Backcountry Skier Fatally Injured in Mt Washington’s Tuckerman Ravine

Pinkham Notch, NH – March 10, 2024 On Saturday afternoon March 9th, Madison Saltsburg, age 20,
fell roughly 600 vertical feet down Tuckerman Ravine on Mount Washington and suffered fatal
traumatic injuries during the fall. The responding team from the US Forest Service, Mount Washington
Avalanche Center (MWAC) worked to evacuate Saltsburg off the mountain.

Throughout the year, this very steep ski mountaineering terrain, and other areas around Mount
Washington, are subject to ever changing mountain hazards. These commonly include avalanches, open
crevasse holes, icy steep slopes, and falling rocks and ice. On March 9th, Saltsburg and her skiing
companion were faced with hard, icy snow surfaces, open crevasse holes, and unforgiving conditions for
a slip and fall.

In addition to yesterday’s fatality, the MWAC Snow Ranger team responded to two other skiers who
sustained traumatic injuries from rocks and ice while falling down the firm and icy snow surface.
Multiple other falls in steep mountaineering terrain were also witnessed throughout the day, but did not
result in serious injuries.

Conditions in Tuckerman Ravine and around Mount Washington were firm and icy due to lack of recent
snow and cold temperatures. Traveling in avalanche terrain in these conditions safely requires careful
use of mountaineering tools and equipment including crampons, ice axe, and the skills to use them. The
avalanche forecast for March 9th was LOW, meaning that avalanches are unlikely. In the forecast,
Springtime Mountain Hazards were identified as being the most significant risk to travelers during the
day. These hazards include refrozen snow surfaces (as seen this day), falling ice, and crevasses in the

The US Forest Service encourages anyone traveling in avalanche terrain to take precautions to mitigate
the risk of traveling around many different mountain hazards. This includes:

  •  Seeking information to inform when, how, and where you travel in the mountains. This includes the MWAC Avalanche Forecast and the Mount Washington Observatory Higher Summits Forecast
  •  Carrying crampons, an ice axe, and a helmet in steep mountaineering terrain.
  •  Carrying an avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe when traveling in avalanche terrain.
  •  Carrying navigation tools to plan safe routes, even in poor conditions.

The Mount Washington Avalanche Center website is
updated daily with current conditions.

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