Every year, on average, 25 people who are injured while climbing, skiing and mountaineering on Mount Washington require some type of assistance from rescue groups such as the US Forest Service and the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol. The incident summaries listed below are provided as an educational tool in order to help prevent future accidents. The accidents range from sprained ankles to multi-systems trauma, to avalanche burials. The reports and analysis of these accidents have revealed some interesting insights into winter mountain safety.


Stranded Hikers – May 3, 2022

STRANDED HIKERS – MAY 3, 2022 At approximately 5:00pm on Tuesday, May 3rd, two hikers called 911 after descending into Tuckerman Ravine and becoming stranded in the Lip / Sluice area.  Incident Two Mount Washington day hikers estimated that they reached the summit of Mount Washington around 4:00pm via the…

Stranded Hikers on the Lip, Tuckerman Ravine

STRANDED HIKERS At approximately 5:00pm on Tuesday, May 3rd, two hikers called 911 after descending into Tuckerman Ravine and becoming stranded in the Lip / Sluice area.  Incident Two Mount Washington day hikers estimated that they reached the summit of Mount Washington around 4:00pm via the Lion Head Trail to…

Long Sliding Fall; Chute, Tuckerman Ravine

Events: On Saturday March 26, 2022, a 25 year old male (Patient) took a 500’ fall while attempting to ski the skier’s left side of Chute.  The patient reported that the cause of the fall was due to one of his ski bindings releasing in the upper part of the…

Skier-triggered avalanche; Sluice, Tuckerman Ravine

Type: Hard Slab Trigger: Artificial, Skier Size – Relative to Path: R3 Size – Destructive Force: D2 Slope Aspect: Southeast Start Zone Elevation: 5000 Average Slope Angle: 40 degrees Slope Character: Convexity in Sluice Gully Summary Description On the morning of March 4, 2022 around 11:30am a skier triggered an…

Human-triggered avalanche in Left Gully, Tuckerman Ravine

  SYNOPSIS: On December 5 at approximately 12:00 pm a skier triggered a shallow soft slab avalanche near the top of Left Gully. The skier was caught and carried, and a short distance later triggered a 2nd, larger avalanche. The skier was carried 800 vertical feet, unharmed and landed on…

Sliding Fall, Tuckerman Ravine

Events: On Sunday May 30, at approximately 1:20pm, a Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patroller radioed the USFS lead snow ranger to report that a skier had taken a sliding fall down a 35 degree snow slope into Lunch Rocks. A short time later, the ski patroller made contact with the…

Long sliding falls, Tuckerman Ravine

  Tuckerman Ravine, 04/02/21 The current snowpack at mid and upper elevations in the Presidential Range presents widespread hazards of long sliding falls. These hazards are a result of warm weather and rain followed by a refreeze. Looking at the MWOBS F6 for March reveals nearly a week (03/21 to 03/26) of…

Sliding Fall; Right Gully, Tuckerman Ravine

Tuckerman Ravine, 03/21. Right Gully is right of center, with numerous groups congregating below around Lunch Rocks On the morning of Tuesday, March 23, an individual was descending Right Gully in Tuckerman Ravine. The man, 70 years old and traveling alone, was equipped with extra layers, crampons, and an ice…

Long fall in Tuckerman Ravine

Events: On Sunday, March 21, multiple skier falls occurred in Tuckerman Ravine as skiers tested themselves in this  extremely steep terrain. Snow conditions varied that day between boot-top deep soft, wet corn snow with firm crust in the shade or where swept off by skiers and riders. While on patrol,…

Long sliding fall on Lion Head Winter Route

Events: On Sunday March 14th, at approximately 5:15pm, a hiker took a long sliding fall while descending a steep section of the Lion Head Winter Route. The group of three were wearing lightweight hiking boots with microspikes and carried ice axes. A local guide and paramedic/ER nurse was descending with…

Benighted on Yale Gully, Huntington Ravine

At approximately 6:30 pm the USFS MWAC team was notified of a party of two climbers unable to continue in Yale Gully, Huntington Ravine. Temperatures at the time were in the negative single digits F with winds from the northwest at 33 mph. Avalanche danger was low, with icy hard…

Long sliding fall; Right Gully, Tuckerman Ravine

A 62 year old Brookline, MA man was reported missing to USFS personnel at 11pm Saturday night, Feb 20, 2021, when he failed to return from a summit hike via Boott Spur or one of the Lion Head Trails. Temperatures on the summit were -6F with northwest winds 35-50 mph…

Avalanche fatality; Ammonoosuc Ravine, Mount Washington

  Synopsis: At approximately 7am on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, a NH Fish and Game officer contacted the lead snow ranger at the USFS Mount Washington Avalanche Center to ask for assistance in locating the vehicle of an individual who was reported missing on Tuesday night,  Ian Forgays, a 54…

Dislocated shoulder; Sherburne Ski Trail

On January 25, a group of skiers was descending the John Sherburne Ski Trail. Around 2:40 pm, just above crossover #7, one skier lost control due to a waterbar and dislocated their left shoulder during the fall. The individual had reportedly dislocated the same shoulder multiple times before and had…

Long sliding fall; Lip, Tuckerman Ravine

Events: On the morning of Saturday, January 9, 2021, two 20 year old males were ascending the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. Around 11 am, witnesses noted these two individuals on foot, falling near the rollover at the top of the ravine. Both individuals fell around 500 vertical feet, impacting exposed boulders…

Long sliding fall; Chute, Tuckerman Ravine

March 9, 2020. AMC Hermit Lake Caretaker reported seeing a person falling end-over-end “tomahawking” the length of Chute in Tuckerman Ravine around noon. The Caretaker and Snow Ranger responding were pleased to find that the patient had no apparent injuries. The skier walked downhill to Hermit Lake and was assisted…

Avalanche, Tuckerman Ravine

Date of Observation: January 2, 2020  1:30 PM Location of Observation: Tuckerman Ravine: Sluice, Sluice Buttress/Ice area Human triggered soft slab avalanche. E Slope, approx 30 degrees. Party of one, snowboarder, triggered, caught, carried, not buried as reported by said snowboarder. Crown line starts low in Sluice spans under Sluice Buttress/Sluice Ice….

Avalanche; Tuckerman Ravine

Date of Observation: January 2, 2020  11:00 AM Location of Observation: Tuckerman Ravine, Headwall Soft slab avalanche. E Slope, approx 35 degree slope angle. Avalanche spanning a majority of the headwall. Some details unknown due to poor visibility. It appears to have started Center Headwall, first smaller avalanche failed mid slab, which…

Avalanche; Chute, Tuckerman Ravine

On November 30th, the first of two skiers ascending the lookers right edge of an east facing funnel shaped couloir called Chute, triggered a wind slab which fractured from his feet up and across the slope. The resulting 30′ wide and 2’+ deep crown spanned the width of the gully…

Long sliding fall; Chute, Tuckerman Ravine

Events: At approximately 12:30pm, 2 Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrollers skiing in Tuckerman Ravine witnessed a long sliding fall from near the top of the 50 degree couloir known as the Chute. A 60 year old male skier lost his footing near the skyline, either while climbing or transitioning to…

Sliding fall; Right Gully, Tuckerman Ravine

Events: On Saturday May 4, 2019 at approximately 4:00pm, a 66 year old male caught an edge while skiing and took what was described as a “slow speed slide” into a rock below Right Gully. The two other members of his party and some passersby dug a shelf in the snow,…

Near-miss fall into waterfall hole; Tuckerman Ravine

As winter turns rapidly to spring, a number of hazards become prevalent in the steep terrain of the Presidential Range and particularly the Headwall of Tuckerman Ravine. Waterfall holes, glide cracks or crevasses, moats around cliffs and rocks, and other deep holes open as the thick snowpack melts. A fall…

Avalanche fatality; Raymond Cataract

Events: Around lunchtime on Thursday, April 11, 2019, two hikers took a break on the summit of Lion Head. This ridge separates Tuckerman Ravine from a stream drainage to the north known as Raymond Cataract. While on Lion Head, they noted a skier descending into Raymond Cataract, an ephemeral, but…

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