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View Full Version : Fatality in Huntingtons Ravine...



JimS
01-21-2008, 07:20 AM
A sad story from Mount Washington this weekend as a hiker was swept off by an avalanche this weekend.

My condolances to the family and friends of this avid outdoorsman...It is always sad to hear that someone loses their life doing what they love, and provides me with a moment of pause to reflect on what my own love of the mountains means to me....

The boston globe story is here:
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/01/21/experienced_climber_dies_on_mount_washington/

There is a bit more info on the January 20th avalanche report by the snow rangers here:
http://tuckerman.org/avalanche/archives/

This ends a very long streak of safety on the mountain, the first winter fatality since 2004. There are, of course many factors that go into this, but I would like to think that this streak is in part due to the reach and education that the AMC, Forest Service, Mount Washington Observeratory, State Park and entire White Mountain community are doing to educate people when climbing the mountain. Unfortunately, with the drive to experience nature and push our own limits, accidents are impossible to eliminate entirely...

RIP...

Bretton Woods Brat
01-21-2008, 07:25 AM
How sad, my heart goes out to his family....

JimS
01-21-2008, 08:34 AM
Full accident report now available from tuckerman.org:
http://www.tuckerman.org/accident/20072008.htm

mary
01-21-2008, 07:29 PM
Godspeed....

Bill O
01-21-2008, 07:35 PM
Were there two separate incidents? The fatality on the 18th and another climbing party hit on the 20th?

It's easy to forget that Mount Washington has serious avalanche terrain. Of all the time I spent skiing in the Utah backcountry the scariest slide (and the only including people) I have seen was in Hillman's last April.

Very sad news.

KD Talbot
01-21-2008, 09:13 PM
Yes, there were two separate incidents. The other party was warned by the snow ranger at Harvard Cabin to not attempt the Pinnacle, but went for it anyway. The snow gave way at the base of the Pinnacle and they took a slide. Incredibly, none were hurt. I hope they learned a lesson and don't think they're invincible now, having survived an avalanche. Two of them still wanted to climb Pinnacle after the avy. The other guy apparently talked them out of it, he had had enough. Probably saved their lives.

I'm not an ice climber, so people can take my opinion for what it's worth. It seems to me that soloing in Huntington in high avalanche danger is something beyond risky. With a partner off to the side and a belay system with ice screws, this climber may have survived this. Then again, there might be two bodies to recover.

I am not passing judgement, and believe me, I feel for this poor man's family.

All who love this mountain take a hit when something like this happens. I know life is full of risks, but some risks are a lot more serious than others and we need to minimize them as best we can. There are certainly plenty of resources to help with this when climbing in these ravines. Plans should always be flexible. The mountain isn't going anywhere.

KDT

kaseri
01-21-2008, 10:27 PM
Plans should always be flexible. The mountain isn't going anywhere.

I'll second that.

rockin rex
01-22-2008, 07:53 AM
I remember last year when Bill O wrote about the Hillman Avy. This really hit home since I am an east coaster and I don't have experience when it comes to avalanches. I think people on the east coast don't think they have to worry about avalanches but that is so far from the truth. The avalanche danager in the Ravines and gullys below the rock pile are very real. With the high winds on the cone blowing the snow into the gullys and ravines this makes for very dangerous avy conditions. The snow rangers do an amazing job and all they can do is give people the REAL facts. When they give out the info it is then upto the climbers to do what they will with the info. The snow rangers know this mountain better than anyone and they are on it everyday. When I got myself in over my head one winter climb the snow rangers were there to help me out of a potentialy deadly situation. I think the lesson learned here is to listen to the snow rangers and really take the info they give to heart. They want to make sure whoever comes to climb the rock does it safely and returns back to thier loved ones. My heart breaks to know a life was lost in H.R. My prayers go out to his family.

MelNino
01-22-2008, 09:32 AM
Really good quote from Ed Viesturs:

"Getting to the summit it optional, getting down is mandatory."

Sad news.

Steve M
01-22-2008, 01:10 PM
A sad story from Mount Washington this weekend as a hiker was swept off by an avalanche this weekend.

My condolances to the family and friends of this avid outdoorsman...It is always sad to hear that someone loses their life doing what they love, and provides me with a moment of pause to reflect on what my own love of the mountains means to me....

The boston globe story is here:
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/01/21/experienced_climber_dies_on_mount_washington/

There is a bit more info on the January 20th avalanche report by the snow rangers here:
http://tuckerman.org/avalanche/archives/

This ends a very long streak of safety on the mountain, the first winter fatality since 2004. There are, of course many factors that go into this, but I would like to think that this streak is in part due to the reach and education that the AMC, Forest Service, Mount Washington Observeratory, State Park and entire White Mountain community are doing to educate people when climbing the mountain. Unfortunately, with the drive to experience nature and push our own limits, accidents are impossible to eliminate entirely...

RIP...
It's good to know that there are people out there who continue to try to teach and train people on the importance of safety in the mountains. This is something that needs to be expanded if possible because, as you have said, it is working and more and more people are responding to it and are understanding the seriousness they face. Unfortunately though, not everyone is going to listen and heed the warnings and still do it there own way. Some learn the easy way and some the hard way and some don't get the opportunity to learn from the mistake. It's sad but true. Accidents can happen at any time without warning even if your doing all the right things and being careful. The hope is to reduce the chance for something to go wrong.

MystyThunder
04-07-2009, 01:06 AM
My deepest sympathies to the the family of this unfortunate soul:( Sadly the accident free period has ended:( From 2004- 2009 is a long time to be without incident. Let us hope that there can be a longer stretch in future. I lost my fiance on Huntington's in January 2004:( Again, my deepest, heartfelt sympathies:(

KD Talbot
04-15-2009, 09:16 PM
This actually happened in January '08. There have been none this year, but at least one very nasty fall. Sorry to hear of your loss and welcome to the forum.

KDT