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Hiker, 80, Defends Grandsons After Mount Washington Ordeal

James Clark says he told them to hike on without him, later needed rescue
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2019 8:00 AM CDT
A pair of hikers traverse the trail New Hampshire's Presidential Range Wednesday, July 27, 2016, on Mount Washington, N.H.   (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

(Newser) – The rescue of a hiker from frigid Mount Washington in New Hampshire is making headlines for the unusual circumstances surrounding it—the hiker was 80 years old, and he'd told his two grandsons to hike on without him because he was embarrassed about slowing them down. They did so, and now James Clark of Dublin, Ohio, is defending them in the face of criticism from the hiking community and wildlife officials. The details:

  • The hike: Clark and grandsons Kevin McNerney, 19, and Aidan McNerney, 14, were ascending a trail Thursday when he told them to hike ahead of him because of his speed, reports the Union Leader. This wasn't unusual on their hiking trips, says Clark.
  • The problem: Clark didn't think he'd have any trouble reaching the summit on his own, but the trail he planned to take was closed, and the alternate trail was much harder than he anticipated. The wind chill was about 12 degrees Fahrenheit, and he eventually took shelter between two boulders. He blew a signal whistle to no avail.

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