UPDATED 5:45 PM, Wednesday, 8/2: The body of Ralph W. ‘Skip’ Baker, 50, of Rochester, the hiker missing in the Adirondack High Peaks since Sunday, was found about 11 am Tuesday, August 1, 2017 in a ravine near the east branch of the AuSable River in the town of Keene. Mike Lynch at Adirondack Explorer has the latest on that recovery.
The incident comes on the heels of another busy weekend for Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks during which they conducted several other successful searches, and several rescues. These included a 13-year old boy who survived a 25-foot fall at Shelving Rock Falls on the East Side of Lake George; three rescues by helicopter, including an overnight rescue from Bushnell Falls; and a carry-out from near the top of Bald Mountain.
What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks. You can find all of DEC’s Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Reports here.
Town of Newcomb
Wildland Search: On July 27 at 11 am, Franklin County 911 notified DEC Ray Brook Dispatch of a 26-year-old Riverhead man who was disoriented on the Huntington Wildlife Forest. The man had clear cell phone contact and was advised by Dispatch to stay where he was. DEC Forest Rangers Del Jeffery and Ben Baldwin arrived within 10 minutes and used siren blasts near the reported location from the cell phone call to alert the man. After several unsuccessful attempts to use sound attraction, both Rangers hiked toward the man’s likely location and made voice contact with him by 2 pm, safely returning the man to his vehicle by 3 pm.
Town of Keene
Wildland Rescue: On July 27 at 6:30 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a radio transmission from John’s Brook Interior Outpost regarding a 20-year-old Michigan woman suffering severe abdominal pain. She had been moved from Bushnell Falls to Johns Brook Lodge, where she was further monitored and spent the night. Her condition did not improve over night so she was moved to the DEC Johns Brook Outpost, where DEC Forest Rangers and a NYSP helicopter evacuated her to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.
Town of North Elba
On July 30, 2017 at 11:30 pm a group of four hikers on the summit of Algonquin Peak contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch requesting assistance. The group consisted of an 18 year old from Chalfont, PA; an 18-year old from South Hampton, PA; a 20 year-old from and a 18-year old both from Landsdale, PA. The DEC Forest Ranger spoke to the group by phone. Upon learning they were not lost, none were injured or distressed and they had lights and other gear the Forest Ranger directed to the correct trail and their campsite.
On July 31, at 6:03 am the same group contacted DEC Central Dispatch via Essex County 911 and reported that members of the party had spent the night off-trail near the summit of Algonquin. They were dehydrated and ill and did not know their location. Essex County 911 was unable to obtain precise coordinates of the cell phone at that time. A Forest Ranger, assisted by the Lake Colden Interior Outpost Caretaker and the Algonquin Summit Steward, immediately responded and began to search for the group. At 11:06 am, Essex County 911 was able to obtain a set of coordinates on the west slope of Algonquin Peak. The coordinates were provided to the searchers via DEC Ray Brook Dispatch.
Searchers located the group of hikers at 11:27 am. It was determined that one member of the group was in such distress he was unable to return to the campsite on his own. A State Police Aviation Unit helicopter with a Forest Ranger on board assigned to the nearby search on Gothics was redirected to the Algonquin Rescue. The helicopter picked up the young man from the summit of Algonquin and transported him to Adirondack Medical Center Lake Placid. Forest Rangers escorted the remaining members of the group back to campsite at Marcy Dam.
Town of Inlet
Wildland Search: On July 25 at 8 pm, Herkimer County 911 transferred a request to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch to find four lost campers from Limekiln Lake State Campground. Town of Inlet Police used sirens to attract the four Groton teenagers back to the road while two DEC Forest Rangers attempted to intercept the group. By 10:30 pm, Rangers made contact with the group, determined they were well enough to hike out, and escorted the four back to the campground without further incident.
Town of Webb
Wildland Rescue: On July 25 at 4 pm, Herkimer County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch regarding a 66-year-old Honeoye Falls man who sustained a knee injury near the top of Bald Mountain. Forest Rangers Gary Miller and Luke Evans worked with local volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians to carry the injured man down one mile to a waiting ambulance. He was evaluated by ambulance personnel but was transported by his son to a hospital close to their home. All first responders were clear of the scene by 7 pm.
Town of Johnsburg
Wildland Rescue: On July 26, Warren County 911 asked DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch to dispatch Rangers to Crane Mountain, where a man had suffered a knee injury. Six DEC Forest Rangers responded and determined the 71-year-old Brooklyn man needed to be hoisted from his remote location. A New York State Police helicopter from Albany responded and Rangers were able to harness and evacuate the man to a Johnsburg EMS ambulance. Garnet Lake Fire Department assisted with the rescue, helicopter landing and patient transfer.
Town of Fort Ann
Wildland Rescue: On July 30 at 2:47 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Washington County 911 requesting assistance for a 13-year-old boy who fell approximately 25 feet while hiking near Shelving Rock Falls and sustained a leg and head injury. There was a nurse hiking nearby who was able to assist him until Forest Rangers, Fire Department and EMS crews arrived on scene. The teenager was brought out to an awaiting ambulance by Forest Rangers and West Fort Ann Firefighters. He was then evaluated by Fort Ann EMS and taken to a local hospital for further medical attention.
In a related incident at Bash Bish Falls on the New York/Massachusetts border
On July 27th at 12:30 pm, Columbia County Sheriffs located the body of a 21-year-old man from Ghent NY, who had fallen into the falls on Friday, July 25th. According to the Albany Times Union, the body was located with an underwater camera, but due to the location, Officers were unable to remove the man from the falls. In addition to Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, search and rescue efforts were conducted by the Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Berkshire County Sheriff’s Department, Massachusetts State Police, Pittsfield Fire Department, Egremont Fire Department, Southern Berkshire Ambulance squad, New York State Police, Copake Fire Department, New York Fire Coordinator, Berkshire County Fire Coordinator and Fastracs Excavating of Red Hook.
Be Prepared: Properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety webpage and Adirondack Trail Information webpage for more information about where you intend to travel. The Adirondack Almanack reports weekly Outdoor Conditions each Thursday afternoon.