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Extreme skier's handgun found, returned to him
Just days after tumbling hundreds of feet down Great Gully on Mount Adams and crawling seven hours through snow to safety, the 22-year-old Weare man learned a Maine man had found one of his missing skis — and his pistol.
Berk and his friend took the trip on April 11. About 200 yards into the gully, Berk said he observed a black-colored object sticking out of the snow and thought that it might be something that Luk had lost. Upon closer examination, Berk realized the object was a semi-automatic pistol; he said he secured it. A short while later, he also found Luk's right ski.
Back home in Maine, Berk contacted New Hampshire State Police — which sent a trooper over to the Saco Ranger station on Wednesday to oversee the return of the handgun to Luk. Berk later contacted the New Hampshire Union Leader, which on his behalf, contacted Luk.
The gun should have stayed in the holster, said Luk, just as his boots should have remained in their bindings, but didn't. He thanked Berk for returning the gun and ski — into whose face Luk carved the dates of when he had more successfully skied both Great Gully and Tuckerman Ravine.
Luk had told New Hampshire Fish and Game Sgt. Mark Ober that he intended to go back to Great Gully to search for his pistol.
Asked about back-country skiers and hikers carrying firearms, Ober said it was "rare, but not illegal." He said his department notified federal and state agencies as well as its search-and-rescue partners to be aware that a gun was reported missing in Great Gully. They did not inform the public about the missing gun to prevent a potentially dangerous situation of many people scrambling over tricky terrain.
"We spoke and I gave him (Luk) some hints that if he's going to do it again, don't do it alone," Ober said.
Luk said he is not sure what he will do with the Volkl ski Berk returned to him.
If its partner can be found, then there could be a couple "Tuckerman turns," he added, before the ski is retired permanently.
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