Two hikers had to be rescued Saturday when didn’t have appropriate hiking gear and became stranded on New Hampshire’s Mount Flume.
The hikers were rescued by members of the Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team, who were on a training hike in the White Mountains at the time.
According to a statement from the Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team, seven pending team members and five current members were on a qualifying hike up Cannon Mountain at around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday when they received the call about the stranded hikers on Mount Flume. The team was less than a quarter mile up the trail at the time of the call.
The stranded hikers – ages 17 and 18 – were reportedly stuck near the top of Mount Flume on the Flume Slide Trail. At the time, the majority of the trail was still mostly covered in snow and ice. Team members reported that recent rain and snowmelt made stream crossings intense. Team members rock-hopped and shimmied across damp logs to make their way up the trail. Steep sections of the Flume Slide Trail were treacherous, with smooth rock slabs covered in ice or flowing water.
Team members had the coordinates of the hiker who called 911, and they reached him around 9:30 p.m. He had stayed along the edge of the trail during that time, and was reportedly cold and hungry. Team members provides him with warm gear, including gloves and hand warmers, plus food and Microspikes.
The second hiker was farther up the trail, and team members reached him around 10 p.m. The second hiker was at roughly 3,800 feet, and he was cold but unhurt. He was reportedly wearing Air Jordan basketball shoes, shorts and a hoodie. He had no headlamp or traction for his shoes.
Team members gave him fleece pants, a warm coat, gloves, a hat, handwarmers and Microspikes, and they then headed down the trail. On the way down, two New Hampshire Fish and Game officers built a makeshift bridge for one stream crossing. The team and rescued hikers reached the trailhead at around 12:40 a.m.
The two hikers had started their hike at 9 a.m. and planned to go up the Liberty Springs Trail and descend the Flume Slide Trail. They didn’t have any traction. Only one of the hikers had a headlamp, hiking boots and long pants. They said their goal was to go “light and fast,” so they didn’t have extra clothing.
The hikers said they were surprised by how much snow and ice there was going up, but they summitted without incident. The one with hiking boots was hiking faster than the other, so he got ahead during the descent. The Flume Slide Trail quickly proved to be too much for them both. The first hiker stopped because he felt that he could neither descend nor ascend. He waited for the other, who, in turn, had stopped higher up the trail because it was too treacherous for him. Neither hiker knew where the other was. The first hiker managed to call 911 at approximately 5:30 p.m. and ask for help.
Pemi team members suggest that hikers research their route in advance and be prepared to encounter snow and ice in the White Mountains even in May. Hikers should have appropriate footwear and traction, plus extra clothes. Hikers should also be prepared to change plans if conditions are treacherous, and hikers should remain together.