Published DatePINKHAM NOTCH — The body of a 67-year-old Boston man was recovered Monday morning from Mount Washington's Tuckerman Ravine, according to a statement from the U.S. Forest Service.
Norman Priebatsch fell into a deep crevasse on the center headwall on April 1. Until recently, recovery operations were suspended morning due to concern for rescuer safety in the deep subterranean channel and waterfall. Monday offered a brief window of opportunity for a recovery attempt. The decision was made Sunday evening after evaluating the safety of a different tunnel that had melted out enough to allow a safe entry. This new alternative opened up during the few days before Monday's operations, connected with the main crevasse Priebatsch fell into seven weeks ago, and was considered a safe option.
Four Forest Service Snow Rangers set up a rope system for removing Priebatsch and for snow ranger safety. The extrication took about two hours and was completed by 11 a.m.
Once rope operations were completed, Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue, the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol partnered with the forest service to hand carry a rescue litter down to Hermit Lake from the ravine floor. Priebatsch was brought down 2.5 miles to Pinkham Notch Visitor Center on Route 16. The entire recovery was completed by 1:30 p.m.
Snow ranger Jeff Lane said the recovery went smoothly. Officials had been monitoring the ravine closely for the last seven weeks to find a time when they could do the recovery safely, he said.
The White Mountain National Forest operates the Mount Washington Avalanche Center to provide daily safety information and search and rescue services to the public. Website is www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org.
Lane encourages visitors to check the website before they come to the ravine.
"Be aware that conditions in Tuckerman Ravine at this time of the year are changing rapidly, and through this transition season there are numerous hazards you should be aware of," states the website. "The potential consequences can range from minor to severe, but remember that even a minor injury in a back-country location can be a big problem."