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Rescue in the Dix Wilderness

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  • Rescue in the Dix Wilderness

    Anybody have any details on this? Only found this in an article unrelated to the rescue...

    Scott van Laer, a forest ranger with the state Department of Environmental Conservation and a representative of the rangers’ union, encouraged the public to “hike safe and hike smart.” His message comes just two days after a multi-day, helicopter rescue of a 25-year-old Glens Falls woman, who was lost in the Dix Wilderness Area.

    “We definitely saved the person’s life,” van Laer said in a phone interview. The woman’s speech was starting to diminish when rescuers found her, something van Laer said is a sign of hypothermia.

  • #2
    Dix is turning into the Bermuda Triangle of the High Peaks. They need to get some trail markers and signs in there or someone is going to get killed. Someone almost died in there recently because they got lost and fell going down Macomb Slide.

    On my first trip into the region I was so nervous I was checking the map every 15 minutes and only relaxed after I passed the leanto on the way out. I purposely did the easiest but effective trip I could think of. Just Macomb, South Dix and Grace and South Dix and out by the Lilian Brook Trail. No need to do all 5 and blow yourself out maybe forcing an error in judgement and the front page of Adirondack Enterprise.
    Leave No Trace!


    • #3
      She was lost alright. She is the second person that could not find the Lilian Brook Trail and needed a rescue this winter.
      Leave No Trace!


      • Makwa
        Makwa commented
        Editing a comment
        Hmmm... was she ever on the Lillian Brook herdpath? Article stated she was on eastern side of Macomb. How does one get over there if going down Lillian Brook? I would say it's darn near impossible. Now I'm more curious than before.

      • Learning The Trails
        Learning The Trails commented
        Editing a comment
        FFB and I were discussing this earlier. She had to have been on the trail to Grace

    • #4
      Memorize your maps and use a compass. The east side of the Dixes are easily walked out of whether on foot or just needs to plug along till they hit herd path, river or road.
      Why was she alone? Where was her sleeping bag? Was she bare booting? Where was her fire or stove? Did she have extra socks and get them wet also?
      And a reminder: dry socks don't stay dry long in wet boots. Thats where plastic bags come in handy.
      She was smart staying put...and lucky her phone worked. Batteries die. She might have.


      • #5
        I hiked Macomb to Hough last Saturday helping a friend with his Winter round. I led and followed a track most of the time. There was a hiker following us all day and two hikers at Slide Brook camping and planning the same route Sunday.

        Where there wasn't a snowshoe trench I got off track occasionally. Tracks were faint where there was no trench. I had to backtrack several times.

        Lillian Brook path was OK for the most part. The little cairn is buried under snow. Just have to know where the entrance is. The entrance is just a bit obscure due to snow depth and overhanging branches. In other words the entrance is in canopy right now.

        I've used Lillian Brook as a route out before there was even a path. Before the path I'd always arrive at the State Trail in the valley near the Lillian Brook Bridge. Follow the brook the whole way. The thing here is if you get off track just keep going West. Eventually you'll cross the State Trail.

        Using Caltopo I find 3 Miles from Elk Lake is still pretty high elevation and near the summit of Macomb (As the crow flies). That's assuming that the summer register is the origin of the radius I drew. So, the story as it relates to lost on Lillian Brook is a little confusing.

        I got off track in the Santas too. Coming down the Express Trail. Briefly following boot marks rather than an OK snowshoe track (two women had just climbed). I had to start up my GPS to find compass bearing back onto the path. If I hadn't had GPS then I'd have climbed back up hill until I discovered the snowshoe track and where my mistake occurred. Off track was by at least 50 yards...there must have been a sharp turn right and I went left.



        • #6
          Part of the problem is there are people without wilderness experience heading into the wilderness expecting to follow a handrail. Of course if some of us on this forum totally lose the Lillian Brook herdpath we simply would head downhill and/or west until hitting the official trail. For some it's an inconvenience, but a no-brainer. For the unprepared it could be a death sentence.


          • #7
            Further thoughts.

            Figuring the 3 miles stated has a +/- 1 mile tolerance. This person could have been trying to find the Lillian Brook path that starts at Dix - South Dix Col. It joins with the path from Hough-Puogh col where the terrain gets much flatter. But not many go that way in the Winter, maybe nobody. There were no tracks going that way when we went through Saturday.

            That would put them on the Easterly side of Macomb.


            • #8
              Too many inexperienced people chasing a patch and a "W" next to their name. At least she knew to send a text, bring a tent and start a fire; there's a photo of a fire in the Post-Star article. Whether it's actually relate to this story, who knows.


              • #9
                Originally posted by dundee View Post
                Too many inexperienced people chasing a patch and a "W" next to their name. At least she knew to send a text, bring a tent and start a fire; there's a photo of a fire in the Post-Star article. Whether it's actually relate to this story, who knows.
                I thought her fire was started by the DEC. I could well be wrong.


                • Neil
                  Neil commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That's what I understood. I saw the pic and my first thought was it was a miserable-looking fire, sinking into a narrow cylinder in the snow, yielding little heat and probably with smoke swirling all around. But whatever, you do what you can with what you got.

              • #10
                Update indicates the lost hiker must have been on the west side of the range attempting to descend via Lillian Brook. 12 miles from Belfry Mt could have had her around the junction where Hough and South Dix descents meet. Quite a distance from the Dix Trail. It's about 13 miles from Belfry Mt to Jct of Lillian Brook path with the Dix trail.

                Wilderness Rescue:
                On March 15, at 6:07 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a concerned friend about a lost hiker in the Dix Wilderness Area. The hiker could not make a phone call but texted coordinates to advise she was lost. The coordinates were on the eastern side of Macomb Mountain, approximately three miles east of Elk Lake. Responding Forest Rangers approached from Elk Lake and the West Mill Brook drainage, while another Forest Ranger assisted on the eastern side, relaying crew information to Ray Brook. At 8:02 p.m., direct text contact was established with the hiker, who stated she was in an emergency foil tent but having difficulties due to wet and frozen socks and losing the Lillian Brook trail, and was unable to locate the main Dix trail. To confirm the location, Verizon pinged the last known cell location, which was approximately 12 miles southwest of their tower on Belfry Mountain. The hiker was located by Rangers at 2:55 a.m., in a different area than the original coordinates. She was fed, rehydrated, and rewarmed in a sleeping bag. Four additional Forest Rangers were in route as a ground crew for extracting the hiker and Lt. Brian Dubay requested New York State Police Aviation for assistance. On March 16 at 8:17 a.m., the 25-year-old hiker from Glens Falls was put in the helicopter piloted by State Police Pilot Scott Kotronis who, with Forest Ranger Crew Chief Chris DiCintio, took her to a local hospital for further medical treatment.