Search continues near Gothics for missing hiker

Another group rescued from Algonquin

A view of Gothics Mountain’s southeast face, Saddleback and Basin Mountains at left, as seen from nearby Pyramid Peak. Seventeen state Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers are currently conducting a search and rescue operation in this area in and around Gothics. (Enterprise photo — Antonio Olivero)

KEENE VALLEY — A large scale search continues this morning for a missing hiker in the vicinity of Gothics Mountain, at the core of the Adirondacks’ Great Range.

State Department of Environmental Conservation spokesman David Winchell said this morning that search efforts continue today with 17 forest rangers, an assistant forest ranger and a state police aviation unit helicopter.

Winchell added that no sign of the hiker was found during the first day of searching.

On Monday, two DEC forest rangers immediately responded to the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, the entry point the hiker reportedly took to climb the mountain. After the initial assessment, two more forest rangers, an assistant forest ranger, and staff from AMR also joined the search effort on Monday. The state police helicopter was also used Monday.

At this time, DEC is not requesting assistance from the public in the ongoing search efforts.

Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) Executive Director Neil Woodworth said Monday afternoon that no club staff are involved in the Gothics search-and-rescue situation at this time.

The ongoing search and rescue in and around Gothics comes on the heels of forest rangers and a member of ADK’s summit stewards responding late Monday morning to assist a group of four hikers requesting assistance in the vicinity of Algonquin Peak, the state’s second highest point at 5,114-feet.

Winchell said the group consisted of an 18-year-old from Chalfont, Pennsylvania, an 18-year-old from South Hampton, Pennsylvania and a 20-year-old and an 18-year-old both from Landsdale, Pennsylvania. The group initially contacted DEC’s Ray Brook dispatch by phone at 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Winchell said, and spoke to a DEC forest ranger. Upon learning they were not lost, injured or distressed and that they had lights and other gear, Winchell said the forest ranger directed the group to the correct trail and their campsite.

The following morning at 6:03 a.m., Winchell said the same group contacted DEC central dispatch via Essex County 911 and reported that members of the party had spent the night off-trail near the summit of Algonquin. They were dehydrated and ill and did not know their location, Winchell added.

Essex County 911 was unable to obtain precise coordinates of the cell phone at that time, Winchell said.

A forest ranger, assisted by the DEC’S Lake Colden Interior Outpost caretaker and ADK’s Algonquin Peak summit steward, then immediately responded and began to search for the group, Winchell said.

At 11:06 a.m. Monday, Essex County 911 was able to obtain a set of coordinates of the group on the west slope of Algonquin Peak. The coordinates were provided to the searchers via DEC Ray Brook dispatch, and searchers subsequently located the group of hikers at 11:27 a.m., Winchell said.

It was then determined, Winchell said, that one member of the group was in such distress he was unable to return to the campsite on his own.

As a result, the state police aviation unit helicopter, with a forest ranger on board that was assigned to the nearby search on Gothics, was redirected to the Algonquin rescue, Winchell said. The helicopter picked up the young man from the summit of Algonquin and transported him to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid.

Forest Rangers escorted the remaining members of the group back to a campsite at Marcy Dam.