May 11, 2024


Around 10am on Saturday, May 11, a hiker experienced a long-sliding-fall resulting in non-life-threatening injuries while attempting to climb to the Mount Washington summit via the Right Gully area of Tuckerman Ravine. The party of two did not have the ability to self-evacuate due to the nature of the injuries. With a current lack of snow coverage below 4000 feet in elevation, it took 9 MWAC team members (4 Snow Rangers & 5 Volunteer Patrol) about 5 hours to move the patient to Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. 


Two hikers were attempting to hike to the summit of Mount Washington via the Right Gully area of Tuckerman Ravine. While ascending the steep snow slopes above the “Lunch Rocks” area, one of the hikers slipped, gained speed quickly, and wasn’t able to stop the sliding fall. The hiker slid uncontrollably into large rocks, which ultimately stopped the fall. During these events, the hiker sustained a serious lower leg injury from the impact. 

The hikers were able to “scoot” down the snow slope to the base of Tuckerman Ravine where bystanders called for help and they eventually met the rescue team from MWAC. 


This incident highlights the seriousness of a fall on steep snow slopes, which can turn uncontrollable and dangerous in a split second. In this case, the hikers were not equipped with the appropriate equipment to travel in this steep, snow covered terrain. We are happy the outcome of this incident wasn’t worse, which it easily could have been. With snow still covering above-treeline areas, mountaineering equipment including crampons and ice axe are critical for safe travel around Mount Washington, especially in very steep terrain covered in snow. 

It is also worth noting the extended rescue timeline for a backcountry emergency at this point in the year. Backcountry accidents, like this one, can take many hours to complete. Backcountry rescue teams do not have the same resources as urban responders, which means extraction can be incredibly uncomfortable, painful, and long for an injured person.