Boston entrepreneur falls into Mt. Washington crevasse; rescue efforts halted last night

UPDATE: Authorities now presume he is dead, the Herald reports.

The Maine Sun-Journal reports that Norman Priebatsch was descending the mountain with three other people Sunday when "he fell, slid over a rock band and continued down a slope before falling into a deep crevasse" at the top of Tuckerman Ravine. Rescue efforts were suspended late Monday night.

Priebatsch is co-founder of Tinnix, which is building an iPhone app to help sufferers of tinnitus, and Adeptrix, which makes tools for DNA analysis.

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      Risk and Reward

      As this article in Yankee Magazine points out, the area has claimed or maimed many an adventurer. The very conditions that make it challenging and amazing also produce hazards for even the most prepared and experienced mountaineers and hikers and skiers. You don't have to be dumb or unprepared or naive or reckless to find trouble there - just unlucky.

      I'm sincerly hoping that Priebatsch makes it out and nobody else is hurt getting to him.

      But as in this case, you can

      By on

      But as in this case, you can be smart, unprepared, naive and reckless and find trouble there.

      All signs on the mountain pointed to "Don't Go There."

      I hate it when people think they're better than the conditions.

      It's not that simple

      I hate it when people think they're better than the conditions.

      That is oversimplification to the max.

      When you go to a place like Mt Wash, you are constanly assessing the situation. It starts at the bottom and continues for the duration of the trip. You read the reports, then you're always looking at the weather, looking at the snow, you might notice a change in wind direction, you even check the condition of your fellow hikers. With that information, you make decisions on what to do next. Then you do it again, and again, and again.

      You start with plans, and even have alternate plans in anticipation of certain conditions. Priebatsch had planned on skiing that day, but decided not to because of the dangerous conditions. Instead, they headed out on a hike so they could avoid the dangerous areas.

      As Swrrly mentioned above, it's a risk/reward situation. You take what you know, what your experience has taught you, what all the other information tells you, then make a decision that is ultimately a risk/reward choice. And sometimes, shit happens.

      I look at avalanche reports from out west a lot which typically involve backcountry skiers or snowmobilers. Every report has an element of risk/reward in it. People had to make a number of decisions to get to the point of the slide, and every decision was a risk/reward decision. Even if avalanche reports say the danger is low, you can still have a slide. I read a report this year in Utah where the skiers did everything right. They hiked in, dug a snow pit, assesed the snow and after all that effort, decided not to ski. Yet while exiting, they got caught in a slide and someone died.

      So, when you say Priebatsch was unprepared, naive, and reckless, you sound like a city boy whose idea of adventure is walking around Jamaica Pond because you simply do not know what you're talking about.