An arch formed by receding winter’s snow at Mt. Washington fell on a Quincy man as he was trying to film it Saturday afternoon, according to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
Alphonse Riang, 28, suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries after the natural arch in Tuckerman Ravine gave way at about 1:30 p.m., at least partially burying him in “a basketball-court-size amount of snow,” the department said in a statement, quoting a witness.
Other hikers on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail who saw and heard the collapse pulled the large snow and ice blocks off of Riang, who had left the trail to take a video of the formation. One of the hikers told authorities the collapse sounded like “a sonic boom,” according to the statement.
The ravine is known for having snow well into summer and ski conditions remained into June, according to the Mt. Washington Avalanche Center. Still, the ravine can be dangerous and an avalanche as recently as 2019 killed a skier there. Photos of snow arches there date back at least a century.
First responders contacted by the hikers helped Riang slowly walk back down the trail to an ATV, which carried him to an ambulance that took him to Androscoggin Valley Hospital at about 6:45 p.m., the Fish and Game Department said.
Authorities said he was “very lucky to be alive” and warned hikers to remain on the trail and not to go under any suspended snow formations, especially in the summer while the snow is “losing its structural integrity due to sun and temperature.”
Lucas Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.