I'm not focusing here on the particular weather situation that this unfortunate woman from NYC found herself in ten days ago up there near Madison. But people are naive or "misremembering" if they think that a person can do a one-day, long distance (twenty miles) peak-bagging traverse above tree-line in the Presidentials when it is blowing 100 mph and the raw temperature is below zero. IT CAN'T BE DONE.
That is a VERY long day in the winter with great conditions. I have to agree with nick here, that hike is really undoable in those conditions. I am guessing that if you polled all members of MRS they would say that hike is a crazy idea to start with unless all conditions are great from the weather to the snow. I feel very bad about what happened but IMO just leaving the car that day with that traverse in mind knowing the forecast was nuts, especially being solo and never having done it before. I'm glad all the people involved in the search are all ok.
I also know a couple of people who I hope will learn something from this and start to use more common sense in the course of their adventures or I fear they could end up the same way. The mountains can have a pretty harsh way of reminding us we are not as badass as we think sometimes. I like many others who have posted had a lot of luck on my side when I was younger.