North Country
2:38 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

Three Injured In Mount Washington Avalanche

Three climbers caught in an avalanche Thursday got a rapid, tumbling ride down Mount Washington’s Huntington Ravine. But apparently they were not seriously injured.

The men were in the central gully of the Huntington Ravine when the avalanche occurred just after 5 pm, said Joe Lentini, a team leader for the Mountain Rescue Service, which participated in the rescue.

The snow rushing down the mountain was about waist deep, not enough to make being buried likely.

“It was the kind of avalanche that knocked them over and took them away,” he said.

However, the men were carried about 800 feet down the mountain, a trip that Lentini said impressed even the veterans of the Mountain Rescue Service.

“Just hearing how far they went is sort of terrifying to us,” he said.

The climbers were Keith Zeier of Brooklyn, New York. He’s a Marine who lost his leg as the result of an IED in Iraq. He was accompanied by Andy Politz and Jonathan Politz, according to Tiffany Benna, a spokeswoman for the White Mountain National Forest.

Their injuries were described as non-life threatening, Benna said.

The three were transported to Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin but Friday afternoon hospital spokesman James Patry declined to say whether they were still there.

Neither Zeier nor the Politzes could be reached for comment.

The rescue was coordinated by four U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers. In addition to the Mountain Rescue Service volunteers from the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Harvard Mountain Club participated.