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Stranded, Inexperienced Non-Climbers, New Hampshire, Mount Washington, Huntington Ravine

STRANDED, INEXPERIENCED NON-CLIMBERS

New Hampshire, Mount Washington, Huntington Ravine

On May 24, 1991, two male students from the University of New Hampshire (one who was to graduate the very next day) hiked into Huntington Ravine on Mount Washington to the point where the trail turns right onto rock slabs. The two students turned left and climbed about 200 feet up Central Buttress, the steep buttress between Pinnacle and Central Gullies. At that point they found that they could go neither up nor down.

They yelled to passing hikers that they needed help. The MRS was called and eight members arrived about 1700. Four rescuers in teams of two climbed up to the two students, placed anchors, put harnesses on the students, and then lowered them 200 feet to the ground. One rescuer went down with each of the two students. The rescue was completed by 1900. The students had been stuck on the cliff, each on his own very small ledge and about 30 feet apart, for five hours.

Analysis

The two men apparently knew nothing about rock climbing and yet they successfully climbed up sections of 5.6 rock. They were wearing bicycling helmets and they had one carabiner. Their equipment and the fact that they intentionally left the marked Huntingon Ravine trail indicates that they planned a climbing adventure.

Lucidly the weather was mild even though thunder could be heard in the distance during the rescue. It was also fortunate that hikers heard the yell for help and went to an AMC hut keeper who had a radio. The fact that the MRS had brought a long rope made the lower efficient. (Source: George Hurley, Guide)