NORTH ELBA, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A recent call for assistance in the area of Algonquin Peak in the Adirondacks had rangers working after dark. High winds and associated safety concerns turned the rescue into an hours-long affair.
Ray Brook Dispatch called for Forest Ranger assistance on the afternoon of Tuesday, Dec. 13, reporting a call from a hiker stuck below the Wright/Algonquin junction with a possible broken ankle. A total of 13 rangers and other DEC staff responded after high winds kept New York State Police from arriving via helicopter.
The rangers were able to reach the 12-year-old Saratoga Springs resident at 6:45 p.m., after receiving the call at 2:25 p.m. Over those hours, the hiker had undergone symptoms of hypothermia. Upon arrival, rangers administered first aid to treat the hiker’s ankle and hypothermia, working by flashlight and headlamp light as dark had fallen.
After an hour and a half of treatment, rangers were able to begin the process of transporting the hiker down the mountain. Rangers used a backpack litter system, a piece of equipment resembling a stretcher with a large wheel centered underneath. The rangers navigated steep, icy slopes. In some parts of the Adirondacks, Dec. 13 saw a high of 30 degrees, and lows into the single digits, creating hazards only made more potent by limited visibility.
At 9:37 p.m., rangers arrived with the hiker at Adirondack Loj, a chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club located in Lake Placid. The rangers were met by a Lake Placid ambulance, which took the hiker to a hospital for treatment.
Winter hiking brings its own list of dangers, from icy conditions to earlier nightfall. Recommended winter gear includes traction devices on hiking boots, as well as goggles, face masks, warm socks and gloves, and an understanding of one’s fitness ability, as treading through snow can be more exhausting than regular hiking.