ESSEX COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Sunday, two hikers sustained leg injuries on two different mountains. Both were rescued by the same pair of New York State Forest Rangers – with some help from a police aviation unit moving between the mountains.
Forest Rangers Lewis and Praczkajlo responded on Sunday afternoon to Mt. Marcy, an Adirondack High Peak in the North Elba area of the High Peaks Wilderness. A hiker had called requesting assistance near the summit, after sustaining a lower leg injury after slipping on ice during her descent down the mountain. The hiker had slid about 30 feet before crashing into a rock.
Due to the location of the injured 40-year-old Newark woman, and the severity of the injury, the rangers called for help from New York State Police. A police helicopter arrived on the scene, flying the rangers to the summit-adjacent location. The hiker was located, had her injury splinted, and was brought to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake for surgery and treatment.
As the hiker was flown to safety around 3:40 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch made a second request for ranger aid – and the rangers were still with the helicopter and its pilot. A 69-year-old hiker had called from the area of the Saddleback Cliffs in Keene, reporting a broken leg and other injuries after a fall.
The state police helicopter transported the troopers to Saddleback Cliffs, where the hiker was located. The Latham man had slipped in an icy and muddy patch of terrain, and was found to have lacerated his calf on a spruce root in addition to breaking his leg. The hiker was treated, and the rangers made their second trip of the day to Adirondack Medical Center, where he was dropped off for treatment. All in all, the helicopter allowed two separate rescues to take place over the span of a single afternoon, reducing hours of travel time up and down trails.
Forest rangers say that both hikers were equipped with microspikes, commonly used for aid in hiking mountains during colder months when ice can form. Those are a good start, but crampons and ice axes are recommended when ice is six inches thick.