Heroic efforts by search teams working through the night, enduring high winds and torrential downpours, rescued an injured Michigan hiker stranded on the Franconia Ridge Trail in New Hampshire’s White Mountains on Tuesday, September 18, 2012.
Fifty-nine year old Edward Bacon of Northville, Michigan, was on the third day of a five-day solo trek in and around Franconia Notch, N.H., when he fell Tuesday afternoon and seriously injured his hip at about 1:30 p.m. Bacon crawled to an area where he was able to get brief cell phone reception and called both 911 and the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) Lodge in Pinkham Notch. He was equipped with backpacking gear, although his tent had blown away in the fierce winds. Bacon was able to climb into his sleeping bag to stay warm, as he was becoming hypothermic from being rain-soaked and pummeled by winds while awaiting rescuers.
AMC initially sent out a rescuer from the Greenleaf Hut to try to find Bacon, but high winds forced that individual to turn back. A second team of two AMC staffers set out and were able to navigate the ridge to Bacon’s location (between Lincoln and Haystack), reaching him about 6:20 p.m. Shortly thereafter, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Conservation Officers and Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team volunteers reached the injured man.
Fish and Game coordinated the 3.9-mile carryout over rough terrain in winds sustained at 70 mph, with gusts over 80 mph. Bacon was secured on a litter for his trip down the mountain. About 10 p.m., the steady rain became a torrential downpour as the rescuers worked to get the injured hiker down the Falling Waters Trail, a route normally recommended only for ascending the mountain because of its steepness. The heavy rain immediately swelled rivers and streams in the area, and Mountain Rescue Service volunteers arrived to assist with several difficult brook crossings on the way down, using ropes to help the teams cross safely.
Rescuers reached the trailhead with the injured man at 3:20 a.m. on September 19. Bacon was then transported by Franconia Ambulance to Littleton Regional Hospital.
“I want to commend the Herculean effort of all the participating search teams working through the night in very difficult conditions and rugged terrain to carry this man to safety. Most likely, they saved his life,” said Fish and Game Lt. James Kneeland.
Kneeland noted that conditions are changing fast in New Hampshire’s mountains. The days are rapidly becoming shorter, and hikers are advised to carry lights, extra clothing and appropriate gear for a variety of weather conditions, especially at higher altitudes. It is also critical to check on and heed weather forecasts before heading out. Learn about safe hiking, including the ten essentials to have in your pack, at http://www.hikesafe.com.
Logo courtesy New Hampshire Fish and Game