Adirondack Base Camp header image

Entries Tagged as 'climb'

DEC Advises Backcountry Visitors of Winter Conditions Throughout the Adirondacks

December 30th, 2015 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Winter Recreational Opportunities Available with Proper Preparation and Precautions

The recent snowstorm is providing good conditions for winter outdoor recreation in the Adirondack backcountry, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. Visitors should be prepared with proper clothing and equipment for snow, ice and cold to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter experience.


“Now that snow has arrived in the Adirondacks, people can begin to take advantage of all the winter recreation opportunities in the Park,” Acting Commissioner Seggos said. “However, winter can also present dangerous – even perilous – conditions to those who are unprepared. Visitors exploring the backcountry should dress for cold weather and use snowshoes and skis to navigate trails where appropriate.”

Snow depths range from 2 to 6 inches, deeper in some local areas. The snow is wet with a surface crust of sleet and frozen snow, but will harden with the forecasted below freezing temperatures. The deepest snows are in the northern, eastern, and central Adirondacks where snow conditions for cross country skiing and snowmobiling range from fair to good. Snow depths are thinner and there is more ice in the western and southern portion. Snow depths are much deeper in the higher elevations like the High Peaks and other mountains over 3,000 feet. Additional snow is forecasted during the next several days with 6-12 inches expected in the western Adirondacks.

While snow is present throughout the Adirondacks, ice has only recently begun forming on waters and is not safe. Although the ice may have snow on the surface, it is not thick enough to hold the weight of anglers, snowshoers, skiers, skaters or snowmobiles. Ice will remain unsafe until temperatures fall below freezing for a significant continuous period. Avoid ice over running water, near inlets and outlets and near boathouses and docks – especially those with “bubblers” or other ice prevention devices. Learn more about safe practices for travel on ice on DEC’s website.

All seasonal access roads are closed to public motor vehicles at this time. Use of these roads by motor vehicles can tear up and rut snowmobile trails and even the roads themselves.

Most gates and designated snowmobile trails in the northern and central Adirondacks are or will be open by the weekend including the Moose River Plains, Perkins Clearing, Speculator Tree Farm and Franklin County trail systems. Much of these trail systems are just now being checked for blowdown, washouts and other problems. Snowmobilers should check on local trail conditions before heading out.

Skiers and snowshoers using designated snowmobiles trails should keep to side to allow safe passage of snowmobiles. Snowmobiles should slow down when passing skiers and snowshoers.

Visitors to the Eastern High Peaks and other mountains that exceed 3,000 feet should carry snowshoes for their safety and the safety of other backcountry users. Snowshoes or skis ease travel on snow and prevent “post holing”, which can ruin trails and cause sudden falls resulting in injuries. Ice crampons and traction devices should be carried for use on icy portions of the trails including summits and other exposed areas.

In addition, backcountry visitors should follow these safety guidelines:

  • Dress properly with layers of wool and fleece (NOT COTTON!) clothing: a wool or fleece hat, gloves or mittens, wind/rain resistant outer wear, and winter boots.
  • Carry a day pack with the following contents: Ice axe, plenty of food and water, extra clothing, map and compass, first-aid kit, flashlight/headlamp, sun glasses, sun-block protection, ensolite pads, stove and extra fuel, and bivy sack or space blankets.
  • Carry plenty of food and water. Eat, drink and rest often. Being tired, hungry or dehydrated makes you more susceptible to hypothermia.
  • Check weather before entering the woods – if the weather is poor, postpone your trip.
  • Be aware of weather conditions at all times – if the weather worsens, head out of the woods.
  • Know the terrain and your physical capabilities – it takes more time and energy to travel through snow.
  • Never travel alone and always inform someone of your intended route and return time.
  • Traveling through snow takes more energy and time than hiking the same distance, especially in freshly fallen snow. Plan trips accordingly.

Call the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch at 518-891-0235 to report lost or injured people or other backcountry emergencies.

The DEC Adirondack Trail Information webpage provides current trail condition information and links to current weather, snow cover and other important information to help ensure a safe and enjoyable Adirondack backcountry winter experience.

Tags: ······

Adirondack Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights: 9/14-9/20/15

September 21st, 2015 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the backcountry.

“DEC Forest Rangers’ knowledge of first aid, land navigation and technical rescue techniques are often critical to the success of their missions,” said Acting DEC Commissioner Marc Gerstman. “Search and rescue missions often require Rangers to function in remote wilderness areas from rugged mountainous peaks to white-water rivers, and through vast forest areas from spruce-fir thicket to open hardwoods.”


Recent missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks include:

Essex County
Town of North Elba – High Peaks Wilderness
Injured hiker: On September 16, 2015 at 11:30 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from ADK Loj reporting it had been notified of an injured hiker approximately 20 minutes above the Street and Nye Mountain junction on the Street Mountain trail. The 24-year-old woman from Cold Springs, NY fell and sustained a lower leg injury. DEC Forest Rangers responded to Adirondack Loj and reached the injured woman at 2:15 p.m. They provided first aid and she managed to walk out slowly with assistance. They returned to Adirondack Loj at 6:15 p.m. The woman drove herself to Adirondack Medical Center – Lake Placid for treatment.

Town of Keene – High Peaks Wilderness
Distressed hiker: On September 19, 2015 at 6:17 p.m., Essex County 911 contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a 23-year-old man from New London, CT in medical distress approximately ¼ of a mile up the Big Slide trail from the Garden parking area. 911 dispatched the Keene Fire Department and Keene Valley Fire Department and EMS at the time of the call. DEC Forest Rangers responded to the Garden parking area. Fire Department personnel, with assistance from Forest Rangers, loaded the man into a litter and carried him back to the trailhead. The Keene Valley Ambulance transported him to Elizabethtown Community Hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 7:37 p.m.

Town of Keene – High Peaks Wilderness
Stranded climbers: On September 20, 2015 at 6:20 p.m., a 45-year-old female hiker from Corinth, NY contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting that she and her climbing companion, a 52-year-old woman also from Corinth, NY, were unable to descend Cascade Falls. The pair climbed Cascade Falls with the intention of bushwhacking back to the main trail, but they became disoriented once they reached the top of the falls and determined they could not safely make it back down. DEC Forest Rangers responded to assist the women back down. They short roped and belayed them to the base of the falls and escorted them back to their vehicle at the Cascade Day Use Area. The incident concluded at 9:30 p.m.

St. Lawrence County
Town of Clifton – Cranberry Lake Wild Forest
Injured hiker: On September 14, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. a DEC Forest Ranger advised DEC Ray Brook Dispatch of radio traffic dispatching the Cranberry Lake Fire Department to Bear Mountain to assist an injured 65-year-old female hiker from Luts, FL. The Forest Ranger responded along with Cranberry Lake and Star Lake Fire Department personnel. The hiker had fallen on a root near the summit and sustained a lower leg injury. They carried the woman out in a litter to the trailhead. Cranberry Lake Rescue transported her to Clifton-Fine Hospital in Star Lake at 9:30 p.m.

Warren County
Town of Bolton – Lake George Wild Forest
Distressed hiker: On September 15, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. Warren County 911 contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch about a 65-year-old male hiker from Clifton Park, NY in medical distress on Cat Mountain trail, approximately 15 minutes from the Cat & Thomas Mountain trailhead. The man had hiked Mount Severance in Schroon Lake that morning and then met a friend to hike Cat & Thomas Mountains. As they were headed back to the Cat Mountain trailhead the hiker collapsed on the trail. One Forest Ranger responded along with members of the Bolton Fire Department and EMS. They carried the hiker back to the trailhead at 6:25 p.m. and Bolton EMS transported him to Glens Falls hospital.

Washington County
Town of Fort Ann – Lake George Wild Forest
Lost hiker: On September 16, 2015 at 11:33 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the friend of a 30-year-old female hiker from Fort Ann, NY lost on the trail to Inman Pond. DEC Dispatch made contact with her by text message and she told them she was near the pond but not on the trail. DEC Forest Rangers responded to the Inman Pond trailhead off Shelving Rock Road where they located the woman’s vehicle. DEC Dispatch advised the woman to contact 911 to obtain her GPS coordinates, but the coordinates obtained were not usable.

Forest Rangers then used binoculars to scan Crossett Lake and located the woman. At 2:17 p.m. Forest Rangers established voice contact at the northwest end of Crossett Pond. They escorted her back to trailhead at 3:35 p.m. and gave her a courtesy ride back to her vehicle.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety and Adirondack Trail Information webpages for more information.

Tags: ······

Adirondack Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights: 9/7-9/13/15

September 14th, 2015 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the backcountry.

“DEC Forest Rangers’ knowledge of first aid, land navigation and technical rescue techniques are often critical to the success of their missions,” said DEC Acting Commissioner Marc Gerstman. “Search and rescue missions often require Rangers to function in remote wilderness areas from rugged mountainous peaks to white-water rivers, and through vast forest areas from spruce-fir thicket to open hardwoods.”


Recent missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks include:

Essex County
Town of Willsboro – Taylor Pond Wild Forest
Stranded Climbers: On September 11 at 2:20 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 reporting two rock climbers stranded on the Poke-O-Moonshine climbing trail. The 54-year-old man from Longueil, Quebec and the 23-year-old woman from Montreal, Quebec climbed Catharsis on the Poke-O-Moonshine slab and were in the process of rappelling down when their rope got stuck. They secured themselves at a belay station and called for help. A DEC Forest Ranger and two technical rock climbers responded. The technical rope climbers reached the climbers at 5:00 p.m., climbed above them and freed their rope. The group repelled down to the base and hiked out to their vehicles. The incident concluded at 5:30 p.m.

Franklin County
Town of Brighton – Debar Mountain Wild Forest
Injured Fisherman: On September 9 at 8:50 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Franklin County 911 requesting assistance for a fisherman on Mountain Pond who fell off a rock ledge. The 41-year-old man from Federalsburg, MD slipped and fell 20 feet while walking along a ridgeline. A DEC Forest Ranger responded with the Saranac Lake Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Paul Smiths – Gabriels Fire Department, and New York State Police. They located the man at the bottom of the cliff approximately .2 miles from Route 30 where they packaged and carried him out to the waiting ambulance. The ambulance transported the injured man to Adirondack Medical Center – Saranac Lake for further medical treatment. The incident concluded at 11:00 p.m.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety and Adirondack Trail Information webpages for more information.

Tags: ····

DEC Advises Backcountry Visitors of Winter Conditions Throughout Most of the Adirondacks

December 17th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Winter Recreational Opportunities Abound with Proper Preparation and Precautions

NYSDEC LogoThe recent snowstorm provided great conditions for winter outdoor recreation in the Adirondack backcountry the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reports today. Backcountry visitors should be prepared with proper clothing and equipment for snow, ice and cold to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter experience.



“Now that snows have arrived in the Adirondacks, winter recreationist can take advantage of all that the Park has to offer during the upcoming holiday vacation period,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “However, recreationist must be aware that winter can also present troublesome – even perilous – conditions to the unprepared. Visitors exploring the backcountry should dress for cold weather and use snowshoes and skis to navigate trails.”

Snow depths range from 8 – 20 inches or more. The deepest snows are in the western and southwestern Adirondacks and the thinner depths in the northeastern section. Snow depths are deeper in the higher elevations like the High Peaks and other mountains over 3000 feet.

Most designated snowmobile trails are open as well. Snowmobilers should check on local trail conditions before heading out. Skiers and snowshoers using designated snowmobiles trails should keep to the side to allow safe passage of snowmobiles. Snowmobiles should slow down when passing skiers and snowshoers.

The roadways on the Essex Chain Lakes Tract in the towns of Newcomb and Minerva in Essex County provide new excellent cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities. The Town of Newcomb will plow the Goodnow Road and parking areas along the road near the access points to the Essex Chain Tract. This is the first time the public will be able to access these lands in the winter in more than 100 years.

Visitors to the Eastern High Peaks are required to use snowshoes or cross-country skis for their safety and the safety of other backcountry users. It is strongly recommended that visitors to other parts of the Adirondacks do the same.

Snowshoes or skis ease travel on snow and prevent “post holing”, which can cause sudden falls and result in injuries. Ice crampons should be carried for use on icy mountaintops and other exposed areas. In addition, backcountry visitors should follow these safety guidelines:

  • Dress properly with layers of wool and fleece (NOT COTTON!) clothing: a wool or fleece hat, gloves or mittens, wind/rain resistant outer wear, and winter boots.
  • Carry a day pack with the following contents: Ice axe, plenty of food and water, extra clothing, map and compass, first-aid kit, flashlight/headlamp, sun glasses, sun-block protection, ensolite pads, stove and extra fuel, and bivy sack or space blankets.
  • Carry plenty of food and water. Eat, drink and rest often. Being tired, hungry or dehydrated makes you more susceptible to hypothermia.
  • Check weather before entering the woods – if the weather is poor, postpone your trip.
  • Be aware of weather conditions at all times – if the weather worsens, head out of the woods.
  • Know the terrain and your physical capabilities – it takes more time and energy to travel through snow.
  • Never travel alone and always inform someone of your intended route and return time.

Traveling through snow takes more energy and time than hiking the same distance. Plan trips accordingly.

Ice has formed on most waters and is thickening on high elevation ponds and lakes and small to mid-size bodies of water. Check ice thickness before traveling across it. Avoid ice over running water, near inlets and outlet and near boathouses and docks – especially those with “bubblers” or other ice prevention devices. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.

Skiers and snowshoers are reminded that the Avalanche Pass Slide in the Eastern High Peaks is closed to public recreation of any type during the winter.

Call the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch at 518-891-0235 to report lost or injured people or other backcountry emergencies.

The DEC Adirondack Trail Information web page provides current trail condition information and links to current weather, snow cover and other important information to help ensure a safe and enjoyable Adirondack backcountry winter experience.

Tags: ·······

DEC Alerts Hikers to Muddy Conditions in the High Peaks

May 6th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Hikers Should Temporarily Avoid High Elevation Trails in the Adirondacks

NYSDEC LogoWith the start of a new season of outdoor hiking and recreation, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) urges hikers to be cautious and postpone hikes on trails above 3,000 feet until early June when muddy trail conditions are expected to improve.

Trails and vegetation in the higher elevations are most vulnerable at this time of year when melting snow saturates thin soils found on the steep slopes of the mountains and much of the vegetation growing in high elevations is surviving on the edge of existence. Hikers can cause severe erosion of trails and significant damage to vegetation.

DEC urges hikers to avoid hiking on high elevation trails during mud season. Specifically, all trails above 3,000 feet in the Dix, Giant and High Peaks Wildernesses but also any high elevation trails on steep slopes throughout the Adirondacks.

Hikers are also more likely to slip and injure themselves on steep, wet and muddy trails.

On the lower elevation trails, snows melt sooner, soils are thicker and dry more quickly, slopes are not as steep and vegetation is less sensitive to damage from hikers. Even lower elevation muddy trails are less susceptible to erosion.

Hikers are encouraged to wear waterproof footwear and gaiters and to hike through, not around wet and muddy portions of trail to avoid widening the trails or creating “herd paths” around those areas.

DEC asks hikers to avoid the following trails:

  • High Peaks Wilderness Area – all trails above 3,000 feet; where wet, muddy, snow conditions still prevail, specifically: Algonquin, Colden, Feldspar, Gothics, Indian Pass, Lake Arnold Cross-Over, Marcy, Marcy Dam – Avalanche – Lake Colden which is extremely wet, Phelps Trail above John Brook Lodge, Range Trail, Skylight, Wright and all “trail-less” peaks.
  • Dix Mountain Wilderness Area – all trails above Elk Lake and Round Pond
  • Giant Mountain Wilderness Area – all trails above Giant’s Washbowl, “the Cobbles,” and Owls Head.

DEC suggests the following alternative trails for hiking, subject to weather conditions:

  • Debar Mt. Wild Forest:
  • Azure Mountain
  • Giant Mt. Wilderness:
  • Giant’s Washbowl
  • Roaring Brook Falls
  • High Peaks Wilderness:
  • Ampersand Mountain
  • Cascade Mountain
  • Porter Mountain from Cascade Mountain (avoid all other approaches)
  • Big Slide
  • The Brothers
  • Hurricane Mountain Wilderness
  • The Crows
  • McKenzie Mt. Wilderness:
  • Baker Mountain
  • Haystack Mountain
  • Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area:
  • Pharaoh Mountain
  • Saranac Lakes Wild Forest:
  • Panther Mountain
  • Scarface Mountain

Hikers who wait for drier conditions will protect natural resources and trails. Also, the trails will be in better condition later in the season, making for a safer and more enjoyable hike.

DEC’s website contains additional information on :Adirondack Trail Information or contact the DEC Forest Rangers at (518) 897-1300.

Tags: ·····

DEC Warns of Snow, Ice and Cold in the Adirondack Backcountry

December 28th, 2012 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Snowshoe or Cross Country Skis Strongly Recommended for All Trails

NYSDEC LogoVisitors to the backcountry of the Adirondack Mountains should be prepared for snow, ice and cold, and use proper equipment, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation advised today. Winter is an opportune time to take advantage of all that the Adirondack Park has to offer, however, the season can also present troublesome — even perilous — conditions to the unprepared.

A foot or more of snow has accumulated throughout the Adirondacks. Visitors to the Eastern High Peaks are required to use snowshoes or cross-country skis for safety. It is strongly recommended that visitors to other parts of the Adirondacks do the same.

The use of snowshoes or skis prevents falls, avoids injuries and eases travel on snow. “Post-holing”, traveling through deep snow and leaving deep foot prints, takes much more energy and ruins trails for other users. Ice crampons should be carried for use on icy mountaintops and other exposed areas. In addition, backcountry visitors should follow these safety guidelines:

  • Dress properly with layers of non-cotton clothing: hat & gloves or mittens, wind/rain resistant outer wear and winter boots;
  • Carry a day pack complete with: plenty of food and water, extra clothing, a map and compass, a first-aid kit, a flashlight/headlamp, ensolite pads, a stove & extra fuel and a bivy sack or space blankets. On sunny days bring sunglasses and sun block. If hiking on icy, open mountain summits, carry an ice axe;
  • Drink plenty of water — dehydration can lead to hypothermia;
  • Eat plenty of food to maintain energy levels and warmth;
  • Check weather before entering the woods — if the weather is poor, postpone the trip. The mountains will always be there;
  • Be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, leave the backcountry; and
  • Contact the DEC at (518) 897-1200 to obtain trail conditions in the area you plan to visit.
  • Traveling through snow takes more energy and time than hiking the same distance. Plan trips accordingly.

Waters have only recently begun freezing over and should not be considered safe to access. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.

Avalanches can occur in any situation where snow, slope and weather conditions combine to create the proper conditions. Visitors planning to climb or ski in areas with steep, bare slopes should be aware of avalanche conditions. Before going out, put new batteries in transceivers and be sure they are working properly.

Check weather forecasts and pay attention to red flags such as more than a foot of snow in a 24 hour period, any amount of snow that falls at a rate of more than an inch per hour and high winds. Additional snow can stress existing snowpack. Winds can transport greater amounts of snow to leeward slopes and potentially create wind slabs.

Skiers and others planning to travel in avalanche prone terrain should learn to recognize the danger signs of an avalanche. Dig pits and make decisions based on your observations. Just because a slope has been skied, doesn’t mean that it can’t slide. Practice safe travel techniques, have a rescue plan and know how to self rescue. Bring your shovel, probe, have a pack with adequate equipment to handle whatever conditions you may encounter and have a good first-aid kit. Always inform someone where you plan to go and when you expect to return.

Skiers and snowshoers are reminded that the Avalanche Pass Slide is closed to public recreation of any type during the winter.

More information on avalanche danger and safety precautions is available on the DEC website.

Adirondack Trail Information can be found on the DEC website. The web pages provide general information and seasonal conditions, specific notices on closures and other situations involving trails, roads, foot bridges, etc. and links to rules & regulations, hiker and camper safety, low impact recreation, weather and more.

Tags: ······

Danger, Avalanche

September 14th, 2012 · No Comments · Adirondack Life

Seems like a sketchy activity. (via @LavaDR)

Update: Such behavior can be tragic. Dropped: The Death of Pete Absolon (via @TCD on Adirondack Forum)

Tags: ·