View Full Version : Two Questions re: Giant Mtn.

06-01-2004, 08:16 PM
I was hoping someone out there could answer two questions from my children which they asked during our visit to Giant Mtn.

First, at the intersection of the Zander Scott and the Roaring Brook trails, there is a memorial cross for Eric Engler. What fate came upon Mr. Engler?

Second, there appears to be these letter/numbers carved into the summit rock "CO. B.6INF" or something close to that? Is it from some old survey designation? And what does it mean?

Your answers would be appreciated.

06-01-2004, 09:17 PM
Mavs is right about the numbers being a military unit. Plattsburg would be the closest base. I feel bad, I don't think I ever noticed the memorial, or, heard of that terrible loss.

06-01-2004, 09:27 PM
Originally posted by mavs00
1) Eric Engler was a young Boy Scout that died ....... Obviously, it was allowed.

Actually, it was not allowed. It was put there without permission. The DEC, however does not want to appear cold hearted by removing it.

06-02-2004, 12:58 PM
Along these same lines... I found a name painted in red on the back of one of the rocks on the summit of the Beckhorn. First name Debra, last name something else. Anyone know anything about this?

06-03-2004, 08:04 PM
MAVS00 got the basic information right, but I can add a few details. Eric Engler probably died of heat stroke, although the coroner preferred to simply say he died because his heart stopped beating - likely the way most of us will go. Engler's grandparents aare Swiss where there is a long tradition of placing crosses on mountains - either where people have died or just in their memory. They initially called the DEC to find out where they should place the cross. The DEC informed them of the policy of no memorials on state land, so the set off up the Roaring Brook Trail to place the cross anyway. About two miles from the parking lot, the grandparents apparently ran out of energy and place the cross there - just off the trail. The next year a large tree fell right between the cross and the trail, so the cross was obscured, but not buried. Burying would have probably been the end of the story.
Five or six years after the tragedy, a contemporary of Eric Engler, who had been on the fateful hike as a camper, was now a counselor at the camp. He knew of the erroneous placement of the cross and decided to correct the error by moving it. The camp had apparently forbidden any camp group to climb Giant, but this counselor "signed out" for Marcy and then climbed Giant via the Roaring Brook Trail, retrieved the cross, and relocated it to the actual spot where Eric Engler died.
I learned the story of the relocation only because by sheer coincidence I happened to be on the summit of Giant with this camp group and noticed a piece of the cross sticking out from a pack. A bit of questioning of the leader revealed the "rest of the story".
As for the carving, I have always believed it to be "5th Infantry", but no matter. They were a unit from Plattsburgh - then and Army base, later and Air Force base. The callout ensued because several members of the Ausable Club traveled to Plattsburgh to ask for this assistance to prevent the fire from threatening "their" side of Giant. The initial reaction of the commander was negative, but when they suggested that then-President Woodrow Wilson had spent several previous summer in the area and would surely like to see the forest saved, a phone call was made to Washington and the troops were dispatched.

06-05-2004, 02:21 PM
That was a very sad day on giant. I was on my way down roaring brook trail that day when I came across that group as that tragedy unfolded. R.I.P.

06-05-2004, 03:04 PM
Thanks Tony. Interesting stories. Thumper, when did this occur?

06-05-2004, 07:43 PM
Eddie, my memory is not what it used to be so I will have to guess that it was the late 80's or there about.