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Mount Washington avalanche kills climber

A 24-year-old man from New York died Friday in an avalanche while ice climbing on Mount Washington, the US Forest Service said.

The avalanche pushed James Watts 1,000 feet down Huntington Ravine, according to the Forest Service.

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Watts had been climbing Pinnacle Gully in the ravine alone and without ropes, the Forest Service said in a statement.

Tiffany Benna, a White Mountain National Forest spokeswoman, said it was not clear how big the avalanche was or what triggered it.

“It may be hard for them to totally reconstruct, because he was alone so there wasn’t anyone who witnessed the accident,” Benna said Saturday.

The Forest Service said ­another hiker found Watts around 3 p.m. and called 911. That hiker, who is an emergency room physician, found no signs of life on Watts.

Watts’s family could not be located for comment.

The Mount Washington Avalanche Center, operated by the White Mountain National Forest, records and reports conditions in the area.

On the center’s website Friday, a snow ranger wrote that there had been human-triggered ­avalanches in both ravines — Huntington and Tuckerman — that day.

Huntington Ravine is on the east side of Mount Washington. He warned visitors to be careful of unstable snow in a number of areas around the mountain. The Forest Service advises that people check for updates on conditions around Mount Washington.

Zachary T. Sampson can be reached at
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