Every year, droves of hikers attempt to scale Mt. Washington without being fully prepared with the right gear. As a result, dozens are rescued from the mountain mid-hike. Officials often charge ill-prepared hikers for their own rescue costs in an attempt to raise awareness about the dangers of the popular tourist destination. Nine have footed the bill for a rescue ride already this year.

One such hiker was 80-year-old James Clark, who was retrieved from the trail last Friday after being found curled up in a fetal position and exhibiting signs of hypothermia, according to the Press Herald.

Clark didn't have the right gear to protect him against the freezing rain, but that wasn't the only thing that led to his needing to be rescued.

Hours earlier, Clark had urged his two grandsons who were along for the hike to go on without him, the Press Herald reported. They continued their trek to the summit and returned to the base on a different trail, becoming concerned hours later when their grandfather still hadn't descended the mountain.

Now, the family may face criminal charges for leaving Clark behind in inclement weather and without sufficient gear, the Press Herald stated. This would be the first time that criminal charges would be pressed in a situation like this, and officials are in early stages of the decision-making process, clarified Maj. David Walsh of the state’s Fish and Game Department in the article.

Clark blames himself for telling his grandsons to continue without him, while his 19-year-old grandson Kevin told the Press Herald he would understand if his family is charged.

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