MT. WASHINGTON –– Search and rescue crews responded to a series of hiker emergencies on Mt. Washington on the evening of Saturday, August 19, successfully rescuing several individuals, including two from Nashua, amid 59 mph winds and steadily deteriorating weather conditions.
At approximately 5:30 PM, Mt. Washington State Park staff were alerted by a group of hikers that two of their party, Phaneendra Uppalapati, 44, and Shirisha Mallala, 41, both of Nashua, New Hampshire, had slowed down and might need assistance on Tuckerman Ravine Trail.
A staff member located the hikers, who were extremely cold and wet, half a mile below the summit.
With conditions worsening and progress slow, the staff member radioed for additional help.
A rescue team, comprised of a Conservation Officer, Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue Team (AVSAR) members, and New Hampshire State Parks personnel, descended from the summit to assist Uppalapati and Mallala.
Both were safely transported down the mountain by 9:00 PM and Mallala was taken to Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin for further treatment of cold weather injuries.
Before completing this rescue, officers were informed of two more emergencies, one involving a potentially hypothermic hiker on Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail and another hiker with a head injury on Lost Pond Trail.
Responding officers split up to attend to the separate incidents.
On Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, officers aided Alejandra Ivonne, 32, of Derwood, Maryland, who was struggling with the harsh weather conditions. Ivonne was able to walk out with assistance and was reunited with her companions at the trailhead around 11:30 PM.
At the Lost Pond Trail, officers joined a rescue team that was carrying out Robert Ash, 83, of Townshend, Maryland, who had slipped and fallen, sustaining injuries.
Ash was taken to Androscoggin Valley Hospital for further treatment after being carried out to a trailhead along Route 16 in Pinkham Notch by 1:15 AM.
The region, which received over an inch and a half of rain, driven by high winds and fall-like temperatures, is known for such seasonal weather, but it can often catch hikers off-guard.
Outdoor enthusiasts are reminded to be prepared for survival situations, research weather and trail conditions extensively, and carry suitable gear to self-rescue in case of emergencies.