Conservation Officer Matthew Holmes: (603) 788-4850
Lt. Douglas Gralenski: (603) 788-4850
April 14, 2010

Injured Skier Rescued From the Backcountry of Mt. Washington

CONCORD, N.H. -- On the afternoon of April 14, 2010, a multi-agency rescue was conducted in Ammonoosuc Ravine on the western side of Mt. Washington to extract an injured backcountry skier.

Dalton Harben, age 32, of Newton, PA, was skiing with a friend in the area of Ammonoosuc Ravine when the incident occurred.  While skiing across an icy hillside, Harben reported experiencing an equipment failure, which caused him to slide on his body down into Ammonoosuc Ravine.  During the slide, Harben hit a knee on a clump of small trees, causing a serious knee injury.  Continuing to slide, Harben was finally able to arrest his fall by grabbing onto more small trees.

Upon coming to rest, Mr. Harben was tended to by a friend and other skiers in the area who had witnessed the fall.  Mr. Harben’s friend made a cell phone call to 911, which initiated rescue efforts.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department was notified of the incident shortly after 1:00 p.m.  Initial reports indicated that Mr. Harben had sustained very serious leg injuries, and that his condition was deteriorating.  Given the severity of the reported injuries and the very difficult nature of the terrain in Ammonoosuc Ravine, New Hampshire Fish and Game contacted the National Guard and was able to gain the assistance of a helicopter and rescue crew. 

Conservation Officers from N.H. Fish and Game, along with personnel from Twin Mountain Fire and Rescue, Pemigewasset Search and Rescue and Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue responded to the Cog Railway, from where the rescue was staged.  Members of Twin Mountain Fire and Rescue were the first to arrive at the Ammonoosuc Ravine trailhead, and sent two EMTs into the scene to assess Harben’s injuries.

After flying north from Concord, the National Guard helicopter and crew arrived at Ammonoosuc Ravine, locating Harben at approximately 3:00 pm.  Conservation Officer Lt. John Wimsatt  and a member of the National Guard helicopter crew were lowered onto the steep slope of the ravine, and together with help from Twin Mountain Fire and Rescue personnel were able to secure Harben to a hoist, which brought him safely up to the hovering helicopter.  Harben was subsequently flown to Littleton Regional Hospital for evaluation and treatment.  At the time of this press release, the available information was that Harben had suffered a severe, but non-life-threatening, knee injury.

For information on safe hiking and back country ski safety, visit

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