CO Brian Abrams: 603-271-3361
Jane Vachon: 603-271-3211
December 31, 2008

Young Rhode Island Hikers Safe

CONCORD, N.H. -- Two young hikers were rescued by New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Conservation Officers Tuesday evening, December 30, 2008, saving them from spending a cold night in a mountain cabin without adequate winter gear.  

Dean Cooper and Pasquale Digiovangiacomo Jr., both age 18, of Cranston, Rhode Island, had set out at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, intending to hike up and spend the night at the U.S. Forest Service's Black Mountain cabin in the White Mountain National Forest in the area of Jackson, N.H.  The inexperienced hikers were wearing regular work boots, not insulated hiking boots.  They abandoned some of their gear, including lightweight sleeping bags and kindling, about 300 meters up the trail.  The young men arrived at the cabin at about 3 p.m. and were surprised to find that the cabin was not equipped with blankets or other amenities.  (The White Mountain National Forest website clearly states that the rental cabin is "rustic" and users are expected to carry in all their own gear, bedding and water.)  They tried to get a fire started in the cabin woodstove, but were unable to get it going.  Cold, wet and facing the prospect of a night with little protection from the cold, they called for help about 6 p.m.

Two Fish and Game Conservation officers, Brian Abrams and Bradley Morse, hiked in to assist them, bringing along insulated hiking boots designed for winter wear, which were loaned by the Eastern Mountain Sports equipment rental program.  Morse, a paramedic, determined that the young men's feet were not frostbitten.  They were provided with dry socks and the boots, and accompanied down the mountain by the COs, reaching the trailhead at about 11 p.m.

"Unfortunately, these hikers were ill prepared for winter conditions," said Abrams.  "If they had had good sleeping bags and boots, they might have managed to keep warm, but they would have needed sleeping bags made to accommodate temperatures as low as 30 degrees below zero." 

Abrams noted that people planning to go out in the elements at this time of year must be prepared for winter's worst.  If you don't own appropriate equipment, you can often rent it at local mountaineering shops, which also can offer guidance about the kind of gear needed to withstand particular conditions.

For further information on being safe while hiking and pursuing other outdoor recreation -- including a list of essential gear -- and to learn the Hiker Responsibility Code, visit

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