Franklin Countys First News

New Sharon woman with broken ankle rescued from Tumbledown

Rescuers carry an injured hiker off Tumbledown Saturday morning. (Photo courtesy of Jeremy O'Neil)

TOWNSHIP 6 – A New Sharon woman on the loop trail on Tumbledown Mountain fell and broke her ankle Saturday, resulting in firefighters, Maine Game Wardens and members of other agencies mobilizing to transport her back down the mountain.

According to a statement released by Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Communications Director Matt Latti, Amelia Hutchinson, 30 of New Sharon, was hiking up the loop trail on Tumbledown Mountain with her two children, ages 10 and 8 at approximately 11 a.m. Saturday morning when they came to a trail that was impassable due to ice. The family turned around and was heading back down the loop trail when Hutchinson slipped and fell down a sleep slope, striking a tree and breaking her ankle.

According to an email from Phillips Fire Department Deputy Chief Jeremy O'Neil, the injured hiker was located below the iron ladder that allows access to "Fat Man's Misery," near the top of the mountain's west peak.

Firefighters from the Phillips, Weld, East Dixfield and Wilton departments, Maine Game Wardens, Forest Service, NorthStar EMS and members of North Franklin Search and Rescue all responded to the scene, assembling near the trailhead with snowmachines and rescue toboggans. An effort to rescue Hutchinson with a Maine Forest Service helicopter was called off due to high winds, requiring rescuers to transport the hiker off the mountain in a sled.

O'Neil said that the trail conditions required rescuers to use ropes to lower the hiker over several sections of snow and ice-covered trail. Five separate belay maneuvers were conducted by rescuers during a carry-out that O'Neil said lasted five hours.

Hutchinson was transported off the mountain with no additional injuries reported.

(Photo by Maine Warden Service)

(Photo by Maine Warden Service)

(Photo courtesy of Jeremy O'Neil)


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23 Responses »

  1. Have hiked this trail before and would NOT want to do it when it is icy!

  2. All of these individuals were extremely amazing, they worked together as a team and this was no easy task for them. I am very thankful for their assistance down the mountain side and am very grateful to have such wonderful first responders and warden services in our area.

  3. This is regrettably what I warned against two months ago when outdoor enthusiasts suggested people getting out and taking to mountain trails in the winter. During this time, our mountains are filled with ice- well into May- and should never be attempted without microspikes, at the very least, preferably crampons. In addition, steep mountains, like those around Weld (which includes Bald), should only be attempted, if at all, by experienced winter-hikers. And please, Tumbledown, ESPECIALLY the trail leading to "Fat Man's Misery," is an experts-only trail in winter, sometimes even in summer for the inexperienced. Taking children to that trail... well, Mrs. Hutchinson is very, very lucky everyone got out OK. That said, I respect her desire to be out in the mountains, and to acquaint her children with a similar love.

  4. Great responders and we're so glad you're ok
    Just try to remember your Grandmother's fishing trip!!!!

  5. Response to Otto: first off, I have hiked that trail with a 3 year old on my back and 4 children in the spring without difficulty. Accidents do happen and yes this was quite slippery but again I do hike quite frequently and the kids and I were actually training for a hike on katahdin this year.
    I would appreciate not being judged or assuming that I had no idea what I was doing. Also, we were hiking that mountain to say hello and a prayer to my daughter who went to heaven 2 years ago today. Since I am unable to go to Boston where she died and mass at church has been canceled, this was my option. Thank you for your opinion, but maybe next time don't comment on something you know very little about..

  6. "when they came to a trail that was impassable due to ice. The family turned around and was heading back down"

    A "prudent" call by an experienced hiker I'd say

  7. I think the point is you do not have experience in winter.It is not summer, decision put a lot of rescuers in jeopardy for hopefully a summer Katahdin trip. As well as using very needed medical resources for a trip you probably never would have done if not on mandatory vacation. You also risked your own & family’s safety by having to get medical attention at a hospital. Docs & nurses are on the front lines so you can do the least by staying out of the mountains if you don’t have the necessary skills & training.

  8. Counting my blessings that Amelia and children were safely returned to us. She has taken all of her children hiking over the years since they were small. When she found the trail to be unsafe she turned around and headed back down. That is when she feel.
    Her children were frightened but because of their Faith, remained strong. She sang songs with them until rescuers arrived!!! We are all counting our Blessings.....
    And to the Rescuers God Bless you for what you do and being there in times of need even at great risks to yourselves. We Greatly Appreciate You All 🙏🏻

  9. Great response to Mr. Otto, Amelia. I was going to relay the exact same information only include those photos I was looking for of you heading thru the chimney with Natalie on your back. Guess attaching photos isn't an option here, but some people are very lucky not to have endured a loss so great that their "give-a-damn" grows skinny enough to make them EXPERTS at anything! I had the opportunity to thank many of the rescue team, not not all - to the rest: THANK YOU.

  10. some of you people...god forbid a mother take her children outside and let them get some exercise an enjoy the great outdoors. This family has endured enough pain, they dont need your negative inquiries from behind the screen. Get out from behind your computer and get some fresh air. ....maybe you wouldnt be so negative! Amelia, I hope you heal quickly!

  11. I am also grateful she and her children are ok; but they would all be great if some basic common sense was used. This was not a necessary outing, there is still a lot of icy to muddy conditions in these areas, and most of all in this Covid 19 virus process it is passed by close personal contact. This means all of the rescuers as well as herself and children put themselves at unnecessary risk.

    This is a good teaching moment for others to not just think of themselves but 'if I do this could I put others at risk or could the rescuers put me at risk'.

    We are all learning that this virus the most serious ailment and it affects the entire world. Please think twice...

  12. It could be anyone of us Amelia Hutchinson for those who love the sport of hiking. I love to hike year round also. Hope your ankle heals quickly. God bless all the first responders that helped you out.

  13. Isn't it still closed now, the access road posted? Good Job.

  14. Message to Josh: I am not on vacation, I am back to work today as a matter of fact and I happen to work in the medical field with plenty of experience and knowledge on how to care for injuries. And those of us who are in the medical field do not get this so called "mandatory" vacation. Also, I'm not scared of getting injured or dying for that matter as I believe things are not within our control even when hiking, I simply wanted my children to get down safely and I will be avoiding hiking with them in the winter moving forward but I, myself, plan to continue... again maybe keep your judgements to yourself about the little you know of me and my family.. it would be appreciated.

  15. I am so glad everyone got out safely, but as anyone who knows about the Byron road it is a closed road in the winter and spring when snow is on it. The road is groomed by the state for a snowmobile trail as well as for walkers, skiers foot travelers etc. Everyone should be informed by self observing that this road or any other snow covered road is not for wheeled vehicles. Observing this means to me as I hike the Tumbledown range in winter I park at the road and ski or walk to the trail entrances knowing that more food clothes safety gear has to be taken further and it creates a more serious hiking undertaking unless you can use a snowmobile to get closer with less physical efforts. As the family heals I am sure they will learn and get better at preparing for many beautiful mtn adventures. To all, natures blessings.

  16. Amelia: Those who judge will be judged. You were remembering the loss of your little girl as she watched over you and her siblings!! So glad you are OK.

  17. It wasn't a good decision to hike Tumbledown in those conditions. Those of us that didn't know that, know it now.

    When I was younger I moved from Maine into the Alaskan bush. I got stuck in a village away from my wife for a week. I kept begging the bush pilots to fly in to get me out. One experienced pilot said, " son, you haven't been here long enough to know that weather rules here. Your wife is safe where she is, you are safe where you are, and let's leave it like that. Otherwise, we may end up crashing and dying on the side of a mountain."

    Instead of being mouthy or making excuses, I apologized and learned an important lesson. There are some things in life that are truths, and it's silly to argue against them.

    I think it was good in Amelia's last post where she said that going forward she would not take her kids hiking in the winter. It shows she learned a lesson, and it teaches her kids that people make mistakes and they adjust.

    It's easy to get embarrassed in a public forum like this when people make comments. I guess we commenters have to choose our words carefully. Sometimes when we make a mistake it's hard to have someone or a bunch of people comment, even if the comments were meant to be helpful or enlighten others.

    At least this story had a happy ending.

  18. @Amelia - so sorry for the pain, physical and emotional. Condolences on the anniversary of losing your daughter.

  19. Posted May to October, as I recall from a winter drive to hike Tumbledown. I did not hike due to sign, though I hike other areas in the winter.

  20. 1 Thessalonians 5:11:
    “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

    Ameila you are a great person and mom always putting your family first! We ALL know accidents happen and there are so many things to be thankful for. Keep up the good work, praying for a quick recovery so you and your kiddos can get back doing what you all love to do, (enjoy the outdoors.) Take care cause we know you won't take time off. You know our contact information if we can do anything for you, Love you all!!

  21. So glad everyone's safe. Sorry to hear of your loss. Just wanted to say that your kids were GREAT, as were you. You guys should be very proud. Hope they got their popcorn. Take care.

  22. Amelia,

    Don’t listen to all the negativity!
    I’m so sorry you had to sustain a broken ankle from doing what you love to do.
    It’s important with all the stuff going on that we spend time outside with our friends and family.
    Also, very sorry for your families loss. We think of you folks often.

    Keep your chin up! 🙂

    D & D