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New Hampshire Fish and Game is warning hikers to carefully consider their gear choices after first responders rescued an injured 28-year-old hiker from an icy trail on Mount Washington on Saturday.
Aishwarya Shrotri, 28, and her hiking companion began the day with the intention of hiking the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail to Lake of the Clouds and returning the same way. At about 4 p.m., Shrotri slipped and fell on the ascent, injuring one leg. On the descent, she slipped again and injured her other leg.
New Hampshire Fish and Game received a call from the hiker’s companion at about 4:20 pm, stating that Shrotri was unable to walk out under her own power. Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue, Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue, and members of the Twin Mountain Fire Department responded to the incident. The crew located the hikers and extracted Shrotri on a litter, returning to the Base Station Parking Lot about 5 hours after the call was made.
New Hampshire Fish and Game said the injured hiker had never hiked in the White Mountains before and hadn’t worn appropriate footwear for “the snow and icy conditions that still exist on the upper elevations.”
“This lack of preparedness was the primary contributing factor in this need for a rescue response,” the organization wrote in a press release.
The Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail is one of the most popular and direct routes to the summit of Mount Washington. At the time of the incident, the trail was covered in ice and slush. The summit of Mount Washington experienced 70-mile-per-hour winds and sub-freezing temperatures for most of the day.
When asked how to best prepare for this type of hike, Sgt. Heidi Murphy, a ranger for New Hampshire Fish and Game, recommended bringing the 10 essentials, being prepared to spend the night, and bringing appropriate footwear including traction devices.”
“There are certain hiking apps like AllTrails where people will tell you what the conditions are like,” Murphy said. “Doing a little bit of research about the trail that you’re going on is not a bad thing.”
Although daytime temperatures in the Whites are starting to crest above freezing, the region is known for having volatile weather. Mount Washington in particular can experience extreme weather conditions even in the middle of the summer; Fish and Game officials say that mountains in New Hampshire can remain icy and technical into June. For these reasons, shoulder-season hikers should still carry winter gear like ice cleats, an ice ax, and extra layers.
“What preparation means to us is that you prepare for what could happen,” Murphy said. “Have things that will keep you warm and dry, and make sure you have the [necessary] gear.”