A Mt Washington avalanche on Friday buried a skier who was successfully rescued.

The skier was swept into and under the moving debris and lost skis and poles. It happened near the left gully of Tuckerman Ravine around 3 p.m. on Friday.

When the snow stopped he was buried face down. Fortunately his head was very near the surface. But the rest of his body was buried by two feet or more of debris. He was unable to move but could raise his head for a breath.

Another skier who was with the man did not see him get buried and skied away. That second skier eventually alerted others. Hermit Lake and Harvard Cabin caretakers, along with snow rangers, helped dig him out safely.

The man who was buried and the friend he was skiing with did not have avalanche beacons, probes or shovels. Experts say this gear is highly recommended for anyone skiing or hiking in the area.

An avalanche warning was expected to remain in place on Mt. Washington until Sunday.

Avalanche Rescue after a Mt Washington Avalanche. usfs
After an avalanche on Mt Washington.

one responses

  1. Duane Archambault says:

    I’ve lived in NH all my youth and adult life. I have hiked the mountains, trails, fished the streams, rivers and ponds. I introduced my teenage grandson to snowshoeing for a different type of adventure, to explore the woods and wilderness and to get in touch with nature and the inner self. The one thing I’ve heard from mountain climbers, hikers, state forest Rangers and the like, is you must respect nature, the weather and conditions of climate that can change in an instant. To my knowledge the exquisite mountain ravine, natural bowl that is Tuckerman’s Ravine and skiing activity in that place, is mostly done in the Spring months between March & May. I would certainly expect that when the snowfall is the most regular and the drifts have amassed to “feet”, there would be an extreme possibility of snow shift, drops and avalanche thundering down the valley. If you, your group are up to the challenge of plodding through 4, 5 ft of base snow in January or February, be aware that there are no chair lifts, rope tows, or state park personnel, police or Rangers that patrol these grounds in the offseason. You’re own your own. Bring the proper gear advised for Alpine level skiing on mountains, make notes of your intentions with family or friend and use your head for safety.

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