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Avalanche, New Hampshire, Mount Washington, Odell Gully

AVALANCHE

New Hampshire, Mount Washington, Odell Gully

On February 25, 1991, a spindrift avalanche swept Thomas Smith (41) to his death. He and his partner, James Huntsmen, were near the top of Odell Gully when the accident occurred. Smith was knocked from his position, and Huntsmen was unable to hold them both. They fell 1800 feet, and were found by their friends. Smith was only conscious for a few minutes. Huntsmen broke his pelvis. The Appalachian Mountain Club, the Mountain Rescue Service, and the US Forest Service rangers did the carry-out. (Source: Boston Globe, February 26, 1991)

(Editor’s Note: While death and injuries from avalanches are infrequent on Mount Washington, the conditions are often present for such accidents. There had been a lot of differential layering on the mountain due to several storms having been followed by warm weather. Climbers need to be aware of the history of the snow pack.)