View Full Version : Climbing Mount Washington

KD Talbot
08-01-2008, 08:48 PM
A lot of more seasoned hikers shrug at the danger and difficulty of climbing Mount Washington, but we really should do our best here on the forum to educate people as to these two points. Anyone thinking of making this hike, please read this article. Mike Pelchat heads rescues on an almost daily basis, and he has seen it all, including several deaths, some of which have affected him deeply.

http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Hikers+warned%3a+At+risk+on+ the+rock+pile&articleId=1892117f-da08-4e16-b03e-4dcbf47ecc6b

Please, take the time to educate yourself about this mountain as much as you can before attempting to summit, and remember, a ride down is not always an option. One should plan on getting oneself back down on their own two feet.

We will gladly answer any questions you have here, and if we don't have the answer, we know where to get it!


08-01-2008, 09:31 PM
this is very good and should be put as a sticky so we can get to it with out looking for it when some one asks for advice .

maybe copy and paste it in case they take the link off

08-01-2008, 10:12 PM
I will try to paste the article here.

Hikers warned: At risk on the rock pile

New Hampshire Union Leader Correspondent
Tuesday, Jul. 29, 2008

MOUNT WASHINGTON – SUMMER IS the most popular season for hikers to hit the trails in New Hampshire, but atop Mount Washington, there is growing concern about the number of ill-prepared hikers who have needed emergency care at the summit.

"It looks like a MASH unit at times when the weather turns bad," said Mount Washington State Park Manager Mike Pelchat. "People will show up here at 1 or 2 in the afternoon, exhausted and needing care."

This summer's wet and stormy weather is contributing to the problem, Pelchat told members of the Mount Washington Commission, which met last Wednesday. He urged them to explore ways to make sure hikers get the message that conditions change quickly.

"We had a family (last) Saturday who had hiked up Caps Ridge and over Gulfslide to the summit," Pelchat said. "It was a mother and father, three kids -- 12, 8 and 6 -- and they were carrying two toy poodles."

They had planned to camp out that night along the Jewell trail, but the weather had turned and by the time the family had arrived on the summit, the children "were suffering." Park rangers rummaged through the lost-and-found bin to provide the youngsters with warm gear, he said.

Pelchat has seen parents arrive at the summit carrying young children in a backpack; since they are immobilized, they can't keep warm easily.

One of the most dramatic incidents this summer, he said, involved a couple and their 4-year-old child, who arrived at the summit suffering from hypothermia. At the same time rangers were working to warm up the child, the call went out for the rescue of an injured hiker.

"This incident is scary," Pelchat said. "I'm scared that one day the weather is going to be a few degrees colder, the wind blowing harder, and there is going to be a kid who won't make it."

Although hypothermia is thought of as a risk in winter, above treeline or in bad conditions, it is a serious threat even in the summer, Pelchat said.

"If it's 45 degrees and raining with 30 to 40 mph winds, if you're alone and you sprain an ankle, if you don't have fleece on or good rain gear, in two hours, you could perish," he said.

Lack of proper gear, especially adequate foot gear, is a typical problem for hikers who have reached the summit. Nearly 200 people this season have had to be taken down the mountain, via the Auto Road or the Cog Railroad, he said. These trips cost the hiker; Pelchat said he's even seen people carrying no money or credit cards.

An ongoing campaign by the Fish and Game Department and the U.S. Forest Service uses the Internet to educate hikers before they head out on mountain trails. The Web site -- www.HikeSafe.com -- gives comprehensive information about trip planning, the kind of gear to bring and other tips.

Trails, especially those above treeline, have signs warning people to turn around if the weather turns bad.

"We see people here who have no maps and they haven't done their homework," Pelchat said.

The summer months tend to draw more novice hikers, he said.

"Most people have a successful trip if the weather is good," he said. "If there's a stretch of weather like there has been, we see more of the people who are having problems. We're seeing some close calls."

Also posted in the article:

Hiker Responsibility Code

You are responsible for yourself, so be prepared:

1. With knowledge and gear. Become self reliant by learning about the terrain, conditions, local weather and your equipment before you start.

2. To leave your plans. Tell someone where you are going, the trails you are hiking, when you will return and your emergency plans.

3. To stay together. When you start as a group, hike as a group, end as a group. Pace your hike to the slowest person.

4. To turn back. Weather changes quickly in the mountains. Fatigue and unexpected conditions can also affect your hike. Know your limitations and when to postpone your hike. The mountains will be there another day.

5. For emergencies. Even if you are headed out for just an hour, an injury, severe weather or a wrong turn could become life threatening. Don't assume you will be rescued; know how to rescue yourself.

6. To share the hiker code with others.


08-01-2008, 10:24 PM
very good brad now we need it a sticky

08-02-2008, 06:28 AM
Yes, PLEASE!!!!!! Sticky !


08-02-2008, 10:52 AM
this is from hike safe.com

i wish we had this in PA

Liability Statutes
Search and Rescue Can Be Costly for Reckless Hikers
Hikers who aren't prepared for the extremes of New Hampshire's terrain and weather may want to reevaluate their plans for outdoor adventures.

In late 1999, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department announced that hikers who recklessly cause themselves to become lost or injured - resulting in costly and dangerous rescues - may be billed for those rescue services.

Under the current law, which is supported by the Fish and Game Commission, the Department reviews each search and rescue mission to determine whether a bill should be sent to those involved. Hikers who may be billed include those who are poorly equipped for terrain or weather and/or lack reasonable skills or stamina to handle the hike without getting lost or injured.

The many dedicated and highly trained volunteers from diverse agencies and organizations are an integral part of New Hampshire's search and rescue missions. As the lead agency in charge of such missions, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, handles roughly 150 to 200 search and rescues each year. Of those, only a small number are initiated because of the actions of reckless hikers.

This small number of reckless hikers can present some very difficult, dangerous and expensive search and rescue missions; and it is those hikers who'll be billed for rescues. It is hoped that the prospects of getting a bill will itself act as a deterrent to hikers who may otherwise make incorrect and uneducated decisions.

Search and rescue in New Hampshire is funded by a $1 surcharge on every New Hampshire Off Highway Recreational Vehicle and boat registration.

Money collected from reckless hikers will support training and purchases of equipment for volunteers of search and rescue organizations who help with rescue missions.

i hope people that are not prepared will think twice before they go out

08-02-2008, 12:45 PM
The problem is - if they are unprepared, they probably do not know they are unprepared.