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Fatal Stroll: 1902

Fatal Stroll: 1902

1902. "Lizzie Bourne monument, Mount Washington, White Mountains, New Hampshire." Miss Bourne, who succumbed to exposure, was just a few hundred feet from the summit house when she expired on that blustery September night in 1855. 5x7 glass negative. View full size.


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Death on Mt. Washington: The Tale of Lizzie Bourne

"Along with two relatives, her cousin Lucy Bourne, and her uncle George Bourne, Lizzie tried to climb Mount Washington without a guide. They left the Glen House, at the bottom of the mountain at about 2 PM. About 4 PM they had made it half way to the top."

"They walked up the carriage road as far as they could, but because they had started up late, they still were not at their destination when night fell.  Lizzie was wearing the usual apparel for women of her time, which hindered her movement.  They then experienced a violent gale. Quickly becoming cold and confused, she died from exposure about 10 p.m. Note: it is also believed that possibly she also had an unknown heart condition contributing to her death."

"When the sun rose, her companions sadly realized they were only a few hundred yards from the summit house. Her family built a monument near the spot where Lizzie perished."

Not Without Peril:

150 Years of Misadventure on the Presidential Range of New Hampshire by Nicholas Howe

Read about her and countless other hapless souls who greatly underestimated the challenges they faced when they set out on a hike woefully unprepared for the sudden weather changes that can occur instantly, even to the very recent past. It's very much like Over the Edge, about people who constantly lose their lives in the Grand Canyon just because of simple mistakes. Both are fascinating reads!

Crazy way to travel

Looks like fun. Until it’s not. (Also can’t get out of my head the image of the legless beggar of olden times, swinging himself forward over the pavement with a brick in each hand.)

Lizzie had no chance

I sat on the veranda of the Mt. Washington Hotel a few summers ago and watched that cog railway go up the mountain. It was a glorious sunny day, so it's hard to imagine the severity of the storms that hit the summit, resulting in 200-plus mph winds. Poor Lizzie, on foot, had no chance when she was caught in one of those.

Still there

I have made several climbs up Mt Washington and have seen the Lizzie Bourne monument. Amonoosuc Ravine trail.

Mt. Washington is not forgiving. Many who underestimated it are now dead.

The Devil's Shingle

The worker is descending on the Mt Washington Cog Railway. Workers would ride these wooden slide boards down the mountain until they were banned by the state. They were equipped with brakes but were built for speed!

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