CONTACT:
Pat Nasta, U.S. Forest Service: (603) 466-2713 x222
Liza Poinier: (603) 271-3211
January 30, 2004

Recovered Hiker Identified

CONCORD, N.H. -- The hiker whose body was recovered yesterday from Huntington Ravine on the east side of Mt. Washington has been identified as Jason Gaumond, 28, of Southbridge, Massachusetts. The Medical Examiner's Office will determine the cause of death. Family members have been notified.

Gaumond was last seen in Milan, N.H., on the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 27. According to Capt. Martin Garabedian of N.H. Fish and Game, Gaumond had stated his intention to go skiing at Mad River Ski Area in Vermont before returning home to Southbridge on Tuesday night.

The search for Gaumond began on Wednesday, Jan. 28, when the man's mother reported him missing to the Southbridge, Mass., Police Department. Vermont and New Hampshire officials were contacted, and the search narrowed to the Presidential range when Gaumond's car was located on Jan. 29 at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center on Route 16. Volunteers and staff from the U.S. Forest Service, the Appalachian Mountain Club, Mountain Rescue Service, Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue, and N.H. Fish and Game Conservation Officers initiated a search. Conditions on the mountain throughout the search were harsh, with temperatures about -11o F and steady strong winds averaging 75 miles per hour and gusting up to 100 mph.

After the search for Gaumond began, a local ski guide reported to searchers that he thought he had seen, from a distance, a red backpack, at the base of Yale Gully in Huntington Ravine on Wednesday. Gaumond's body was recovered from that area on Thursday afternoon. The terrain he was descending is extremely technical during the winter season.

Yale Gully is on the east side of Mt. Washington, approximately 3 miles from the trailhead at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. The incident was not avalanche-related, though Huntington Ravine and nearby locations are known for unpredictable weather and avalanche conditions throughout winter and spring.

Mount Washington's terrain and winter conditions are challenging and hazardous, requiring technical gear and special knowledge to survive a winter hiking trip. Chris Joosen, Lead Forest Service Snow Ranger, reminds all winter enthusiasts to be prepared with proper winter survival equipment, knowledge of the terrain, current and forecasted weather conditions, and the latest avalanche advisory, which is updated daily by the U.S. Forest Service and posted at www.tuckerman.org.

Click here for safe hiking requirements and advice. www.hikeSafe.com

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