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.
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