Two Oak Bluffs men survived an 800-foot avalanche slide over the weekend while hiking on Mount Washington, park officials confirmed Monday morning.
Conor Lodge and Adam Herman took the wrong path to Tuckerman Ravine, an avalanche pass, near dusk on Saturday. They had been hiking with two other men earlier in the day, including one other Vineyard resident, but split up into two groups of two while descending from the summit, said Colleen Mainville, public affairs specialist with the Forest Service.
Due to poor visibility, they “unknowingly” took the wrong path downhill, and triggered an avalanche, which carried them 800 feet across rocks, cliffs and icy snow surfaces, Ms. Mainville said.
Their friends, realizing what had happened, followed Mr. Lodge and Mr. Herman’s footsteps to figure out where they could be, then hiked down a separate path. The Oak Bluffs men were found at the bottom of the avalanche path, about 400 to 500 feet downhill, and their friends called for help.
Mr. Lodge and Mr. Herman were treated for non-life-threatening injuries including bruises, lesions and a fractured arm, and brought down to the Appalachian Mountain Club lodge at Pinkham Notch at 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
An ambulance carried them to Memorial Hospital in North Conway, N.H.
The White Mountain National Forest is busiest in winter, said snow ranger Jeff Lane, who participated in the rescue. He said at this time of year the mountain is full of hikers, skiers and mountaineers.
Mr. Lane could not confirm whether the men were experienced hikers, or whether they had hiked Mount Washington before Saturday.
He said the hikers were lucky, as the ravine had not filled up with much snow, and the avalanche was not large enough to bury them.
“They walked away with minimal injuries given the fall they took,” Mr. Lane said.