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Thread: Tucks Headwall Avalanche

  1. #1
    Senior Member Maineman's Avatar
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    Tucks Headwall Avalanche

    As the saying goes, "it's better to be lucky tha good"

    From today's (12/29) avy report:

    "This was tested last night when 2 hikers came down from summiting Washington and traveled into “the Lip” at dark and triggered an avalanche carrying them down to the floor of the Tuckerman Ravine. They miraculously survived but sustained injuries requiring rescue during the overnight. Through history there have been a number of very lucky people in the world, they are now 2 more of them. More information will be posted in our accidents page later today. "

    As someone who has been turned around in a whiteout above the Lip, I'm very glad these folks survived their ride!

  2. #2
    Senior Member sardog1's Avatar
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    In other news from the Granite State:

    New Hampshire lottery officials announced today that all lottery ticket sales have been suspended for the next few days. "We just feel it would be wrong to take people's money, knowing that all the luck in the state has already been used up for the week."
    sardog1

    "Å! kjære Bymann gakk ei stjur og stiv,
    men kom her up og kjenn eit annat Liv!
    kom hit, kom hit, og ver ei daud og lat!
    kom kjenn, hot d'er, som heiter Svevn og Mat,
    og Drykk og Tørste og det heile, som
    er Liv og Helse i ein Hovedsum."

    -- Aasmund O. Vinje, "Til Fjells!"

  3. #3
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    Some more info, not a lot. Other reports indicated they weren't planning to go down Tucks, but missed the turn off to Lions Head.

    http://www.unionleader.com/article/2...229341/-1/news

  4. #4
    Senior Member marty's Avatar
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    Here is an account from one of the guys who fell down the Ravine: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion...atal_avalanche

    Turns out he was a former editorial assistant for the Boston Herald. There is also a video link and some interesting comments, mostly negative.

    Marty
    So when you reach the bottom line
    The only thing to do is climb
    Pick yourself up off the floor
    Anything ya want is yours


    Song: Bottom Line
    Artist: Big Audio Dynamite
    Album: This is Big Audio Dynamite
    Year: 1985

  5. #5
    Senior Member TDawg's Avatar
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    The "not at all familiar with Mt Wash," comment bothers me.

    Talking to the Herald, who glorifies the ordeal (stupid selfies included) really bothers me.

    Not using the opportunity in said article to PUBLICLY THANK the rescuers you put in danger out there is inexcusable.
    Last edited by TDawg; 12-31-2013 at 10:32 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TDawg View Post
    The "not at all familiar with Mt Wash," comment bothers me.

    Talking to the Herald, who glorifies the ordeal (stupid selfies included) really bothers me.

    Not using the opportunity in said article to PUBLICLY THANK the rescuers you put in danger out there is inexcusable.
    Assuming they didn't leave their plans with anyone, or should the code, they would be a solid 0/6 since they clearly didn't know the terrain, they didn't stay together, then didn't turn back, and they weren't prepared for an emergency.
    | 64.5% W48: 19/48
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  7. #7
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    Best article I've seen

    This is the most comprehensive I've seen so far about the incident. With only a little reading between the lines you can get a pretty clear idea of exactly what happened.

    http://www.mvtimes.com/2013/12/31/oa...ne-fall-18460/

  8. #8
    Senior Member TDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whans View Post
    This is the most comprehensive I've seen so far about the incident. With only a little reading between the lines you can get a pretty clear idea of exactly what happened. http://www.mvtimes.com/2013/12/31/oa...ne-fall-18460/
    Now that's better, forgiven. I'll blame the Herald's report for leaving out an important detail.

    Unbelievable that nobody perished in this. Look at exactly what they were swept down in this one...

    http://nhpr.org/post/rescuers-astoun...serious-injury
    Last edited by TDawg; 12-31-2013 at 02:50 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member IQuest's Avatar
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    I liked the pics of them wearing Microspikes with their ice axes. Sheesh. And a 10am start? Splitting up because the guy with the injured knee was slowing them down, summiting at 3pm (1.5 hrs before dark), then deciding to not wait at the discussed location? Tsk tsk!
    Ian

  10. #10
    Senior Member summitseeker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IQuest View Post
    I liked the pics of them wearing Microspikes with their ice axes. Sheesh. And a 10am start? Splitting up because the guy with the injured knee was slowing them down, summiting at 3pm (1.5 hrs before dark), then deciding to not wait at the discussed location? Tsk tsk!
    You're so right, Ian.

    It seems like there are so many people who decide to do a serious hike on whatever day that happens to suit them. Not every day is a great day to hike, especially for novices. This group did not accurately assess the conditions, timetables, and the physical ability of the group. These people are lucky to be alive but it seems unprepared hikers often neglect to learn from the lessons of others. With all of the fatalities on Mt. W you would think people would have more respect for this peak.

    Oh well.

    Hey, Happy New Year's everyone.

    Z
    "Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road.
    Healthy, free, the world before me.
    The long brown path before me leading me wherever I choose."
    - Walt Whitman

  11. #11
    Senior Member carla's Avatar
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    Yes it does indeed seem like they made all the standard rookie mistakes/miscalculations. Being young too, you think you're invincible and even if you "know" that bad things can happen, there can be a tendency to think, "yeah, but not for me." I don't mean to be age-ist but I do believe that with age (ahem) comes wisdom--you've just seen and done more and also have a sense of your fallibility. I'm so glad they made it out of this alive--truly they are lucky. You can bet that they will be 100% more thoughtful and careful about planning and preparation moving forward.

    Happy New Year to all!

    --Carla
    *********************
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    New Hampshire 48 x 2

  12. #12
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by summitseeker View Post
    You're so right, Ian.

    It seems like there are so many people who decide to do a serious hike on whatever day that happens to suit them. Not every day is a great day to hike, especially for novices. This group did not accurately assess the conditions, timetables, and the physical ability of the group. These people are lucky to be alive but it seems unprepared hikers often neglect to learn from the lessons of others. With all of the fatalities on Mt. W you would think people would have more respect for this peak.

    Oh well.

    Hey, Happy New Year's everyone.

    Z
    I understand what you mean but I'd say that everyday is a great day to hike, just not a great day to climb Washington. Poor visibility cold and windy days are great on trails without headwalls and avalanches danger. Going to Ethan Pond, or Carter Notch Hut, the Imp, or Lowe's Bald Spot would have been more appropriate,, especially considering their apparent lack of familarity with Washington.

    Starting late, poor decision on not turning back a moderate pace that got the fast two up at 3:00 (that's slightly less than 1 MPH - I'm still moderate then!), conditions looked more like my Late November trip, icy without enough snow to fill in the rocks. While some of the comments in the Hearld article are too harsh, maybe cutting their winter teeth on something between the Blue Hills and Washington, perhaps that they were familar with might have been more .... thougthfull

    Novices can learn on their own, they can hike in winter and learn about winter travel. While a skills course is maybe the best way to learn, getting experience with friends with experience, starting smaller and seeing what places like Wachusett, Monadnock, Martha, Imp, Kearsarge North, Pack Monadnock are like in winter might be a better learning environment.
    Last edited by Mike P.; 01-01-2014 at 11:30 AM.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  13. #13
    Senior Member summitseeker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike P. View Post
    I understand what you mean but I'd say that everyday is a great day to hike, just not a great day to climb Washington. Poor visibility cold and windy days are great on trails without headwalls and avalanches danger. Going to Ethan Pond, or Carter Notch Hut, the Imp, or Lowe's Bald Spot would have been more appropriate,, especially considering their apparent lack of familarity with Washington.

    Starting late, poor decision on not turning back a moderate pace that got the fast two up at 3:00 (that's slightly less than 1 MPH - I'm still moderate then!), conditions looked more like my Late November trip, icy without enough snow to fill in the rocks. While some of the comments in the Hearld article are too harsh, maybe cutting their winter teeth on something between the Blue Hills and Washington, perhaps that they were familar with might have been more .... thougthfull

    Novices can learn on their own, they can hike in winter and learn about winter travel. While a skills course is maybe the best way to learn, getting experience with friends with experience, starting smaller and seeing what places like Wachusett, Monadnock, Martha, Imp, Kearsarge North, Pack Monadnock are like in winter might be a better learning environment.

    Hi Mike P,

    Well put, I agree, any day to be out on a hike is a great day. I have hiked in some seriously "less than favorable" conditions, but always below tree line. I often try to learn, experiment, or try something new when I hike, but there are occasions where I don't want to leave much to chance. Mt. Washington is just the sort of peak where small mistakes can be very costly.

    Enjoy your day,

    Z
    "Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road.
    Healthy, free, the world before me.
    The long brown path before me leading me wherever I choose."
    - Walt Whitman

  14. #14
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Yeah, I second that. Hiking in the cold, wind, rain is fun, so long as you are prepared. Our Boott Spur hike was awesome, despite the heavy snow and darkness. If someone wasn't planning on that though, I could see it being a messy situation. A riskier hike requires more planning and mitigation, which is what they lacked based on what I have read.
    | 64.5% W48: 19/48
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