2003-2004 Summaries

 

1-11-2004: The victim was hiking out of the Tuckerman Bowl at approximately 2:15pm carrying his snowboard. About half way down the trail to Hermit Lake he slipped on some ice, tumbled two or three times and fell along his snowboard. The edge of the board cut through his clothing and put an eight inch long laceration on his outer right thigh. The board cut through muscle and hit his femur. Forest Service Snow Rangers were contacted and responded to the scene. The bleeding was controlled and the victim was put in a litter and taken to Hermit Lake. From there he was transported by snowcat to an ambulance waiting at Pinkham Notch. At the hospital the victim received hundreds of stitches and will require physical therapy to recover. This accident took 6 people two hours to complete.

1-17-2004: Forest Service Snow Rangers were contacted to assist a hiker who was experiencing shortness of breath, cramping in his legs and heart palpatations. Snow Rangers met him and his party on the trail and transported him via snowcat to an ambulance waiting at Pinkham Notch. This rescue took 2 people 3 hours.

1-29-2004 After receiving a report of an overdue hiker and finding the hiker’s car at the Pinkham parking lot, Forest Service Snow Rangers initiated a search with the help of NH Fish and Game, AMC, MRS and AVSAR. After searching numerous areas, the individual was located on the floor of Huntington Ravine. The hiker ascended the Lion Head Winter Route to the Summit of Mt. Washington on January 27, 2004 with the intent to descend through the Ravine. The attempted descent through the Ravine resulted in a fatal fall. He was well equiped for winter weather in the mountains with appropriate clothing, food and water. He was using crampons and ski poles but did not have an ice axe.

3-5-2004 The victim was descending from the summit at approximately 3:15pm when he tripped after catching a crampon, injuring his right leg. He was assisted by his guide until a litter arrived. He was lowered down the Lion Head trail by the guide, the HMC and AMC caretakers, a USFS Snow Ranger and volunteers. He was then taken by snowcat to Pinkham and a waiting ambulance. The victim suffered a broken tibia and fibula and a dislocated ankle of the right leg. This rescue took 11 people 5 hours.

3-7-2004 The victim was leading a climb in O’dells Gully when he took a 10′ fall on the third pitch of ice. He landed on a sloping ice shelf and fell backwards suffering an injury to his lower left leg. He was lowered down the ice by his climbing partners and then by USFS Snow Rangers. At the base of the ice he was put in a litter and lowered to the floor of the ravine and the waiting snowcat. He was transported by snowcat to Pinkham and then by ambulance to the hospital. This rescue took 6 people 3.25 hours.

3-20-2004 The victim was climbing in O’dells Gully with two others. When on the last pitch of ice his crampon popped off his right foot which caused him to take an approximately 20 foot lead fall suffering a right ankle injury. The party self-rescued using a litter from the Dow Cache once they rappelled/lowered to the bottom of the ice. They pulled the litter to the Harvard Cabin where they met the HMC Cartetaker. The Caretaker contacted USFS Snow Rangers who then transported the victim to Pinkham Notch via the snowcat. His climbing partners then drove him to the hospital. This rescue took 4 people 2+ hours to complete.

3-20-2004 The following is from a press release issued by our office on 3-21-2004: Two climbers who lost their way in white-out conditions above treeline on Mount Washington Saturday were found unharmed Sunday morning as they were descending the Lion Head Trail on the east side of the mountain. KC, 40, of Ottawa, Ontario, and CW, of Arlington, Massachusetts, spent the night in a snow trench covered with their gear and drifting snow while awaiting daylight to continue their search for the trail down the mountain. They had ice-climbed O’dells Gully in Huntington Ravine on Saturday with plans to meet KC’s husband above the ravine on the Alpine Garden and hike back to Pinkham Notch in the afternoon. They did not appear as planned and were reported missing Saturday evening. Temperatures on the Mount Washington summit averaged 14F overnight, with winds peaking at 75 mph. Dan Solari, a meteorologist at the Mount Washington Observatory, noted of Saturday’s afternoon and overnight conditions, “I have never seen worse blowing snow…the freezing fog and falling snow didn’t help either. Visibilities were only about 15 feet or so.” The initial search began late Saturday night with staff from the U.S. Forest Service, Appalachian Mountain Club, and Harvard Mountaineering Club facing darkness, Considerable avalanche danger, and winds gusting to 60 mph. The search resumed early Sunday with about 14 expert winter mountaineers from Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue, Mountain Rescue Service, and NH State Parks on the mountain, led by three U.S. Forest Snow Rangers. The Mount Washington Observatory’s snowcat transported searchers on the Auto Road, the Appalachian Mountain Club supplied base support from Pinkham Notch, and NH Fish and Game stood on alert to assist if needed. Lead Snow Ranger Chris Joosen of the White Mountain National Forest is gratified to have search and rescue personnel on call when needed. “Most of the searchers today are volunteers who were alerted late last night and were on the ground at first light this morning. We could not do what we do to assist the lost and injured without the expertise and dedication of the local search and rescue community.” A volunteer search team encountered the lost pair on the trail above treeline and accompanied them through steep terrain and drifting snow down the Lion Head Winter Route, and were transported via Forest Service snowcat down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to Pinkham Notch. Saturday’s mountain forecast called for increasing winds and unstable snow accumulating in the ravines. The daily avalanche advisory posted early in the day by Joosen predicted “Considerable” avalanche danger, approaching “High,” by mid-afternoon, meaning that natural avalanches were possible and human-triggered avalanches were probable. Other climbers reported seeing Churches and Wallace as they climbed, and said that loose snow avalanches were occurring in the Ravine Saturday afternoon.

3-27-2004 The victim was walking off the porch of the Hermit Lake Shelter on the evening of 3-26-2004 when he rolled his ankle as he stepped on ice. The next morning his ankle was very swollen and his friends reported this to the AMC Caretaker who then contacted a USFS Snow Ranger. The Snow Ranger assessed the ankle, splinted it and transported the victim to Pinkham. His friends transported him to the hospital. He reported that his ankle was broken and required surgery. This accident took 1 person 3 hours.

3-27-2004 The victim was skiing in the Ravine, near the Lip, when he was struck on the upper right leg by a chunk of ice. The ice chunk was approximately 2′ wide. He took a sliding fall as a result of being hit by the ice. After being assessed by 2 members of the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol the victim was able to walk out with assistance.

4-3-2004 The victim was glissading down the Escape Hatch in Huntington Ravine when her crampon got caught on a small tree. She suffered an ankle injury as a result. She was lowered by her party approximately 90 meters to the floor of Huntington where she was put into a litter. A USFS Snow Ranger met the group and transported the victim behind a snowmobile 2/3 of the way down the trail. The last 1/3 of the trail she was carried/sledded in a litter down to Pinkham Notch. This rescue took 6 people 2 hours.

4-17-2003 The patient had hiked to the Ravine with his family to ski. During the course of the day he started having significant abdominal pain. The patient was put in a litter and carried out to Pinkham where he was taken by ambulance to the hospital. This rescue took apprximately 15 people 2.5 hours to complete.

4-25-2004 The victim was high in the Chute when she started descending into Chute Variation. She was in terrain beyond her comfort level and could not descend further. Forest Service Snow Rangers assisted getting her back up and then over to Left Gully where they then helped her descend. This rescue took 2 people 2 hours to complete.

5-7-2004 Forest Service Snow Rangers were contacted by the NH State Police, who had received a call from Maine 911. Maine had received a 911 cell phone call reporting a person injured in Tuckerman Ravine. The victim was skiing Right Gully when he fell and slid into Lunch Rocks. He suffered soft tissue injury to his lower back and buttocks. He was able to walk out of the Ravine. The Snow Rangers met him on the trail and assessed his condition. He was able to walk out with volunteers carrying his equipment. This incident took the Snow Rangers 1 hour.

5-8-2004 The victim was climbing up Right Gully to ski when she fell. Due to the hard snow conditions she went into a high speed uncontrolled slide into the rocks at the bottom of the gully. She suffered contusions on her right arm, hip and knee. Her helmet was dented from the impact. Her arm was put in a sling and she was able to walk out of the ravine to Pinkham. This rescue took 2 people 3 hours.

5-8-2004 The victim was hiking up Left Gully to ski when he fell approximately 50′ and hit a rock. He suffered a laceration on his right forearm. It was bandaged with a fleece coat and shoe string on scene by a bystander to stop the bleeding. He descended the gully and sought assistance from the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol. His laceration was assessed and bandaged. He was advised he would probably need stitches. He was able to walk out to Pinkham on his own. This incident took 2 people 15 minutes.

5-15-2004 The victim was snowboarding in the Sluice. At the end of her descent she fell backwards and slid into Lunch Rocks suffering an abrasion on her right arm. It was bandaged by a member of the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol. This accident took one person 45 minutes.

5-15-2004 The victim was climbing up on the Center Headwall to ski when a skier above fell and hit him. He suffered a laceration to his left forearm. He was assisted by members of the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol who bandaged the arm and advised him to seek further medical attention for stitches. He was able to walk out of the ravine on his own. This accident took 3 people 30 minutes.

5-20-2004 The victim was hiking on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail when he tripped and rolled his ankle. A Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patroller and a Forest Service Snow Ranger assisted him and taped his ankle. He was able to walk out on his own. This incident took two people 15 minutes.