A hiker who was reportedly suffering from hypothermia while climbing New Hampshire’s Mount Washington yesterday has died.
While officials say the exact cause of death is still unknown, New Hampshire Fish and Game officials who attempted to rescue the New Jersey woman said she was exhibiting what appeared to be the signs and symptoms of hypothermia. Conditions were cold and wet on the mountain yesterday.
The hiker, Sandra Lee, 63, of Mount Tabor, New Jersey, was hiking with two other family members while attempting to summit Mount Washington from Pinkham Notch Visitors Center.
A member of Lee’s hiking group called 911 at approximately 2:25 p.m. when they got above the junction of Lion Head Trail and Tuckerman Ravine Trail. The call was made due to Lee exhibiting what appeared to be signs and symptoms of hypothermia and could no longer continue to move under her own power.
Fish and Game Conservation Officers responded to the emergency call and requested assistance from New Hampshire State Parks staff, based on the summit of Mount Washington. Parks staff started down Tuckerman Trail to give assistance and assess the situation further as conservation officers responded.
When park staff arrived on the scene, they gave warm and dry clothing to all three members of the hiking party. This was necessary due to conditions on the summit being below freezing with a wind-chill of 12 degrees Fahrenheit, 60-mile-per-hour sustaining winds, and rain and dense fog creating ice.
After receiving the warm and dry clothing, Lee’s family members were assisted up the trail by one park staff member, to a summit building to get even warmer. The other park staff member stayed with Lee with hopes to warm her up, as she was no longer mobile but still alive.
When conservation officers arrived at the summit, they hiked down the trail to Lee and quickly carried Lee by “piggy back” approximately .2 miles up the Tuckerman Trail to the junction with the Auto Road. Lee was then driven down the Auto Road to a waiting Gorham Ambulance. Gorham Ambulance transported Lee to Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin for treatment.
Despite the efforts, Lee did not survive and was pronounced deceased at the hospital.