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News / Nation & World

A backcountry skier has died on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington in icy conditions; 2 others injured

By Associated Press
Published: March 10, 2024, 3:58pm

MEREDITH, N.H.  — A backcountry skier has died on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington in icy conditions, officials said Sunday. At least two people were rescued during a search that extended through a stormy night and into Sunday morning.

The U.S. Forest Service identified the skier who died as Madison Saltsburg. She fell about 600 vertical feet (183 meters) on Saturday afternoon in very steep terrain and hard, icy conditions. Others were also injured Saturday including two people who sustained traumatic injuries from rocks and ice, the service said in a statement.

The three people got into trouble Saturday afternoon at Tuckerman Ravine, an area popular with backcountry skiers, according to officials. Two of the people suffered injuries that were not life-threatening before rescue efforts began.

“The snow rangers and emergency personnel were up there late last night. They’re exhausted,” said Colleen Mainville, a spokesperson with the U.S. Forest Service.

She said conditions in the ravine were icy.

The rescuers also battled through snow and winds. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning, predicting up to 1 foot (30 centimeters) of heavy, wet snow and strong winds.

Mainville said cellphone coverage on the mountain was patchy, and she did not yet have all the details on what had happened. She expected to be able to release more information by early afternoon.

The mountain is the tallest in the Northeast and is notorious for its fickle weather. It is the sight of frequent rescues.

The night before the three people got into trouble, New Hampshire Fish and Game reported that a 23-year-old hiker from Kentucky had been rescued after going off trail and into the Ammonoosuc Ravine.

The hiker “fell and hit his head and face, lost one of his sneakers, and eventually became hypothermic,” the agency said in a statement.

“He was given boots, food, warm drink, proper winter gear, and a headlamp. He was then escorted back to the trail and then to the Cog Railway parking lot,” the agency said.

Another hiker who was rescued from the Ammonoosuc Ravine in February described his 11-hour ordeal to The Associated Press, acknowledging he had made some poor decisions and was underprepared for his hike.

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