Clueless hikers fined for reckless conduct after getting stuck "exploring" cliff

Franconia Notch, New Hampshire
The pair became stranded near Franconia Notch, New Hampshire (Image credit: Getty)

A pair of hikers have been fined for reckless conduct after finding themselves stuck after trying to climb a cliff face without the necessary gear or experience to travel up or down.

As Concord Monitor reports, Dylan Stahley and Jason Feierstin were walking near Franconia Notch, New Hampshire, when they decided to try exploring Hounds Hump, an alpine crag that's one of the area's most popular rock climbing features. Not only were the two men unprepared for climbing, they hadn't even planned to hike in the area.

"They 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,” said New Hampshire Fish and Game Department in a statement. "They told conservation officers that they climbed the cliffs because they were 'exploring'."

No gear, no idea

One of the pair called 911 on June 1 after finding himself 'cliffed out', and unable to climb up or down. He was in a very dangerous position lying under a ledge and trying to keep himself from falling off the mountain. His companion called soon after, having also become stuck on the cliff.

Neither Stahley or Feierstin knew where they were, and it took rescuers hours to find them. Eventually they were found with the assistance of a drone, and one had to be saved by a search and rescue team who rappelled down the cliff and put him in a harness.

"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," said Lt James Kneeland of the Fish and Game Department’s Law Enforcement Division.

The two men both pleaded guilty, and received a violation-level Reckless Conduct conviction, a $200 fine, and a $48 penalty.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.