Two sets of unprepared hikers had to be rescued off Mount Washington

  • A challenging climb on the Huntington Ravine trail, which ascends Mount Washington.

Monitor staff
Published: 7/9/2018 11:59:49 AM

Two sets of hikers setting off during hot weather in the valley were stymied by falling temperatures and the difficulty of trails, and had to be rescued Friday while trying to hike up Mount Washington.

Both sets of hikers had to be helped off the mountain – in one case, they were carried out by litter.

The first rescue reportedly occurred after Abby Finis and Julia Eagles, both 35, from Minneapolis had been hiking up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail when they decided to take a detour up Huntington Ravine Trail, often called the hardest trail in the White Mountains. At 3 p.m. they called 911.

“Both Finis and Eagles failed to have the proper gear for a hike to the summit of Mt. Washington, dressed in shorts and with little else in their packs except water. The winds were sustained at the higher elevations at 40 mph with occasional gusts reaching 60-70 mph. The temperature at the base of the mountain was in the 70s, but the temperature at the summit was in the lower 40s,” the stateFish and Game Department said in a release.

Officials said it was the second 911 call for stranded hikers on the Huntington Ravine trail this summer, despite the fact that signs at the base of the trail warn about the difficulty.

“I do not want to see it return to the way it was a few summers ago, when there was literally a call of this nature every week,” said Fish and Game Lt. Mark Ober. “These are not what I consider true emergencies and only place a drain on our already limited resources. These unnecessary calls just take officers away from what they should be doing.”

The second rescue occurred later Friday after an 8 p.m. phone call from California by a man who said his elderly father had called him reporting he and a companion were “exhausted and cold and were requesting a rescue” a mile down from the summit of Mount Washington on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail.

Arthur Stern, 77, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and his 71-year-old hiking companion Alice Rubenstein of Pittsford, N.Y., were found at 11:20 p.m., amid falling temperatures and 50-60 mph winds.

“Both hikers were woefully unprepared for the conditions, dressed in shorts and light hiking apparel and suffering from various stages of hypothermia,” the release said.

Rubenstein was in a serious hypothermic condition and had to be carried out, according to reports. Stern was initially able to walk, but later required a litter carry him out as well, officials said.




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