Thursday, May 30, 2019

Nine Adirondack Wilderness Rescues Over Six Days

forest ranger logoNew 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
Wilderness Rescue: On May 24 at 4:13 pm, Warren County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch from the boyfriend of a 25-year-old woman from Binghamton. The subject was hiking Algonquin Peak in the High Peaks Wilderness with three other women in their mid-20s. After climbing Algonquin, thinking they were on Wright Peak, the group realized they were descending off the wrong side of the mountain. Dispatch conferred with Forest Ranger Dan Fox and advised him the group was returning to the summit to find the correct trail down. There was still four hours of daylight and the hikers had plenty of time to correct their navigational error. Communication was lost through 911 before coordinates could be gathered. The hikers reconnected with Ray Brook Dispatch near the top of Algonquin Peak at 5:48 pm, and again at 7:02 pm, at the Wright Peak junction. Their last known point was determined to be MacIntyre Falls at around 8 pm. Once darkness set in, Ranger Fox started in on foot to intercept the group as they were coming out. At 9:23 pm Ranger Fox located the group at the intersection with Marcy Dam and all the hikers were in good condition. The group continued down the trail and the incident safely concluded at 10:16 pm.

Town of St. Armand
Wilderness Rescue: On May 25 at 11:03 am, Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch from two hikers on Baker Mountain in Saranac Lake reporting a 78-year-old female with a possible broken ankle. Coordinates obtained from 911 placed the subjects just below the summit. Forest Rangers Peter Evans, Kevin Burns, and Scott van Laer responded with Assistant Forest Ranger Gregory Bowler, SARNAC, and Saranac Lake Ambulance and Rescue. At 12:49 pm, the injured hiker was transferred to a litter and was carried out to a waiting ambulance. At 1:15 pm, the hiker arrived at the ambulance and was transported to AMC Saranac Lake.

Town of Newcomb
Wilderness Rescue: On May 25 at 11:40 am, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 57-year-old male from Rochester near the summit of Goodnow Mountain. The hiker had twisted his leg on a root while ascending. Seven Forest Rangers and one assistant Forest Ranger were dispatched to the scene and reached the subject by 1:15 pm. It was determined that the subject could walk out with the assistance of crutches. The hiker arrived at the trailhead at 7:30 pm, where he declined any medical assistance and sought treatment in Saranac Lake.

Town of North Elba
Wilderness Rescue: On May 25 at 6:52 pm, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch was notified of a hiker separated from his hiking partner after attempting to climb Algonquin from Lake Colden. The reporting party stated that he had summited Algonquin and returned to the Lake Colden area to look for his hiking partner with negative results. The subject left Lake Colden and went to the Adirondak Loj to call for assistance. The two had planned to stay in the woods after summiting Algonquin. The decision was made to delay search efforts until the morning of May 26, due to the experience and fitness level of the hikers, who both had proper equipment for the conditions. One Forest Ranger responded to the Loj at 6:30 am the next morning to begin search efforts. Incoming hikers in the area were given descriptions of the missing hiker. At 9:29 am, Marcy Dam caretaker Kirstie Fanning located the missing hiker in good health as he was coming out to the Loj. The party was reunited at 10:18 am, and all units were back in service.

Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On May 25 at 6:56 pm, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from a 28-year-old male from Champlain who was disoriented. The subject did not know what trail he was on as he just pulled over on Route 73 in Keene and began walking into the woods. Coordinates provided by Essex County 911 placed him on a popular rock-climbing route called “The Chimney” in the Pitchoff Mountain Area. Forest Ranger James Giglinto responded and located the subject’s vehicle. By 7:40 pm, the Ranger established voice contact with the subject and the two walked back to their vehicles by 8 pm.

Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On May 25 at 6:56 pm, a call came into DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an injured 29-year-old male hiker from Collegeville, PA, at a lean-to near Lower Ausable Lake. At first it was believed to be the lean-to along the trail to Elk Pass, but later was pinpointed to be one of the private lean-tos at the south end of the lake. Upon reaching the hiker, it was revealed that he injured his lower leg near the summit of Blake. His friends splinted his leg and got him down the “Elevator Shaft” to the trail near the Warden Cabin at the south end of Lower Ausable Lake. Using a motorboat owned by AMR, Forest Rangers Scott van Laer and Robert Praczkajlo accessed the south end of the lake through choppy waters, thunderstorms, and heavy rains to reach the subject. The Rangers transported the group by boat to Lake Road and then out to a companion’s car. By 9 pm, all three were back at the trailhead where they chose to seek medical attention on their own.

Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On May 27th at 9:50 am, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a radio transmission from Assistant Forest Ranger Jonathan Leff advising of a hiker with an ankle injury near Lake Colden. The 31-year-old male from Howard Beach was able to walk but needed assistance. Assistant Forest Ranger Leff splinted the ankle to ease mobility. Forest Ranger James Giglinto advised Leff to continue walking out with the subject. A UTV was staged at Marcy Dam and Ranger Giglinto gave the subject a ride back to the trailhead. The hiker advised he would seek medical attention on his own and the incident concluded at 5:28 pm.

Warren County

Town of Lake Luzerne
Wilderness Rescue: On May 22 at 8:40 pm, Warren County 911 transferred a cell phone call from a lost 16-year-old female hiker to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch. The hiker left her home around 6 pm to go for a hike, and as darkness set in, realized she was in unfamiliar territory along a local snowmobile trail and called for assistance. The hiker remained on the line with dispatch until Forest Ranger Charles Kabrehl arrived at her location using coordinates he had received. Lake Luzerne Fire Department personnel met the group and the hiker was transported back to her family in good health by 10:20 pm.

Town of Bolton
Wilderness Rescue: On May 25 at 9:40 pm, Warren County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch from two hikers on the Tongue Mountain trails. On their way back down along Northwest Bay, the pair ran out of daylight and were not equipped with headlamps to hike out in the dark. Once in contact with Dispatch, the 32-year-old male from Rotterdam and 29-year-old female from Glenville were asked to remain in place, and Forest Rangers responded with a boat to bring them out and back to their vehicles. Forest Rangers Charles Kabrehl and Arthur Perryman responded and reached the hikers at 11:27 pm and gave them a courtesy ride back to their vehicles. The incident concluded at 12:10 am.

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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4 Responses

  1. Suji says:

    Glad to hear the girls got down safely, but really, how could anybody possibly confuse Algonquin for Wright? (It’s a lot bigger, for one thing, and there are, like, signs.) These are the best-marked trails anywhere in the high peaks. It is also common sense to have headlamps, or at least flashlights, in the event of getting delayed on the trail in approaching darkness. The Rangers shouldn’t have to go out looking for people who could perfectly well fend for themselves without feeling the need to call 911. It’s going to be a long summer for these guys.

  2. says:

    Busy weekend. Thank heaven for Rangers.

  3. Todd Eastman says:

    A lack of basic map skills and poor motor skills related to walking on a trail are not fixed with gear…

    … development of outdoor chops takes time and patient friends…

  4. John says:

    Came here via Scott van Laer’s Twitter post publicizing “Nine wilderness rescues in 6 days,” and when you read these, all you’re left wondering is how the hell do these qualify as search and rescues?

    4 of the 9 are bogus.

    Seriously, if a Ranger drives to ADK Loj, walks in the woods and runs into the lost party, who is walking out, that’s a rescue?

    On many of these, Rangers did nothing more than report to a location. And then they gave a ride on one. Last week’s FR reports gave credit to Rangers when civilians and other police forces actually did the rescues.

    I guess they’re now padding their statistics to make the case for more Rangers. I think they should now be issued a gag order, as this is all PR spin control now.

    Can someone tell me how many Rangers are on duty on the weekends during summer?

    If we have 50 Rangers in the ADKs, the majority of them should be working, not on pass days.

    They’ve really manipulated their schedules unlike a regular police force that treats weekends like any day during the week.

    We have enough Rangers, stop the scam SVL.

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