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Thread: Hiker rescue on Mt Washington (was Scary.)

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    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Hiker rescue on Mt Washington (was Scary.)

    7 Hour Ordeal Ends with
    Injured Hiker Rescued Off Mt. Washington with the help of the Cog Railway

    Thompson & Meserveís Purchase Ė Sunday at approximately 4:00 p.m., Fish and Game Conservation Officers were notified of an injured hiker alongside the Cog Railway on the west side of Mt. Washington, approximately 2 miles up from the Cog Railway Base Station.

    The initial call came in via 911 reporting that a 35-year-old female had fallen while descending along the railroad tracks and suffered unknown injuries. The hiker identified as, Ashley Furness, 35, of Bartlett, NH had been hiking with another companion when the accident occurred. Furness and her companion had been descending alongside the railway tracks when she slipped and fell approximately 200 feet towards Burt Ravine, striking several rocks. It was these rocks that ultimately saved her from plunging into the raavine, a fall that would have likely proved fatal. Her companion was able to descend to her position, place a call for help and keep her warm with a space blanket until rescuers arrived.

    A rescue effort was initiated and personnel from Twin Mountain Fire & EMS along with several Conservation Officers responded to the call. Twin Mountain utilized their tracked rescue all-terrain vehicle (ATV) to maneuver up along the tracks and made it as far as Jacobs Ladder. Conservation Officers utilizing snowmobiles to get as close as they could to the victim, but due to the lack of snow and bare spots, were not able to get very far before they had to stop and hike the rest of the way in.

    The rescue crew arrived at the patient at approximately 7:40 p.m. After an initial assessment conducted by a Conservation Officer EMT, it was determined that Furness had suffered severe injuries and would not be able to walk.

    Due to the steep, icy terrain, remote location, and overall conditions, Fish & Game contacted the Cog Railway for the possibility of utilizing one of their trains to expedite the extraction of the patient. Cog Railway personnel agreed to help and called in employees to get a train ready.

    In the meantime, a rescue belay was set up with ropes, a litter and other essential gear that was utilized to safely get Furness from the precarious position on the side of the ravine up to the tracks.

    Rescuers were able to hoist her up to a location next to the train tracks. The train departed from
    the base at approximately 9:30 p.m. and arrived at the patient at 10:15 p.m.

    Furness was placed in the train and relayed down the tracks to the awaiting ambulance at the Base
    Station arriving at approximately 11:00 PM. From there she was transported by the Twin Mountain ambulance to Littleton Regional Hospital for treatment of her injuries.

    I canít thank Wayne Presby and his Cog Railway staff enough for assisting in this life saving rescue,Ē said Fish & Game Region One Lieutenant Mark Ober. ďWithout the use of the train, we were looking at a potentially all night rescue scenario which would have included calling in several dozen additional rescuers and technical rope teams just to get the injured hiker down the mountain safely. The temperature was in the teens and the wind was starting to blow which made it feel even colder. ďI donít like utilizing private businesses, if I donít have to, but this was an instance where it canít be overstated that time was of the essence and I felt like the best option was to call the Cog and see if they could help. As they have always done in the past, they did not disappoint and were there when we needed them.Ē

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    Not sure what she had for traction on. My experience on Wildcat yesterday was my Hillsounds were fine but if I had Katoolas they were probably borderline. Given they were descending, the conditions were probably very solid crust/ice with a light layer of loose partially melted stuff on top. Descending it can be tough without an ice ax with a leash and a good self arrest.

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    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    Prseby should waive the cost as a Good Samaritan. This kind of positive publicity is priceless for The Cog. Ideally, it's the type of cooperation one would hope for and expect in an emergency.
    Well done by all concerned to extricate this woman in a timely fashion. I hope she's ok.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

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    I wonder if the hikers had paid the cog facility access fee that replaced the parking fee? In theory if they were paid guests of the cog I expect the Cog had some responsibility for the costs of rescuing their guests. If they had not paid the fee they were trespassing.

    Since the base station road has been plowed, the easier accessibility on the west side of Washington has increased the number of winter rescues in that area. A definite attractive nuisance in some ways but a very convenient access for others.

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    Furness is a redline finisher. She posted over in the White Mountain Redlining Facebook group that she had surgery and is recovering.

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    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramblings View Post
    Furness is a redline finisher. She posted over in the White Mountain Redlining Facebook group that she had surgery and is recovering.
    Glad she is doing well. Is following the tracks part of what is required for redlining?
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike P. View Post
    Glad she is doing well. Is following the tracks part of what is required for redlining?
    Nope - redlining is just doing everything in the White Mountain Guide.
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    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    I have never hiked down the cog before, let alone this time of year.

    I imagine it is a pretty straight shot down to the Cog parking lot, whereas the Jewel Trail meanders and feels endless.

    For someone hiking Jefferson this time of year, what are the costs and benefits of taking one down versus the other?

    Brian

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    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    Another great help/rescue by the Cog. How many now since 1869? And still no one comes out and thanks them from the many in the hiking communty. Always scorn or other odd comments. They should do this or not do that not to mention "they'll get lot's of publicity" like they really need it. I probably will never see a "thank you and glad they got out of bed at night" to go up a nasty winter laden mountain. Dangerous to as the Cog rack could be frozen and the train derail itself.

    If it was me I would of said sorry. Were closed. Call the boys over at the hikers hut.

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    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptCaper View Post
    If it was me I would of said sorry. Were closed. Call the boys over at the hikers hut.
    Well thankfully you're not the one making the decisions.
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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B the Hiker View Post
    I have never hiked down the cog before, let alone this time of year.

    I imagine it is a pretty straight shot down to the Cog parking lot, whereas the Jewel Trail meanders and feels endless.

    For someone hiking Jefferson this time of year, what are the costs and benefits of taking one down versus the other?

    Brian
    Unless I'm mistaken, you are trespassing if you follow the cog rail line.
    Tom Rankin
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    Senior Member dailey7779's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rankin View Post
    Unless I'm mistaken, you are trespassing if you follow the cog rail line.
    You pay inside or feed the iron ranger for hiking / skiing access.

    I know Ashley well as I hike and ski with her regularly. She had hiked and skied the cog before. She is tremendously thankful for everyone who was involved in rescuing her.

    -Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptCaper View Post
    Another great help/rescue by the Cog. How many now since 1869? And still no one comes out and thanks them from the many in the hiking communty. Always scorn or other odd comments. They should do this or not do that not to mention "they'll get lot's of publicity" like they really need it. I probably will never see a "thank you and glad they got out of bed at night" to go up a nasty winter laden mountain. Dangerous to as the Cog rack could be frozen and the train derail itself.

    If it was me I would of said sorry. Were closed. Call the boys over at the hikers hut.
    You are exaggerating people's positions. Support does not need to be unconditional support.

    I support the Cog and Auto Road Operations and appreciate both Companies' assistance with rescues and stranded hikers.

    I support the Cog parking fees for hikers using their lot.

    I do not support either Company building a hotel above the tree line.

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    Hiking down the Cog in winter has always been on the list of winter escape routes for winter presi traverse groups. its a terrain feature that can be located and followed in very nasty conditions. The Jewell and Ammo are both far harder to locate in marginal conditions unless wanded. I and expect many others would not want to have to try the find the opening into the trees from the broad featureless terrain above treeline for Jewell. Obviously the cog is far more exposed to wind but its tends to get scoured by those same winds so it remains prominent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptCaper View Post
    Another great help/rescue by the Cog. How many now since 1869? And still no one comes out and thanks them from the many in the hiking communty. Always scorn or other odd comments. They should do this or not do that not to mention "they'll get lot's of publicity" like they really need it. I probably will never see a "thank you and glad they got out of bed at night" to go up a nasty winter laden mountain. Dangerous to as the Cog rack could be frozen and the train derail itself.

    If it was me I would of said sorry. Were closed. Call the boys over at the hikers hut.
    Neither Wayne Presby ( Cog) nor Howie Weymss ( Auto Road) will ever say no to a bonafide request for emergency assistance to effect an on-mountain rescue. Ever. Both companies have co-operated and shared their staff and assets for over a century and a half, and it isn't going to stop simply because Wayne and Howie are publicly feuding over power ownership of the summit cone.

    The "boys at the hiker hut" have no responsibility what-so-ever to respond on the west side of Mt Washington. Their FEDERAL responsibility, through the US Forest Service, is to report and forecast surface and avi conditions on the East side, in the east snowfields, in Tucks, Huntington and Gulf of Slides, and to assist in rescue on the east flank of the mountain.

    Opinions are free. Everyone has one. Calling USFS professional Snow Rangers " boys" certainly expresses a singular opinion.

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