Wife Speaks Out After Dad of 3 Dies While Climbing in Snow and Rain Near Mount Washington

Xi Chen was "severely hypothermic" when he was rescued Saturday night near Mount Clay and Mount Washington along the Presidential Range, according to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department

Mt Clay
Photo: Getty

A Massachusetts man has died after "he was overcome by severe weather conditions" while hiking near New Hampshire's Mount Washington, officials said.

New Hampshire Fish and Game announced Monday that Xi Chen, 53, of Andover, Massachusetts, had "died of his injuries" he sustained while attempting a "Presidential Range traverse" in the White Mountains on Saturday.

Chen was rescued from Gulfside Trail after telling his wife via text message "that he was cold and wet and could not continue on" with his hike, according to a pair of news releases from the department.

Chen was "severely hypothermic" when he was rescued by NH Fish and Game's Advanced Search and Rescue Team and the North Conway–based Mountain Rescue Services (MRS) in an effort that began Saturday night and ended Sunday morning, officials said.

The victim was transported to Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin (AVH), where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries after "life-saving efforts were attempted for several hours," officials said.

Chen is survived by a wife and three children, two of whom are in college, according to a GoFundMe campaign for the family.

Wife Lian Liu told NBC Boston and ABC affiliate WCVB that her late husband was an avid hiker and was attempting to climb all of New Hampshire's 4,000-foot peaks.

"He's not a quitter, that probably actually got him into trouble this time," Liu said to NBC Boston.

She described Chen as a man who loved his family, job and life.

"He had so many plans ahead of him," Liu told the outlet. "Unfortunately this happened."

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Xi Chen

Chen's wife reached out to Fish and Game around 6:30 p.m. Saturday evening to request help for her husband, according to the department's initial new release.

The woman claimed that her husband was unable to continue with his hike after becoming "cold and wet" and feared he would die without help, officials said.

Fish and Game described conditions along the Presidential Range on Saturday as "treacherous" due to "freezing temperatures, rain, sleet, snow, and winds gusting over 80 mph."

Lt. Bob Mancini, of New Hampshire Fish and Game, told NBC Boston that Chen's hike was impacted by "accumulating snow" and "freezing rain," which made for icy conditions.

"Even if you were prepared for winter, those conditions would have been challenging," Mancini told WCVB.

Liu told NBC Boston that she first received texts from her husband around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, telling her "In trouble...can't move." After asking him if she should call for help, he replied, "Yes, could die."

Liu also shared the couple's text conversation with WCVB, which said Chen wrote at one point, "If I stop moving, then in trouble."

Liu told NBC Boston that her husband eventually stopped responding to her messages. "I text him, call or text 911 so they'll know where you are from your phone. No response," she said.

Chen was found "unresponsive and in a highly hypothermic state" just after 10:30 p.m. on Saturday by one of the search teams, per a release. He was given " immediate care" and placed inside "a temporary shelter" in an attempt to warm him up.

The crew carried Chen "over a mile up to the summit of Mt. Washington" and placed the victim in a truck that was driven "to the base where the Gorham Ambulance was waiting," officials said.

Chen was transported to AVH around 1:30 a.m., per Sunday's release. He later succumbed to his injuries.

Officials "received multiple calls" on Saturday "from hikers who were cold, wet, and calling for rescues," Fish and Game said. Many of those requesting help were at "high elevation summits and ridgelines" along the Presidential Range, similar to Chen.

However, the department said Chen's situation warranted "immediate" action "due to the dire nature" of the call.

Mancini told WCVB that Mount Washington "can be very challenging" to climb, no matter the weather conditions.

"It's a brutal place," he explained, adding, "It's the home of some of the worst weather in the world and, on Saturday, it lived up to its reputation."

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