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Desperate Steps

Life, Death, and Choices Made in the Mountains of the Northeast

A warm day on the trail turns unseasonably cold, an avalanche barrels  downhill, a foot slips on icy terrain, a trail gives way unexpectedly. In an instant, lives are lost or forever changed. In the backcountry, a single piece of gear could mean the difference between a comfortable night under the stars or a tragic news report the next day.


In this all-new collection from the publisher of Not Without Peril and No Limits But the Sky, author Peter W. Kick recounts 20 true tales of backcountry misadventure and misfortune, including incidents along the famed Appalachian Trail, and seeks the lessons to be learned in each. From close-calls to unsolved mysteries, these stories illuminate the realities faced by outdoorspeople across the Northeast. Weather is unpredictable. The best laid plans go awry. And in the worst of times, even the best decision may not be enough to turn the tides.



Author(s)

Peter W. Kick

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A warm day on the trail turns unseasonably cold, an avalanche barrels  downhill, a foot slips on icy terrain, a trail gives way unexpectedly. In an instant, lives are lost or forever changed. In the backcountry, a single piece of gear could mean the difference between a comfortable night under the stars or a tragic news report the next day.

In this all-new collection from the publisher of Not Without Peril and No Limits But the Sky, author Peter W. Kick recounts 20 true tales of backcountry misadventure and misfortune, including incidents along the famed Appalachian Trail, and seeks the lessons to be learned in each. From close-calls to unsolved mysteries, these stories illuminate the realities faced by outdoorspeople across the Northeast. Weather is unpredictable. The best laid plans go awry. And in the worst of times, even the best decision may not be enough to turn the tides.

In the tradition of Appalachia journal’s renowned “Accidents” section, Kick reports on the facts as they were known on the ground—with the help of first-hand accounts of victims, families, witnesses, and Search-and-Rescue (SAR) professionals. As each story unfolds, Kick and his sources in the SAR community offer a retrospective analysis to help readers discover for themselves what went wrong and how disasters, big and small, might be averted in the future. Route maps and photos further bring each story to life. Readers who immerse themselves in these near-misses, tragedies, methodical searches, and the gut-wrenching clarity of hindsight will be better prepared for whatever the wilderness brings. Each section features a list of safety notes based on the lessons learned from each story. An appendix that details the importance of adhering to basic outdoor safety seeks to prepare readers for their next adventure in the wilderness with the knowledge and skills to make it home unharmed.

Additional Information

Author Peter W. Kick
About the Author

PETER W. KICK is a native of the Catskill Mountains, a New York State licensed guide, and author of several hiking and cycling guides. His previous books with AMC include AMC Catskill Mountain Guide, AMC’s Best Day Hikes in the Catskills & Hudson Valley, and Discover the Adirondacks. Kick’s work has also appeared in Backpacker, Sailing, Cruising World, and Adirondack Life. He is a life member of AMC and an Adirondack Mountain Club trip leader. He lives in Tenants Harbor, Maine.

Region Adirondacks, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Northern New England, Southern New England, Vermont, White Mountains
Activity Backpacking, Camping, Conservation/Natural History, Hiking, Skills/Instruction, Snowshoeing
Publisher Appalachian Mountain Club Books
Edition First Edition (2015)
Format Paperback
Dimensions 6 x 9 inches, 288 pages
ISBN-13 9781628420098

About the Author

PETER W. KICK is a native of the Catskill Mountains, a New York State licensed guide, and author of several hiking and cycling guides. His previous books with AMC include AMC Catskill Mountain Guide, AMC’s Best Day Hikes in the Catskills & Hudson Valley, and Discover the Adirondacks. Kick’s work has also appeared in Backpacker, Sailing, Cruising World, and Adirondack Life. He is a life member of AMC and an Adirondack Mountain Club trip leader. He lives in Tenants Harbor, Maine.

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