View Full Version : Rescue

12-27-2004, 12:53 PM
Rangers called in to rescue injured hiker on Mount Colden
By DAN HEATH, Staff Writer

NORTH ELBA New York State Department of Environmental Conservation forest rangers were called in to rescue an injured hiker on 4,714-foot Mount Colden Sunday night.

The hiker had fallen and was unable to walk, according to a report by Essex County Emergency Dispatch Sunday afternoon.

At 9:30 p.m., a forest ranger dispatcher said rescuers had reached the unidentified victim and were preparing to head out of the woods shortly. That effort was expected to take several hours.

Snow fell heavily throughout the afternoon and evening on Sunday in the Adirondacks. Adirondack Regional Airport reported a temperature of 7 degrees at about 10 p.m.

Mount Colden is located about 6 to 7 miles from the Adirondack Loj, at the end of Adirondack Loj Road, near the Heart Lake trailheads.

01-01-2005, 04:53 PM
From what I heard, the guy fell 300 feet down the Trap Dike. One of his boot was found planted on a tree with his crampon still on. He lost his backpack in the fall and it was not found. He survived and apparently did not even break a single bone.

01-02-2005, 12:33 AM
If he fell 300 feet and all that happened was an injured foot that kept him from walking, he's got to be one lucky guy. I'm hoping he was an ice-climber type. Your ordinary type Dak climber would have to be crazy to tackle the Trap Dike in mid-winter.

Speaking of crazy, I tried it solo about 10 years back in January. Didn't even have crampons then. Didn't even know what they were. Ha! I got about a quarter way up before I decided that I wasn't THAT crazy and headed back down. The following week I learned about crampons and bought a pair. But I still wouldn't do the Dike in winter anyway.

01-02-2005, 07:37 PM
There is another post on Trips and Events (Trap Dike) about this incident

The first hand account is on this forum....


3rd post down by WaterfallFred.

Panama Jack
01-03-2005, 09:23 AM
Hearing the give and take with one of the actual people sure adds in alot of detail.

John Graham
01-03-2005, 02:42 PM
I have had some bad experiences climbing the Trap Dyke myself. Back in 1988, a group of us were skiing up to Lake Colden and on an impulse we set off up the Trap Dyke, unroped. It was boilerplate with solid patches of ice on the falls, which we climbed around in crampons with only a single axe each. My buddies had semi rigid double ski boots, but I only had single layer ski boots, and my crampon popped off on the second waterfall, leaving me hanging by a single ice axe and one crampon. I was wearing a full pack with snowshoes on the back, so I wasn't very mobile. My buddy got into a belaying stance above me and let down a rope, onto which I tied my pack. He pulled my pack up and dropped me the rope, into which I tied myself. Thus secured and freed up, I was able to kick out a platform big enough to sit down and get my crampon back on. They belayed me up and I finished the climb, but I wouldn't get onto the slab that led to the summit, snowshoeing instead up the gully by myself.

They made another trip to climb the Trap Dyke on March 13th, 1989. I had climbed Esther the weekend before and knew the moutains were solid ice, besides which that climb had me spooked, so I backed out. They did the climb anyway, and got up the waterfalls in good shape. Thinking the climbing over they got on the slab and started walking up to the summit. Linda was racing up to be first to the top and tripped on her front points, she had put away her axe and couldn't stop. She slid 400 feet down before slamming head first into a tree, right next to my horrified buddy. She wasn't killed instantly, but died during the evacuation. Her family was very good at the funeral, and didn't blame any of us, saying she died doing what she loved.

The following year, they went back to climb the Dyke again and make a memorial for Linda. They urged me to go, saying I had to get back on the horse that threw me, but as far as I was concerned there were demons in that Dyke and I would have no part in it.

We always joked about getting creamed in the mountains, but this incident made me realize just what that might entail, not just for ourselves, but for our families.

01-03-2005, 04:30 PM
Was never there. What's so hairy about Trap Dyke in winter? I couldn't really judge from photos I saw posted on various websites?

John Graham
01-03-2005, 04:59 PM
There is nothing really that hairy about the Trap Dyke, if you are an experienced ice climber. The trouble is with it's proximity to trails at the top and the bottom, and that it looks easier than it actually is from either end, enticing novices like myself to get in over their heads. Most ice climbs evoke a response of "No way !" when seen from a distance, where as this one, due to the fact that it's in a gully and you can't really see the tricky parts, looks feasible.

In fact, a few decades back there was a group of wildmen, known as the "Ski to Die Club" who used to ski down it. We heard that and thought if they can ski down it, we can sure as heck climb up it. The name didn't seem so funny after the funeral.

01-03-2005, 10:42 PM
I have climbed the Trap Dike several times in Winter, and I agree with John. It is an ice climb. Do not plan on "hiking" up it, like in the Summer. It's a very easy ice climb / mountaineering route, but I wouldn't go in there without full technical gear. Conditions vary widely. There have been times when we did not rope up, and never got the short tools off the pack, because the waterfalls were all choked with snow. Other times, we were roped up and belaying. On the upper slabs, mountaineering skills are needed. I had heard about the death several years ago, but was saddened to read that the victim had put away her ice axe. It sounds like the recently injured climber had the right skills and did everything right, but the conditions were dangerous, and made self arrest difficult. I usually carry a long axe and one short tool. The long axe is a better tool on the upper slab, because it's easier to use in self arrest (easier to hang onto). But on ice, once you pick up speed, nothing works too well. Good luck and good healing!