View Full Version : Another White Mountain Hiker Death Reported

01-29-2004, 05:38 PM
From the NH Fish and Game:


CONCORD, N.H. -- Following a search effort initiated on Wednesday, Jan. 28, the body of a male hiker was recovered this afternoon from the base of Yale Gully in Huntington Ravine.

The victim's identity is being withheld pending notification of family members. A cause of death will be determined by the Medical Examiner's Office.

Yale Gully is east of Mt. Washington, approximately 3 miles from the trailhead at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center on Route 16. The search was conducted on foot and by Snowcat by volunteers and staff from the U.S. Forest Service, the Appalachian Mountain Club, Mountain Rescue Service, Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue and N.H. Fish and Game.

Officials from N.H. Fish and Game and the U.S. Forest Service will provide further information as it becomes available."

"PINKHAM, NOTCH, N.H. -- Searchers battling gale-force winds and below-zero temperatures recovered the body of a hiker Thursday on Mount Washington, two days after he apparently fell to his death.

Jason Gaumond, 28, of Southbridge, Mass., was reported missing Wednesday when he did not show up for work..."

Full Details WMUR (http://www.thewmurchannel.com/news/2804231/detail.html)

01-29-2004, 06:59 PM
10.5 years ago, having torn my ACL while scrambling, I was about 2/3 the way down and took a small 5-8' fall in the Niagara Gorge and ended up on a tree sticking out from a cliff about 60 feet from the bottom of the gorge, I get absolutely sick to my stomach when I read about these things.

My condolensces to his family.

01-29-2004, 09:08 PM
This is terrible news. This is also different because it isn't clear whether cause was head trauma or hypothermia.Closer to civilization, but another tragedy nevertheless, within a two week period. It's been a cold winter.

01-29-2004, 09:29 PM
And this death hits even closer to home as he was a regular poster on the AMC Bulletin Boards. I had just recently exchanged emails with him while planning a trip up the Kinsmans. I can't even fathom it right now. What a sad couple of weeks it has been . . .


Peter Miller
01-29-2004, 09:53 PM
It is unusual for a high pressure system to remain parked over Labrador this long, battering northern New England with high winds and low temps for a seemingly endless succession of days. There has also been drought. No end to this is in sight.

From my vantage point in the NH Lakes Region, I am stunned by the relentless savagery of this winter. Once again today, even at base elevation, there was a very hard blow, with wind-chill advisories. I completed a quick hike in the morning and was glad to be back indoors before the wind really started to whip the trees around.

Are hikers factoring the wind-chills and drought into their planning? Are they willing to switch to plan B or C? Are they willing to postpone the next summits on their list to more clement conditions? Those who cannot defer, who have run out of patience with nature's fury, will place themselves in harm's way.

I'm not implying that this latest death was caused by hypothermia. If due to a fall, perhaps exposed ice/scant snow cover was a factor. But there is one thing I am certain of: if we don't recalibrate our expectations, there will be more deaths.

01-30-2004, 05:40 AM
I believe the bottom of Yale Gully is where someone would land if he fell off the normal trail while descending from the top of the headwall. The safest way down into Huntington Ravine from the Alpine Garden is via the Escape Hatch, but the top is not easy to find.

01-30-2004, 06:38 AM
Originally posted by Peter Miller
. . . But there is one thing I am certain of: if we don't recalibrate our expectations, there will be more deaths.
This cryptic remark is something to think about very, very carefully as we ponder recent events and pursuit of our own dreams. Thanks, Peter Miller, for adding it to the conversation.


R. Killjoy
01-30-2004, 07:23 AM
The info is a bit sketchy, but trying to descend Yale Gully without techincal gear is not very wise unless you are very experienced solo ice climber. There are many such climbers that frequent Huntington's gullies every winter, but Jason doesn't sound like he fits that bill.

My guess is that he ascended Central Gully, the route generally chosen by hiker-types, but encountered high winds upon exiting the headwall and tried to escape down Yale. Poor guy - my condolences to his family and friends.

I have had to cancel many trips so far this winter due to the weather. I often wonder how much the fufillment of some silly "list" gets in the way of rational thinking.

I can only hope that the White Mountains will remain free of Baxter Park-like restrictions on hikers movements as some ham-handed effort to reduce accidents. I don't mean to sound heartless, but death is part of the mountain landscape.

01-30-2004, 08:15 AM
while hiking on Hi-Cannon last weekend, I paused and looked over toward the Twins....he was on my mind.

It is so difficult to comprehend that something you love so much
(hiking, wilderness) can be so deadly. I find it almost impossible to think that these unfortunate men who shared in this love cannot hike next weekend or the next ...

Barry Sr
01-30-2004, 08:39 AM
Originally posted by Grumpy

This cryptic remark is something to think about very, very carefully as we ponder recent events and pursuit of our own dreams. Thanks, Peter Miller, for adding it to the conversation.


We will never know our limitations if we don't see how far we can push the envelope. The trouble is if we rip it wide open, we will never get the chance to fill it again.

I refrained from sharing to the first thread but now wish to add my sincerest thoughts to all here and gone.

I will never be able to be on a trail again without carrying part of their load.

Yours in Service
Barry L. Tremblay, Sr.

01-30-2004, 12:34 PM
There is a descent route in Huntington that involves Yale Gulley.

For climbs in the center and right side of the main headwall climbers sometimes come down Diagonal Gully, which is not visible from the fan. Diagonal exits at the top of the ice slabs that form the first pitch of Yale.

A dicey and sometimes delicate traverse across the top of those Yale slabs lands one in the snow to the right slide of the slabs.

Diagonal is steep and narrow and not a place where an unarrested fall could be tolerated. Someone falling here would be spilled out at the top of the slabs. In lean snow years I am not sure the traverse would even be possible.

Ironically, I think the Diagonal descent route is much more challenging than ascending up Central. From the top of Central (or Damnation or North) a solo climber would be wise to walk the extra distance to Lion's Head for a low-stress way back home.


01-30-2004, 01:23 PM
Searchers battling gale-force winds and below-zero temperatures

Let's not forget the SAR people, we have a choice to cancel a trip- they do not...

01-30-2004, 02:24 PM
I thought most SAR teams are volunteers.
Don't they live for putting their lives on the line, in all types of conditions, and putting all their hours of training in action,
by helping people who like to push their own limits.
Isn't that why they do it?

01-30-2004, 03:11 PM
NYBRAD - I assume that is dark, reproachful humor.

01-30-2004, 03:23 PM
I was just commenting on Bobs comment about SAR teams.
No disrespect for Jason Gaumond's family and friends.

"We cannot banish dangers, but we can banish fears. We must not demean life by standing in awe of death". -David Sarnoff

01-30-2004, 03:38 PM
I get myself in trouble by not being clearer.

Having been involved in responding to emergencies of an entirely different kind, I was assuming that you were aware that
most rescue workers risk their lives and sacrifice their comfort because they see the need, not because they have a need to risk their lives and sacrifice their comfort. While there may be some thrill seekers amongst rescue teams, the thrill gets old fast. I was always happy not to be called, even if the adrenaline and comradery were good sometimes.

I figure most SARS people want to do that work because there is a need and perhaps, because they feel badly seeing a crisis and not helping. They do not want there to be a need because they have a desire to do the work.

I handled psychiatric emergencies. I had to come because I was on call and committed to being available if a need arose. Many people in search and rescue have a commitment to act. They don't just look for a call because nothing good is on TV.

Anyway, I wasn't sure - still am not - if you were being ironic. Since we don't have an "irony" font here, I can read it when it isn't there and miss it when it is. This leaves me with the choice of wondering or asking.

Anyhow, lets all try to make the rest of the year as boring as possible for the SAR folks, for their sake and ours.

01-30-2004, 03:51 PM
They all have a choice.......

01-30-2004, 04:23 PM
Sad, very sad.
My condolensces to all who new and loved him.

Michael M
02-22-2004, 08:24 PM

This is not about Bob

Michael CM

02-23-2004, 12:54 PM
My condolensces to his family and friends.