Tuesday, August 29, 2017

13 Recent Adirondack Search and Rescue Operations

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks. 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 Adirondack backcountry.

What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks.

Essex County

Town of Keene
Rescue: On August 14 at approximately 2:38 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a report of an 18-year-old male stuck on a ledge approximately 50 feet above Chapel Pond. The young climber was attempting to free-climb a portion of the Shipton’s Arête and became stranded high above his starting point and unable to go up or down. Forest Rangers Praczkajlo and Kostoss responded immediately and were quickly able to reach the free-climber. Forest Rangers employed the aid of a nearby licensed rock climbing guide from Alpine Endeavors of New Paltz. The guide was climbing in the area and offered his assistance helping the Rangers secure and safely lower the subject to the ground.

Town of Keene
Rescue: On August 19, Essex County 911 operator contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch with a report of a woman having a severe reaction to a bee sting. Three Forest Rangers responded, one on foot and two with NYSP Aviation, as well as an onboard paramedic. After interviewing other hikers in the area, Rangers received information that a party of six were attacked by a bee swarm and that most of the group had suffered stings. One forest ranger and a paramedic were lowered by helicopter near the family and evaluated the injuries. A 27-year-old women was exhibiting a severe allergic reaction to the bee stings and was flown by NYSP Aviation to Lake Placid Medical Center for treatment. The remainder of the family did not require advanced medical care and walked out to the trailhead with Ranger assistance.

Town of Keene
Rescue:  On August 21 at 4:30 p.m., Essex County 911 called DEC Ray Brook Dispatch requesting assistance for a 40-year-old female reported to have a broken leg near the intersection of Algonquin and Wright mountains. The subject was descending Algonquin when she felt a pop in her ankle. Two Forest Rangers responded with New York State Police Aviation, and one Ranger was lowered down to the subject’s location. After stabilizing the injury, the woman was secured into a harness, hoisted to the helicopter, and flown to the Adirondack Medical Center (AMC) in Saranac Lake, where she received further medical assistance.

Town of North Elba
Rescue:  On August 25 at 5:40 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch was contacted by the Marcy Dam caretaker requesting assistance for a 33-year-old male from Harrisburg, Penn., who had sustained a lower leg injury while hiking the trail above Marcy Dam. The subject continued to walk but the injury appeared to be getting worse. A Ranger was dispatched with an UTV to retrieve the subject at Marcy Dam. At 6:39 p.m., the Ranger met up with the subject and transported him back to the Adirondack Loj parking lot, where he advised he would seek medical attention on his own.

Town of Keene
Rescue:  On August 27 at 3:50 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch was contacted by radio from the Cascade Summit Steward reporting a 50-year-old female hiker with an ankle injury at the upper viewing area just below the Porter Trail intersection.  The subject was not able to bear weight on the ankle. NYSP Aviation was requested due to the long distance from the trailhead. A Forest Ranger was inserted to apply a splint and harness to the subject.  At 5:11 p.m., the hiker was airlifted to Adirondack Medical Center for further treatment.

Franklin County

Town of Harrietstown
Search: On August 21 at 5:38 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a woman who got lost while attempting to navigate Donaldson Mountain, a trail-less peak in the Adirondack High Peaks region. The subject, using Google Maps and an IPhone compass, believed she had missed a cairn that would lead her to Calkins Brook. After speaking with a Ranger, the subject re-summited Donaldson Mountain, found the trail, and began her descent. The Ranger responded, hiked in, and located the subject on the trail. The Ranger rehydrated the subject and assisted her out to the trailhead.

Town of Harrietstown
Rescue:  On August 24 at 9:20 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker at the Ward Brook Lean-to in the Seward Range, advising his companion had injured his foot and was unable to walk out on his own.  A Forest Ranger responded with an UTV to extract the subject, who was about 6.5 miles from the trailhead. Reaching the subject at 11:15 p.m., the Ranger provided necessary first aid and transported the subject to the Corries Road Outlet. The subject was then transported to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake, where he received medical treatment.

Town of Harrietstown
Rescue:   On August 26 at 4:41 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a report of a male hiker in his 70s on a solo hike and having trouble descending Ampersand Mountain in the High Peaks Wilderness. The difficult terrain and lack of sufficient food and water rendered him unable to continue. The subject was being slowly helped down the mountain by concerned hikers on the trail.  Four Forest Rangers responded and reached the subject at 5:50 p.m.   Forest Rangers aided him with food and water and continued to assist him on his descent.  Approximately one mile short of the trailhead, a backpack litter was utilized to carry the subject the remainder of the distance. At 8 p.m., the crew made it to the trailhead, where Saranac Lake Rescue Squad began an evaluation and transported him to the Adirondack Medical Center for further medical treatment.

St. Lawrence County

Town of Morristown
Search/Recovery: On August 23 at 5:15 p.m., three Forest Rangers with a boat and an Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) responded to a report of an overturned boat believed to have two people on board on Black Lake. One subject was located deceased, and by 7:55 p.m. with light fading, the Sheriff’s Department called off search efforts for the day. On August 24, Rangers assisted search efforts by supporting dive operations and searching water surfaces and shoreline areas with negative results. Around 8:30 a.m. on August 25, the second subject was located and recovered by Forest Rangers and other search personnel. The body was turned over to the St. Lawrence County Coroner. The St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department is continuing to investigate the incident.

Warren County

Town of Lake George
Search: On August 16, a Forest Ranger received a direct call from a woman lost with her family near Berry Mill Pond in Lake George. The Ranger quickly relayed information to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch and responded to the location. Upon arrival, the Ranger located the family, who had found their own way back to the trail. The Ranger assisted the family to the trailhead without further incident.

Town of Bolton
Rescue: On August 18 at approximately 6:13 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a group of four hikers stranded on the Tongue Mountain Range in the Lake George Wild Forest. After making an incorrect turn along their route to Fifth Peak, the group ended up on the lake side of the range. Finding themselves exhausted, ill equipped for a backcountry experience, and with little water and no lights, the group called Warren County 911 for help. Forest Ranger Kabrehl contacted the hikers and determined it would be best to pick the subjects up at the lake side trailhead using a forest ranger vessel. All four hikers were located along the shore and transported back to Lake George Village.

Town of Stony Creek
Rescue:  On August 22 at 5:38 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call requesting assistance for a subject who sustained a leg injury while attempting to climb a waterfall. The subject was off Warrensburg Road but the exact location was unknown at the time of the call due to poor cell phone service in the area. Two Rangers responded to the Stony Creek Ranch. Upon arrival, the subject was located and assisted out by an individual on an ATV. It was determined that the subject had been staying at a camp on Warrensburg Road, had hiked into the woods, and located a horse trail near a waterfall where the fall occurred. Rangers splinted the injury and assisted the man out to the road. The subject sought further medical attention on his own.

Town of Bolton
Rescue:  On August 25 at 8:11 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Warren County 911 reporting four subjects stranded at the cabin on top of Thomas Mountain. The subjects reported they were out of water and had no flashlights. A Forest Ranger responded, hiked up to the cabin, and located the subjects at 10:10 p.m. After giving them water and lights, the Ranger escorted the subjects back to the trailhead.

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.

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Stories under the Almanack's Editorial Staff byline come from press releases and other notices.

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2 Responses

  1. Taras says:

    I’m mystified as to why the DEC refers to Donaldson as being a “trail-less peak”. All forty-six 46er peaks have trails and they’re depicted on maps. Donaldson has more than one trail leading to its summit.


    The peaks that traditionally had no trails (many decades ago) have self-evident,*unmarked* trails (i.e. they lack colored DEC trail-marker disk). However, these trails are well-worn and evident.

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