NH F&G: Prep for snow and ice at altitude

by Tony on May 7, 2014

A New Hampshire Fish and Game officer urges spring hikers to be patient, cautious and fully prepared before they venture into higher elevations after a 75-year-old Maine hiker was rescued Monday from the summit of Bond Cliff.

Conservation Officer Capt. John Wimsatt says it’s the third incident in a week where hikers have gotten into trouble on high altitude trails where there’s still significant amounts of snow and ice.

In the latest incident, Wimsatt says David Humphrey of Falmouth was rescued after a harrowing, cold and wet night where he was stranded on the trail. Humphrey had set out Sunday from Crawford Notch planning to hike the 21 miles to the Lincoln Woods trailhead in one day. He was only equipped for a day hike, carried no overnight gear and ran into snow as deep as two feet, icing conditions and rain before calling 911 about 9:30 p.m. Sunday reporting he was in distress.

At that time he was still nearly 9 miles from the Lincoln Woods trailhead.

On Monday, conservation officers were assisted by a New Hampshire Army National Guard helicopter that airlifted Humphrey to the trailhead early in the afternoon, where he was met by his wife. Humphrey suffered some symptoms of hypothermia.

Previous incidents included one Friday when five teenagers from southern New Hampshire encountered snow and ice as they tried to hike over Franconia Ridge without adequate clothing or footwear for the conditions. Wimsatt says the hikers were monitored by conservation officers as they descended the Flume Side Trail and they were able to make it out on their own.

Earlier last week a hiker from Massachusetts had to be rescued in the Franconia Ridge area after he accidentally cut himself with a knife.

Wimsatt says hikers should assess trails for spring hiking safety, heed weather reports and check summit condition reports – and be fully prepared with enough food, equipment, clothing and overnight gear.

For more hiking preparation tips, see the website at www.hikesafe.com.