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Lt. James Kneeland: 603-271-3361
Lt. Robert Bryant: 603-271-3127
April 17, 2012

Overnight White Mountain Search for Lost Hiker Concludes

CONCORD, N.H. – A young man from Littleton survived an unexpected night near a hiking trail in the White Mountains while searchers scoured the woods looking for him.

Dylan Jessen, age 20, left the Lafayette Campground in Franconia at about 1:00 p.m. on Monday, April 16, 2012, setting out to hike the Kinsman Ridge Trail from Franconia Notch to Route 112 in Woodstock, about fifteen miles away. 

Jessen was in cell phone contact with his mother, who was planning to pick him up in Woodstock at the Kinsman Notch Trailhead. He lost contact with her at about 7:00 p.m., with about a half hour of daylight and five miles yet to go. When Jessen did not show up at the designated time, his mother first called family and friends, who searched without success.  She then notified authorities at about 11:00 p.m.

A search and rescue mission was launched to find the young man.  While the weather was not a hazard, there were safety concerns. Since the young man did not have a light with him, it was feared that he might come to harm traversing the ledges on the high, rugged trail in the dark.

New Hampshire Fish and Game Conservation Officers, Appalachian Mountain Club personnel and Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team members participated in the search, assisted by the Woodstock Police.  Teams searched through the night, starting at about 1:00 a.m., but did not find the young man.

Jessen was not equipped with a light, a map, or warm clothing.  He had not allowed enough time for his hike.  When darkness fell and he had a hard time navigating the trail, he found a dry spot off the wet trail and went to sleep.  The searchers may have come quite near him as they searched the trail, blowing whistles and shouting.  He walked out of the woods at about 8:45 a.m. today, unharmed but for a few abrasions.

"We are thankful that this young man came to no harm," said Lt. James Kneeland of N.H. Fish and Game.  "This incident is a reminder that, as the warm spring weather inspires people to get out ahikeSafend enjoy hiking, it is critical to allow ample time for your hike, and to always be prepared for an unplanned overnight by taking proper equipment, including warm clothing and a light source."

No further information is available at this time.
For information on safe hiking, visit

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