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Two Hikers Rescued From White Mountains’ ‘Most Dangerous Trail’

Courtesy Redline Guiding

The state is warning casual hikers to reconsider attempting what's considered the toughest trail in the White Mountains.

That's after the second rescue in two years on Mount Washington's Huntington Ravine trail.

On Friday, responders had to scale the cliffs that divide the trail to help two stranded women, both 35 and from Minnesota.

State Department of Fish & Game Lt. Mark Ober says the pair wasn't geared up for the trail's difficulty or for mountain weather.

"They get to this point where they're too afraid to go up and they're too afraid to go back down, so they call 911 for basically someone to come down there and get 'em,” he says.

The trail includes some rock cliffs and steep, open slopes where turning back is all but impossible.

Last year, after years of many avoidable rescues, the National Forest posted a sign at the trail-head, warning away novice hikers. Friday’s rescue was only the second on Huntington since then.

Ober says the Minnesota women read the warning sign and went on anyway. He hopes the warning sign will continue to deter most hikers from attempting Huntington Ravine.

Credit Courtesy Jack Daley

"My hope is that they just don't go -- I mean, plain and simple,” he says. “If they're not an experienced hiker or climber or someone with the correct gear, ropes, they shouldn't go."

A few hours after the Huntington incident, rescuers had to carry out a pair of older hikers suffering from hypothermia symptoms on the nearby Tuckerman Ravine trail, which is considered less challenging.

Fish & Game can ask the state to charge hikers for rescues caused by negligence.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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