View Full Version : Couple Stranded on Franconia Ridge

04-01-2004, 04:36

A couple decided to climb Mt. Layfayette (5260') in questionable conditions. On the way back down, they took the wrong trail and got lost. Spent a night in a snow cave, and a second night. The man was rescued, his wife did not survive. This is along the AT in New Hampshire, although that is not mentioned in the article.

Here is a map of the area, for those who want to picture where they were.


They climbed up from the west, and descended to the north. They hit the first trail junction to the north of Mt. Layfayette when they realized something was wrong.


04-01-2004, 05:43
They were even told by several groups coming down, that they should not continue because of bad weather. They kept going. The state is considering charging the man for the rescue operation. The couple was not properly equip for such a hike.

Just a note about the white mts. Most of the trails exisited before the AT was even thought of. The AT follows many of these. There names are different, so be careful when you get here. The signs will not say AT. They will use the trail name.

In 2000 when I came over Mt Washington, in September, Down below was 70 and hot. On Washington, it was 40 degrees and windy. I had every piece of clothing on as hike above the treeline that day

Lone Wolf
04-01-2004, 07:14
They ***ed up. Happens all the time.

04-01-2004, 07:20
I made an attempt to climb Mt Jefferson in the Presidential Range from the Cog RR base the same day the Cox's started their hike up Franconia Ridge. The day started off overcast with the peaks in the clouds and only a slight chance of snow. It soon started snowing moderatly hard and when we reached The Gulfside Trail (A.T.) near Mt Clay we turned back. The last person in our group of eight noticed the junction of the Jewell Trail and the Gulfside was very hard to spot in the low visabilty. Some of us didn't even spot the second line of cairns leading south towards Mt Washington. We realized it could be nearly impossible to spot coming back from Jefferson. Durning our descent within ten minutes our tracks above treeline became obscure and we still had to go carefully from cairn to cairn when the gaps between them beame irrelgular. By the time we reached treeline our snow shoe tracks had three or four inches of fresh snow. Even though we didn't summit we all had a great time, the woods were beautiful under all the fresh snow and it was exilerating to get up onto the ridge. It wasn't until two days later that I found out about the hikers on Franconia Ridge. From Loon Mountain in Lincoln I saw the military helicopters circling Lafayette around the time they spotted the Cox's. It put my hike into a different perspective. It made me keenly aware of the conditions on the mountain and the thoughts behind the descisions we made.

Picture: http://www.whiteblaze.net/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=2945

04-01-2004, 10:25
The state is considering charging the man for the rescue operation.Regardless of whether they were prepared or unprepared for the situation, they had to be rescued. Why would there be any consideration of whether or not they should be charged? Even if neither one of them made it, I'd automatically charge the estate. Sorry, this is just a pet peeve of mine.

The Old Fhart
04-01-2004, 11:00
Just to inform people not familiar with the New Hampshire law concerning reckless hiking, here is a clip from the NH Fish and Game web site. Fish and Game has the overall authority involving search and rescue operations in the state. http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Newsroom/newsroom.htm
“Russell Cox Search and Rescue Update
March 30, 2004 -- Under New Hampshire law (RSA 153-A:24), search and rescue missions are reviewed to determine whether there was recklessness involved. If such a determination is made, the person rescued may be held liable and be billed to cover the cost of the rescue. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will not request reimbursement of expenses associated with the rescue of Russell Cox.

04-01-2004, 11:16
In 2000 when I came over Mt Washington, in September, Down below was 70 and hot. On Washington, it was 40 degrees and windy. I had every piece of clothing on as hike above the treeline that day

On my walk from Georgia in 1993, on September 14 I stayed at Lake of the Clouds. That evening I scanned old Appalachia magazines and ran across a photo that showed the Washington summit snow covered and blustery on September 15, 1915. I showed the picture around and "joked" that was what we could expect in the morning.

I awoke about 6 a.m. looked out the window and saw snow driven by 60 mile an hour winds in 20 degree temperatures. We quickly took the advice of the "croo" and spent a second night at Lake of the Clouds.