THREE INJURED IN MOUNT WASHINGTON AVALANCHE

by Gair on January 18, 2013

A U.S. FOREST SERVICE SNOW RANGER IS PRAISING THE TEAMWORK OF SNOW RANGERS AND TRAINED VOLUNTEERS IN SUCCESSFULLY RESCUING 12 HIKERS WHO WERE AVALANCHED LATE THURSDAY AFTERNOON ON MOUNT WASHINGTON.

LEAD SNOW RANGER CHRIS JOOSEN SAYS THE FOREST SERVICE GOT A CALL ABOUT 5:30 P.M. THAT THE HIKING PARTY – PART OF AN “ASCENTS OF HONOR” PROGRAM THAT INCLUDED U.S. MARINE VETERAN KEITH ZEIER AND 11 SUPPORT STAFF – HAD BEEN AVALANCHED IN THE CENTRAL GULLY OF HUNTINGTON RAVINE.

“ASCENTS OF HONOR” (www.ascentsofhonor.org) IS DESCRIBED AS QUOTE “A GROUP OF CLIMBERS WHO VOLUNTEER TO HELP INSPIRE THE PUBLIC THROUGH CLIMBING AND MOUNTAINEERING EXPEDITIONS TO ENCOURAGE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE SPECIAL OPERATIONS WARRIOR FOUNDATION AND INSPIRE AMERICANS TO ENGAGE RETURNING COMBAT VETERANS.”

FOUR SNOW RANGERS TEAMED UP WITH 17 VOLUNTEERS FROM NORTH CONWAY MOUNTAIN RESCUE SERVICE, A VOLUNTEER FROM THE APPALACHIAN MOUNTAIN CLUB AND A HARVARD MOUNTAIN CLUB CABIN CARETAKER AND THE FIRST RANGER REACHED THE SCENE ABOUT 6:45 P.M.

THE HIKING PARTY WAS ROPED AS FOUR TEAMS OF THREE CLIMBERS AND ZIEIER AND HIS HIKING COMPANIONS – IDENTIFIED AS ANDY POLITZ AND JONATHON POLITZ – SUSTAINED NON LIFE THREATENING INJURIES AFTER FALLING ABOUT 800 FEET.

THE THREE INJURED HIKERS WERE TAKEN BY SNOWCAT TO WAITING AMBULANCES AT THE PINKHAM NOTCH PARKING LOT – AND THEN TO ANDROSCOGGIN VALLEY HOSPITAL IN BERLIN.

THE REMAINING HIKERS WERE ASSISTED OFF STEEP TERRAIN AND GIVEN RIDES OUT. EVERYONE WAS SAFELY OUT BY ABOUT 11:30 P.M. THURSDAY.

JOOSEN SAYS ONE RESCUED HIKER SAID HE HAD NEVER SEEN A TEAM WORK THAT WELL AND EFFICIENTLY TOGETHER.

THE FOREST SERVICE MAINTAINS A WEBSITE ABOUT AVALANCHE CONDITIONS AT www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org.

Leave a Comment