Lieutenant James Kneeland
March 8, 2021
Waterville Valley, NH – On Saturday, March 6, at 12:45 p.m., the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department was notified of an injured hiker on the Tripyramid Trail in Waterville Valley. It was determined that a 69-year-old male hiker had slid approximately 100 feet as he descended from the summit of south Tripyramid. During this uncontrolled descent the hiker suffered a lower leg injury that prevented him from making it out without assistance. His hiking companions called for help and agreed that they would continue sliding the injured hiker toward the base of south slide until help arrived. A team of Conservation Officers and volunteers responded to the trailhead 4.6 miles from the injured hiker’s location. Rescue teams were able to take snowmobiles 2.6 miles up Livermore Road and then snowshoe two miles to the injured hiker where they arrived at 4:30 p.m. The injured hiker was quickly loaded into a rescue litter and transported the two miles to Livermore Road. A trail groomer from Waterville Valley Ski Area was able to make it to the Livermore Road/Tripyramid Trail intersection and at 6:40 p.m. the injured hiker was placed into the groomer for the 2.6 mile ride to the trailhead where they later arrived at 7:20 p.m.
The hiker was identified as Robert Zoletti of Needham, MA. Zoletti and his two hiking companions had departed from the Kancamagus at 7:15 a.m. and had planned a loop hike to the Tripyramids and back out the Kate Sleeper Trail/Downes Brook Trail. Near the Summit of South Tripyramid the group encountered slippery conditions on the south slide. While discussing the safest way to approach the descent, Robert lost his footing and slid approximately 100 feet and in the process injured his lower leg. At this point the group was at the intersection of the Kate Sleeper Trail when they made the call for help. It was determined that the best way out would be to continue out the Tripyramid Trail. The hiking companions agreed that they could assist Zoletti thru the remainder of south slide while awaiting the arrival of rescue personnel. Once at the base of the slide teens they placed Zoletti in a sleeping bag to keep him warm. The group was well equipped and had all the appropriate mountaineering gear that would be expected for a hike in winter conditions. Zoletti was met by a family member at the trailhead and taken to Lakes Region General Hospital for evaluation of his injury.
For safe hiking tips and a list of essential gear, visit hikesafe.com. 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 and training.