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Leg Injury Tuckerman Ravine Trail

A woman was hiking down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail from Hermit Lake, when the snow and ice bridge she was walking on collapsed, causing a leg injury. She was transported in a litter to the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center by members of her party, bystanders, MWVSP members, and USFS personnel.

Knee Pain, Tuckerman Ravine Trail

Snow Rangers and MWVSP members treated a woman who fell into the soft snow alongside the Tuckerman Ravine trail. Patient complained of knee pain, was treated and later transported via snow cat to PNVC at 1700.

Glissading With Crampons

At approximately 1430, a pair of climbers made the all too common mistake of glissading without first removing their crampons.  The resulting trauma to the lower leg of the less experienced member of the party resulted in a minor sprain. The patient was transported via Pisten Bully to Pinkham Notch.

Lower Leg Injury, Lion Head Route

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.

Fall, Leg Injury – Lion Head Winter Route

We received a call for help for an individual who had sustained injuries while descending the Lion Head Winter Route. The patient had fallen in the steep section of trail, sustaining non-life threatening injuries in the fall. He was extricated from the mountain by Forest Service Snow Rangers, AMC and HMC caretakers, MWVSP patrollers, and bystanders.

This is a very steep section of hiking. Appropriate equipment for the route includes an ice axe, crampons, and good quality winter mountaineering boots. In some conditions, more technical gear might be desirable. This individual was wearing boots more appropriate for summer hiking, along with lightweight traction devices. We cannot confirm that this was the cause of the fall or even played a supporting role. But it is something we observe regularly on this route.

Leg Injury – Post Hole

After arriving to Hermit Lake for the night, a group was practicing self arrest skills in the headwall of Tuckerman Ravine in the afternoon. While facing into the slope, the victim’s foot plunged into a posthole left behind from a previous ascent. He suffered a leg injury in the fall. USFS Snow Rangers were still in the parking lot at Pinkham when the call for help came. Snow Rangers responded with an MWVSP patroller, an MRS member, the AMC caretakers, the HMC caretakers, and bystanders. The victim was stabilized and transported to the USFS Pisten Bully waiting at the base of the Little Headwall.

This was not the typical sliding-with-crampons injury we frequently see. The actual mechanism of injury was unusual, but there is nothing about their story that puts doubt in our minds about what happened. One notable comment, however, is that avalanche danger that day was rated Moderate for the many slopes that converge on the area in which the group was located. No one in the group was carrying avalanche rescue equipment (i.e. transceivers, shovels, or probes.) Due to the snow loading taking place in the Headwall, rescue teams were limited in how many people ascending into avalanche terrain to assist, which ultimately extended the time necessary to bring the patient down off the mountain. Generally speaking, if you are leading a group into avalanche terrain, you should ensure that all members of the group are carrying appropriate rescue equipment and that you follow safe travel procedures to minimize your exposure to risk.

Lion Head Trail

A hiker injured her knee while descending from the summit.  USFS Snow Rangers encountered the woman, who was a member of a guided party, at the Tuckerman/Lion Head Summer Route trail junction and transported the patient to Pinkham Notch via snowmobile drawn litter.

Fall Lion Head Winter Route

A hiker was descending the steep section Lion Head Winter Route when snow had balled up in his crampon causing him to fall. He fell approximately 50 feet, injuring his lower leg during the fall. While bystanders began to haul him down the trail the Snow Ranger that was returning to Hermit Lake from the first incident rerouted to respond to the second incident. The patient’s injuries were stabilized and he was transported to Pinkham Notch by snowmobile as well.

The Lion Head Winter Route is a steep trail where conditions change quickly from day to day or even during the course of a single day. We recommend mountaineering equipment (i.e. an ice axe and crampons) be used for safer travel on this route along with the ability to properly use the equipment. In this instance, the patient had crampons and ski poles rather than an ice axe. For the purposes of arresting a fall in steep terrain, an ice axe is a far more effective tool than ski poles. Prior to these incidents, the Snow Rangers had not responded to any other injured or lost people this winter/spring season.

Injured Hiker Tuckerman Ravine Trail

A hiker injured her ankle when she slipped on ice while descending the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. A bystander went to Hermit Lake and notified a Snow Ranger. Once on scene, she was treated by members of the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol and transported to Pinkham Notch in the USFS snowcat.

Sliding Fall – Headwall in Tuckerman Ravine

A hiker sustained soft tissue injuries after falling over the Headwall in Tuckerman Ravine. He was with a party of skiers when he decided to leave them and hike to the Summit by himself without any equipment except ski poles and the clothes he was wearing. On the ascent, he climbed the Lip and decided not to descend that way because it was too steep. He opted to try going down to the south of the Lip, which is steeper. After encountering icy conditions, he fell approximately 400′ over the Headwall. The fall was witnessed by a group of bystanders, half of which went to Hermit Lake for help while the other half provided assistance to the victim. A Snow Ranger, the AMC Caretaker and a member of the Mt. Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol responded, treated his injuries and assisted him down to Hermit Lake. The person was able to walked out the next day. Five rescuers and a group of bystanders completed this incident in two hours.

Hiker Broken Fibula

The victim was above treeline, hiking on the Lion Head trail. He stepped on a rock and rolled his ankle suffering a broken fibula. A member of his party went ahead to Hermit Lake to report the accident. A USFS Snow Ranger received the report at7:15pm. Members from the Mount Washinton Volunteer Ski Patrol, Appalachian Mountain Club and the Mountain Rescue Service responded to assist the Forest Service in getting the victim off the mountain. The victim was put in a litter, and lowered on 3 traverse belays across the snowfield on the hiking trail and then numerous short belays down the rest of the Lion Head trail to the Tuckerman Ravine trail. He was then taken to Hermit Lake and the litter was sledded down the Sherburne Ski Trail. The victim was off the mountain by 1:30am. This rescue took 10 people 5 1/2 hours to complete.

Injured Climber – Post Hole Hyper Extension

The victim and his partner had completed an ice climb of Pinnacle gully and were descending the southern rim of Huntington Ravine, looking for the Escape Hatch. They missed the Escape Hatch and proceeded beyond Frog Rock before bushwhacking down an old slide path. About half way down the victim post-holed and injured his leg. His partner continued bushwhacking down to the Huntington Ravine trail and reported the accident to the Harvard Mountaineering Club Caretaker. The Caretaker notified the Forest Service Snow Rangers. With the assistance from multiple climbers and local guides he was belayed down in a litter. Snow Rangers met up with this adhoc rescue team as they reached non-technical terrain and assisted with the carry out to the trail. He was then placed in a sled behind a snow machine and transported to Pinkham to a waiting ambulance. The victim suffered a tib/fib fracture. This rescue took 24 people around 2.5 hours to complete.

Injured Hiker

The victim was hiking on the Tuckerman Ravine trail near the base of the Ravine when he slipped and fell on ice and broke his right clavicle. The victim was attended to by the Mount Washinton Volunteer Ski Patrol and then given a ride in the USFS Snowcat to Pinkham. This incident took 2 people 2 hours to complete.

Sliding Fall

A hiker took a sliding fall into Lunch Rocks and injured her knee. She was treated by two Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrollers and assisted to Hermit Lake. From there she was transported to Pinkham Notch on a snowmobile by a USFS Snow Ranger.

Injured Hiker

The patient injured his ankle while hiking down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. He was treated by a USFS Snow Ranger and transported to Pinkham Notch by snowmobile. The incident took one person 1/2 hour to complete.