Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hiker Ticketed After Keg Party Atop Adirondack High Peak

KegPartyA hiker who posted photos on Facebook of a keg party on top of Phelps Mountain over Columbus Day weekend has been ticketed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Raja Bhatt of Queens was ticketed for allegedly taking part in a “day-use group” with more than fifteen people — the legal limit for a hike in the High Peaks Wilderness Area.

Bhatt, who is thirty-two, said he didn’t organize the hike or the keg party.

“I was simply on the summit with some friends, and some friend of a friend brought a keg,” he said.

Bhatt posted photos on his Facebook page showing a large group of people on the 4,161-foot summit. In one image, a woman was held upside-down while drinking from the tap. The photos were shared on the Aspiring Forty-Sixers and Adirondack Explorer Facebook pages, eliciting condemnations from many (but not all) viewers.

“The only reason I got slapped with a ticket is I was the one who posted the photos,” he said.

DEC says the charge was based on the photos and on an interview with Bhatt.  The regulation states that “no person shall be part of a day use group containing 16 or more people.”

Bhatt said he had finished his Forty-Sixer round the previous day on Whiteface Mountain. The next morning, he hiked Phelps from Adirondak Loj with six or seven friends. He said other friends and acquaintances hiked up the mountain at different times.

Bhatt estimated that his circle of friends on the summit numbered no more than fifteen. “Not everyone in those photos was in our group,” he said.

The photo of the upside-down woman notwithstanding — which he described as one brief moment — Bhatt said the party was not boisterous and no one on the summit objected to it.

Natalya Budnyatsky, an acquaintance of Bhatt, said he has been unfairly targeted by DEC. “He wasn’t the mastermind. He took the fall because he took the pictures,” she said.

She too said the party did not disturb other hikers. She added that the keg held only five gallons and was toted up the mountain in a backpack. “It wasn’t like people were getting drunk on the mountain,” she said. “People had a beer and enjoyed the view, and that was it.”

Brian Hoody, the president of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers, said the mountaintop celebration goes against the spirit of his organization, which promotes wilderness education and stewardship. “We neither need nor want members who behave in this fashion,” he said.

Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, also criticized the celebration. “I am appalled at the idea of a keg party on the summit of Phelps,” he said. “… In my opinion, this kind of behavior is certainly inconsistent with the character and respect for the mountains that I expect of a Forty-Sixer.”

Woodworth added that he believes a similar celebration took place recently on Cascade Mountain.

Some Facebook commenters defended the partiers. “If they did damage fine them,” one person wrote. “If they had a good time and didn’t do any damage, then you’re just being a fun slayer.”

Bhatt faces a possible fine of up to $250 and up to 15 days in jail. He was scheduled to appear in North Elba Town Court to answer the charge.

Phil Brown contributed to this report.

Photo: A screenshot of the Facebook post showing a keg party on Phelps Mountain.

NOTE: The story has been corrected to clarify that Raja Bhatt was not charged with organizing the hike. Rather, he was charged being part of day-use group that exceeded the legal size limit.


Mike Lynch

Mike Lynch is a staff writer and photographer for the nonprofit Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly news magazine with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues.

Mike’s favorite outdoor activities include paddling, hiking, fishing and backcountry skiing. In 2011, he paddled the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine.

From 2007 until 2014, Mike worked as an outdoors writer and photographer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake.

Mike welcomes story ideas and can be reached at mike@adirondackexplorer.org.




122 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    Brian Hoody, the president of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers, said the mountaintop celebration goes against the spirit of his organization, which promotes wilderness education and stewardship. “We neither need nor want members who behave in this fashion.”

    Well when the 46-Rs own the top of the mountain they can decide who can do what on it. Hiking is supposed to be FUN, not some somber dirge through the woods. If they otherwise acted responsibly these naysaying sticks in the mud need to LIGHTEN UP.

    Can you seriously get 15 days in jail for having a group larger than 15 people? Absurd.

    • John Sasso MtnManJohn says:

      This has nothing to do with ownership of a mountain, but membership of a private organization (the ADK46ers). As with most organizations which have by-laws, violation of the by-laws by someone means either loss of membership or denial of membership. Raja Bhatt nor anyone else is entitled to membership in the ADK46ers. As for denying Mr Bhatt’s membership, that is for the exec committee of the ADK46ers to decide.

    • Jim S. says:

      Hiking is fun when you reach the mountaintop and there is no kegger.

  2. gbear says:

    “DEC says the charge was based on the photos and on an interview with Bhatt.”
    Never say anything but “I want to speak to my lawyer.”

    • Boreal says:

      As an ex-46-R (that’s what you become if you don’t pay dues the rest of your life), my thoughts are as follows: Since a Ranger was not present at the summit to assess the situation and issue the citation, DEC can’t really prove anything other than there was a keg on the summit. They can’t prove how many people were in the hiking party, nor can they prove nuisance / drunken behavior without witnesses. “Party size” typically can’t effectively be enforced with day hikers. Who is to say it isn’t 3 groups of 5? On a nice day, there are often 50+ people on a summit. Unless they are all wearing the same T-shirts and holding hands, an oversize party is a judgement call. Crowded trails and summits are no longer uncommon, which is why the summit steward program should be expanded.

      I would think the local judge would be irritated that his time was being wasted by an infraction that was based on a photo and a phone interview and cannot be proven. Plus Mr. Bhatt will probably need to take a day or two off of work to travel to appear in court to defend himself. From the information in the article, I think it was an inappropriate citation.

      This is a case where budget increases to increase the ranger presence in the High Peaks – as well as more summit stewards – should be appropriated. A ranger arriving on the scene, or at least the possibility of it, may have made all the difference in the matter.

      ex-46-R# 20xx

      • Avon says:

        I think Boreal over-estimates the education and open-mindedness of “a local judge” in most small Upstate towns. Many are not lawyers, most are conservative and/or traditional by nature, and few would want to let a naughty person off “on a technicality” (such as the law).

        Whether they will actually apply the law fairly, including burden-of-proof and beyond-reasonable-doubt, is reliable with some judges, rare with others, and a crapshoot with many. (For other reasons, that is also true in my NYS city.)

        I finished the 46 on Whiteface myself (I’m not a 46r yet; still unearthing 1960s-80s data), but I found that a fine way to drink to that success is to have family drive to the top with one bottle of Champagne. I agree that the quantity of alcohol, whether zero or plenty, is not the issue as long as no one is bothered. Indeed, five gallons of beer for 15 people (or more folks, if the bystanders imbibed too) is barely 40 ounces per person – not excessive for a day’s hike in my opinion.

        Now, though, I want to re-climb Phelps; it’s lovely and it’s been 40 years … I could do without a beer blast when I get there, but if it happens I won’t mind unless it actually bothers me. The only time I’ve been badly bothered by people on a summit was when I climbed Marshall a few years ago and the next hiker’s cellphone rang, starting one of those annoying, loud-seeming, one-sided phone conversations in a somewhat tight space. I could hardly believe he got cell service at all, and I was appalled that he actually took the call. Does that mean I’m old? Not too old to understand that no judge should sentence that hiker to 15 days …

  3. Anonymous says:

    I was on the hike as well.

    Fact: 1. The group size was less than 15.
    Fact: 2. No glass was taken up the mountain.
    Fact: 3. No one was inebriated or had impaired judgement.
    Fact: 4. Everyone hiked down safely without injury.
    Fact: 5. Everyone hiked down without causing harm to the trail or delicate wildlife or vegetation.
    Fact: 6. All trash/ items were carried in and carried out.
    Fact: 7. Raja did not organize the hike.
    Fact: 8. Raja did not carry the keg.
    Fact: 9. Raja took and posted pictures.
    Fact 10: There are no more than 15 people in any of the pictures.

    • Paul says:

      There are at least 16 people in the picture above. I count 15 heads and one leg or arm on the left. That said this probably isn’t all in the same group. You could easily photo more people on the top of Marcy any summer day.

    • Paul says:

      Most people hike with the hard stuff, much easier to carry. In the old days the guides got to carry the booze.

    • Robert says:

      Anonymous,

      You disgust me. How dare you and your companions celebrate in a way so unbefitting of a High Peak and what the climbing of one should entail?

      I joke, I joke.

      If you can, disregard the ire thrown about here. Some of these Warrenites are a tough-to-please bunch. Imagine Trump supporters, just on the other end of the L-R spectrum. They’re right, you’re wrong, ya know?

      Anyway, thanks for the clarification. I know it seems crazy, but I trust that some people on the summit weren’t part of your group. You can bet that next time I’m on a High Peak on a busy day, I’ll be careful to crop any photo I take in a way that only includes 15 or fewer of the several dozen up there with me.

      I’ll lend you some advice, though. I bring whiskey. I can carry the same ABV in a much smaller container. Just like my grandpa did hiking the High Peaks in the ’30s. Careful, though, even that could put a wrinkle someone’s day. If you haven’t heard, the Adirondack Park may technically be of the state variety, but many would rather see it treated like a national one, save for a few second homes with a view unspoiled by people who live, work or recreate here.

      Me, I’m on my third round of the 46 and nearly done. Haven’t ‘registered’ and won’t. I know I’ve climbed them — I don’t need to shout through a patch or bumper sticker that I have. Nor do I need a four-digit assigned number to validate what I say to other hikers (even though it’s usually ‘Have a great day.’ I’ll save the lecturing for you-know-who).

      Happy trails,

  4. Charlie S says:

    It does seem a bit odd hauling a barrel of beer up a mountain. And to celebrate with fifteen friends. I don’t even have that many friends! The top of a mountain is the place to be with not fifteen sets of lips moving at once.It should be about the appreciation of solitude.To each his own I suppose.
    I also suppose some people don’t like to be alone. Insecurity. The facebook thing is a little strange to me….. letting the world know every move you make.Who cares! The oddfellow society! Some people get what they deserve.

  5. Paul says:

    There should be a special legion for those that carry a keg to the top of all 46 peaks!

  6. ed p says:

    Anonymous states in his fact #10 that there are no more than 15 people in any of the pictures. The first picture in the story shows 16 people and one taking the picture…nit picky but it makes me doubt his other facts…just saying….

    • Anonymous says:

      Why do you assume I’m male? An arm and a leg and someone snapping a picture don’t price who is in a “group” or not

      • Bruce says:

        Anonymous,

        Why are you hiding behind anonymous? Are you afraid to express your views openly? That in itself reduces the credence of your “facts.” If you had been living in pre-Revolutionary times, would you have believed Thomas Paine’s treasonous “Common Sense” if it had been published as “anonymous” and you didn’t know the credibility of the writer?

        Unless folks who were not a member of your party come forward and says they didn’t belong to your group photo, we have no choice but to assume all 16 of the people who’s faces appeared in the photo were a part of the group.

        Just like Peter Bauer who had himself photographed trespassing on railroad property, you don’t do something questionable and then put it out there for all the world to see without expecting some consequences.

        • Anonymous says:

          Its my choice to express my views, and whether to reveal my name or not. Just like this story and uninformed journalist you’re going to choose what you want to believe whether or not I present the truth.

          I work for an agency that is a stakeholder in the ADKS. I’ve already told my boss about the incident this weekend (he laughed), but I choose to remain anonymous because I don’t care for judgement from people like you 🙂

        • Eric says:

          @Bruce – Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” wasn’t published anonymously. He is a credible writer, do you believe that?

          Congrats to Raja on 46! You don’t need a 46er badge to prove you did it!

  7. Bob says:

    The headline of the story reads “Hiker Ticketed After Keg Party Atop Adirondack High Peak” which gave me the initial impression that the ticket involved some aspect of having beer on the mountain. The article itself reads “….was ticketed for allegedly organizing a hiking group with more than fifteen people — the legal limit for a day hike in the High Peaks Wilderness Area.” Much of the remainder of the article (and the headline) is sensationalism at it’s best, and has nothing to do with the reason for the ticket (more than 15 in a hiking group). This kind of writing, which is so common in journalism today, makes a mountain out of a mole hill. The article should include the facts…..write a separate article/editorial that includes all the other subjective thoughts, such as:

    1) A woman did a keg stand (has nothing to do with the ticket),

    2) the party did not disturb other hikers (has nothing to do with the ticket)

    3) the keg held only five gallons and was toted up the mountain in a backpack. “It wasn’t like people were getting drunk on the mountain…..people had a beer and enjoyed the view, and that was it.” (has nothing to do with the ticket),

    4) Brian Hoody’s comment “….the mountaintop celebration goes against the spirit of his organization, which promotes wilderness education and stewardship. “We neither need nor want members who behave in this fashion,” he said. (although I agree with Mr. Hoody, his comment has nothing to do with the ticket),

    5) Neil Woodworth’s comment , “I am appalled at the idea of a keg party on the summit of Phelps………in my (Woodworth’s) opinion, this kind of behavior is certainly inconsistent with the character and respect for the mountains that I expect of a Forty-Sixer.” (again , I agree with Mr. Woodworth, but his comment has nothing to do with the ticket),

    • Phil Brown Phil Brown says:

      Bob, the original story said Raja was ticketed for organizing the hike. This was an error that we corrected. DEC says he was ticketed for being part of a group that exceeded the legal size limit.

      The headline is accurate. He was ticketed after posting photos of the keg party. The photos (and an interview) led to the ticket. So there is causal connection between the keg party and the ticket.

  8. adkDreamer says:

    Congrats on your hiking achievement Raja Bhatt!

    As for the celebration & push back, well obviously a matter of opinion and looks like a hot topic now for some folks. As far as the group size goes, I believe the DEC would be hard pressed to prove Mr. Bhatt organized all of those folks in the photo. Suggestion: Fire up a Go Fund Me campaign to pay for the nuisance fine and pay it. Then forget it. Then climb another ADK peak and create a new organization: ADK 47-ers! Done.

  9. Gillian says:

    Two people in the article claim no one else on the summit was disturbed by their behavior. Did they ask? Or are they basing that claim on the fact that no one complained? Have they considered that just about no one hiking alone or with a friend is going to approach a large group of young people (with quite a few young men who are drinking) to say they’re too noisy?

  10. Oldmt46R says:

    The 46ers should not allow this person to join our club. This was uncalled for. If you want to party do it at your campsite or at your own home NOT on a mt summit!!
    46R # 2549

  11. Matt says:

    Wow, 14 comments deep and nobody wonders what kind of beer it was? What kind of a crowd is this? By the way, I bet Bob Marshall wouldn’t have cared all that much, but he probably would have wanted you to share the beer. That’s just the kind of guy he was. Keg stands? Really? Clearly you had some extra on tap. The ADK/46r response is laughable. Their membership is not perfect, so lets not kid ourselves. How about just give Raja a free LNT workshop and be done with it.

  12. John Sullivan says:

    I wonder what would happen if some of the hearty partiers got confused on the way down and called a ranger to discuss the situation. Of course that would never happen, would it?
    Would they like to ante up a “rescue fee” of, let’s say, $100 a keg? Or how about rescue insurance, as required in some European venues? Or saving the suds for a nice place at the bottom of the trail.

  13. Woody says:

    It seems to me like this incident is more about the reaction to the Facebook post than it is to the actual gathering of hikers on Phelps. If there was a wild keg party occurring on the summit that day, complete with raucous drunken a-holes strewing their red Solo cups all over, then DEC rangers would have probably known about the event much sooner, because people on the mountain would be complaining. Instead, people saw the pictures on the internet, made assumptions, and reacted emotionally based on their interpretations.

    Most likely all Mr. Bhatt has to do is make his appearance at the town court, and the judge will dismiss the case. The burden for DEC is to prove that everyone in the photo was a friend of Bhatt and climbed Phelps mountain specifically because they knew he would be there with the keg. It was a beautiful weekend. The people in that photo were just a small fraction of the total number of people in the High Peaks that day.

    DEC might have been better off by classifying the keg as a mechanical device, and writing a ticket for violating that regulation instead.

    Lessons to be learned by all involved:

    1 – We live in an age where people want to do what they like to do, and be seen doing it.
    2 – Nothing posted on Facebook is private. Photographic evidence of juvenile behavior WILL come back to bite you in the butt.
    3 – People are quick to judge things they see online, making assumptions based on limited information.
    4 – There are many, many people hiking in the High Peaks, more than anyone would care to admit. Some of them are young and do stupid things.

    If we are genuinely concerned by the number of people hiking to a mountain summit on the same day, then prhaps we need to reopen the discussion about capping human usage of this area. After all, the number of people hiking the High Peaks can’t keep going up and up every year, infinitely, without the number of issues also going up. The greater the number of people gathered in the same place at the same time, the greater the likelihood that someone is going to do something that offends someone else’s wilderness sensibility. As I recall, both ADK and the 46ers have been especially resistant to this idea. They want all that new membership $$$ and parking $$$, but these groups are quick to express their disgust at the type of people they’re attracting, as seen in the quotes in the article above. You can’t have it both ways folks.

    Maybe Neil Woodworth will see a business opportunity for ADK here, and start renting beer kegs along with the bear kegs?

    • Woody says:

      Note that Baxter SP in Maine has been having similar issues with AT celebrations on Katahdin. “Party” seems to be in the eye of the beholder.

  14. Charlie S says:

    Paul says:
    There should be a special legion for those that carry a keg to the top of all 46 peaks!

    That’s a good one Paul!

  15. Mtn Maddy says:

    Looks like he didn’t learn anything from Scott Jurek’s recent experience on Mt Katahdin.

  16. Christine Bourjade Christine Bourjade says:

    Summits are very busy on weekends and one should remember it’s a public place and act accordingly. Soon we are going to need rules like on planes, trains and the likes so all visitors can enjoy peacefully if not in private!

  17. Moosebeware says:

    Question to ask oneself on the summit of a mountain…”Would I want a summit steward to see this?” If the answer is no, then it is not appropriate.

    There has been a concerted effort to address over-use issues in the High Peaks. (issuing notices to stay below 3500′, walking through mud, not around, LNT) and particularly through the summit stewards and their education of appropriate summit behavior, specifically not trampling vegetation. However, this does not stop people from doing it, as I witnessed on Algonquin several weeks ago. They showed little regard for it when I told them to not walk on it and told them what they were doing is killing it. I’ve had this conversation many times, on Marcy and Cascade as well, in all seasons. Some people just don’t give a crap and feel entitled to do as they please.

    Climbing in the High Peaks is a privilege, not a right and 46ers, by virtue of their patches, are representatives of the organization that has donated several hundred thousand dollars and even more human-hours over the years to conservation efforts in the Adirondacks. To endorse such ‘frat party’ behavior on a summit sends the wrong message.

    In a world of global warming, fewer natural resources, and increased consumerism, I guess I should expect nothing less than a blatant disregard for the mountains or for others. Honestly, it’s just stupid and really, really sad. You had to bring a keg to have a good time?

  18. Reggie says:

    ok… message received… stay out of the Adirondacks if you want to drink with friends. The Adirondacks are owned by the residents who make the rules, and they don’t want much company.

    • Moosebeware says:

      What’s with the all or nothing attitude? Apparently, you just don’t get it. A toast…fine. I’ve done it. Scotch in a flask, shared with friends, sure. A keg? Ummm, no. Suffice to say a steward would not have allowed it, so it’s not just a bunch of uptight, pretentious hikers making a big deal out of this.

      Despite our age of relativism, there are limits as to what is acceptable behavior.

      • Paul says:

        Having a keg there is not illegal so the steward would have to allow it. He or she doesn’t make the rules. These are public places if you promote them enough then people show up, don’t be surprised when they don’t do things according to some code of ethics that the 46ers apparently have.

      • JSquilla says:

        I thought Summit Stewards were just there to educate and inform. I don’t think they enforce any policies or can tell anyone what do do or not do. I think they would have to report any violations to a ranger, and carrying a keg would not even be any rule violation.

  19. Todd Eastman says:

    Stupid waste of time by the DEC!

    Perhaps gates at Adirondak Loj and South Meadows with armed guards limiting the group sizes and demanding “papers” would preserve the natural character of the High Peaks…

    … now if was crappy beer, then charge the dude for violating decency standards.

  20. Scott says:

    In this country almost everything is celebrated with food and alcohol so this incident is not surprising.

  21. Bob Sarbane says:

    This thread and the incident itself is evidence of a disturbing trend within the outdoor/environmentalist movement and government bureaucrat mindset. The words arrogance, condescension, closed-mindedness and repressive come to mind. “Disagree with me and I will punish you” is the m/o.

    That mountain is public property. Neither the 46ers or even the DEC have a right to tell citizens what to do, no less punish them for it, so long as their conduct is safe and does not violate reasonable rules. Based on the known, and provable facts, no one did anything either unsafe or illegal. So why the “well, hurumph…he’s not acting like he should…” condescending tone? If you don’t own it, back off and let people with equal rights to you use the property.

    • kelly says:

      Bob, that’s insane. The DEC is a state agency with limited police powers. They have explicit legal authority over this matter. So, yes, the DEC can tell you what to do and punish you for violating laws/regs.

      • AdkBuddy says:

        What law or reg was violated? The defendant clearly did not promote a group hike of over 15 people.

        • kelly says:

          Ask the DEC. Ask the reporter. Or do some research on your own. “Clearly” is an opinion and “clearly” the DEC believed they had facts that said otherwise.

        • Phil Brown Phil Brown says:

          The story quotes from the regulation. At this point, it is only an alleged violation.

    • Dave Nethaway says:

      That it is public property seems all the more reason why a frat style party was not appropriate.

  22. Heather says:

    If you don’t know the rules of the Park, then stay home! Our family has enjoyed the ADK mountains for decades and have noticed that more and more individuals are acting like they own the area instead of just enjoying it and the beauty. It just takes one misbehaving individual to ruin it for all around them. It’s a shame.

    • AdkBuddy says:

      Out of curiosity what are the ‘rules’ of the Park, who wrote them, and who is it up to to enforce them? The judge should toss the charges. No harm, no foul.

  23. Mike Woessner says:

    Of course, everyone enjoys the view from the summit while hanging upside down, sucking beer from a keg…..

  24. jr says:

    Gee, where’s the tolerance from the tolerant?
    It seems those who pride themselves as the most “tolerant” are only tolerant of what they dictate so…

    Either way, you have to admit, this is one way to attract youth to cross the blue line.

  25. BearOne says:

    Thanks Obama!

  26. Hawthorn says:

    Unfortunately, no laws can prevent morons from being morons, and yes the group size limit is violated constantly by people who know perfectly well what they are doing. At least admit you were guilty and pay the fine. However, I wish the DEC were equally as vigilant with all the blatant violations actually damaging the environment in places like the road into Crane Pond.

  27. Paul says:

    I think this incident is a great example of how you can turn a good learning opportunity into a total fiasco that has negative repercussions for the 46ers, the Adirondack Mountain Club, the hikers involved, and the High Peaks.

  28. Devils Advocate says:

    Sure, DEC should stick their head in the granite..
    Why would they care if images of frat parties on DEC administered lands (which summits still are) are shared publicly all over the internet?
    After all, we are all so sophisticated that monkey see monkey do is what the stone age ape relatives did.
    We on the other hand have facebook, twitter, instagram, etc to see and we don’t just do, we up the auntie by publicly sharing the pics on said media…

    “Fact: 3. No one was inebriated or had impaired judgement.”
    That right there is proof, these days one needs not be inebriated..

  29. Anonymous says:

    Fact: You can have a few buddies (less than 15) and drink for a 1/4 keg without getting drunk, injuring oneself, disturbing others, or damaging wildlife. There was no rowdiness. Just a few pictures snapped, hummus was shared, and a few laughs and stories. Everyone that is making assumptioNS needs to be more objective. Its ok to have differing views but no laws were broken. Again, I’m anaonymous because my employment has stakes in the ADKS and I just started a new job. I told my boss and he laughed about it. But I still want to voice my opinion without being verbally attacked so I’ll stay anonymous. After all, that;’s what social media is for, attacking other’s beliefs without being face to face in a discussion.

    The author who wrote this didn’t present the facts, wrote a headline to sensationalize the story to attract like minded readers. Its not a news story its persuasive blogging (I’ve taught college level English for many years). He didn’t include the other party’s comments until after the first edition.

    • Phil Brown Phil Brown says:

      As I commented on the Explorer page, the headline is accurate. Raja was ticketed after posting photos of the keg party on Facebook. The photos (followed by an interview) led to the ticket. Hence, there is a causal connection between the keg party and the ticket.

      You also say we didn’t present the facts. Perhaps you’d like to elaborate.

    • Devils Advocate says:

      The only assumption I made was that DEC was and is not happy with the way this “event” is presented to the public at large.

      Even if your group was responsible and didn’t break any laws, caused no damage, and was respectful of others, a few of those who may see the depictions on “social media” may not be as respectful of regulations…

      DEC is stretched thin as it is and can’t possibly inspect every group and check every summit every weekend/holiday.

      IMHO, publicly promoting depicted behavior can and should be seen as bad judgement / irresponsible. Does that justify the ticket? perhaps not, but that is for a judge to decide…

      • Boreal says:

        I agree the posting was not a good idea, considering he is wanting to join the club, but my understanding is that the citation was written for excessive group size. Which photos were posted and how they “appeared” should be under the authority of the Thought Police, not DEC. The problem with “remote enforcement” is that actual situations are often not as they appear.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Sorry for the mispelling I’m on my phone. I know that’s the next thing that someone will pick on.

  31. BearOne says:

    They were wrong, they were ticketed, end of story.

    Pay the fine and move on or lawyer up.

    “Doth protest too loudly!”

    • AdkBuddy says:

      If you don’t like what they did, that does not mean they were wrong. Exercising poor taste is not illegal. They were improperly ticketed because someone at DEC apparently got their panties in a knot after the fact. The judge should throw the ticket out and everyone move on.

      • BearOne says:

        I will wait for the story saying DEC rescinds ticket, Otherwise, they broke the law and can fight the ticket in court. Welcome to America.

  32. adkguy says:

    I also blame Obama.

    • joe says:

      Obama! LOL, that’s a good one….all this is his fault. Chuckle. Love blaming most anything on the first politician that comes to mind 🙂

      • Avon says:

        Yup! And I laugh – louder than a chuckle, I assure you – at all those to whose minds the first thing that always, always comes (no matter the topic or forum) is “Obama.”

        Talk about loving to hate someone! It sometimes seems like millions will mourn a terrible loss on January 20, 2017 … and that’s not even counting any Obama fans. I can’t shed a tear for them, so it’s just hilarious.
        At least, it brightens up our day here, while we were all discussing such a weighty, somber story.

  33. Hiker Marty says:

    I agree that toting a keg, albeit a mini keg, up a high peak is a bit over the top, but as long as the group wasn’t out of control, I don’t think it is so God awful.

    As for the ticket for a hiking group of more than 15, if this really is the case, then the ticket should stand. There is a group limit size for a reason. With that said, it isn’t a given that even though there were more than 15 people on the summit that they were all in the same group, even if they shared the beer. If I hiked on my own and came across these folks and they offered me a beer, I would have accepted, toasted in front of the camera, and probably would be in trouble for doing so. That isn’t right.

    The 46’ers certainly can control who becomes a member of their club but if Raja climbed all 46 peaks, then he’s a 46’er with or without a patch from the club. No one can take that from him. The club doesn’t have a corner no the climbing market.

    As for enjoying solitude in the Adirondacks, I certainly wouldn’t go there on a weekend to do any of the main stream hikes seeking solitude. I’ve never been on a hike in the ADK where I haven’t come across at least a dozen people. Not to say you can’t find many routes to be alone in the ADK so please spare the comments. I’m sure if you’re 50 miles in on the Northville Placid trail, you probably will be alone but I’ve spent many days on the Finger Lakes trail without seeing a soul.

  34. AdkHiker says:

    If he is denied membership to the 46ers, it makes me question whether it is a club I want to belong to. Nothing in the story or photos makes me believe without a doubt that the individual that finished his 46 and posted the photos was behaving irresponsibly. If one of my friends was willing to carry a minikeg to the top of my final peak so I could celebrate with my hiking party and anyone else that might be at the top – and you often meet people at the top who are not part of your hiking party – you bet your butt I’d think that was a good idea, and probably post photos of it too!

    • Anonymous says:

      Same here. When I finished we had more than 15 people at the summit (although all arrived separately at separate times so who’s to say how big our ‘group’ was) and had champagne and a few beers. Pictures were even posted to the internet! *gasp*

      DEC should drop this before it embarrasses them further.

  35. 46er says:

    Celebrating with your buddies is one thing…throwing a keg party is a completely different animal. Among other things, hiking for me is a way to get far from everyday nonsense, and spend my weekends as far as possible from the usual frat-boy style culture. Hiking to the top of one of ADK peaks just to hear “chug, chug, chug…” would have been very disappointing.

  36. joe says:

    As any place gets more popular these kinds of things happen. And it is public. All sorts of user metering schemes have been talked about any times. Maybe they’ll take hold one day. Not clear.

    As to the issue about behavior on public land the best general idea is: “in a public place you should behave in a manner that is respectful of the people around you”

    If you pick instead “this is public land and I can do anything I like” you’ll run into problems – city, rural, anywhere really.

    You can do anything you like in private, but not in public. It’s not a law, it is just how society manages to work together.

  37. Jennifer says:

    While I don’t agree with drinking on top of a mountain( dangerous and it’s not part of the adirondack experience ), fining him is ridiculous! He got the ticket bc he posted pictures. There’s no way this will stand up in court. There’s no proof that he himself brought that keg up there or to prove that he was with all those people in HIS party. Hopefully he fights it.

  38. Charlie S says:

    Justin Farrell says:
    October 15, 2015 at 7:54 am
    Yeah right, sharing photos and memories with friends and family…. How strange!

    With the world Justin! Strange I say! But then you’d have to be out of the mainstream to understand that!

  39. Paul says:

    This idea that any of us or someone like the president of ADK gets to dictate what the “adirondack experience” is for anyone else is just wrong. Again like I said here a teaching moment has been turned into a fiasco.

    If the DEC really cared about overuse in some of these areas they would be out there ticketing the 50 or so cars that are illegally parked at places like the trail head for Ampersand or Cascade every weekend not ticketing this guy for something like this. I bet if you looked back at the stats almost every person who they thought had a too large of a group got off with a warning at worst. It sounds like he totally cooperated. They are hanging him out to dry if you ask me.

    • Matt says:

      Nailed it Paul. More fascinating than the story itself is the character of the comments about it. I’m embarrassed by how arrogant and presumptuous the response to this is. Perhaps it’s classic internet anonymity courage? So many armchair experts its hard to keep track. Even Bob Marshall chimed in! Back from the grave and reading the Almanack! What a laugh. I say waive the fine if they attend an LNT workshop, and leave it at that.
      By the way, props to the webmaster for an awesome anti-spam wall. I love selecting which pictures are waffles!

      • Ryan says:

        Let’s NOT use Leave No Trace as a form of punishment, if any action is actually warranted. The seven Leave No Trace principles are not rules and regulations (rules, regs & enforcement are DEC’s responsibility). The seven principles help people make good choices when recreating on public lands.

  40. Bruce says:

    If what some have said is true, I’m very surprised that alcohol in a public recreation venue is permitted outside of campgrounds, campsites, or designated picnic areas.

    I know the National Forest and National Parks can be downright squirrely about it. We were on our way up to Mt. Mitchell, NC for a picnic and were checked for alcohol at the entrance to one of the National Forest dirt road shortcuts we routinely use in summer.

  41. troutstalker says:

    These hikers actions were irresponsible. Sure, nobody got drunk but the possibility was there. Suppose someone did get drunk and got injured,killed or lost. Now DEC has to get involved in a rescue. They have to deter people from doing what they want to do. My last trip into Squaw Lake was almost a disaster due to irresponsible individuals leaving live round of ammunition in the fire pit. We had a fire and while we were sitting near it, the ammo exploded! We were very fortunate as there is no cell phone service, along hike out carrying an injured person and a two hour drive out! There has to be some accountability for these stupid people.

    • Bruce says:

      troutstalker,

      You and your friends were fortunate indeed, but there wasn’t any life threatening danger unless someone had their face right over the fire when it went off. When a live round cooks off with no gun or barrel to allow real pressure to build up, the flying bullet, or the brass flying the other direction may injure if it hits someone who’s close by with bare skin, but shouldn’t cause any real damage.

      I’ve been a shooter, gunsmith and reloader all my life, and had read that a high powered rifle (30-06) round without the confines of a barrel or chamber couldn’t shoot its way out of a cardboard box. So I decided to give the lie to the statement.

      I hung a standard 30-06 military round from the top of a cardboard box over a candle flame. When it cooked off, sure enough, everything stayed inside the box. Most of what you saw was the powder burning in the fire after the primer went off. In my experiment, much of the powder was pushed out of the case and scattered around. Metal powder cans are designed to just open up at the seam and the powder burn without actually exploding in a fire. Of course, I don’t recommend you try this at home, LOL.

      Did you find the fired bullet afterwards? If you did, how far did it or the brass case travel?

  42. Moosebeware says:

    http://nysparks.com/inside-our-agency/documents/Rulemaking/Regulations/AlcoholRegulations.pdf

    Just so we’re all educated. There is no exemption for the Adirondack Park.

    • Woody says:

      OK, Brainiac, you did a 30-sec google search and found a NYS reg about alcohol consumption in state parks.

      Except that comes from OPRHP, which manages beaches and golf courses and paved recreation trails, not the DEC, which manages the state lands in the Adirondacks.

      In other words, “Go fish.”

    • Paul says:

      The Adirondacks is not a state park like the ones that the OPRHP oversees. Even if it was we all know that everybody, and I mean everybody, breaks this rule. State parks are like a zoo in the summer. I think the main reason people go there is to drink.

      It is not illegal for a person over 21 to drink on state land in the Adirondacks. Most hikers just drink the strong stuff since it is much easier to carry. If it was illegal they would have gotten a ticket for that. They didn’t.

  43. Wow. At 63 I’d have a tough time climbing down after few beers. But I think it was a brilliant way to celebrate. Reckless? Yes. Dangerous? Perhaps. We’ve all been there. Lighten up.

  44. Todd Eastman says:

    Perhaps the DEC Rangers in the High Peaks should be sent to Baltimore for sensitivity training with the BPD…

  45. Mike says:

    This is actually quite hysterical!

    I’m thinking their biggest mistake was not the alcohol itself, but the form of alcohol chosen is what did it… after all keg beer is so low brow, it’s for the much maligned snowmobilers isn’t it? High minded enlightened hikers would look more appropriate sipping wine don’t you think? There’s plenty good ones available in a box these days, and then no one needs to hang upside down to drink it, and invite comparisons of hikers to college kids on spring break. This group has done worse than violate some 16 person party law, they have unwittingly damaged the image of the hiking class and earned the condemnation from some of the foremost advocates for the Adirondacks, and for that more than anything they must be brought to task. After all how dare they consume a beverage others don’t approve of on a mountain top? Next up DEC will be ticketing for those seen consuming sugary drinks…. sorry kids better hide your juice boxes!

    But at least we now get to see tangible results of the economic impact all the eco tourism we’ve heard will be the salvation of the north country economy…. yup a few beers and a ticket!

    • joe says:

      Spot on. The form/style of a keg party is what has people twisted. It does not fit their sense of aesthetics. It isn’t about alcohol. Aesthetics are a big deal in the Forest Preserve – that is the reason for wood bridges for example. It is all about the look and feel of the place and the experience. This event crossed an invisible aesthetic line.

      It does not appeal to my aesthetics either, but I don’t believe drinking on Forest Preserve is illegal, nor should it be.

      There is a growing issue with crowding on major weekends, as evidenced by parking issues all over. I do think that any local person will simply put off a hike until after a long weekend is over. Simple really.

      A lot more State and enviro/NGO resources will need to go into crowd management, parking, summit stewards, trail hardening (the Saranac 6er trails, I hear, are all torn up by overuse). DEC and the NGOs will have to work on details of crowds in different areas….it certainly isn’t the sort of thing the towns can handle. But once of Facebook, you can bet you’ll see more of this.

  46. LogicAnyone says:

    1. A 5 gallon keg contains 40 pints, people. Stop making it sound like they carried up a sixer for their group. If the group was just 8, that’s 5 pints each, but “no one was inebriated” and they “didn’t plan to meet up” with the rest of the group they’d camped the night before with (which, in a post since removed, was written as “about 30 of us” camped the night before).

    2. “No one on the summit complained” because just about everyone on that summit was with the group. Too bad the original FB posts have all been removed. How quickly would most of us have left that summit when a group that large settled in on it?

    3. “They didn’t hike together” and yet all met on the summit at the same time. What a happy “coincidence” that some guy had managed to carry a keg up the mountain that very day they all accidentally met back on a mountain top, just like the day before when the group did Whiteface and posted a photo of 20+ of them on the summit together. I guess luck was just on their side!

    To pretend this was anything other than exactly what it looks like is utterly naive. If you want to defend their right to party however they want, then do that, don’t hide behind naivete.

    You can climb all 46 peaks in NY without the permission or approval of the 46ers. You do not have to be a member of the organization if you do not buy into their philosophy, which clearly this group did not. That’s fine. Why try to be a member of a group whose philosophy you flout? Do your thing. Hike your hike. Decisions have consequences and the cost-benefit is your own. That’s between you and DEC, not you and the 46ers.

    By the way, when people dared post the DEC regulations as a reminder to other folks on the site about what was actually a violation, that person was booted from the site. Let’s think about what that says of their regard for the regulations. They don’t even want to KNOW what they are.

  47. troutstalker says:

    Bruce.Thanks for the info. I think we were more upset that these were careless people. The campsite was covered with spent 357 magnum and 22 cartridges. They shot at whiskey and beer bottles and filled a tree with lead. I think they were drunk and disgruntled hunters. I was glad that my kids didn’t come with us.Bottom line is you don’t have to have alcohol to have a good time.Those people on the summit probably thought they were “cool”.

    • Bruce says:

      Some friends and us were camping at a popular, local campground one weekend when a group of folks set up across the way. Over the course of the weekend, they proceeded to get pretty well sotted, their campfire was big enough (about 6′ high) to cause the leaves on a couple trees to dry out and die, and they carried on loudly well into the night. They had those cheap K-mart style tents without full fly coverage, and when it rained Saturday night they got soaked. Needless to say, we enjoyed watching them pull everything out and pack it all up wet while we savored our morning coffee and cigars around our cheery little campfire. They couldn’t even start a fire.

  48. Tom Payne says:

    Well, well! Egg on ones face. God’s anointed flock not as squeaky clean as they are portrayed in the great halls of power in Albany. I wonder if we will have a “bless me father for I have sinned” moment out front of the state capital. Some how I think not. The phones must be red hot between the Environmental Lobby and the NYSDEC and APA offices. The fix is on. How fast will this be made to just disappear in Albany? It is refreshing to see arrogance get its just reward.

  49. Frank says:

    In the Poland’s Tatra Mountains one can purchase beer and other refreshments from small huts partway up the trail. (not on the summits) No one seems to have any issues and I did not notice any litter either. My impression was the Polish people do not view hiking and beer drinking as mutually exclusive. Oh yeah, and that beer sure tasted great on an 80 degree day! Thanks for this article though. the comments have been very entertaining. Lighten up folks. Life and culture will not always fit your ideal view. Roll with it man.

  50. Todd Eastman says:

    How the next celebration on top of Couch…

    … not many rangers walking that far.

  51. Boreal says:

    I think the late Grace H. would have treated the whole situation with a phrase she dropped on me once as I was aspiring to join the 46rs. “Strong back, weak mind….”

    46R# 20xx

    • Boreal says:

      I guess it depends on your point of view:

      From “DEC To Remove Grace Peak Summit Sign”

      “On June 21, a large group of hikers gathered on the summit to celebrate—with champagne and cake—the renaming of the 4,012-foot mountain from East Dix to Grace Peak in honor of the late Grace Hudowalski, the longtime historian of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers.”

      See more at: http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2014/08/dec-to-remove-summit-sign-commemorating-grace-hudowalski.html#comments

      Maybe they had a permit – no one was busted during that celebration. Perhaps because they had cake?

      • Paul says:

        You make a great point.

        perhaps they can turn a blind eye to the champagne drinkers. It is those low brow beer drinkers that cannot be tolerated!

        In the past I have seen several posts about the idea of drinking a good bottle of wine on the Forest Preserve, no negative comments there from the ADK?

        Seriously though it looks like there are special regulations for the High Peaks as far as group size. I don’t think you can get a permit for a group larger than 15.

      • Moosebeware says:

        Article does not define what is a “large group”. Could 8, could be 80. FYI

        For the record, there were at least two different groups for this hike. So, they followed the group regulations. And if you read the story, the sign was taken down. Even the DEC overlords the 46ers as the sign was not official.

      • Boreal says:

        My point was, large, illegal gatherings on the top of peaks is nothing new. Neither is alcohol use, or pot for that matter. 46rs do it as much or possibly more than others – after all, who is more likely to celebrate? You take your chances of being busted if a Ranger comes along, but at least an officer is present and can find out the facts firsthand and assess if a citation is the proper tool, or if firm education is better. I doubt the East Dix/Grace Peak gathering would have prompted a citation regardless of group size at the summit.

        As the High Peaks region becomes more accessible by trail-hardening and promotion, more people will be on the summits, more rules will be broken, more people will be injured/lost, more damage will occur to the summits. The DEC simply needs more Rangers to patrol properly. Handing out tickets based on Facebook photos doesn’t convey the same spirit as an officer explaining things to you face-to-face and possibly issuing a citation, or helping you get your dislocated shoulder reduced, or putting out a small fire, or giving someone directions, or reprimanding someone with an unleashed dog. As I said earlier, you need a definite presence of Rangers or Stewards if you expect people to obey rules. Not everyone can be trusted to voluntarily follow the rules, let alone social norms. But DEC can’t hire Rangers without funding. But the DEC phoning in citations isn’t going to help get the public on their side.

  52. Todd Eastman says:

    Oh my! People having fun in the mountains…

    … random groups of individuals joining around a keg, a bag of ginger snaps, a photo, a lecture by a ranger… who knows?

    WTF! Do you want to know about the real history of adventures in the High Peaks throughout the 70s and 80s? We weren’t fueled by granola!

    The APA should ban prudes from the Park.

  53. Mike says:

    I’m telling ya folks, it’s because they made the hiking class look bad! Some here have even compared the kegger on the mountain people to “drunk and disgruntled” hunters… (which was an unnecessary aspersion by the way, ) which might be even worse than the awful snowmobile riders… OMG the horror! If hikers continue to act like this, they’ll soon be comparing them to ice fisherman!

    Tom Payne just a few posts back nails it.

    Last year at the Vanderwhacker fire tower, while my daughter and I were eating our lunch, I saw one guy light up a cigarette, good thing that didn’t end up on Facebook, or that dude would have been ticketed by DEC also. After all, I’m guessing he carried in a pack of 20!

    • Boreal says:

      Perhaps you could have talked him into smoking it while doing a handstand – there must be a rule against that! BTW, are “vapes” considered machinery?

    • -B says:

      Uh, Mike, though the thread got a little jumbled, the drunk & disgruntled hunter comment was referring to a live round left in a fire ring. Not the group in question. Keep going with your theory though, maybe you’ll get to the bottom of the moon lands and 9/11 while you’re at it.

  54. Bruce says:

    Wow, hard to believe one guy getting a ticket for a minor infraction could generate so many comments. Don’t we have more earth shaking things to talk about?

    • JohnL says:

      Yes I do Bruce, thanks for asking. I wonder how many of the people that are complaining about all this take their dogs hiking with them. Yeah, dogs! They annoy the heck out of me. You step in their crap, they bark, jump up on you, and on occasion actually bite people. Yet their owners always say…oh he won’t hurt you. Bullfeathers. Dogs have no place in the mountains. Wow, I feel better getting this off my chest. Thanks Bruce.

  55. Paul Revere says:

    The 46ers have become a little stale anyway. Now there are 46ers summer, winter, barefoot, backwards in the rain, etc….This group gives me a lot of hope. What about these for the next rocker sold at the HPIC

    1) Forty “kegger”, a keg party on all 46 peaks.

    2) Forty Sexer, self explanatory

    3) Forty Searcher, for all the rangers, caretakers, and S and R Volunteers, have to be on search or rescue on all 46.

    4) 46r^2, all 46 peaks, 46 times.( if this has been done already that person has way to much time on their hands.) Summer and Winter, barefoot, etc.

    5) 46-1=45er. Just climb 45 of them and don’t buy into the whole 46er thing altogether. Maybe find the lowest point in the adks for your 46th adventure.

    Remember, “You got to fight for your right to Party!”

  56. wayno17 says:

    The important things are if they didn’t disturb anybody and they completely picked up after themselves. Having a beer on top of a peak is not any kind of concern in my book.

  57. Patrick Ryan says:

    Why was my response censored? I’m canceling my Adirondack Explorer paper. I enjoy it but can’t stand the editors.

    • John Warren John Warren says:

      Patrick,

      Your comment was not censored, it was never received. Feel free to submit it again.

      Also, Adirondack Explorer is edited by Phil Brown. This site, Adirondack Almanack, is edited by me – two different publications.

      John Warren
      Adirondack Almanack

  58. Paul says:

    This was a very interesting string of comments. This old mantra that groups like ADK and others are elitist types always seemed off base. But some of the reaction here makes you have to take a step back and consider if there is any validity to that criticism.

    Their initial reaction here was basically it is our way or the highway. I think a lot of people are probably just going to hit the highway.

  59. Charlie S says:

    Frank says “the comments have been very entertaining. Lighten up folks. Life and culture will not always fit your ideal view. Roll with it man.”

    This is so true. I agree and disagree with many of these comments. I stand neutral on the matter generally.

  60. Jim says:

    At a time when there is great concern that the demographic north country is greying, and many are pondering ways to attract young folks, the response of the authorities and orginization officials seems counter productive.

  61. Bruce says:

    Jim,

    Whatever the rules, they are what they are, unless they’re changed by the powers that be. In the meantime, enforcement is still going to be there for better or worse, just as it always has. Why would that need to change for today’s young people; are you implying they are less responsible, so they need more slack than we had? Why would that keep them away?

  62. ak says:

    Ridiculous, remind me not to join the ADK Club or the 46-ers. If they carried it in and carried it out (no-trace), leave them alone. Its OK for me to urinate and defecate on the mountain, but God forbid I crack open a beer.

  63. Dan Africk says:

    I’m a little late to this, but since this concerns a good friend of mine, I have to comment. This article, and the ensuing comments, are full of false assumptions and mischaracterizations. I’m a good friend of Raja Bhatt, as well as several of the other hikers there that day. These are not the reckless, inconsiderate, ‘Fraty’ / ‘Broey’, type of people that many have assumed, and there was no ‘keg party’. Raj is one of the most conscientious, considerate, responsible, and kind-hearted hikers I know. He practices strict leave-no-trace practices, is very passionate about the outdoors, and has helped spread that passion to other new hikers. And yes, he knows how to have a good time. Same goes for many of the other people in that group. These are people who often pick up other people’s trash and pack it out, and would be the first to stop and help out any other hiker in need (in fact, on this very trip, some of the people in that group stopped to help out a random injured hiker, sprained ankle I think, on the way down). My friend, and this group as a whole, have been caricatured in a manner that is far from reality, these are exactly the kind of people you would want more of, not less, in the mountains.

    There was no planned or organized keg party. A large group of friends where staying at the Adirondack Loj campground nearby over the weekend. They were doing a variety activities in small groups, including hiking various trails in separate groups. I know because I was planning to go, but had to cancel at the last minute. They are a fun-loving group and brought plenty of beer to the campground, including that small keg. There was some beer left in that keg the next morning, so someone had the idea to carry that partially-filled keg up the mountain. It wasn’t Raj’s idea, and he didn’t buy or carry that keg, or play any part in organizing it. So some friends who were at the mountain top at the right time, got to share in a little beer and some fun photos. That was it. No one got drunk, no litter was left. Since I wasn’t physically there, I can’t say how loud people were, but I can tell you what my experience has been like with these same people on similar hikes: These are friendly, courteous people, with a wide variety of backgrounds, ages, etc. Not the sort that would be loud or obnoxious or intimidating for random hikers to approach. They know how to have a good time, yes, but not in a disrespectful way. Get whatever frat party scene you’re imagining out of your head. I’m sure any other hikers on that mountain would have found the group friendly and perhaps amusing, and if anything, they probably would have been offered a beer.

    I can understand why many people jumped to the conclusions they did, based on the misleading headline and out-of-context photo. If I didn’t know the people involved, I would quite possibly do the same myself. I can even understand the author jumping to those conclusions, after a lapse in judgment by failing in the journalistic responsibility of fact-checking. Journalists aren’t perfect, mistakes happen. What is utterly unacceptable, is making false claims in the original article, hiding the (partial) corrections that were eventually made, and failing to apologize and set the record straight once (if?) he realized his mistake.

    The original article stated that ‘Raj could not be contacted’, when no attempt was actually made to contact him. It also claimed that Raj organized the trip, among other false statements. This was only corrected once Raj reached out to the author. And while the author has made some corrections, the disparaging headline and tone of the article remain. If the author would just admit that he was wrong, and made some rash assumptions in the hopes of a catchy headline, and clearly apologize for dragging my friend’s name through the mud, I don’t think people would think less of him- quite the opposite. Everyone makes mistakes, and I respect people who can own up to them, and make things right.

    On the one hand, this whole thing was blown out of proportion, and is just a silly article in a small paper (though it was picked up by the AP and has been republished in many other publications..). But on the other hand, my friend’s name and character has been publicly disparaged, and this article is now showing up as the #6 search result on Google. That is a big deal. How would you feel if one of the top Google results for your name is a misleading and disparaging article about a keg party? Who knows what kind of effect that could have on someone’s career. So to anyone reading this, I want to set the record straight. And if the author is reading the comments, Mike Lynch and Phil Brown, please do the right thing. There’s nothing wrong with showing a little humility, it’s not too late for you to do the right thing.

    • Phil Brown Phil Brown says:

      Africk, you are to be commended for sticking up for your friend. He sounds like a good guy. We did not characterize the gathering other than to call it a keg party. Given the photos of a large group of people and a keg on the summit (including a keg stand), that seems like a fair characterization. Also, the headline is not misleading. Raja was in fact ticketed after the keg party. The photos of the party led to the ticket. So there is a causal connection.

      I assume the original article you refer to is the one that appeared on the Explorer website. The author did reach out to Raja by (I believe) Facebook message but was unable to contact him. I made the decision to run the story anyway once we found out that Raja had been ticketed because we had no way of knowing if Raja would get in touch with us and because the ticket was a matter of public record. After the first story ran, Raja did contact us and we included his side of the story (backed up by a friend’s account).

  64. Jeff Spicoli says:

    What are you going to cry about when Weed is legal and everyone fires up on the peak? Bwah ha aha ha……