Rescuers helped two hikers in separate incidents on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington on Sunday.
According to New Hampshire Fish and Game officials, at around 2:45 p.m., conservation officers were notified of a hiker stuck in steep ground below the headwall of the Great Gulf adjacent to the Gulfside Trail. The hiker, who was identified as Richard Meehan, 72, of Bradenton, Florida, had lost the Great Gulf trail and become stuck in a precarious spot after attempting to hike up the mountain and regain the trail. Unable to safely move from his position, Meehan had decided to make a 911 call for help.
One conservation officer and one member of Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue (AVSAR) responded to the mountain with ropes and climbing gear. After some searching and scrambling down the mountain off trail, the rescue party reached Meehan at 5 p.m. Meehan was provided with safety gear and assisted approximately 800 feet back up the mountain and onto Gulfside Trail. Once on the trail, Meehan was able to slowly hike with rescuers back to the Mount Washington Auto Road. The group ultimately made it safely to the Auto Road at 7 p.m.
Just prior to making it back to the Auto Road, the involved conservation officer received a second call for help on the same trail. In this case it was reported that Gary Grimes, 87, of Chardon, Ohio, was becoming very fatigued after spending most of the day hiking to the summit of Mount Washington. The caller (Grimes’ hiking partner) reported that Grimes was moving slowly, but that he was having difficulty on some downhill sections of trail. Based upon their pace, fatigue and the distance left to travel, the caller felt that assistance would be needed to safely make it off of the mountain.
After receiving this second call, the AVSAR volunteer was joined by personnel from Mount Washington State Park and began hiking toward Grimes’ location. The conservation officer transported Meehan down the Auto Road and then returned to the Gulfside Trail to assist with the new rescue mission.
Once with Grimes, the rescue party was able to help stabilize him through difficult sections of trail. Moving slowly but steadily, Grimes hiked under his own power with the volunteer rescuers to a service trail adjacent to the Cog Railway train tracks. Once at this trail, a conservation officer was able to pick Grimes up and transport him on an ATV approximately half a mile to the Auto Road. Grimes and the rescue party arrived safely at the Auto Road at approximately 9 p.m.
Both hikers were found to be very experienced and had packs containing extra gear.