Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A Weekend of Adirondack High Peaks Searches, Rescues

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 Newcomb
Wildland Search: At 5:03 am on Sept. 17, DEC’s Central Dispatch received a call for Forest Ranger assistance from Essex County 911 for two hikers lost on Allen Mountain. The group of three from Rochester had planned to hike Marshall and Allen mountains, but one of the hikers suffered a minor knee injury while climbing Marshall. The subject stayed at the Calamity lean-to with his camping gear while the other two subjects decided to hike Allen Mountain. On the trail, the pair became lost and spent the night in the wilderness. The next morning, they hiked up Skylight Brook to try to obtain cell coverage and called 911 for help. Based on the coordinates provided, Rangers located the two hikers, who were cold but in good condition. They were escorted back to the Calamity Brook lean-to where they were reunited with their companion and hiked out. The incident concluded at 2:30 pm.

Town of Keene
Wildland Rescue: On Sept. 17 at 1:50 pm, Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker advising that her husband, a 68-year-old male from Hinesburg, Vt., had suffered a possible fracture to his femur while hiking between Armstrong and Gothics mountains. The male hiker’s injury was non-ambulatory. Phone coordinates obtained by Essex County 911 placed the pair near the summit of Armstrong Mountain. Forest Rangers were dispatched to coordinate the rescue effort. Three Rangers were picked up by a New York State Police Aviation helicopter and two Rangers were inserted on the summit of Armstrong Mountain. The Keene Valley Rescue Ambulance staged at Marcy Field with an Advanced Life Support crew. One Ranger was staged at Keene Valley Fire Department with a ATV in the event a hoist extraction could not be performed. The Rangers inserted on Armstrong Mountain hiked down to the injured hiker, stabilized his injury, and outfitted him with a rescue harness. He was then hoisted out by the helicopter and airlifted to Marcy Field, where he was turned over to Keene Valley Rescue for transport to Elizabethtown Community Hospital. The Rangers that were inserted assisted the remainder of the hiking group out of the woods six miles with their gear, and the incident concluded at 4:30 pm.

Town of Newcomb
Wildland Rescue: On Sept. 22 at 10:54 am, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for Forest Ranger assistance for a 37-year-old male from Albany who suffered a lower leg injury at 2nd Pond off Gulf Brook Road in the Boreas Tract. The hiker was non-ambulatory and requested assistance. The caller hiked out five miles to obtain assistance at Gulf Brook Road, which is closed to public vehicles. Forest Ranger Jamison Martin responded, was on scene by 11:21 am, and met the reporting party. He located the subject by 12:03 pm, and provided a courtesy transport for the injured hiker and friend back to their vehicle. The injured hiker advised he would seek medical attention on his own and the incident concluded at 1:15 pm.

Hamilton County

Town of Indian Lake
Wildland Rescue: At 12:58 pm on Sept. 18, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch was notified by Hamilton County Sheriffs of a 70-year-old male from Columbus, Ohio, with a leg injury on Blue Mountain, approximately a half-mile from the summit. The hiker, his wife, and two sons were descending Blue Mountain when the subject fell on a rock and heard a popping sound in his knee. Two passing hikers, one of whom was an EMT, stopped to assist. A Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputy was the first to reach the injured hiker. Three Forest Rangers responded, relaying fire department personnel and equipment to the summit via the access road to the communications towers. The hiker was packaged into a litter, and Forest Rangers, volunteers, and family members carried the injured hiker .4 miles up the steep incline to the summit using a combination of steep angle rope techniques and backpack carriers. The injured hiker was loaded into a Hamilton County Sheriffs vehicle at 4:45 p.m., and transported down the mountain road to a waiting ambulance, which brought him to Glens Falls Hospital for further care.

Washington County

Town of Fort Ann
Wildland Rescue: On Sept. 19 at 6:40 pm, Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Warren County 911 requesting assistance near Shelving Rock Trail on Lake George for an injured fisherman, a 53-year-old male. The fisherman had fallen, hit his head, and sustained a head laceration. The fisherman was conscious but could not walk out due to the injuries. Fort Ann Rescue personnel were dispatched, as well. Ranger Evan Donegan arrived on scene by 7:15 pm, and proceeded into the woods. Fort Ann Fire and Washington County Sheriffs arrived and headed in, locating the subject near the Knapp Estate. The group met up with Ranger Donegan on the trail near Log Bay. The Ranger escorted the group to the trailhead, where a waiting ambulance took the subject to Glens Falls Hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 9:15 pm.

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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