously steep rock face. Per Fox News, their adventure nearly ended in disaster when one got stuck on a ledge and was unable to move, forcing a daring rescue. Law enforcement officials with the state's Fish and Game Department announced Tuesday that Jason Feierstin, 22, of Lowell, Mass., and Dylan Stahley, 25, of Windsor, NH, have pleaded guilty to reckless conduct charges and were each fined $248 for putting rescuers' lives at risk.
One of the men got stuck on a ledge; the other was able to continue climbing up, but he called 911 when realized he couldn’t get back down. Per WMUR, the caller didn't know his location, but rescuers homed in on him using 911 tracking. They then used a drone to pinpoint the trapped hiker's location. Professional climbers were unable to climb directly to the ledge and were forced to climb an alternate route and rappel down to him. The rescue effort took seven hours or so and wasn't complete until after 9:30pm.
The hikers told authorities they'd decided to go "exploring" off-trail, though they were totally unprepared and had no plan. Per Patch, an official with Fish and Game said that the hikers "were not familiar with the area, did not stay on any trail, and did not have any equipment or even footwear for entering such a steep and dangerous location, much less ropes, harnesses, or climbing gear." The official added that "when people put themselves into hazardous situations needlessly or by being ill-prepared and put rescuers in harm's way, they need to be held accountable." (Read more search and rescue stories.)