A 53-year-old Massachusetts man died while attempting a traverse of the Presidential Range in freezing temperatures and snow, Fish and Game said.
Xi Chen, 53, of Andover, Mass., sent a text to his wife saying he believed he would die without help, which prompted a “high risk rescue.” Chen was found unresponsive and severely hypothermic on the Gulfside Trail near Mount Clay late Saturday night.
He was pronounced dead at Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin after several hours of life-saving efforts, according to a statement.
Rescuers described the conditions in the high peaks as “treacherous” with freezing temperatures, rain, sleet, snow and wind gusts of more than 80 mph.
The man’s wife alerted Fish and Game around 6:30 p.m. In the text message, the man told his wife he was “cold and wet” and could not continue on.
Chains were placed on the tires of a state parks truck to drop off rescuers near the top of Mount Washington.
The first team located the man around 10:38 p.m.. He was unresponsive and “in a highly hypothermic state.” They placed a temporary shelter over him to warm him up.
“Failing to elicit a response, but detecting signs of life, the crew jumped into action and placed him in a litter and immediately started carrying him up towards the summit of Mt. Washington,” the statement read.
The team carried him one mile to the summit of Mount Washington, arriving at 1:20 a.m. He was driven to an ambulance waiting at the base of the mountain.