Bill Arnold of Randolph explained that he had applied for the grant on behalf of the club after the old one was “torn out” by being used on Feb. 28-29, 2016, to recover the body of 54-year-old Timothy Hallock of Orient, N.Y. who had died of hypothermia near the bottom of the headwall of Castle Ravine below Edmands Col on the Presidential Range.
On Feb. 28, Gray Knob caretaker Kevin Ross pulled the litter from the enclosed cabin to the junction of the Emerald and Castle Ravine Trails, where he was met by two teams of rescuers who were engaged in moving the dead hiker in a body bag.
After the victim was strapped into the Stokes litter, more than 30 volunteers took turns pulling it through ice and crusty snow, over rocks and across icy streams down the Castle Ravine Trail to Bowman, the height of land that divides the Androscoggin and Connecticut River watersheds. The nearly snowless winter conditions were particularly difficult for hikers, including crossing unfrozen brooks.
The new Cascade litter, fabricated in Idaho, is not only nearly a third lighter than the one it has replaced, but also comes apart, allowing it to be carried by two searchers and then easily snapped together when at a rescue or recovery site.
The new litter will be kept at the ready at Randolph Mountain Club Gray Knob cabin on Mount Adams along with an older Stokes litter that has a sled-like bottom. Gray Knob is staffed year-round with a caretaker.
Volunteers under the aegis of the state Fish and Game Department turn out to participate in search and rescue missions.
The local Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue has some 40 members.
Arnold wrote up the Hallock recovery for the Randolph Mountain Club June 2016 newsletter. “As the (recovery) group left the woods (at about 2 a.m.), it was a most impressive sight to see: 30-plus headlamps bobbing up and down along the last few hundred feet of the old railroad track at Bowman,” he said.
Arnold is a longtime Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue member who was named EMS Honoree of the Year in 2014 by the North Country Public Safety Foundation.