Hiker survives freezing temps, 90-mph winds on Mount Washington

A 22-year-old from Portsmouth was rescued from harsh conditions on Mount Washington over the weekend. By Jose Azel

By Associated Press

February 20, 2024
A team of rescuers used the Cog Railway to shave off time but it still took more than 10 hours to save a hiker in conditions that included sustained winds topping 90 mph on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington on Saturday, officials said.
Cole Matthes, 22, from Portsmouth, made “poor choices,” didn’t have appropriate gear for the difficult winter conditions and continued his solo trek after he saw other groups turn around because of the dangerous gusts and wind chill of minus-52 degrees Fahrenheit, Sgt. Glen Lucas, a New Hampshire Fish and Game conservation officer, said in a statement.

The hiker reported that he’d fallen and global positioning coordinates showed he was in a ravine at approximately 4,500 feet of elevation at close to noon on Saturday, Lucas said.

Rescuers spent more than three hours warming the hypothermic hiker — stripping off his frozen clothing and equipping him with new gear — after he was eventually located in an emergency shelter near the the Lake of the Clouds Hut operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club.

The hiker refused recommendations to go to a hospital and was brought to his vehicle at 11:38 p.m.

 

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