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Rescued ice climber’s condition improves

December 19, 2012
By PETER CROWLEY - Managing Editor ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

A Syracuse man who was rescued from a remote Adirondack mountain Sunday is starting to recover.

Calum Stewart, 41, was listed in serious condition this morning at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vt.; that's an upgrade from critical condition Tuesday.

He suffered traumatic injuries Saturday from a 150-foot fall down a slide on Nippletop Mountain, plus cold-related damage from spending Saturday night on the side of the mountain, state forest ranger Lt. Julie Harjung told the Enterprise today.

Harjung said the rescue effort took 27 to 28 hours and involved about 30 people. That included 15 forest rangers and other agencies including the the Keene Valley Volunteer Fire Department, SARNAK (Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks) and Adirondack Health's Backcountry Rescue, the state Department of Environmental Conservation reported.

Stewart was ice climbing Saturday when he fell on Nippletop, in the Dix Mountain Wilderness in the town of Keene. A member of his climbing party alerted the DEC around 8 p.m. A rescue team was dispatched immediately, but it didn't reach Stewart on the remote slide until 3:40 Sunday morning.

Low cloud cover prevented rescuers from using a state police helicopter, so they used high-angle rope-rescue techniques to lower Stewart to the bottom of the slide. From there they carried him 3.5 miles to the nearest road, on the AuSable Club property in St. Huberts, and drove him to Elizabethtown Community Hospital. The rescue effort wasn't finished until Sunday night.

The Elizabethtown hospital later transferred Stewart to Fletcher Allen in Vermont.



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