Lieutenant Mark Ober
October 19, 2020
Bean’s Purchase, NH – On Sunday, October 18, a group of hikers activated an emergency beacon while also calling 911 after a member of their party started exhibiting signs of cold weather exposure. The group had just started to descend the Black Angel Trail from the Carter Dome Trail and were approximately 5 miles in from Route 16 when the call for help went out.
The group of five were on the second day of a planned three-day hike, starting from Bog Brook in Jackson on Saturday morning. The group hiked the Bog Brook Trail, then Rainbow Trail to the Carter Dome Trail. They had just started down Black Angel Trail when they made the call. In addition to the one hiker’s unspecified condition, a drop in temperature combined with the wet clothing and steep terrain precipitated the call for help.
Fish & Game Conservation Officers and volunteers from Androscoggin Valley Search & Rescue responded to the call.
The group of hikers, identified as Vaiva Snapkauskaite, 23, of Lake Forest, Ca, Abigail Taussig, 23, of Cambridge, MA, Alexander Quinn, 24, of Cambridge, MA, Katherine Steinberg, 24, of Boston, MA, and Amanda Farnsworth, 23, of North Kingston, RI attempted to stay warm in their wet sleeping bags, but the exposure at the high elevation made them colder. There was not enough cell phone coverage to hold a call, but a Fish and Game Conservation Officer was able establish contact via text.
After being told that it would be several hours before rescuers would be able to reach them, the hikers heeded the advice provided and began to move around and were able to make it back up the ridge onto the Carter Dome Trail. From there they made it to the Zeta Path where they were met by the first of several rescuers.
Rescuers provided the group with hot drinks, warm clothes, and guided them down to the 19 Mile Brook Trail and eventually out onto Route 16 in Green’s Grant. The hikers and rescue crew made it out shortly after 11:00 p.m. The hikers suffered no adverse medical effects from the cold and after proper hydration and continuing movement, they were able to make it down with little assistance.
In the span of a few days, the weather in the higher terrain has changed from summer like to winter conditions. There are now several inches to several feet of snow in the higher elevations. People who plan to continue hiking are reminded to plan for winter conditions by having the proper equipment and training to be able to safely complete their hike while paying attention to the weather and summit conditions and altering plans if conditions are not ideal.
Outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to purchase a Hike Safe card at wildnh.com/safe. The card helps support Fish and Game search and rescue activities. For more information on safe hiking tips and a list of essential gear please visit http://www.hikesafe.com.