Thursday, June 11, 2015

Adirondack Search and Rescue Highlights (May)

DEC Forest RangerForest rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, forest rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the backcountry.

The following is a summary of rescue missions in May. The information was provided by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Overdue hiker in High Peaks
DEC’s dispatch office in Ray Brook received reports of an overdue hiker in the High Peaks Wilderness 9:15 p.m. on Sunday, May 3. The wife of a 50-year-old man from Fairport reported her husband planned to stay Saturday night at the Klondike lean-to, climb Yard and Big Slide, and return home Sunday. Forest rangers responded and located the hiker’s vehicle at South Meadow. After checking the Garden parking area in Keene Valley, forest rangers went in on the Klondike Trail. They located the hiker at the Klondike lean-to at 2 a.m. in good condition. The hiker decided to stay an extra night at the lean-to due to the physically demanding hiking conditions, which included a heavy snow pack and the fact that he had a broken headlamp. Rangers escorted him back to his vehicle at South Meadow at 4 a.m.

Overnight rescue in Indian Pass
DEC’s dispatch office in Ray Brook received a call on Monday, May 4, reporting two distressed hikers traveling from Upper Works to the Adirondack Loj in the High Peaks Wilderness. The 34-year-old man and 27-year-old woman, both from Plattsburgh, left Upper Works at noon. They texted a family member at 5:45 p.m. stating “the trail to the Loj is closed” and requested assistance. Two forest rangers responded first, one from Upper Works and one from the Adirondack Loj. The forest ranger who started from the Adirondack Loj encountered high water from snow melt and was forced to turn back. Additional forest rangers were sent to Upper Works. The rangers located both hikers at 2:08 a.m. on the Indian pass trail. The male hiker had lost a boot in the snowpack and sustained a possible lower leg injury. Due to the extent of the injuries, a state police helicopter responded at 7:35 a.m. and airlifted the pair to AMC Lake Placid for treatment. The Lake Placid Fire Department assisted in the rescue. The incident concluded at 8:05 a.m.

Injured hiker on Coney Mt
Franklin County 911 advised DEC’s dispatch office in Ray Brook of an injured hiker on Coney Mountain in Tupper Lake at 2:26 p.m. on Friday, May 15. The 48-year-old woman from Massena had sustained a possible lower leg injury one mile from the trailhead. Franklin County 911 obtained GPS coordinates from her cell phone and relayed the coordinates to the responding forest ranger. The forest ranger located the woman on the trail at 3:06 p.m. and assisted her on the walk back to the trailhead. They reached the trailhead at 3:48 p.m. where she declined further medical attention.

Group lost on Crane Mt
DEC’s dispatch office in Ray Brook received a transferred call at 4:10 p.m. on Sunday, May 17, from Warren County 911 from a member of a six-person hiking party reporting it had become lost while descending Crane Mountain in Warren County. The hiking party comprised of a 32-year-old man from Queensbury, a 46-year-old woman from Porters Corners, a 32-year-old man from Westerlo, a 30-year-old man from Westerlo, a 35-year-old man from Queensbury, and a 34-year-old woman from Fort Edward. They started hiking at 11 a.m. and reached the summit of Crane Mountain at approximately 1 p.m. but had taken the wrong trail down. Warren County 911 provided GPS coordinates showing the lost hikers were in a drainage area near neighboring Huckleberry Mountain. Forest rangers arrived on scene and took an ATV trail into the area. They located the party about .5 mile from the Sky Hi Road at 5:33 p.m. and found all individuals in good condition. Rangers escorted the party to the road and gave them a ride back to their vehicles at the Crane Mountain trailhead. No further action was required and the incident concluded at 6:20 p.m.

Medical incident on Bog River
On May 18, 2015 at approximately 10:00 a.m., an assistant forest ranger while on boat patrol near campsite #12 on Low’s Lake, was flagged down by the wife of a 55-year-old male from Middlebury, Vermont who was in medical distress. The woman had transported her husband in the bow of her solo canoe from the causeway located near Parker’s Island. The assistant ranger advised the woman to paddle to the shore. The assistant Ranger and woman assisted her husband to a nearby residence. The assistant forest ranger contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch at approximately 10:30 a.m. to request Long Lake Rescue be dispatched to the Sabattis Station parking area. The assistant forest ranger transported the couple to the parking area where they were met by the Long Lake Rescue Squad for transport to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake. The incident concluded at 11:30 a.m.

Lost hikers on Black Mt
On May 18, 2015 at 7:51 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker’s father requesting assistance in locating his daughter and her hiking companion who were lost on Black Mountain in Washington County. The 29-year-old female from Averill Park and the 29-year-old female from Hayden Heights, New Jersey became disoriented after reaching the summit of Black Mountain. They informed Dispatch they were at the trail junction and could see Lake George and a sign to Black Mountain Point. DEC Forest Rangers advised the women to go to Black Mountain Point where forest rangers would pick them up by boat from Green Island. Forest rangers reached the women by boat at 8:57 p.m. in good condition. Forest rangers transported them to Hewlett’s Landing and back to their vehicle at Black Mountain Trailhead. The incident concluded at 9:30 p.m.

Emergency at Marcy Dam
On May 21, 2015 at 4:08 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker requesting medical attention for his companion, a 20-year-old female from Brooklyn, who was experiencing muscle fatigue and exhaustion. The hikers called from one of the Marcy Dam lean-tos in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness. Forest rangers hiked into Marcy Dam and reached the couple at 6 a.m. Rangers evacuated the non-ambulatory woman by UTV to the intersection of South Meadows Road and Adirondack Loj Road where they were met by the awaiting Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Squad for transport to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid. The incident concluded at 8:30 a.m.

Injured hiker near Avalanche Lake
On May 23, 2015 at 5:18 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a member of a hiking party reporting a 65-year-old female from Oreland, Pennsylvania with a possible lower leg injury. She had slipped in mud on the trail between Avalanche Lake and Marcy Dam. Forest rangers and the Marcy Dam caretaker were immediately dispatched. The Marcy Dam caretaker reached the hiking party at 6:02 p.m. and confirmed the injury. The hiker was carried out by forest rangers, the caretaker, and members of her hiking party. She was transferred to the Lake Placid Ambulance Squad at 9:46 p.m. for transport to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.

Distressed rock climber on Chapel Pond slab
On May 23, 2015 at 7:24 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an uninjured 28-year-old female rock climber from Montreal, Quebec “stuck halfway down the slab” at Chapel Pond. The climber had “frozen” and been unable to continue up or down without assistance. Forest rangers, two technical rope climbers who volunteer to assist forest rangers with rope rescues, and personnel from Keene and Keene Valley Fire Departments responded. A technical rope climber reached the woman and was able to lower her 200 feet to safety. All units cleared the incident at 9:20 p.m. The climber did not seek medical treatment.

Lost paddler on Cedar River
On May 23, 2015 at 8:45 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the Indian Lake Fire Department requesting assistance in locating a lost paddler on the Cedar River. While paddling, a 27-year-old from Amherst had become shaken up after being rolled in the water while going over Peasley Falls and decided not to continue down the river. His two companions, a 26-year-old from Rochester and a 26-year-old from Bolivar, continued downstream with his boat. After exiting the Cedar River they went immediately to the Indian Lake Fire Department to report the incident and believed their companion may be lost. Forest rangers responded and entered at two separate locations on the Cedar River while eight members of the fire department searched in the immediate area. Forest rangers located the subject approximately three miles from where his companions had last seen him. Due to exhaustion, he had stopped along the river and set up a small area to sleep. The forest rangers escorted him out of the woods without further incident. The incident concluded at 4:30 a.m.

Lost on Castle Rock Mountain
On May 24, 2015 at 4:40 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a report of a 46-year-old male from Ilion, New York lost on Castle Rock Mountain in the Sargent Pond Wilderness. The hiker advised he had reached the summit but may have turned off onto a herd path while descending. He had yelled for help and blew a whistle and no one responded. He contacted Hamilton County 911 and asked for assistance. Forest rangers responded and made cell contact with the man upon arrival. Rangers established voice contact quickly and located the man at approximately 5:30 p.m. in good condition. Forest rangers escorted him down the mountain. The incident concluded at 6 p.m.

Ill hiker near OK Slip Falls
On May 24, 2015 at 4:50 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a home owner requesting assistance for a hiker whose companion fell ill on the OK Slip Falls Trail in Hamilton County. The 26-year-old male and 26-year-old female, both from Ithaca, were descending the OK Slip Falls Trail when the woman began to experience medical distress. While she rested on the trail her companion went to get help. He arrived at the private residence and asked the home owner to call for assistance. Forest rangers responded and opened the Northern Frontier gate to the Ok Slip Falls Access Road. They reached the woman at approximately 5:45 p.m. She was brought back to the gate and verbally signed off on any medical attention. The incident concluded at 6 p.m.

Dehydrated hiker on Colden
On May 24, 2015 at 4:54 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a 56-year-old male from Mount Sinai advising he was in medical distress on the top of Mount Colden. His call was dropped and dispatch was unsure as to which side of Colden he was on. A forest ranger and the Lake Colden caretaker responded from the Flowed Lands while the Marcy Dam caretaker responded to Lake Arnold. At 5:30 p.m. a second call came in from the hiker who was able to confirm he was on the Lake Arnold side. The Marcy Dam caretaker reached the hiking party at 7:02 p.m. and determined the man to be dehydrated and exhausted. After a brief rest, he was escorted to Marcy Dam. At 7:45 p.m., Forest Forest rangers transported the hiking party out on a UTV from Marcy Dam to the intersection of South Meadows Road and Adirondack Loj Road. He was advised to seek medical attention if his condition did not improve. The incident concluded at 8:30 p.m.

Injured hiker on private land
On May 25, 2015 at 9:15 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for an injured 15-year-old female from Montreal, Quebec on a private trail on South Bouquet Mountain. The hiking party was located approximately one mile in from the trailhead. A Forest ranger responded and reached the girl at 11:09 p.m. With the assistance of other hikers and the forest ranger the teenager was escorted back to the trailhead. She advised she would seek medical attention on her own. The incident concluded at 11:25 p.m.

Lost on Scarface
On May 31, 2015 at 3 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a 36-year-old female from Syracuse who had lost the trail while descending from the summit at Scarface Mountain. She had bushwhacked down the mountain, but still could not locate the trail. DEC advised her to contact Essex County 911, which could obtain her GPS coordinates. Once her location was established, forest rangers determined she was going in the wrong direction, but was close to a seasonal camp road. DEC provided her with a new directional bearing to reach the camp road where she was met by the responding forest rangers. The rangers escorted her down the road and then drove her to her vehicle at the Scarface Mountain trailhead. The incident concluded at 4:30 p.m.

Hiker drowns in Feldspar Brook
On May 31, 2015, several forest rangers assisted in the search and recovery of a missing female hiker in the Feldspar Brook area of the High Peaks. Information on this incident is available here.


Mike Lynch

Mike Lynch is a staff writer and photographer for the nonprofit Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly news magazine with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues.

Mike’s favorite outdoor activities include paddling, hiking, fishing and backcountry skiing. In 2011, he paddled the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine.

From 2007 until 2014, Mike worked as an outdoors writer and photographer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake.

Mike welcomes story ideas and can be reached at mike@adirondackexplorer.org.




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