Sgt. Alex Lopashanski
Region Two Office, New Hampton, NH
January 16, 2020
Harts Location, NH – On Thursday, January 16 shortly after 4:00 p.m., New Hampshire Fish and Game was notified that a hiker was injured on the Mt. Willey Trail in the area of the summit of Mt. Willey. The hiker was Gary Coyne, 62 of Wentworth, NH. Coyne slipped and injured his leg while descending from the summit. He attempted to bear weight on his injured leg and was able to but was having difficulty. Gary’s injury occurred shortly after 1:00 p.m. He was alone on the trail and there is no cell phone service in the area. Shortly after 2:00 p.m., two passing hikers found Gary who was two and a half miles from the trailhead.
Jessica Sargent, 28, of Tuftonboro, NH, and Monica Nicholson, 28, of Effingham, NH, assisted Coyne. Sargent hiked out and drove to place a call for help while Nicholson stayed with Coyne and helped him down the trail. The weather in the area was rapidly deteriorating. The temperature was dropping and the wind and blowing snow created difficult conditions. Conservation Officers responded and were beginning to hike up the trail when they spotted the headlamps of Nicholson and Coyne. Coyne reached the trailhead under his own power shortly before 7:00 p.m. nearly six hours after he sustained his injury.
Coyne was transported by the Twin Mountain Fire and Rescue Ambulance to Littleton Regional Hospital for treatment. All three of the hikers were well prepared for the conditions and by both carrying the proper equipment and having the necessary experience they were able to avoid what could have been a much different outcome.
Winter conditions to include deep snow and ice are present in the mountains are likely to persist for the next several months. Anyone venturing out should be equipped with micro-spikes, snowshoes, extra layers, and gear necessary to be out overnight if unexpected circumstances arise.