Monday, April 15, 2024

Skier passes away after tumbling almost 600 feet down a steep part of Mount Washington

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A skier died after falling about 600 feet down an icy slope on Mount Washington in New Hampshire over the weekend, according to officials.

The incident occurred while three people were skiing in the backcountry on Saturday, explained Colleen Mainville, a spokesperson for the US Forest Service. Madison Saltsburg, a 20-year-old skier, suffered fatal injuries in the fall, while the other two survivors sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

Mainville mentioned that the trio encountered challenging conditions with hard, icy snow surfaces, open crevasse holes, and unforgiving terrain that made slipping and falling more likely.

Efforts were made by the US Forest Service and Mount Washington Avalanche Center (MWAC) to rescue Saltsburg from the mountain. The MWAC’s snow ranger team also dealt with another incident on the same day involving two skiers who suffered injuries from rocks and ice.

Jeff Fongemie, director of the Mount Washington Avalanche Center, explained to WRUM, a CNN affiliate, that the day was unusually busy due to specific weather conditions. Warm temperatures, rain, and subsequent freezing created a firm surface on the snowpack, leading to increased incidents.

The Forest Service’s website cautions about the challenging conditions on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, emphasizing its snowy and icy coverage in winter with steep cliffs and slopes. The agency advises treating it more like a mountaineering ascent, especially from late fall to early summer, due to the severe consequences of falls or avalanches.

The Appalachian Mountain Club, operating huts on Mount Washington, describes the Tuckerman Ravine as the “birthplace of extreme skiing in the US.”

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