View Full Version : Hiker Dies from Fall in Acadia

07-29-2012, 11:38 AM
Sad news out of Acadia - a young woman died after a fall on the Precipice Trail.


07-29-2012, 02:13 PM
This one gives a little more info. Very sad and so young.


07-29-2012, 03:13 PM
Very sad. We love this trail and were hoping to hike it again this fall. Had friends that did it earlier this week. It would be easy to point to the dangers of the trail, but this kind of thing can happen anywhere. Reminds us that we always need to be thinking and paying attention out there. Wish it wasn't a sad event like this to give us the reminder.

07-29-2012, 04:02 PM
The Precipice trail just opened for the year on the 23rd. A sharp reminder that there can be no fall zones even on small mountains. Rest in peace, young lady.

07-29-2012, 07:22 PM
I was saddened this morning when I read the first scant news about this accident. More has been released as the day has gone by.

The last time I climbed Precipice Trail was almost exactly 25 years ago ( our first wedding anniversary, 7/27) , and prior to that last adventure, probably a dozen times in my mid and late twenties. I loved the Full Throat Grip Trip.... up Precipice over the ridge, down to the Tarn, up and over Beehive, grab a quick dip at Sand Beach.

I can envision EXACTLY where she went over the side, to fall and land on a ledge below, and it gives me chills. UGH.

Even more this evening on the Bangor Daily News Website. Kudos to the Rescue crews. Kudos to Life Flight......... 3 touchdowns of their Bangor helicopter on the summit of Champlain over the course of the mission, not only to treat/evacuate the patient but to assist SAR with placement, insertion of personnel, and equipment.


Champlain may be a small mountain in elevation, but the Precipice Trail is NOT EVER to be trivialized. Don't even think about it if there has been recent rain, or even a few days of a salt saturated Atlantic Fog Mull. All rocks are greasy when wet, but I've been convinced for a LOTTA years that Acadia has it's own special brand of rock grease. Treacherous.

RIP Shirley Ladd. You almost reached THAT TOP on foot, and now you are one with the Universe.


07-30-2012, 07:10 AM
Ah, I just read this thanks to Breeze's link to the Bangor Daily News: “Park Ranger Supervisor Richard Rechholtz said Sunday the woman was about three-quarters of the way to the summit and had not yet reached the part of the trail where the cliff becomes more sheer, with multiple metal rungs and ladders that assist hikers.”

That makes me wonder if it was along here:

For those who have never been to Acadia or are otherwise unfamiliar with the Precipice Trail, here are two memorable spots further up the trail.



07-31-2012, 06:01 AM
There have been many injuries this year in the park, some on less visited areas like Acadia Mtn which had three rescues in one month period. I think the Acadia mtns are underated in challenge by many until they hike them. They may be low but they are rugged.

07-31-2012, 07:49 AM
when I heard about this, the 1st thing that came to mind was the precipice trail, it truly is no fall and very exposed in sections:eek: Looks like this young lady was on a good path in her life, so terrible:(


07-31-2012, 02:25 PM
More forthcoming information about this sad incident-- she had completed the first of the uppermost three ( IIRC) ladder pitches at the upper reaches of Precipice Trail.

MichaelJ's photos tell the story. That far up the trail, you are literally switchbacking across the cliff face on very narrow ledges and transitions can become " boulder problems" at altitude. Look at his second photo in this thread. The leading climber ( in red fleece jacket) has come off that first ladder pitch and has to transition suddenly to climbers right while making a big step DOWN to the continuing trail level.

( Precipice Trail has more than a few of these " BIG STEP qualifiers". If you are 5'3 or less, you need to have some comfortable flexiblity and be confident in your overall body strength, upper, lower and core. )

Are you right handed, or left handed ? Right Footed or Goofy Footed? Which is your dominant eye, how do you typically move, and how do you tell yourself to move differently in the transitions or manuevers that make you question your response ?

How will you <mentally> plan to negociate the problem? There are aids in place for hand holds on the cliff face and there are toe-rails, but if you over balance or underbalance, turn around to accomodate left or right dominance, or misjudge distance, lose your hand hold or put a foot wrong .... there is no margin for error up there.

I do think, still, that Precipice Trail is a masterful trail layout from a time well past. It is a huge gift to be enjoyed. It is a trail that has lessons to teach on every attempt, it will keep you humble. No two ascents or descents will ever be the same.


07-31-2012, 04:25 PM
I shot a video from this section about 2 years ago - the light-hearted comments about falling off will seem insensitive now, but keep in mind that when it was shot, there had been no fatalities there in 25 years. It does give a pretty good idea of the exposure (and don't worry, I was holding on with my left hand).


king tut
07-31-2012, 09:41 PM
I wonder which section it was, I am struggling to remember any real treacherous section prior to crossing the ledge in the photos above. That must have been just awful for everyone involved that day. Rest in peace.

08-01-2012, 07:02 AM
I'm very afraid of heights and it took several years for my wife and daughter to convince me to do the Precipice. The excuse the first couple of times was easy - it was closed for Peregrine nesting. When we finally did it I loved it. I'm generally OK as long as there is something to hold onto as there is in almost the whole route on the Precipice. That one section of narrow ledge (probably the one in Michael's photo) really freaked me out. The part nearest the wall was damp and I only felt safe (comparatively) on the outside. What got me across was repeating in my head "thousands of people do this and nobody falls". I had hoped that we'd do the Precipice again this fall, but I don't know how I'll convince myself to cross that section again.

Puma concolor
08-02-2012, 08:19 AM
Very sad. People so often associate fatal falls with big mountains, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter if you fall 60 feet or 600 feet. Somewhat ironic that I was having a conversation just a few days ago about this very issue. A longer fall really just gives you more time to think about what is happening.

Condolences to the family of this young lady.

Jimmy Legs and Little D
08-02-2012, 01:37 PM
So very sad to hear news of this kind. You can try to be so diligent and careful but accidents still happen.