On April 25, 2009, Scott Mason set out to hike the Presidential Range in New Hampshire on a popular, 17-mile route that crosses several peaks, including Mount Washington. Mason had decided to do it in one day. With his training and experience (he’s an Eagle Scout), it wasn’t an unreasonable plan.
But then the 17-year-old turned his ankle. At first, Mason continued hiking his original route. Then he tried to find a shorter trail off the mountain but was stopped by a stream swollen with spring runoff. The weather was good, and he was fairly well equipped, so he wasn’t in any immediate danger. He had food and was able to make a fire.
A search was mounted for Mason when he didn’t return as soon as planned. Things got complicated fast, and before long the operation involved the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, Mountain Rescue Service, Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and a Maine Forest Service helicopter.