New Hampshire- This past Saturday was a dangerous day to hike Mt. Washington, which is known for its fierce weather. The weather was so bad that it nearly claimed the life of a 22-year-old hiker.

At around 11:50 AM on February 17th, Cole Matthes fell while hiking in the Ammonusuc Ravine, resulting in an injury. He called in to request help, but poor cell service led to rescuers only having limited information about the situation. According to the NH Fish & Game Law Enforcement Division and Operation Game Thief, the response was handled by the “Conservation Officers on the Advanced Search and Rescue Team, Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue Team, and Mountain Rescue Service.”

Due to the strenuous weather conditions, two rounds of rescuers took emergency trains up the Cog Railway. By the time the second rescue team reached the summit, wind speeds were 90+ MPH and the wind-chill was a brisk -52 degrees Fahrenheit.

Matthes gave rescuers another call, which allowed rescuers to figure out that he was at the emergency shelter below the Lakes in the Clouds Hut. The first batch of rescuers reached him at 6:17 PM. It was then realized that Matthes was not injured, as he was actually suffering from hypothermia. Multiple layers of Coles’ clothes, along with his boots, were frozen. After hours of warming up and getting him down via the Cog, they arrived at the base station at 10:50 PM. After initially receiving treatment from Twin Mountain Ambulance, Cole refused a ride to the hospital, signed out and was taken to his vehicle at 11:38 PM.

Yesterday, WMUR followed up on the situation, as they interviewed the team leader from New Hampshire Fish & Game.

Ultimately, if you aren’t physically prepared for high-alpine terrain during the wintertime, you shouldn’t go. It can put your life or the rescuers’ lives at risk.

Image/Video Credits: Mt. Washington Observatory, WMUR

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