Climbers survive Mount Washington avalanche
UNDATED (WHDH) -- A group of climbers, including a wounded war veteran, were rescued Thursday after an avalanche came crashing down Mount Washington.
Swimming through snow and fighting against being buried alive in an avalanche: it's not what Stephanie White expected when she started her climb up Mount Washington.
“Ended up being peeled off backwards through the snow and I was swimming and going, ‘damn, is this my time?’” said White.
White was part of a team of 12 climbers looking to make it to the top of the New Hampshire mountain Thursday when an avalanche came crashing down.
"Thom, who was ahead of me, screamed, ‘avalanche,’ and then I started screaming, ‘avalanche,’ and then we went instantly into self arrest, which is driving your ice ax down into the packed snow conditions to provide stability," said Scott Blanchard.
It swept three of the climbers 800 feet down to the bottom of Huntington Ravine, leaving the rest of team stranded.
"When everybody stands up after the avalanche and looks around to see what happened, the initial feeling is one of fear, ultimately, of what might have happened to the three you can't see now,” said Thom Pollard.
Rescue crews found the three -- including a retired marine amputee -- and all were brought down to safety.
They may not have summited Mount Washington, but they did come out on top of an avalanche.
"The mountain spirits were good to us," White said.
The climbers say after learning there was an avalanche warning for the mountain, they changed to what they thought would be the safest route, but it was not enough to keep them from danger.