Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Adirondack Search and Rescue Highlights (July)

DEC Forest RangerState Department of Environmental Conservation Forest 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.

July missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks include:

Distressed Swimmer
On  July 2 at 2:49 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a report of an unresponsive man in the water near the “Bluffs” on Lower Saranac Lake. The 31-year-old man, from West Barry, jumped off the Bluff and resurfaced face down and unconscious. A Saranac Lake Islands campground staffer, in a boat close by, witnessed the incident and maneuvered his boat to the swimmer who had regained consciousness and began yelling for help. The campground staffer entered the water and helped the distressed man onto the boat. The staffer then transported the man to the DEC Second Pond Boat Launch where forest rangers assisted the Saranac Lake Rescue Squad in preparing the man for transport to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake. The campground staffer received treatment for cold water exposure before being released. The incident concluded at 2:53 p.m.

Hiker falls from waterfall
On July 3 at 4:15 p.m., Washington County 911 contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a male hiker had fallen from the waterfall at Shelving Rock in the town of Fort Ann. A forest ranger, the town of West Fort Ann and Fort Ann Fire Departments, West Fort Ann EMS, and Life Flight responded to the scene. At 4:53 p.m., the forest ranger on scene reported that a physician and an EMT were treating the man. The forest ranger then coordinated setup for rope extrication. At 5:33 p.m., forest rangers employed low angle rope techniques that led to the man’s rescue from Shelving Rock Falls. Rangers transported him by ATV to a waiting West Fort Ann ambulance, then Life Flight transported him to Albany Medical Center.

Medical emergency at Marcy Dam

On July 3 at 4:23 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a report of a 64-year-old man from Lake Placid in medical distress at Marcy Dam. The Colden summit steward notified a forest ranger who met up with the steward and the hiker as they walked toward Adirondak Loj. The forest ranger gave the man something to drink and walked him out. The hiker said he would seek medical attention on his own. The forest ranger was back in service at the Loj at 6:06 p.m.

Distressed hiker in High Peaks
On July 3 at 6:20 p.m., a passing hiker notified DEC Ray Brook Dispatch of a 65-year-old man from Clifton Park in apparent medical distress on a trail in the High Peaks Wilderness. A forest ranger responded immediately to the trailhead and started up the trail. Additional responding forest rangers reported to the trailhead along with members of the Lake Placid, Keene and Keene Valley Fire Departments and Lake Placid EMS. At 7:05 p.m. the first responding forest ranger reached the hiker, who was standing and walking. The forest ranger gave the man something to drink and advised all remaining volunteer responders, except the Keene Rescue Squad, to stand down. The ranger turned the hiker over to the Keene Rescue Squad at 8:00 p.m. and he refused further medical care.

Hikers stranded at Trap Dike
On July 4 at 5:37 p.m., DEC Ray Brook received a call from a passing hiker reporting two people stranded by a waterfall on the Colden Trap Dike and waving for assistance. The 26-year-old men from Whitley, Ontario hiked the Trap Dike before heavy rain storms moved through the area. They became trapped by high water and could not make it back down or find another exit. A forest ranger and the Lake Colden caretaker responded immediately, followed by two additional forest rangers stationed at the Adirondak Loj. The forest ranger and the Lake Colden caretaker reached the Trap Dike at 6:53 p.m. and determined the hikers were on a protected ledge but would require a technical rope rescue from their location. At 8:44 p.m. forest rangers responding from the Loj reached the Trap Dike. They climbed to the ledge, harnessed the hikers, and belayed them down two pitches to an area where they could safely climb down. The hikers reached Avalanche Lake at 12:34 a.m. and forest rangers rowed them across the lake. From there, rangers transported the hikers back to their vehicles at 2:41 a.m. using a utility vehicle. The hikers did not suffer any injuries and required no further care.

Another hiker falls from waterfall
On July 4 at 12:15 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received reports that a 16-year-old female from Niskayuna fell from the waterfall at Shelving Rock in the town of Fort Ann. Forest rangers responded and also notified Washington Rescue Services. At 12:35 p.m. an EMT responded to the scene. At 1:40 p.m., forest rangers and additional rescuers extricated the teenager out of the area and Fort Ann EMS transported her to Glens Falls Hospital for treatment.

Climber falls from Echo Cliffs
On July 5, at 3:00 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office reporting that an 18-year-old man from Johnstown fell approximately 70-110 feet from Echo Cliffs on Panther Mountain in Hamilton County. Forest rangers responded along with a DEC Environmental Conservation Officer, a Sherriff Deputy and the Piseco Fire Department and EMS. New York State Police Aviation also responded and airlifted the man to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. The man survived his injuries. The incident concluded at 7:15 p.m.

Lost hikers on Peaked Mountain
On July 5 at 4:00 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a report from New York State Police that a 61-year-old woman from Canandaigua and a 59-year-old woman from North River became separated from their hiking group while descending Peaked Mountain in the town of Johnsburg. The women called 911 reporting they followed a stream downhill and ended up in a swampy area. Two forest rangers responded to the trailhead at 13th Lake Campground. At 7:30 p.m. forest rangers located the woman using GPS coordinates provided by State Police. Forest Rangers escorted the hikers back to the trailhead at 13th Lake Campground without further incident. The incident concluded at 11:00 p.m.

Hiker found near Lost Pond Trail
On July 6 at 12:25 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch from a 54-year-old woman from Diamond Pond who was lost on the Lost Pond Trail near Putnam Pond in the town of Ticonderoga. Essex County managed to obtain GPS coordinates and the woman’s phone number despite spotty service. A forest ranger arrived at the trailhead at 1 p.m. Dispatch established text contact with the woman and told her to make noise as the forest ranger approached. At 1:23 p.m. the forest ranger made voice contact with the woman and located her. He escorted her back to her vehicle. The incident concluded at 1:51 p.m.

Hiker injures leg on Algonquin
On July 8 at 10:34 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call reporting an injured member of a hiking party on the trail to Algonquin. The 51-year-old woman from Belfont, Pennsylvania sustained a lower leg injury and was unable to proceed. Dispatch contacted the Marcy Dam Caretaker to respond and complete an assessment. Additional forest rangers also responded. At 11:04 a.m. the Marcy Dam caretaker reached the hiker, provided first aid and advised that a carryout would be necessary. At 11:57 a.m. three rangers, an assistant forest ranger and the Marcy Dam caretaker began the carryout just above the Whales Trail Junction. Two members of the injured hiker’s party also assisted. They carried her to the Whales Trail Junction and transferred her to an All-Terrain Vehicle for the remaining two-mile transport. Rangers released the injured hiker at the Adirondak Loj and she told them she would seek medical attention on her own. The incident concluded at 3:00 p.m.

Injured hiker on Haystack Mountain
On July 8 at 10:38 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the husband of a 56-year-old woman reporting the couple was hiking the trail to Haystack Mountain in the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness when she slipped on some wet roots and sustained a lower leg injury. Forest rangers responded and initiated a carry-out, bringing her back down to the trailhead. The incident concluded at 12:24 p.m.

Hiker rescued on Blue Mountain
On July 9 at 4:48 p.m., a DEC Blue Mountain backcountry steward and a forest ranger assisted a 56-year-old female hiker from Stanford, Connecticut who sustained a lower leg injury on Blue Mountain in the town Blue Mountain Lake. The hiker was able to walk out slowly on her own with assistance from the Forest Ranger and steward. They provided her with first aid and crutches. At 6:47 p.m. the woman returned to her vehicle and advised she would seek medical attention on her own.

Hiker rescued on Esther
On July 10 at 7:56 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch regarding an injured hiker on Esther Mountain in Wilmington. The 56-year-old woman from Rochester slipped while descending the mountain and sustained a lower leg injury. Five forest rangers responded to the GPS coordinates that Essex County 911 provided. Forest rangers reached the woman at 10:30 p.m. They carried the hiker over a mile until she could be evacuated by an All-Terrain Vehicle to the Flume Trail in Wilmington. The rangers released her to the Wilmington Rescue Squad at 12:58 a.m. and transported to Elizabethtown Community Hospital.

Injured hiker on Mt. Joe

On July 12 at 1:52 p.m., an assistant forest ranger contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch about an injured 14-year-old girl from New York City at the junction of the Long and Short Trail at Mt. Jo in the High Peaks Wilderness. She sustained a lower leg injury and could not proceed. Forest rangers responded to the area to assist the girl out of the woods. When they arrived at 2:45 p.m., they discovered another injured girl, 12 years old, from New York City who needed assistance. Dispatch contacted the Lake Placid Ambulance Squad asking them to meet the group at the Adirondak Loj. At 3:37 p.m. all parties were out of the woods. They transported the 14-year-old girl to Lake Placid Adirondack Health Center. The 12-year-old told rangers she would seek medical attention on her own with the assistance of a camp counselor

Hiker rescued on Whiteface

On July 13 at 11:50 a.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a call reporting an injured hiker at the summit of Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington. The 26-year-old woman from New Jersey slipped while attempting to seek shelter from a thunderstorm. Forest rangers responded, assessed her at the scene and placed her in a litter for carry-out to an established landing zone. At 2:20 p.m. a state police helicopter flew her to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake for further medical treatment. The incident concluded at 3:30 p.m.

Buck Mountain hikers lost

On July 14 at 12:05 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from two lost hikers on Buck Mountain in Fort Edward. The 17-year-old and 18-year-old females, both from Niskayuna said they summited Buck Mountain and were possibly descending on the wrong trail. GPS Coordinates placed them on the west side of the mountain on the trail to Buck Mountain from Pilot Knob Road. A forest ranger responded and met the women on the trail. He escorted them out and provided them with a ride back to their vehicle. The incident concluded at 2:15 p.m.

Injured camper on Lake Lila
On July 15, 2015 at 6:22 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Hamilton County 911 reporting an injured camper on Lake Lila in Hamilton County. The 27-year-old man from Buffalo had sustained an injury in a swimming accident. A DEC Forest Ranger and Long Lake EMS responded to the campsite. They assessed the man and determined he would need additional medical attention. The forest ranger and EMT transported him back to shore via boat and released him to a waiting ambulance for transport to the nearest medical center for treatment. The incident concluded at 8:25 p.m.

Helicopter rescue on Noonmark
On July 16 at 4:00 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from North Country Camps reporting one of its camp counselors had sustained a lower leg injury and was unable to continue back down Noonmark Mountain in Keene. The 21-year-old woman from Greenup, Kentucky, accompanied by another counselor and four children, became injured 1.5 miles from the trailhead. Forest rangers responded, assessed the woman and placed her in a litter for carry-out to an established landing zone. A state police helicopter flew her to Marcy Field and transferred her to Keene Valley Rescue. Keene Valley Rescue transported the woman to Elizabethtown Hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 7:00 p.m.

AMR hiker hurt

On July 18 at 2:10 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve requesting assistance for an injured hiker near Beaver Meadow Falls on the Adirondack Mountain Reserve property in Keene. The 67-year-old man from Salinas, California sustained a lower leg injury and required assistance to hike out. Forest rangers responded and assisted the man to the intersection of the trail with Lake Road. From there, rangers transported him to his residence on the Mountain Club Property. The man told them he would seek medical attention on his own. The incident concluded at 3:30 p.m.

Injured hiker in Johns Brook Valley

On July 19 at 5:30 p.m., a hiker contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch requesting assistance for his injured companion in the John’s Brook Valley in Keene. The 60-year-old companion from Saratoga Springs had fallen and sustained multiple injuries. Forest rangers responded and located the men roughly 45 minutes in on the Southside trail. They stabilized the injured man and placed him in a litter for a carry-out by an All-Terrain Vehicle to a waiting ambulance. Keene Valley Rescue transported the man to Elizabethtown Hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 10:30 p.m.

Sick hiker near Marcy Dam
On July 19 at 10:50 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker requesting assistance for her companion who was in distress near Marcy Dam after hiking Mt. Marshall in the High Peaks Wilderness. The 45-year-old woman from Baltimore, Maryland suddenly became ill. Ray Brook Dispatch texted the reporting party, who informed them that the pair were 10 minutes from the Yellow Trail in Algonquin, close to the Adirondack Loj. Forest rangers met the women on the trail and provided fluids to the woman in distress. The Rangers escorted her to the ADK Loj and put her into an ambulance, which took her to AMC Lake Placid for treatment. The incident concluded at 12:30 a.m. on July 20.

Minors lost on private land
On July 21 at 8:25 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a home owner on Butternut Pond reporting his neighbor’s two teenage boys from Mont-Hillaire, Quebec had been missing for the past six hours on private land in the town of Chesterfield. At approximately 2:30 p.m. the teenagers went for a walk, but had not yet returned. Forest rangers and volunteers from the Keeseville Fire Department responded to the location. At 9:02 p.m., a responding forest rangers located the pair walking the road in good condition. The teens hiked around Butternut Pond and became lost on the network trails. They hiked approximately 12 miles before coming out onto State Route 9N in the town of Chesterfield. The ranger transported the teens back to their camp and to their parents without further incident. The incident concluded at 10:30 p.m.

Injured hiker near Roaring Brook Falls
On July 25, 2015 at 2:15 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a report of an injured hiker at the Junction of Roaring Brook Falls in Giant Mountain Wilderness. The 39-year-old woman from Latham was alert and making her way down the trail with the assistance of friends. Forest rangers responded to Giant Ridge Trailhead and encountered the group 1.25 miles up the trail. They evaluated the woman, administered first aid and escorted her out. She told them she would seek medical attention on her own. The incident concluded at 5:30 p.m.

Dehyrated hiker
On July 25 at 3:45 p.m., the Keene Valley Fire Department requested assistance from forest rangers for a dehydrated woman at Rainbow Falls in the High Peaks Wilderness. Rangers and members of the Keene Valley Fire Department escorted the woman out through the Adirondack Mountain Reserve Property to a waiting Keene Valley Ambulance. The Ambulance transported her to Elizabethtown Hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 4:30 p.m.

Distressed High Peaks hiker
On July 25 at 3:40 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the Wright Summit Steward reporting a 56-year-old female hiker from Paris, France in medical distress near the Wright and Algonquin Junction in the High Peaks Wilderness. The Wright Summit Steward conducted a medical assessment, while a forest ranger headed to the scene. Once the ranger arrived, they requested a helicopter and placed it on standby while they organized a hoist operator and advanced medical care. However, the woman’s condition improved after a short time and she managed to walk with assistance. An assistant forest ranger then transported her to her car where she declined any further medical treatment. The incident concluded at 7:00 p.m.

Hiker falls in Avalanche Pass

On July 26 at 5:35 p.m., the Marcy Dam Interior Outpost caretaker contacted DEC Ray Brook requesting assistance for an injured female hiker. The 26-year-old woman from Elkhart, Indiana fell in Avalanche Pass. A DEC Assistant Forest Ranger assisted her to Marcy Dam where another Ranger waited on a Utility-Terrain Vehicle. The DEC Ranger transported the woman to the Adirondak Loj at 6:53 p.m., where she declined further medical treatment.

Hikers lost in Moose River Plains
On July 26, 2015 at 2:06 p.m., Herkimer County 911 contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting two lost hikers on Black Bear Mountain in the Moose River Plains in Hamilton County. The 20-year-old women from Rome were hiking on ski trail when they decided to head to the top. Two forest rangers located the women at 3:57 p.m. after following GPS coordinates provided by 911. The rangers then escorted the women out to the trailhead.

Injured hiker on Bald Mountain
On July 26, 2015 at 2:11 p.m., Herkimer County 911 contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch requesting assistance for a 70-year-old woman from Slingerlands who sustained a leg injury while hiking Bald Mountain in Webb. Three forest rangers and an assistant ranger responded with New York State Police, Town of Webb Police Department and Old Forge Rescue Squad to carry the hiker out. An ambulance met them at the trailhead and transported the woman to a hospital in the Utica area. The incident concluded at 4:22 p.m.

Injured hiker on Hadley
On July 26 at 1:50 p.m., Warren County 911 contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a 42-year-old female hiker from Ballston Spa with a lower leg injury on the Hadley Mountain fire tower trail in Hadley. Two forest rangers responded with the Hadley-Luzerne Rescue Squad and carried the hiker out to the trailhead. The rescue squad then transported her to Glens Falls Hospital. The incident concluded at 3:20 p.m.

Injured hiker on Marcy
On July 29, 2015 at 5:02 p.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a request for assistance for an injured 23-year-old female hiker from Chicago, Illinois, located one mile from Indian Falls on the Marcy trail. Forest rangers reached the woman at 5:21 p.m. and requested a hoist. Additional forest rangers responded to the Lake Placid Airport for pick up. They hoisted the woman out near Indian Falls and a helicopter transported her to AMC Saranac Lake for treatment. The incident concluded at 8:30 p.m.

Lost on Rocky Mountain Ridge
On July 30 at 4:46 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for an injured 32-year-old female hiker from Washington, DC, located one mile in on the Rocky Peak Ridge Trail on Giant Mountain. The injured hiker and her hiking companions administered basic first aid and continued walking. DEC Forest Rangers reached the party at 6:00 p.m. and assisted the woman out to the trailhead at 6:36 p.m. The woman and her companions followed a forest ranger to Elizabethtown Hospital where she sought treatment. The incident concluded at 7:00 p.m.

Lost near Giant Mountain

On July 31 at 9:25 p.m., a passing motorist contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting two girls at the Roaring Brook Trailhead in the Giant Mountain Wilderness off Route 73 had become separated from three other members of their hiking party. The three other members included a 53-year-old man from Hilton, NY, a 46-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl, both from Kendall, who were last seen on the Roaring Brook Trail in Keene Forest rangers responded to the area and made voice contact with the missing hikers at 11:20 p.m. They located them, in good condition, at 11:30 p.m. The rangers escorted the three hikers down the Roaring Brook Falls Trail and reunited them with the rest of their party. The incident concluded at 1:24 a.m. on August 1.


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.




2 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    If he jumped from the top of Bluff that is 66 feet. The water is pretty hard when you hit it from that height. I know a few people that have done that – it isn’t a good idea.

  2. Bill Davis says:

    Busy season! “Whales Trail Junction” is more properly “Whale’s Tail Ski Trail junction”. So easy to get those “lower leg injuries”. My best sprain, bouncing off a stubby root I call SGT Hulka’s Big Toe, coming down Mt. Colden to Lake Colden. Self-extracted with a walking stick and a limp thankfully.