Harvard Students Rescued
Two Outing Club Members Found Trapped in Windstorm
Two Harvard Outing Club members were rescued Sunday after an unexpected windstorm trapped them for three days in New Hampshire's White Mountains, club members said yesterday.
Steven Brown '90 and Kristen Fowler '93 were air-lifted from Pinkum Notch, N.H., following a massive search-and-rescue operation that included a number of Harvard students.
The two hikers, who had planned a three-day trip, were surprised by severe weather on the second night of their expedition up Presidential Ridge, Brown said yesterday. Their tent was destroyed, leaving them exposed to blowing snow and intense cold, he added.
Brown, a graduate student, and Fowler, an undergrad, were forced to dig a shallow cave in the snow, after initial attempts to shield themselves from the severe weather failed.
During the storm, Brown said, he and his companion began to exhibit signs of hypothermia. Though each reportedly tried to sustain conversation in order to keep the other awake and alert, Brown said he did become incoherent for a time.
The next morning's attempts to climb down the ridge were impeded by waist to chest-level snow and ice. Those efforts were further blocked by thin ice that often gave way, soaking the hikers' feet and slowing their progress.
When the hikers failed to return Saturday at their appointed time, Brown's father notified the authorities. Eventually, Gregory R. Galperin '91, member of the Harvard Outdoor and Mountaineering Clubs, received word of the rescue mission and organized a Harvard group to join the effort.
The operation, coordinated by the New Hampshire Fishing and Game Commission, was staffed by more than 60 members of the local Forestry Service, the Appalachian Mountaineering Club and the Harvard Mountaineering and Outdoor Clubs.
Reuben Margolin '92, president of the Harvard Mountaineering Club, led his team with walkie-talkies and searched the mountain-side above the treeline.
Following a snowmobile search in the early afternoon, the two hikers were recovered by helicopter and taken to Memorial Hospital in North County, N.H. Fowler was treated for minor frostbite and released. Brown, however, suffered from both first- and second-degree frostbite to his toes and fingers and was required to remain at the hospital several days.
Brown said yesterday that the experience will not deter him from planning future hiking expeditions for the Outdoor Club and cited Fowler's level-headedness and his experience in the First-Year Outdoor Program (FOP) as major factors in their survival.