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New Hampshire, Mt. Washington

New Hampshire, Mt. Washington—On July 19 Paul Zanet (24) and Judy March (17) attempted to climb Mt. Washington from the base station of the cog railway. They were clothed in light summer clothing. Apparently they started up the Jewell trail late in the afternoon although they had been warned against doing so because of the lateness of the hour and the bad weather on the summit. The assumption is that they ascended the trail to the Gulfside and then on to the junction of the Gulfside Trail and the Crawford Path. Here they apparently turned right toward the Lake-of-the- Clouds Hut 1¼ miles distant. It is not known when they reached this branch in the trails but they were apparently exhausted and sought shelter in the first available spot, since their bodies were found on July 20 a short distance down the trail toward the hut. The weather records from the observatory on the summit reveal that the weather was not good for climbing above tree line. From 12 noon July 19 to 12 noon July 20 the maximum temperature was 43° F, and the minimum 38° F. The wind velocity averaged 55 m.p.h. from the N.W., with peak gusts of 88 m.p.h. at 8:10 p.m. on the 19th. During this period 1.55 inches of rain fell.

Source: Appalachia 32:267, 1958.

Analysis: Their complete lack of preparation for a mountain trip is well demonstrated by the fact that they carried with them no extra clothing, no food, no flashlight, and none of the other essentials for a trip of this sort. (It is of interest that following the report of this accident in Appalachia there is another report of a similar episode which had a happier ending, and it makes one wonder how often these occur. Both of these emphasize the importance of being willing to turn back and to turn back before one is exhausted).