Mt. Lafayette Rescue

On the day that I hiked Bond and West Bond, a couple from Virginia were stranded on Mt. Lafayette. I was not involved on either end of the rescue, but I experienced the same conditions during my hike which was about 4-5 miles to the east. Articles like this are a way for hikers and non-hikers to understand how serious these conditions can be and how quickly they become this serious. Please be prepared for anything when hiking the White Mountains!

From New Hampshire WMUR on June 10, 2016:

LINCOLN, N.H. —A couple from Virginia is safe after they were rescued from wintry conditions on Mount Lafayette.
Fish and Game Department officials said the two were not equipped for the conditions they encountered Thursday afternoon. A stranger is being credited with helping keep them stay alive until rescuers could arrive.

Officials said Mount Lafayette was shrouded in fog when a 37-year-old Seattle man who was hiking the Appalachian Trail alone came upon the couple shivering in light clothing on the trail.

“He was able to get them some shelter behind a nearby rock, set up his tent, get the people into the tent and then tried to get them warmed,” Fish and Game Lt. James Kneeland said.

Officials said two couples departed from the Liberty Springs trail that morning to hike to an AMC hut for the night, but they didn’t check weather conditions.

“Heavy winds in excess of 60 mph up on Mount Lafayette, rain, probably some snow and some ice throughout the day,” Kneeland said.

The couples got separated, and one got lost. They alerted rescuers with a locator beacon but were facing hours of exposure until the stranger stepped out of the fog.

“He was poised,” Kneeland said. “He was able to control the situation and do what he could to help them to the best of his abilities. He was a very calming presence, I think, to these folks.”

Rescuers eventually arrived with dry clothing and warm fluids and were able to hike the couple down to safety.
“Another two or three hours that it took us to get there might’ve been the difference between them being alive or not,” Kneeland said.

Officials said they are considering billing the couple for the cost of the rescue. The decision will be made by the Attorney General’s Office.

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