All-day Marcy rescue one of 3 over weekend
Ice and snow in the High Peaks led to a hiker’s injury on the summit of Mount Marcy Saturday morning, and then made for a grueling mission that took more than 14 hours and involved more than a dozen rescuers — one of whom suffered what appeared to be heart problems during the carry-out.
This was one of three hikers forest rangers with the state Department of Environmental Conservation helped rescue this weekend from the wilderness areas around Lake Placid and Keene.
On Saturday, May 8 at 10:48 a.m., Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook dispatch reporting an injured hiker on the summit of Mount Marcy. The 52-year-old woman from Bailey, Colorado, had slipped on the ice and suffered a hip injury.
Nine forest rangers and two volunteers from the Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks (SARNAK) responded to the Adirondak Loj to evacuate the injured hiker. New York State Police Aviation was requested, but unfavorable weather conditions prevented any flights.
At 4:39 p.m., almost six hours after the call Forest Rangers Robbi Mecus and Megan LaPierre reached the subject and determined the injury was non-weight bearing. While waiting for additional resources to arrive on scene, the rangers stabilized the injury and constructed a small shelter to prevent further cold exposure. A Lake Placid paramedic also responded to the summit to provide additional care.
The hiker was packaged in a litter at 6:58 p.m., and rescuers began the carry-out. It is more than 7 miles from the summit of Mount Marcy to the nearest trailhead. Poor trail conditions — 2 to 3 feet of snowpack and ice — led to a slow evacuation for the exhausted rescuers. Additional forest rangers responded to relieve the first team of rescuers and, with the assistance of New York State Police, began transporting additional rescue personnel to the Marcy Dam Outpost.
During the evacuation, one of the rescuers presented possible cardiac symptoms. The paramedic on scene evaluated and closely monitored the rescuer while the remaining rescuers continued carrying out the injured hiker.
At 3 a.m., the two patients were evacuated and transferred to waiting ambulances for transport to a local hospital for medical treatment.
Lost, tired and wet
On Saturday, May 8 at 6:04 p.m., while numerous forest rangers and other rescuers were busy with a rescue on Mount Marcy, DEC’s Ray Brook dispatch received a call from a hiker who had lost the trail on Pitchoff Mountain in the Sentinel Range Wilderness Area between Lake Placid and Keene. The 32-year-old hiker from Nutley, New Jersey, described himself as fatigued, wet and disoriented, and requested forest ranger assistance. Forest Ranger Lt. Kevin Burns conducted a phone interview with the hiker and determined the subject was not capable of self-rescuing.
At 8:21 p.m., Burns responded to the scene and located the hiker a short distance from the trail. The hiker was treated for cold exposure, provided a head lamp and escorted out of the woods. The incident concluded at 11:38 p.m.
Hiker falls off ledge
On Sunday, May 9 at 6:13 p.m., the Keene Valley Fire Department requested forest ranger assistance to locate a 72-year-old man from Keene Valley who was overdue from a hike. Forest Ranger Robbi Mecus responded.
At 7:29 p.m., searchers located the missing man, who had suffered minor injuries from falling off a ledge. Using a technical rope belay system, Mecus extracted the man from the ledge. At 9:02 p.m., the subject was transferred to Keene Valley emergency medical services for transport to a local hospital.