MISSING MOUNT WASHINGTON HIKER PRESUMED DEAD; FOCUS TURNS TO RECOVERY

by Christian Mower on April 3, 2012

A U.S. FOREST SERVICE SNOW RANGER WITH THE MOUNT WASHINGTON AVALANCHE CENTER SAYS A MISSING MASSACHUSETTS HIKER IS PRESUMED DEAD AND THE SUSPENDED MISSION TO LOCATE THE MAN – WHO FELL INTO A CREVASSE SUNDAY AFTERNOON ON MOUNT WASHINGTON – IS NOW CONSIDERED TO BE A RECOVERY OPERATION.

JEFF LANE SAYS DISCUSSIONS ARE ONGOING WITH THE NEW HAMPSHIRE FISH AND GAME DEPARTMENT ABOUT HOW TO LOCATE AND RECOVER THE BODY OF NORMAN PRIEBATSCH OF BOSTON, WHO SLIPPED ABOUT 3:30 P.M. SUNDAY WHILE HIKING WITH TWO COMPANIONS ON THE NORTHERN FLANK OF TUCKERMAN RAVINE AND FELL INTO THE CREVASSE BETWEEN THE LUNCH ROCKS AND THE LIP.

BELIEVED TO BE IN HIS LATE 60s, AN ONLINE PROFILE ON THE WEBSITE “LINKED IN” IDENTIFIES PRIEBATSCH AS A BIOTECHNOLOGY ENTREPRENEUR WHO CO-FOUNDED SEVERAL COMPANIES, INCLUDING ONE THAT DEVELOPED A SMART PHONE APPLICATION TO ALLEVIATE TINNITUS. HIS PROFILE ALSO INDICATES HE WAS A LONG DISTANCE RUNNER, SKIER, HIKER, WINDSURFER AND ACTIVE VOLUNTEER.

A SEARCH FOR PRIEBATSCH BEGAN AFTER HE FELL, BUT SEARCHERS GOT NO RESPONSE TO THEIR CALLS FOR HIM. LANE WAS LOWERED ABOUT 50 FEET INTO THE CREVASSE SUNDAY NIGHT BUT FOUND IT FILLED WITH HANGING ICE, RUNNING WATER AND UNDERMINED SNOW – AND THE SEARCH EFFORT WAS SUSPENDED FOR SAFETY REASONS AROUND 11. P.M.

LANE CREDITS BYSTANDERS, CARETAKERS FOR HARVARD CABIN, MEMBERS OF THE APPALACHIAN MOUNTAIN CLUB, THE NORTH CONWAY BASED MOUNTAIN RESCUE SERVICE, ANDROSCOGGIN VALLEY SEARCH AND RESCUE AND THE MOUNT WASHINGTON OBSERVATORY WITH ASSISTING IN THE RESCUE EFFORT.

FOR DETAILED DAILY REPORTS ON AVALANCHE AND SNOW CONDITIONS ON MOUNT WASHINGTON, SEE THE WEBSITE AT www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org.