PDA

View Full Version : 2 seriously injured in two separate sliding falls on Mt Washington this weekend



peakbagger
03-14-2016, 10:20 AM
Scant on details, I expect there will be more info to come

http://www.wmur.com/news/2-seriously-injured-in-long-sliding-falls-down-mount-washington/38504734

Pretty much the universal comment in trail reports over the weekend was plenty of ice. The Lincoln Lafayette loop wasn't bad except for a few sections on Falling Waters that were short but still exposed enough that someone who slipped could get banged up.

Kahtoolas just don't seem to be making it for many in these conditions even though they generally work well. I expect its as much about the state of wear on them as it is the actual design as they have gotten a lot of use this winter. My Hillsound microspikes were fine going up but as the sun softened the ice in the afternoon I had few cases of poor grip. I had the crampons in the pack but never felt I needed them

erugs
03-14-2016, 10:27 AM
I know I shouldn't say anything yet, but I've been waiting...this year is a tough one. The question I have is: was anyone sledding?

TJsName
03-14-2016, 10:55 AM
I know I shouldn't say anything yet, but I've been waiting...this year is a tough one. The question I have is: was anyone sledding?

Sliding falls usually refers to someone who was upright and slipped. I'd be shocked if it was a sledding accident and they didn't include that details, but it is possible. MWAC has this link, but it wasn't updated with details yet: http://www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org/2016/03/14/long-sliding-falls/

hikerbrian
03-14-2016, 03:02 PM
Bummer. Terrible way to end what was probably an otherwise stunningly beautiful day.

Ice was epic in some parts of the Pemi this weekend. The steep stretch on Garfield Ridge trail heading up towards the turnoff for the shelter (from the Galehead side) was solid WI2. If I had had ice tools, I would have used them. We needed full crampons coming down S. Twin towards Galehead, then again for several parts of the Garfield Ridge trail (including the WI2 section I mentioned above), and then most of all for the north section of Lafayette (coming from Garfield). I couldn't believe how many people were on Franconia Ridge without traction of any kind. I can only imagine what Washington looked like. I ended up helping a couple get down Liberty Spring trail in the dark - he in Sperry boat shoes and she in running shoes, both wearing running tights and a sweatshirt; no food, water, light, map, extra clothing, or anything else. We heard their voices after it had gotten dark and we were getting ready for bed at Liberty Spring tentsite. They apparently had called for a helicopter, but F&G instead assembled a rescue party. In the mean time, we loaned them microspikes, clothes, food, water and headlamps, and I accompanied them all the way down to the trailhead and then hiked all the way back up again by myself after I collected our stuff and we parted ways at 10:00 p.m. But they were extremely thankful, as was F&G, since they didn't end up having to do a search. Sorry to hear not all of these stories had a happy ending.

Rhody Seth
03-14-2016, 03:06 PM
Good on ya for doing that hikerbrian.

peakbagger
03-14-2016, 03:07 PM
No matter the result of this report a major thumbs up[ attaboy to hikerbrian!

SherpaTom
03-14-2016, 03:17 PM
No matter the result of this report a major thumbs up[ attaboy to hikerbrian!

Good job Brian...it amazes me that people put themselves in this spots and rely on the good fortune of hikers like you.

hikerbrian
03-14-2016, 03:52 PM
Thanks all for the nice thoughts. Honestly, while physically challenging, the whole experience ended up being quite positive all around. We were really just paying it backwards and forwards - backwards to the folks who have helped us gain experience and competence over time, and forwards to the could-be rescuers who may someday save any one of our butts for the seemingly little things that make or break a great day in the mountains.

I had time to talk with the couple on the way down. They had come up Flume Slide trail. At first it wasn't bad at all, but after a short stretch of ice, they got to a point where they felt they could not go down without a high risk of falling and getting injured. It's easier to hike up than down when it's steep and icy, and that fact quickly put them past the point of no return. So they kept going higher, thinking it couldn't be too much further. But of course it was, and it took a very long time to get to the ridge, and then they were trapped with no way to navigate, travel, or to stay warm. They got pretty lucky with how things turned out after that. They're well aware of that fact.

They were/are really nice people. It's hard for any of us on this site to remember what it was like when we were completely ignorant. They were just looking for a little hike in the woods, get some fresh air on a beautiful afternoon before heading out for dinner. Very fit and athletic. Didn't head out thinking they were invincible, just had no idea what conditions were going to be like, and no understanding of the consequences.

Raven
03-14-2016, 04:28 PM
Scant on details, I expect there will be more info to come

http://www.wmur.com/news/2-seriously-injured-in-long-sliding-falls-down-mount-washington/38504734



In an ironic event (although maybe not surprising), when the call came in last night for the two rescues on Washington, the annual S&R dinner was just beginning at PNVC. A good group of searchers never got to sit down for the S&R dinner as they went out on these two calls instead. If there was a good night to have an accident in Tux from the victim's perspective, last night was probably it. The notch was swarming with S&R personnel. I admire their dedication.

Hope it turned out well.

And kudos, Brian.

DougPaul
03-14-2016, 04:43 PM
Just stumbled over a news report:

The first was a skier falling in Hillman's Highway. He reportedly fell ~900 ft.

The second was reported to be a hiker falling "above Tuckermans Ravine".

Both had life-threatening injuries and were evacuated by helicopter.

Doug

DayTrip
03-14-2016, 05:30 PM
Bummer. Terrible way to end what was probably an otherwise stunningly beautiful day.

Ice was epic in some parts of the Pemi this weekend. The steep stretch on Garfield Ridge trail heading up towards the turnoff for the shelter (from the Galehead side) was solid WI2. If I had had ice tools, I would have used them. We needed full crampons coming down S. Twin towards Galehead, then again for several parts of the Garfield Ridge trail (including the WI2 section I mentioned above), and then most of all for the north section of Lafayette (coming from Garfield). I couldn't believe how many people were on Franconia Ridge without traction of any kind. I can only imagine what Washington looked like. I ended up helping a couple get down Liberty Spring trail in the dark - he in Sperry boat shoes and she in running shoes, both wearing running tights and a sweatshirt; no food, water, light, map, extra clothing, or anything else. We heard their voices after it had gotten dark and we were getting ready for bed at Liberty Spring tentsite. They apparently had called for a helicopter, but F&G instead assembled a rescue party. In the mean time, we loaned them microspikes, clothes, food, water and headlamps, and I accompanied them all the way down to the trailhead and then hiked all the way back up again by myself after I collected our stuff and we parted ways at 10:00 p.m. But they were extremely thankful, as was F&G, since they didn't end up having to do a search. Sorry to hear not all of these stories had a happy ending.

I did that stretch of Garfield Ridge just last week and it was mostly powder and packed powder. With all the up and down on those knobs I can imagine ice makes it a hairy stretch. I was concerned about the steep pitch that drops down toward Franconia Brook Jct but it was mostly fine. I descended Garfield and headed toward Galehead and was able to slide down the absolute worst areas.

I saw a lot of bare boots this weekend too. There places my spikes were insufficient for. Can't believe how ill prepared so many people travel nowadays.

DougPaul
03-14-2016, 05:52 PM
More detail: http://www.wmur.com/news/2-seriously-injured-in-long-sliding-falls-down-mount-washington/38504734

Doug

SherpaWill
03-14-2016, 09:14 PM
The MWAC accident summary report: http://www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org/2016/03/14/press-release-for-incidents-on-sunday-march-14-2016/

The pic of the DHART helicopter at HOJO's is pretty wild.

peakbagger
03-15-2016, 08:00 AM
The weather since yesterday in the north country has been perfect for ice accumulation (my driveway and porch has wavered between wet and ice covered). Looking at the forecast for the rest of the week it sure looks like ice accumulation on the summits is going to continue

skiguy
03-15-2016, 10:08 AM
Skiing Hillman's under those conditions must have been very scary. Sounds as if they were lured into skiing by softening snow conditions mid to early afternoon. Unfortunately Hillman's is one of the first aspects to go into afternoon shade being east facing also exacerbated by the buttress to the northwest called the Duchess. The onset of the setup of the snow turning to bullet proof conditions can be very quick. The conditions sound as if it was akin to a giant pinball table.