Sad story - be safe out there

Countless stories of people underestimating the extreme conditions in the Mt. Washington range. Sadly, this one was fatal. Even the highly experienced and well-equipped can get in over their heads. Please be safe out there.

Gosh that’s sad news. And by the look of the photos on other trips, someone who had gear and experience. Not a great idea to go into conditions like that on your own though.

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In Dec 1974 my brother and I spent a night out not far from there. Our intent was to "camp"
near Madison Spring Hut…it was far too cold and windy so we retreated back down the path to get some shelter in the scrub pines (we should have retreated to well below treeline). We were fortunate in that it was a “warm” night in the mid 20s F (not -30F!), and the wind was maybe 40 mph not 100 mph. We couldn’t get the tent up in the wind so we just lay in the collapsed tent and spent a crummy LONG winter night night, I got frost nip on my big toe. In the cold and snow and wind things can sure go to hell very quickly
RIP Kate.
73 Hal N6JZT

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That is sad. In good conditions usually it takes two things to go wrong before you need help but in extreme conditions all you need is to have one problem. This lady may have had just one piece of bad luck initially. The lack of accuracy of the position her beacon was reporting was something extra that may have made the difference. Even 30 m, let alone 1,500 m, in bad weather at night can put you out of sight of searchers.

Some years ago an experienced hiker on the return leg of his walk died on one of our most popular skiing mountains only 400 m from safety. Unexpected extreme weather and resulting fatigue caused him to stop and he succumbed to the weather before being able to start moving again.

I carry stuff in my pack that I hope I’ll never need. Sure in 99% of my activations carrying most of it seems nuts. It’s always there so I can’t forget to pack it. Adrenelin rushes are great but some things are too risky for me these days.

this event is a reminder to plan carefully before heading out and to be prepared to cancel or turn back…


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That’s a really important point. On a circular or walk where you aim to finish at a different place to the start always have an assessment point by half way " do I go on, do I return." Also have bail out plans you’ll use in case of deteriorating conditions. Time is the other thing, am I at the half way point at or before half the time has gone, no? Go back! Someone has already posted this week on how they abandoned a summit because things were worse than expected, good judgement call.

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