Tuckerman’s Rescue finds Raven Madison Saltsburg dead after a sledding accident

Tuckerman’s Rescue finds Raven Madison Saltsburg dead after a sledding accident

Robert F. bucati/ap/file

A 2015 photo shows Tuckerman Valley on the left, about a mile below the summit of Mount Washington.


A skier died after falling nearly 600 feet into an icy ravine on Mount Washington in New Hampshire over the weekend, officials said.

The woman and two others were backcountry skiing on Saturday, said Colleen Mainville, a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Forest Service.

Authorities said 20-year-old Madison Saltsburg was killed. The skier “sustained fatal injuries” after falling at Tuckerman Ravine, Mainville said in a news release. The survivors suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The three encountered hard snow and icy surfaces, open crevasses and unforgiving slip and fall conditions, Mainville said.

The U.S. Forest Service and the Mount Washington Avalanche Center (MWAC) mounted rescue efforts to evacuate Saltsburg from the mountain, Mainville said.

The avalanche center’s snow guard team worked at another situation Saturday where two other skiers were seriously injured by rocks and ice, Mainville said.

Saturday was an unusually busy day with a “heightened sense of emergency,” Jeff Fongemi, director of the Mount Washington Avalanche Center, told CNN affiliate WRUM.

“I think over the course of the week we lost about 13 inches of snow in the snowpack. So, it was warm, we had some rain, and it was a wet snowpack. Temperatures dropped, and it got cold and it froze and became a surface,” Funjimi told WRUM. “Rather stable.”

WRUM reported that ski patrol training had taken place earlier in the day and that the rescue involved a full crew.

The Forest Service says on its website that the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is covered in snow and ice in the winter and has “steep cliffs and slopes underneath.”

“From late fall through late spring or even early summer, think of it more as a mountain climb than a hike. The consequences of falling or getting caught in an avalanche can be dire,” she says.

The agency says traveling in icy terrain requires careful use of mountaineering tools and equipment, including crampons and ice axes, and the skills necessary to use them. It was not known on Sunday whether the skaters had such equipment.

The Appalachian Mountain Club, which runs lodges on Mount Washington, calls Tuckerman Valley “the birthplace of extreme skiing in the United States.”

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