The upcoming movie Infinite Storm, starring Naomi Watts and Billy Howle, will include Pam Bales’ narrative. That day in October 2010, Bales ventured out on a trail she had hiked countless times before. But as usual, she left her itinerary in her car, along with two of her Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team buddies.
Pam cautiously ascended the route as she became aware that inclement weather would compel her to forego a portion of her trek. Her plans, however, were completely altered when she discovered what appeared to be shoe tracks. Despite the rapidly deteriorating weather, Pam followed the footprints and discovered John, who was paralyzed from cold and lifeless.
Pam began her journey aware that the weather would shortly deteriorate
- 1 Pam began her journey aware that the weather would shortly deteriorate
- 2 Even when John insisted that she save herself, AD Bales wouldn’t leave him behind
- 3 Pam and John moved slowly as she used her trekking poles to track the tiny holes
- 4 John later said that he came up the trail intending to die, but Pam’s persistence in staying there persuaded him to live
- 5 Pam decided to visit the hot national parks in the west instead of the chilly state of New Hampshire
The weather in October was good at the Jewell Trail’s base on Mount Washington. At the beginning of her trip, Pam shot her first selfie, which included a snowy trail and sunlight peeping through the trees. Pam’s lack of gloves, hat, or tank top was evidence of the pleasant weather near the base.
Her hiker’s pack, though, contained additional layers of clothing because the observatory had called the weather close to the summits “full-on winter.” Pam would climb Mount Washington, a dangerous peak that has claimed more than 150 lives.
It was dubbed the “home of the worst weather in the world” by hikers. Pam was nevertheless certain that the clothing she had brought would keep her warm. Additionally, Pam stated on Backpacker that she would turn around if it became too risky to continue hiking since “getting back to my car was more crucial than achieving the top.”
Pam wore extra clothes as the temperature fell and the wind grew stronger with each elevation gain. As the clouds drew closer and the fog grew thicker, visibility also shrank.
It was time to turn around and end her journey, but first she noticed some tracks. Because of her previous encounters, she was certain that the individual who left the footprints was wearing sneakers rather than hiking boots, which were inappropriate for the trail. According to Ty Gayne’s report about the rescue in The Union Leader.
Strong wind gusts shouted as they charged out of the fog and pounced on her left side and back. Only the sneaker prints in the snow kept Bales on Gulfside as the cloud cover changed from canopy to the equivalent of quicksand.
Even when John insisted that she save herself, AD Bales wouldn’t leave him behind
Pam called out in hopes that someone would respond as she followed the footsteps to the Great Gulf. With winds gusting to 50 mph and battering her from all sides, she walked as carefully as she could.
After some while, she came upon a man who was inadequately dressed given the surroundings. He was also covered in snow and rain, and because of hypothermia, he was unable to move or respond to Pam.
Bales changed him into spare clothing she had prepared after removing his damp clothing. Pam gave him hot chocolate with electrolyte cubes and used heat packs all over his body to increase his body temperature.
Pam was more eager to depart as the weather got worse. John (Pam referred to him as John because he wouldn’t give his true name) regained mobility after an hour of warming up, but he didn’t appear particularly anxious to move. Pam did not give him a choice. Ty penned:
He wasn’t aggressively attempting to harm her, but he also wasn’t actively trying to help her. Bales understood that if they didn’t leave right away, he would shortly pass away. “John, we need to leave right away,” she replied, looking her patient in the eyes. Bales did not allow for debate. He was following her down as she descended.
John was told to follow Bales as she took the quickest route back to base.
Pam and John moved slowly as she used her trekking poles to track the tiny holes
Pam performed Elvis songs to lift John’s spirits and keep her upbeat. After a while, though, John slipped into the snow and told Pam to continue on without him. Bales was trained in search and rescue, and she was warned not to jeopardize her life in order to save a patient. Pam, however, resisted going:
But Bales was having none of it and told John, “That’s not an option. The hardest part is still ahead of us, so stand up, soldier on, and keep moving! As he slowly rose up, Bales experienced extreme relief.
Four hours later, at 2 p.m., the two arrived at the Jewell Trail and base.
John later said that he came up the trail intending to die, but Pam’s persistence in staying there persuaded him to live
Pam warmed John’s clothing in her car at the base. John changed her clothing for his, then got in his car and left without saying “thank you.” I stood in the parking lot, perplexed, and cast a glance back at the raging mountains. What just occurred?” In a post on Backpacker, Pam.
Pam informed her teammates about the rescue in an email after returning home. On a confusing day, she attempted to conclude the chapter, but she was left with many unanswered questions.
Through a letter to her rescue organization, John provided the answers. “On Sunday, October 17, I climbed up my favorite trail, Jewell, to terminate my life,” the note stated. There would be terrible weather. I was prepared to go fast because I assumed nobody else would be there.
Pam now understood why John chose to ascend the trail barefoot. The last person John expected to see was Pam, who Pam described as “talking to me, changing my clothing, giving me food, making me warmer and she just kept calling me John, and I allowed her.” Pam was the only person John encountered.
John claimed he considered fleeing but decided against it since he didn’t want to endanger Bales’ life. He wrote, “I followed, but I did consider escaping because she couldn’t see me. But I only intended to kill myself, not anyone else, and I believe she would have made an effort to track me down.
Pam helped John see the value of his life. He had the impression that he wasn’t supposed to die yet because a stranger had put her life in danger to save him. He went on:
Later, I felt terrible embarrassment and never truly expressed my gratitude to her. If she serves as a model for your professionalism and organizational skills, you must be the best team out there. Please take this modest token of gratitude for her efforts to save me despite the danger level being well beyond it. She didn’t seem to think “NO”
John claimed to have looked for a job, a temporary residence, and mental health treatment. Thanks to good people like you, he wrote, “I have a new direction.”
Pam decided to visit the hot national parks in the west instead of the chilly state of New Hampshire
Although Pam Bales’ tale made her a legend in the New Hampshire mountains, she had no ambition to dominate the news. Even after it was revealed that the miracle rescue would be featured on the big screen, Bales remained modest about the incident.
In the Slovenian Alps, where production costs are lower than in the United States, Infinite Storm was filmed. Despite taking happened miles from Mount Washington’s summit, Bales told Concord Monitor that Infinite Storm should raise awareness of the risks associated with cold-weather hiking.
Bales did not take part in the movie’s filming, although she did stay in touch with Naomi Watts and the script writers. Watts told WCAX3 that Pam’s level of bravery was “very profound and moving.” “Strangers’ kind deeds. She also gives me the impression of being someone I simply want to know.
Pam is impressed after seeing a preliminary edit of the movie. She admitted to Concord Monitor that “it kind of carried me away.” She believes that the film will encourage viewers to take all necessary precautions and outfit themselves appropriately when trekking perilous terrain. Said Bales:
“I hope they leave (after watching ‘Infinite Storm’) thinking to check that weather report, especially on Mount Washington. Prior to knowing your equipment, you must first know yourself.
Bales has observed numerous individuals undervalue the risks associated with Mount Washington’s trail only to experience negative outcomes. They suggest going for a hike while wearing flip flops and carrying a 12-ounce bottle of water, thinking, “I will conquer the mountain,” and it leads them into problems almost every time, she said.
Bales no longer treks up the chilly peaks of New Hampshire. She monitors the western national parks, where heat-related deaths are more common than cold-related ones. After being away for three years, Pam said she intends to go back to New Hampshire.
This summer, I might return, she added. “I believe I should return and possibly dabble in the Whites once more.”