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Massive search finds 'overdue' hiker ... checked in at the Mount Washington Hotel

April 25. 2018 3:29AM
The historic Omni Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods (FILE)

PINKHAM’S GRANT — A search for a 70-year-old overdue hiker that included rescue teams from state Fish and Game, Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue, U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers, Mount Washington snow cat operators and a National Guard helicopter was called off when the Massachusetts man was located at the posh Mount Washington Hotel Monday afternoon.

Christophe Chamley had left the trail, checked in to the Mount Washington Hotel about 1 a.m. and gone to sleep.

According to a news release, Fish and Game officials were contacted by state police after they received a call from Chamley’s wife at 3:48 a.m. Monday. She reported that her husband had gone hiking in the White Mountains and hadn’t returned. He also hadn’t provided his family with a hiking itinerary, the release said.

The wife told authorities her husband has a medical condition, which added urgency to the rescue, said officials.

State police found Chamley’s car in the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Pinkham Notch parking area about 6:30 a.m. Rescue operations began about 10 a.m., with some rescuers brought to the Mount Washington summit by Snowcat to search trails above tree line and others working their way up trails from the base of the mountain, officials said.

A National Guard helicopter searched from above.

While updating Chamley’s family on the search, Fish and Game officials learned they had just spoken with the hotel and that Chamley had checked in at 1 a.m., officials said.

The search was called off and Fish and Game Lt. Wayne Saunders went to the hotel to speak with Chamley, who said he had taken a cab from the Pinkham Notch parking lot to the Appalachian parking lot on Route 2, starting his hike there about 7:45 a.m.

After summiting Mt. Adams and Mt. Jefferson, Chamley said he decided he couldn’t make his planned route and headed down the Caps Ridge Trail to Jefferson Notch Road, then down the Base Road to the Mount Washington Hotel, where he checked in after leaving his pack where he could retrieve it later, Saunders said in the release.

According to Saunders, Chamley, exhausted from his hike, tried to message his wife — which didn’t go through — and then went to sleep, not waking up until about 11 a.m. Monday and unaware of the search going on to find him.

Public Safety Hiking Mt. Washington

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