More than 100 warning signs have been posted at trailheads in New Hampshire’s White Mountains in response to reports of more hiker rescues, according to the Mount Washington Observatory.
Jack Middleton, a life trustee of the observatory, led a project to design and print yellow metal signs to warn hikers that the weather conditions at high elevations may be dangerous, observatory spokesman Charlie Buterbaugh said.
Texting “weather forecast” to the phone number on the sign, 603-356-2137, will generate an automated reply with the weather conditions at Mount Washington’s summit, he said.
“This is one measure of really helping people make good decisions as they’re planning to head up to higher summits in the backcountry,” Buterbaugh said.
Mount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeast, at 6,288 feet, and is visited by more than 250,000 people each year, according to the White Mountains website.
“What inspired this are the news reports on a frequent basis of people being injured on mountains at higher elevations, often with injuries that can be life-threatening,” Middleton said in a statement.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department spent more than $240,000 on hiking and drowning rescues, the Globe has reported. Hikers, ranging from children to those in their late 80s, have been rescued by helicopter and all-terrain vehicle and have been carried on foot.
Staff from White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire State Parks, Appalachian Mountain Club, and Randolph Mountain Club posted the signs at trailheads leading to higher elevations, officials said. The signs were funded by the members of the observatory, which is a member-supported nonprofit, Buterbaugh said.