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Hiker dies following snowy rescue on Presidential Ridge

Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 7:26 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 20, 2022 at 9:01 AM EDT
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GORHAM, N.H. (WCAX) - A hiker has died following a weekend rescue in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

New Hampshire Fish and Game says Xi Chen, 53, was attempting a Presidential Ridge traverse Saturday when the weather Saturday deteriorated to winter-like conditions. The Andover, Massachusetts man was rescued Saturday night. Rescuers carried Chen over a mile up to the summit of Mt. Washington, where he was placed on a truck and driven down the mountain’s auto road, to a hospital in Berlin. Officials say life-saving efforts were attempted for several hours but that Chen suffered from severe hypothermia and was unable to be revived.

According to the Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team, conditions on Mount Clay included 80-mile-per-hour winds, freezing temperatures, rain, sleet, and snow.

Authorities said they heard from Chen’s wife, who said she received a text from him saying he was cold and wet and couldn’t continue on.

“They were prepared for a summer hike and Mr. Chen was prepared for a multi-day summer hike. But the conditions that they experienced on the northern peaks on Saturday were winter conditions. This weather would have been forecasted prior to Saturday morning,” said Fish and Game Lt. Robert Mancini.

Several other hikers were apparently caught off guard by the treacherous weather conditions and called 911 for help.

Mount Washington and the Presidential Ridge is almost entirely above treeline and is known to have some of the worst weather in the world, even during the summer. Signs at most trailheads warn hikers to turn around if the weather looks bad. Authorities advise all hikers to be prepared and to follow safe hiking precautions before climbing in the area.

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