April 2, 2006

The victim had made 5 or 6 turns at the top Hillman’s Highway when he lost his edge and fell. He was unable to stop himself and fell the length of the gully, approximately 1200′. He sought assistance from the Forest Service and was treated by the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol for numerous abrasions. He was able to walk to Pinkham. This incident took 2 people 1/2 hour.

The previous day we received rain on the snowpack which then froze overnight. Conditions in Hillman’s Highway were very hardpack, icy and unforgiving. Skiers and riders should think twice about venturing onto slopes when conditions are such that without an ice axe you will not be able to stop a fall. One of the victims that fell was wearing snowshoes. Snowshoes are great for deep snow in rolling terrain but they are not intended for steep icy gully climbing. The snowshoe crampon system is designed to float over snow, not ice climb. Having the appropriate equipment for the terrain is essential for being safe in the mountains. Know your equipment, the advantages and limitations before you venture out into the backcountry.