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Dartmouth College: ‘Troubling factors’ on hike where student got lost

  • The Moosilauke Ravine Lodge in Warren is shown. The lodge is close to the start of the Al Merrill Loop. Marty Basch / For the Monitor

Valley News
Published: 5/24/2019 6:01:22 PM
Modified: 5/24/2019 6:01:08 PM

There were “a number of troubling factors” with a college-sponsored trip into the White Mountains that ended with a multi-day rescue effort to locate a missing student, a Dartmouth College spokeswoman said in a statement released Thursday.

The college discovered shortcomings in how the hike to Mount Moosilauke earlier this month was planned and carried out, and those circumstances contributed to a student getting lost, according to the statement.

Dartmouth said it would pay for the entire search and rescue operation, which involved two helicopters.

“We are concerned by what we have learned thus far and are committed to improving policies and practices to ensure Dartmouth’s outdoor programs remain best in class,” college spokeswoman Diana Lawrence said in a statement Thursday night. “When it is completed, we will share the findings of the investigation as well as a plan for moving forward.”

A state Fish and Game official said Arun Hari Anand, 21, of Collegeville, Pa., is lucky to be alive after spending two nights in the White Mountains.

“We will never forget the tireless effort of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, and we remain deeply grateful for everything they did to bring Arun home safely,” Lawrence wrote.

Col. Kevin Jordan previously said the search and rescue effort on May 11 to May 13 could total $50,000 to $60,000.

Anand, who was hiking the mountain as part of a Dartmouth Outing Club class dubbed “Hiking Overnight,” went missing on a Saturday and was found on Monday, dehydrated and hypothermic but alive.

Anand, who was wearing only sneakers to hike in and who was found shoeless, became lost when he tried to return to the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge alone, Jordan said previously.

Fish and Game announced plans to look into why Anand and perhaps other students weren’t prepared for the hike as part of its review of the incident, Jordan said.

Fish and Game planned to compile a report that will detail what occurred and the final cost of the rescue, Jordan said at that time. He wasn’t sure who would be liable to pay the tab.

Although the college declined to comment on specifics after the incident, Lawrence said at the time that the college would “conduct a thorough analysis to determine how the incident occurred and whether policies or procedures should be modified.”

The hike was listed as a Dartmouth Outing Club course that fulfilled a requirement for a PE credit, according to the college’s website. But the post indicated the hike was to take place on 2,200-foot Moose Mountain in Hanover, not Mount Moosilauke, a 5,000-foot peak in the White Mountains.

The hike was relocated for “programmatic reasons,” Lawrence said previously.

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