GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Latest Cape Ann News

June 27, 2013

Essex hikers reunite with rescuer 50 years later

MOUNT WASHINGTON, N.H. — As the two hikers approached the summit of Mount Washington on that winter night in 1963, they were in serious trouble. Snow was falling rapidly, the temperature had plunged below zero, and the wind — which was averaging over 50 miles an hour — was hitting them with 116-mile-an-hour gusts.

“We had had it. We weren’t going much further,” Harold Addison of Essex, Mass., remembered. “The last 400 yards, the wind was going right through us, knocking us off our feet.”

As he recalled this, 50 years later, Addison was standing at the base of the mountain with Gerry Wright, his hiking companion that night. They were waiting to reunite with the man they credit with saving their lives, a man they hadn’t seen since.

Addison and Wright told the story of that March night 50 years ago as though reliving it, telling of approaching the summit dome in the snow and driving winds. Addison knew they only had one hope: They needed to spend the night inside the Mount Washington Observatory at the summit. But there was a catch. Addison knew that hikers were not allowed inside the observatory in the winter, a policy that continues to this day. He knew this because he had been turned away at the observatory door in the past. If you go up the mountain, they expect you to be prepared to get yourself down.

So, with the sun going down and the observatory just coming into view, Addison broke the news to Wright. Then he told him the plan.

Wright was a convincing orator — the two had met because Wright was a youth minister at a Methodist church in Essex, Mass., where Addison was a parishioner — and so he would knock and plead their case.

The wind was blowing so hard that it took Wright nearly 45 minutes just to climb the steps to the door. Finally, he knocked. A man answered. Wright made his case.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest