It was nighttime in the White Mountains, and Steve Claxton was pretty sure he wouldn’t make it till morning. Rain was falling, and winds were ripping through his campsite at 90 miles per hour, sharpening the 40-degree temperatures like a knife. He’d known that camping above treeline was a bad idea, but an incoming storm had forced him to do it — now he was afraid it was the last thing he would ever do.
“At Mount Washington there’s a huge wall of people who died in the White Mountains, most of them in July and August and most of them from hypothermia,” Claxton said. “I really thought they were going to have to add my name to that.”