Underwrite our website for a day! Learn how.
Join Email List

Surviving Mount Washington

Rock Cairn photo

Few people traveling to the summit of Mount Washington expect to face a life threatening situation. Yet not everyone who ventures up this mountain has returned safely, or even alive. The purpose of this section of the Observatory's web site is to consider the reasons for some of the tragedies which have occurred on Mount Washington, in the hope that site visitors will learn from them and will develop a greater understanding of what a trip up Mount Washington might entail. Perhaps, by knowing about the unfortunate experiences of those few whose visits to Mount Washington ended in disaster, future visitors might be better prepared to face the potential hazards of this ever unpredictable mountain.

Among the reasons for fatal accidents on Mount Washington are:


At 6,288 feet, Mount Washington claims the title of the Northeast's highest peak. While its height may not be especially impressive by global standards, Mount Washington rates as anything but an ordinary mountain. For one, its climate is similar to that of Northern Labrador, hundreds of miles further north. Three major storm tracks converge over the mountain, forming harsh and turbulent weather conditions. Above treeline, alpine conditions prevail and only the hardiest plants and animals survive. The combination of the extreme wind, fog, wet and cold have dubbed Mount Washington "Home of World's Worst Weather".

Many seriously underestimate the conditions atop Mount Washington. Within a day's drive of nearly 70 million people, this mountain is highly accessible and frequently visited. Visitors often arrive unprepared for the stark, blustery weather they encounter above treeline. Here, temperatures typically remain 20 to 30 degrees F colder than in the neighboring valleys, while visibility can be limited to 100 feet and winds fierce. Hikers who anticipate valley-like weather conditions at the summit are unpleasantly surprised when they find themselves severely underdressed and exposed to the elements. Even those visiting the summit in summer via automobile and cog railway may find themselves chilled as they step out into much cooler and potentially winter-like conditions.

The vast majority of the quarter million people who visit the summit each year experience no problems whatsoever. Yet each year several "close calls" accentuate the dangers of the mountain. More than 135 fatalities have occurred on and around Mount Washington since 1849, many of them involving ill-prepared hikers, skiers and climbers. There is no room for poor judgement and carelessness in this unforgiving mountain environment.

To gain an understanding of the harsh conditions atop the mountain, observe the following statistics.

  • The average year-round temperature is below freezing, at 27.2° F.
  • Winds average 35 miles per hour on an annual basis.
  • Fog frequently limits visibility to 100 feet or less.
  • The average annual precipitation is almost 102 inches, including about 26 feet of snow!
  • The world's highest recorded surface wind speed, 231 miles per hour, occurred here.

Fatalities on Mount Washington occur for various reasons- overexposure to the cold, wet, and wind, falls down steep slopes, avalanches... perhaps few accidents on the mountain can truly be attributed to just one reason, one misstep. Previous decisions determine what gear is brought along, which trail is followed, what types of conditions are expected. It is imperative to understand and prepare for changing weather conditions, to take into account one's abilities and the abilities of party members, to heed warning signs and above all to never be ashamed to turn back. Disregard for any of these principles increase the likelihood of an unfortunate or even tragic incident. "Bagging" another summit is never worth the cost of a life.


NAME: Simon Joseph

AGE: 19

RESIDENCE: Brookline, MA

DATE: June 18, 1933

CAUSE OF DEATH: Hypothermia

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Joseph and two friends had camped out near the Crawford House the night of Saturday June 17, in preparation for their hike to the Lakes of the Clouds Hut the following day. They brought no food supplies with them and decided not to travel the three miles to the Willey store to obtain nourishment. The three set out the next morning (Sunday), still without food, but with adequate gear for fair summer weather. However, they lacked gear for potential cold and wet conditions.

The day began with cold winds and rain below treeline. As the hikers grew weary, they apparently drifted apart. One exhausted member reached the Hut that afternoon. A search party departed immediately to locate the other two. The second hiker was found in a dazed state and alone. Joseph had hiked ahead and had missed the trail junction to the Hut and wandered instead on the old Crawford Path. Thick fog hindered search conditions. It was not until Wednesday that the search party located Joseph's body a mere quarter mile from the Lakes of the Clouds Hut. He had succumbed to the cold, wet, windy conditions and had died.

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED: The consistent combination of cold, wet and windy weather on Mount Washington provides ideal conditions for hypothermia. Often referred to as "exposure", hypothermia is a potentially fatal cooling of the human body. Several symptoms can alert a mountain traveler to this serious condition; one of the first to occur, and perhaps the most dangerous is the loss of one's rational thinking ability. Hypothermic individuals frequently make poor decisions which further endanger their lives and the lives of others with them.

To avoid hypothermia, expect bleak conditions to prevail, any time of year. Many people have died of hypothermia in the White Mountains during the summer months! Be aware of the forecasted weather conditions for the day(s) you intend to be out. Bring the proper gear for wet, windy and cold conditions, including: -a rain suit (parka and pants) -insulating layers for your upper and lower body that are made of wool, or synthetic fibers - not cotton, as it loses its insulating ability when wet -sturdy, comfortable hiking boots -plenty of food -water, at least 2 quarts per person per day.

When hiking, it is important to keep your entire party together if at all possible. Once a party divides, it becomes more vulnerable to mishap. Always bring plenty of food and water. Your gear should provide protection for winter-like conditions, even if you are out during the summer. Learn what you can about the trail you selected, using a map and guidebook. If weather conditions above treeline are severe, turn back. Dense fog can alter even familiar trails, making them unrecognizable.


Frederick Strickland, 20, Bridlington, England, October 19, 1849

Lizzie G. Bourne, 23, Kennebunk, ME, September 13, 1855

Benjamin Chandler, 75, Wilmington, DE, August 7, 1856

Harry W. Hunter, 21, Pittsburg, PA, September 3, 1874

William B. Curtis, 63, New York, NY, June 30, 1900

Allan Ormsbee, 28, Brooklyn, NY, June 30, 1900

Elmer Lyman, Berlin, NH, April, 1928

Herbert J. Young, 18, Salem, MO, December 1, 1928

Ernest W. McAdams, 22, Stoneham, MA, January 31, 1932

Joseph B. Chadwick, 22, Woburn, MA, January 31, 1932

Simon Joseph, 19, Brookline, MA, June 18, 1933

Rupert Marden, 21, Brookline, MA, November 11, 1933

Joseph Caggiano, 22, Astoria, NY, August 24, 1938

Louis Carl Haberland, 27, Roslindale, MA, October 13, 1941

Raymond W. Davis, 50, Sharon, MA, August 23, 1952

Phillp Longnecker, 25, Toledo, OH, January 31, 1954

Jacques Parysko, 23, Cambridge, MA, January 31, 1954

Paul Zanet, 24, Dorchester, MA, July 19, 1958

Judy March, 17, Dorchester, MA, July 19, 1958

Armand Falardeau, 42, Danielson, CT, June 2, 1962

Alfred K. Dickinson, 67, Melrose, MA, September 12, 1962

Barbara Palmer, 47, West Acton, MA, April 24, 1971

McDonald Barr, 52, Brookline, MA, August 24, 1986

Louis Nicholos, 46, Rochester, NH, January 22, 1992

Derek Tinkham, 20, Saunderstown, RI, January 15, 1994

Eric Lattey, 28, Riverdale, NJ, February 26, 1994

Monroe Couper, 40, South Orange, NJ, February 26, 1994

Nicholas Halpern, 50, Lincoln, MA, February 26, 1996

Peter Busher, 71, Chester Gap, VA, September 11, 2002

Peter Shintani, 70, Napanee, Ontario, on (or about) June 9, 2009, off the Lion Head Trail


NAME: Betsy Roberts

AGE: 16


DATE: August 28, 1971


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: While hiking with her parents and two brothers, Betsy Roberts was swept away by swift currents in the Dry River, and drowned. The swollen river raged considerably higher than normal. A hurricane watch had been posted for the weekend, and indeed the White Mountains were hit with significant amounts of precipitation from the passing storm. Roberts' father and one brother left for Mizpah Hut to seek help. The brother who remained at the accident site suffered injuries as he searched the river in vain for his sister. A search party departed immediately after they were notified of the accident, but it wasn't until late in the night that Roberts' body was recovered, a short way downstream.

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED: There are many stream crossings encountered when hiking on trails in the White Mountains. Most brooks are shallow and relatively easy to cross at normal water levels. A few larger rivers, though, can present more difficulty, and any stream, during spring melt or after storms, can become swollen, treacherous, and life-threatening to cross. If already in the woods at high water, look up and down the river to find a more suitable location for a safe crossing. If you can't find one, be prepared to "sit it out" until water levels recede. To minimize the risk, check recent weather conditions before departing on your trip. Carefully read a description of the trails you intend to follow. If rainfall has been high, and if you have numerous streams to cross, perhaps it would be wise to consider an alternate route where the likelihood of a dangerous crossing would be diminished.


J.M. Thompson, of the Glen House, October 4, 1869

Harriman, November 1927

Oysten Kladstad, Brooklyn, NY, July 30, 1929

Jerome R. Pierce, 17, Springfield, VT, September 9, 1934

Betsy Roberts, 16, Newton, MA, August 28, 1971

Geoffrey Bowdoin, 18, Wayland, MA, October 10, 1971


NAME: Sarah Nicholson

AGE: 25


DATE: June 4, 1994


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Nicholson had just finished skiing down part of Tuckerman Ravine when she was struck and killed by a chunk of ice which plummeted down the headwall. Several ice blocks fell from the headwall at that time. One was estimated to have weighed 15 tons. Several smaller pieces assumed an erratic trajectory, and one of these struck Ms. Nicholson. Warnings of high danger from falling ice had been issued prior to this accident.

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED: Always be alert to signs warning of falling ice danger. Though often unanticipated, such a hazard can be fatal. This hazard looms most prominent during the spring, when melting ice becomes dislodged and plummets down mountain slopes. In springtime, the steep headwall of Tuckerman Ravine, on Mount Washington's eastern flank, harbors large quantities of snow and ice. As these melt, water gushes between the headwall and the snow pack, slowly loosening it. Eventually massive chunks of ice, sometimes weighing many tons, fall into the Ravine's bowl. Anything or anyone in its way is unmercifully crushed. Be "ice smart" and alert to the power and unpredictability of falling ice.


Sewall E. Faunce, 15, Dorchester, MA, July 24, 1886

Henry B. Bigelow Jr., 19, Cambridge, MA, September 18, 1931

Grace M. Sturgess, 24, Williamstown, MA, May 23, 1936

William Brigham, 28, Montreal, May 17, 1958

Sarah Nicholson, 25, Portland, ME, June 4, 1994


NAME: Albert Dow

AGE: 28

RESIDENCE: Tuftonboro, NH

DATE: January 25, 1982


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Albert Dow, a member of the volunteer Mountain Rescue Service, participated as a member of the search party that set out to locate two missing climbers, Hugh Herr and Jeff Batzer. On January 23, Herr and Batzer had left Harvard Hut to climb Odell Gully in Huntington Ravine. When they failed to return that evening, the caretaker of the Hut notified the authorities that the two were missing. Cold and windy conditions prevailed: temperatures on the summit on the 23rd registered 1 degree F, with winds of 56 to 69 mph. Blowing snow limited visibility severely. On the 24th and 25th the weather deteriorated with colder temperatures and higher winds, hampering search efforts. Avalanche warnings had been posted by the U.S. Forest Service for many areas around Mount Washington. Despite the inhospitable conditions, the searchers persisted in hopes of locating the lost climbers alive. On the 25th, Dow and another MRS team member, Mike Hartrick, carefully threaded their way down near the Lion Head Trail, striving to avoid avalanche prone slopes, after finding no trace of the climbers. Well below treeline, an avalanche swept over them. Hartrick managed to clear an air hole and radio for help. Dow was found two hours later under three feet of snow. He had not survived.

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED: Avalanches are not a hazard unique to the world's highest peaks: they occur on Mount Washington as well. Steep slopes of the mountain's ravines collect vast quantities of snow which falls during the winter months and into the early spring. Additional snow blows into the ravines from the wind swept areas above timberline. Unstable loads of snow increase as new storms pound the region. Warming and refreezing of snow can occur during mild spells, augmenting the potential for an avalanche as new layers of snow slide off the slick refrozen surfaces of older layers. Hikers, climbers and skiers must be alert to the snow conditions on the Presidential Range. Signs warning of avalanche danger should always be heeded. Often it is the victims themselves who trigger the avalanche that swallows them. Avalanches are not limited to the winter months, and the potential for one lasts as long as the snow does. Knowledge of how to handle avalanche situations ranks paramount, as a buried victim's chances for survival decrease by 50% after the first half hour.

Many people donate their time to assist in search and rescue efforts in the Presidential Range. These people are willing to put their own lives at risk in order to aid those who have become lost or hurt in the mountains. In not properly preparing for your adventure, you risk not only putting your own life and the lives of those with you in danger, but you also put at risk the lives of those who would attempt to help you. Please prepare carefully and thoroughly before you go out to seek your mountain adventure.


Aaron Leve, 28, Boston, MA, February 19, 1956

Hugo Stadtmueller, 28, Cambridge, MA, April 4, 1964

John Griffin, 39, Hanover, MA, April 4, 1964

Albert Dow, 29, Tuftonboro, NH, January 25, 1982

Thomas Smith, 41, Montpelier, VT, February 24, 1991

Alexandre Cassan, 19, Becanour, Quebec, January 5, 1996

John Wald, 35, Cambridge, MA, March 24, 1996

Todd Crumbaker, 35, Billerica, MA, March 24, 1996

David McPhedran, 42, Kents Hill, Maine, February 20, 2000

Thomas Burke, 46, West Springfield, NH, November 29, 2002

Scott Sandburg, 32, Arlington, MA, November 29, 2002

Peter Roux, Bartlett, TN, January 18, 2008


NAME: Cheryl Weingarten

AGE: 21

RESIDENCE: Somerville, MA and Hewlett Harbor, NY

DATE: May 1, 1994

CAUSE OF DEATH: Fall (into crevasse)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Weingarten and two friends were descending Mount Washington via the Tuckerman Ravine trail. Two party members opted to slide down the steep, snowy fields above the headwall. Visibility at the time was limited to 75 feet. Without the necessary equipment to brake their rapid acceleration, the two sliders quickly lost control of their descent. One managed to grasp a branch and thus arrest her fall. Weingarten was not so fortunate and disappeared into one of several gaping crevasses on the steep slope. Her companions and nearby skiers immediately began searching for her. Others descended to organize formal search efforts. Inclement weather slowed this process. At 9:30 the following morning, she was located in a deep crevasse gushing with frigid water. After retrieving her body, resuscitation was attempted, but to no avail. Evidence suggested that fractures caused during her fall had led to her immediate death.

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED: Falls represent the direct cause of more deaths in the Presidential Range than any other single factor. Some fatal falls include plummets over the rocky crags which dot the landscape, others are long slides down snow and ice or rock- strewn slopes. Falls on Mount Washington have taken the lives of skiers, rock and ice climbers, off-trail scramblers and winter hikers. Fatal falls by summer hikers who follow maintained trails are thus far unknown. Winter hikers and climbers must realize the inherent dangers of these activities. Steep, open or rocky slopes can turn treacherous in the event of even a single misstep. Gaping or hidden crevasses loom as death traps on mountain headwalls far below. In the event of an accident, help may be hours away, too late for a victim with serious injuries.

Snow lingers in the White Mountains, and especially in the ravines, well into the spring and summer months. When crossing snow-covered slopes, it is important to be prepared for a misstep or fall. To prevent such a disaster, proper equipment is necessary - crampons and an ice axe with which to self arrest. It is also imperative to be proficient in the use of such gear. Knowledge of the terrain is helpful. What may appear to be a gradual slope may quickly plummet steeply, making a controlled descent almost impossible. Crevasses pose a particular danger as they can appear suddenly underfoot, deceptively covered by a thin layer of snow.


John W. Fowler, 19, New York, NY, April 1, 1936

Edwin P. McIntire, 19, Short Hill, NJ, June 9, 1940

John Neal, Springfield, MA, April 7, 1943

Phyllis Wilbur, 16, Kingfield, ME, May 31, 1948 Died June 3, 1948

Paul H. Schiller, Cambridge, MA, May 1, 1949

Tor Staver, Norway, February 2, 1952, died February 5, 1952

John J. Ochab, 37, Newark, NJ, September 1, 1956

Thomas Flint, 21, Concord, MA, June 2, 1956

Daniel E. Doody, 31, North Branford, CT, March 14, 1965

Craig Merrihue, 32, Cambridge, MA, March 14, 1965

Scott Stevens, 19, Cucamanga, CA, January 26, 1969

Robert Ellenberg, 19, New York, NY, January 26, 1969

Charles Yoder, 24, Hartford, WI, January 26, 1969

Mark Larner, 17, Albany, NY, February 9, 1969

Richard Fitzgerald, 26, Framingham, MA, October 12, 1969

Christopher C. Coyne, 21, Greenwich, CT, May 17, 1972

Peter Winn, 16, Bedford, NH, April 21, 1973

Karl Brushaber, 37, Ann Arbor, MI, December 23, 1974

Margaret Cassidy, 24, Wolfeboro, NH, March 26, 1976

Scott Whinnery, 25, Speigeltown, NY, May 8, 1976

Robert Evans, 22, Kalamazoo, MI, July 12, 1976

David Shoemaker, 21, Lexington, MA, February 14, 1979

Paul Flanigan, 26, Melrose, MA, February 14, 1979

Gary Saad, 26, East Hartford CT, August 6, 1979

Patrick Kelley, 24, Hartford, CT, August 21, 1980

Charles LaBonte, 16, Newbury, MA, October 12, 1980

Peter Friedman, 18, Thomaston, CT, December 31, 1980

Kathy Hamann, 25, Sandy Hook, CT, March 28, 1982

Edward Aalbue, 21, Westbury, NY, January 1, 1983

Kenneth Hokenson, 23, Scotia, NY, March 24, 1983

Mark Brockman, 19, Boston, MA, March 27, 1983

Edwin B. Costa, 39, Manchester, NH, June 3, 1990

Cheryl Weingarten, 22, Somerville, MA and Hewlett Harbor, NY, May 1, 1994

Chris Schneider, 31, Pittsfield, VT, March 28, 1995

Donald Cote, 48, Haverhill, MA, February 2, 1996

Robert Vandel, 50, Vienna, ME, March 2, 1996

Steve Carmody, 29, Danbury, CT, September 27, 1997

Ned Green, 26, of North Conway, NH, died February 18, 2001, in Damnation Gully in Huntington Ravine, as a result of a fall after an "ice dam" in the gully gave way.

Hillary Manion, 22, of Ottawa, Ontario, died as a result of a fall while skiing in Tuckerman Ravine, June 3, 2001

Jason Gaumond, 28, of Southbridge, MA, died in a fall in Yale Gully, Huntington Ravine, January 27, 2004.

Rob Douglas, 39 of Vershire, VT, died as a result of a fall while on a ski trip in Pipeline Gully, Mount Clay, March 7, 2004.

Wieslaw Walczak, 62, of Bedford, New Hampshire, died on (or about) November 21, 2009, as a result of a fall on the Tuckerman Ravine headwall.


NAME: Robert Jones

AGE: 53


DATE: April 5, 1986

CAUSE OF DEATH: Heart Attack

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Jones and his party commenced hiking up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. Without warning, he suffered a heart attack. CPR was performed immediately, to no avail. Help came quickly on the busy trail, and he was swiftly evacuated down to a waiting ambulance. Despite the best efforts, Jones was pronounced dead upon his arrival at the hospital in Berlin.

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED: Several individuals have died of natural causes on Mount Washington. While some of the victims would inevitably have succumbed to a heart attack or stroke regardless of their location, others may have avoided such a tragic situation by being more aware of their own physical condition and abilities. As a precaution, people who have not enjoyed recent strenuous physical activity should check with their doctors before undertaking a hike up Mount Washington. If your family has a history of heart disease, it would also be wise to talk with a doctor in preparation for your climb. If you do not regularly exert yourself physically, do not push yourself beyond what you are capable of handling on a steep mountain trail. Challenge yourself, but do not exceed your limits.


Private William Stevens, of the U.S. Signal Service, February 26, 1872

Harry A. Wheeler, 55, Salem, MA, July 4, 1937

Anthony Amico, 44, Springfield, MA, August 22, 1959

Remi J. Bourdages, 38, Spencer, MA, May 3, 1964

Albert R. Tenney, 62, summer 1969

Richard Thaler, 49, Brookline, MA, September 23, 1972

Clayton Rock, 80, Massachusetts, October 23, 1975

James Dowd, 43, Boston, MA, October 13, 1980

Myles Coleman, 73, Wellsville, NY, August 8, 1981

John Fox, 47, Shelburne , VT, May 15, 1982

Ernst Heinsoth, 88, Burlington, VT, August 22, 1984

Basil Goodridge, 56, Burlington, VT, March 15, 1986

Robert Jones, 53, Bridgton, ME, April 5, 1986

George Rimini, 65, Efland, NC, August 12, 1992

Ronald Hastings, 63, Grantham, NH, October 8, 1994

John Gringas, 44, Meriden, CT May 29, 1999

Doug Thompson, 66, Hanover, NH October 30, 1999

William Callahan, 57, Meansville, GA, September 29, 2002

Jean Moreau, 50, of Becancour, Quebec, Canada, August 4, 2006


NAME: Harry Clauson & Jack Lonigan

AGE: 19 and 21

RESIDENCE: South Boston, MA & Boston, MA

DATE: August 5, 1919

CAUSE OF DEATH: Vehicular - Slideboard

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Slide boards were often used around the turn of the century for quick descents of the cog railway tracks from the mountain to the valley. These two young men attempted to improvise their own boards and ride down. Unfortunately they possessed no brakes with which to slow their travel. Finally their boards derailed and both suffered fatal injuries.

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED: Two other accidents on the Railway involved "slide boards". Slideboards were regularly used by Cog Railway workers and others to make a rapid descent to the valley. Very high speeds were sometimes achieved, making control difficult to maintain. After several fatal accidents, the practice of "slideboarding" was discontinued.

The Mount Washington Cog Railway has experienced only one major accident since its founding in 1869. In 1967, due perhaps to human error, a switch on the track was improperly set. As a result, a descending train lost its braking power, began to pick up speed and finally derailed. Eight of the passengers aboard died.

Of vehicular accidents in the Presidential Range, plane crashes have been most frequent and have taken the highest toll. Rapidly deteriorating conditions bring unexpected fog and wind, obscuring dangerous peaks from view. Altimeters, affected by air pressure changes over mountain ridges, exhibit falsely high readings, causing pilots to believe they are safely above the mountain peaks, while indeed they are not. A miscalculation at such a time can be fatal. When flying in the White Mountains, it is essential to know the weather forecast and to leave the vicinity immediately if clouds form and visibility diminishes.

Some rate the Auto Road as the safest toll road in the nation. Since it opened in 1861, this road to the summit of Mount Washington has suffered only two fatalities. One woman was killed in 1880, when a drunk carriage driver steered the horse drawn coach she was riding in off the Road. More recently, a woman died in 1984 when the brakes in the car she was in failed near the base of the Road.



Paul Ross, 26, South Portland, ME, November 29, 1969

Kenneth Ward Jr., 20, Augusta, ME, November 29, 1969

Cliff Philips, 25, Island Pond, VT, November 29, 1969

Irene Hennessey, 47, March 20, 1971

Thomas Hennessey, 54, March 20, 1971

Vernon E. Titcomb, 56, Santa Fe, CA, August 22, 1974

Jean Titcomb, 53, Santa Fe, CA, August 22, 1974

Jimmy Fred Jones, 33, Fort Worth, TX, October 2, 1990

Stewart Eames, 27, Fort Worth, TX, October 2, 1990

Russell Diedrick, Bedford, TX, October 2, 1990


Mrs. Ira Chichester, Allegan, MI, July 3, 1880


Paula Silva, 22, Cambridge, MA, July 30, 1984


Private William Seely, 29, Seneca Falls, NY, July 3, 1873

Alexander Cusick, Websterville, Vt, August 23, 1906

Harry Clauson, 19, South Boston, MA, August 5, 1919

Jack Lonigan, 21, Boston, MA, August 5, 1919


Daniel P. Rossiter, Ludlow, VT, July 20, 1929


Monica Gross, 2, Brookline, MA, September 17, 1967

Eric Davies, 7, Hampton, NH, September 17, 1967

Kent Woodward, 9, New London, NH, September 17, 1967

Beverly Richmond, 15, Putnam, CT, September 17, 1967

Shirley A. Zorzy, 22, Lynn, MA, September 17, 1967

Mary Frank, 38, Warren MI, September 17, 1967

Charles Usher, 55, Dover, NH, September 17, 1967

Mrs. Charles Usher, 56, Dover, NH, September 17, 1967


NAME: Ewald Weiss / John Keenan / Kevin Race

AGE: 24, 18, 46

RESIDENCE: Germany / Charlestown, MA / Woolwich, ME

DATE: August 24, 1890 / September 18, 1912 / September 9, 2007

CAUSE OF DEATH: Unknown, disappeared

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Three possible deaths on the Mount Washington Range have never been explained. In 1890, Ewald Weiss, a member of the orchestra playing at the mountain top hotel, The Summit House, wandered off for a hike to nearby Mount Adams. His body was never found, nor was the reason for his disappearance learned. In 1912, John Keenan, a surveyor, hiked from the cone of Mount Washington, and disappeared. His body has never been located. In 2007, Kevin Race was last seen near Hermit Lake; authorities later learned that he may have come to the mountain to end his life. His final whereabouts are unknown.


While lightning has never been the cause of a fatality in the Presidential Range, the possibility of such an accident always exists. If you are ever on an exposed ridge or peak when a thunderstorm rolls in, please take the following precautions for your safety. If time allows, get off the ridge and into the forest. You do not want to be the highest object around. If the storm is upon you and there is no time to get to a lower elevation, squat down to reduce your height and minimize your contact with the ground. If you have a foam sleeping pad, put yourself on it. Remove your pack if it has an aluminum frame as it may make you a more attractive conductor. Spread your group out, keeping an eye on one another. This way, if one person is injured, the others can assist. Know CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation); it can be a lifesaver at such times.

Home of the World's Worst Weather
Administration: 2779 White Mountain Highway, P. O. Box 2310, North Conway, NH 03860 • Tel: 603-356-2137 • Fax: 603-356-0307 • contact us
>> OUR PARTNERS Eastern Mountain Sports Subaru Cranmore Mt Washington Auto Road Mt Washington Cog Railway Vasque EATON MWVCC
Mount Washington Observatory respects your privacy           ©2014 Mount Washington Observatory           Site Directory
Web Site Support from Zakon Group LLC