The number of search-and-rescue missions in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, driven by a harsh winter and unprepared hikers, is on pace to surpass last year’s total by a big margin, taxing rescuers who put their lives on the line to save others.

According to an article on, the short-staffed New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is likely to respond to as many as 200 missions this year, compared with 173 for the last fiscal year that ended June 30.

Much of the reason, say officials, is people aren’t prepared for winter conditions, especially at this time of year.

Deep snow still blankets many places above 4,000 feet. The remaining snow makes this time of year dangerous for novice and occasional hikers. Some climbers with less experience who travel from southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts can start their hike in dry conditions at the trailhead and later face knee- to waist-deep snow.

Read about a jump in search-and-rescue missions in New Hampshire.