Hiker dies after falling from New Hampshire mountain while snapping photos

Mount Willard, New Hampshire
(Image credit: Getty)

A hiker has died after falling from the summit of Mount Willard in New Hampshire. The man, who hasn't been named, was taking photos of the winter scenery with his wife when the accident happened.

As local news site WMUR reports, the man fell on the morning of Saturday, December 10. "The hiker’s wife heard her husband yell and looked over to notice him falling over the edge of the mountain down a steep cliff that extended to the bottom approximately 800 feet," said New Hampshire Fish and Game (NHFG) in a statement.

The man's wife attempted to reach him herself, but struggled due to icy conditions, and called 911. The steep, slippery rocks meant the recovery operation took several hours. Rescue technicians rappelled off the edge of the cliff, and found the man around 300ft below the summit, where he had sadly passed away.

He was lifted back to the summit, then carried back down the mountain to the trailhead parking area, where the rescuers arrived at around 6:45pm.

Icy conditions

According to AllTrails, the hike up Mount Willard is generally regarded as moderately challenging. The area is popular for hiking, birding, and snowshoeing, with the summit capped with ice during the winter months.

Almost all recent reviews from visitors mention the icy conditions, with many hikers recommending the use of winter traction devices such as Microspikes for safety.

"Microspikes are a must," wrote Jonathon Campbell on December 4. "We passed a couple groups on the way down that didn’t have spikes and they were struggling. Couple of early stream crossings where poles would be helpful. Beautiful up there this morning."

It's not known whether the hiker who fell slipped on ice, or whether he simply took a misstep and lost his balance. NHFG isn't expected to release any more information until all his family have been informed.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.