At approximately 1500, two hikers flagged down passing Snow Rangers who were heading down for the day. The party had loaned their plastic sled to help a group transport a person with lower leg injury from the Lion Head Winter Route. We encountered a large family group about 100 yards up the trail from the Fire Road sliding a person down and making good time. The injured subject was well splinted with trekking poles and duct tape with continuous circulation, sensation and movement in the foot so we transferred her to the snowmobile and transported here to Pinkham Notch. Upon further assessment, it was evident that the injury was a fracture.
Though this group did a good job caring for the injury and would have made it down in good time, they were very poorly equipped for the Winter Route. The subject was wearing low, zippered “snow sneakers”, and while warm enough for the day’s weather conditions, this type of boot does not have a stiff enough sole for edging in firm snow nor the ankle support of a mountaineering boot. The victim lost their footing somewhere below the rock step, began sliding and sustained the injury when she arrested her fall with her foot against a tree trunk. There seemed to be a wide range of experience level among the group with only a few ice axes and pairs of crampons among them. It is important to remember the limitations of your group in terms of ability and experience when doing winter hikes in our unforgiving mountain range.