SARGENT'S PURCHASE — Fish and Game conservation officers rescued an 80-year-old hiker on Mount Washington on Thursday after he was reported overdue by his family.
James Clark, 80, of Dublin, Ohio, was attempting to summit the mountain via the Lion Head Trail.
Clark had been hiking with two family members from Pinkham Notch Visitors Center, but shortly after starting the hike, the other members of the group left him to hike by himself as they continued to the summit.
Clark’s hiking group ultimately summited without him, then hiked down a different way, reaching the Pinkham Notch Visitors Center without Clark.
At approximately 7:45 p.m., the two family members made a call to rescue personnel, reporting that Clark was overdue, that he was not prepared with overnight gear and did not have a cellphone or light.
Fish and Game Conservation Officers responded to the emergency call and requested assistance from the Appalachian Mountain Club.
AMC staff based at Hermit Lake Shelters started up Lion Head Trail to give assistance and attempt to locate Clark as conservation officers responded.
Conservation officers drove up the Auto Road, and a team of two hiked down Tuckerman Ravine Trail and then Lion Head Trail to try to find Clark.
An AMC staff member located him on the Lion Head Trail just above the Alpine Garden Trail intersection.
Clark was found in a fetal position, exhibiting what appeared to be signs and symptoms of hypothermia to the point of not being able to speak any clear or discernible words.
The AMC staff member and team of conservation officers stripped Clark of his wet clothes and dressed him in warm, dry clothes. They then put him in a sleeping bag.
AMC staff, Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue Team members and more conservation officers brought in a litter with all necessary gear to Clark’s location on Lion Head Trail. They reached Clark at about 1:15 a.m., and Clark was carried across the Alpine Garden by 1:30 a.m.
The rescue crew carried Clark approximately 1.7 miles to the Auto Road and arrived at 5 a.m. on Friday.
Clark was driven down the Auto Road to a waiting Gorham Ambulance where he was transported to Androscoggin Valley Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.