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.
Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On April 7, Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch from a 28-year-old Avon man hiking on Wright Peak. The hiker was unable to find the trail due to harsh winter weather and his unfamiliarity with the mountain. Phone coordinates placed the man on the trail about halfway between the summit and the treeline in a location that would be easy to talk him off the mountain. As one Forest Ranger guided the subject by phone over the trail and down the steep rock slab, two additional Rangers began hiking in to find him. The hiker slowly made his way down the trail where he met up with the Rangers who then escorted him back to the Adirondack Loj parking lot. Within two and a half hours of his first call, the hiker was back at his car without injury.
Town of Wilmington
Rescue: On April 14 at 6:33 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from a group of nine hikers whose friend had fallen down Slide One while preparing to snowboard at Whiteface Ski Center. The subject slid down the entire slide and into a waterfall. The friends made their way to the bottom of the slide and located their friend injured and unconscious, but still breathing. Forest Rangers responded with Whiteface Ski Patrol, evaluated the subject, and provided first aid. The subject was transported to the road via Whiteface Mountain tracked vehicle and transferred to Wilmington EMS ambulance for transport to the hospital for further medical treatment.
Town of Indian Lake
Search/Recovery: On April 13 at 5:30 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance in locating a 67-year-old male hiker from a seasonal residence in Olmstedville. Mr. Thomas Ullmann had not returned from a hike to OK Slip Falls by the time he had told family members he would be back. Forest Rangers responded and located tracks believed to be left by the subject. At 11:03 pm, Forest Rangers located Mr. Ullman deceased on a ledge part way down a gorge wall. New York State Police and the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office were alerted and responded to the scene. At the request of State Police, the coroner authorized Rangers to recover the subject and transport him out of the wilderness. With the temperature dropping and icy weather moving in, Rangers worked overnight utilizing high angle rope techniques to complete the recovery. Mr. Ullman was turned over to the Hamilton County coroner at 9:49 am on April 14. State Police are investigating the incident.
Town of Hague
Wilderness Rescue: On April 6, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a cell phone call from two Fairport men ages 20 and 23, stranded on the steep ledges near Rogers Rock Campground along Lake George. The two subjects were following a mobile mapping application but determined they could no longer travel safely on the route. Four Forest Rangers responded and because the lake still had ice, determined the best course of action was for the pair to walk to the shoreline for retrieval by airboat. Within three hours of the initial call, the pair made their way to the shoreline for Ranger pickup. The men were returned to their car and no injuries were reported.
Town of Fort Ann
Search: On April 10 at 5:03 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from Warren County 911. The caller had poor cell phone service, but stated she was lost near a campsite on Lake George. The call was then dropped. Dispatchers re-established communication with the subject and determined the caller had hiked up the western side of Buck Mountain and accidently took the trail down the eastern side. Due to lack of sunlight, the subject could not find her way back. One Forest Ranger responded and located the subject in good condition. She was then given a courtesy ride back to her vehicle.
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.