Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Rangers recover body of man who died in Trap Dike

forest ranger report

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Search and Recovery:
 On March 16 at 12:30 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch requested Forest Ranger assistance in the search for a subject overdue from hiking in the High Peaks. The 63-year-old subject’s car was located in the Adirondak Loj parking lot with the trail register entry on March 11, stating his destination of Mount Colden via the Trap Dike with an anticipated return of March 13. In partnership with State Police Aviation, DEC Forest Rangers deployed air, sled, and foot operations and were joined by NYSP Investigators, DEC Emergency Management, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, and Trained Rescue Climbers on March 16 and 17, with no result. On March 18, a Forest Ranger and volunteer rescuer located the subject, Thomas Howard, deceased in the Trap Dike. The subject was packaged and lowered to Avalanche Lake using a steep angle rescue system. The NYSP helicopter transported the deceased to Lake Placid Airport and the County Coroner. Twenty-seven Rangers worked tirelessly on this recovery mission over three days.

trap dike

DEC photo

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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

10 Responses

  1. Zephyr says:

    It has to be said. Don’t hike technical terrain in the winter solo. I have no idea of this person’s expertise, but that is a route that should not be attempted in severe weather either. For the uninitiated it is daunting on a perfect day in the summer just due to the steepness and exposure.

  2. Mike Douglass says:

    DEC Forest Rangers are the best but also the volunteer climbers are beyond Great , I have seen them in action first hand ! Thank You can’t be said enough !

  3. Gordon V Pieruzzi says:

    He was 63 yoa looking for some outdoor adventure. However 3 days elapsed subsequent to his scheduled return before a search team was organized. What is the advantage of registering with NYS DEC prior to hiking in ???. Obviously their is a glitch in this system MISS Commish!

    • Zephyr says:

      Using a trail register doesn’t mean they’ll launch a search party if you don’t come out at a particular time. That would result in endless false searches. It makes it easier for them to find you when a search is called for. It is an individual’s responsibility to leave word about their plans with a trusted party, along with instructions on when to call for help. Today most calls for help come from the people needing it since they usually carry cell phones, though of course in the Adirondacks there are many places with little or no cell coverage. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is no signal available in the Trap Dike.

    • TrailOgre says:

      Also ….
      There are many Hikers..
      that do not sign in at register

      • Zephyr says:

        And this is a good illustration of why it helps to sign in. Eliminates some of the guess work when trying to find someone. Please sign out too.

  4. Jeanne says:

    My husband & I have climbed the trapped dike twice. This is a serious climb. Top conditioning is necessary. Climbing the trapped dike in winter alone, you must think you’re super human. So sad…Rescue was difficult with rescue climbers.

  5. Todd Eastman says:

    Adventure without risk is…

    … not adventure.

    Mistakes happen, not all are survived.

    The rescue teams train for these events.

  6. Gary Rosenbaum says:

    Almost 50 years ago my crazy dad took me, a 16 year old, my 16 year old friend and my 10 year old brother up the trap dike for Memorial Day weekend, we exited the waterfall too early and became nearly stuck on the sheer rock face of Colden,my little brother was in a state of shock, tharn and I just pushed him forward to the top, luckily we made it.

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