Coroner IDs hiker who died on Long Lake mountain

Canadian man had a ‘cardiac event’ on descent from last peak of Fire Tower Challenge

The fire tower atop Owls Head Mountain in Long Lake is seen in October 2014. (Photo provided — Marc Wanner via Wikimedia Commons)

LONG LAKE — A 51-year-old Canadian man died while hiking a popular fire tower peak in the Adirondacks on Saturday, Dec. 1.

Mark Earle of Ottawa died about a half-mile from the summit on his descent with a group of snowshoers, according to Hamilton County Coroner Virginia Jennings.

“There was an autopsy done, and it (the death) was cardiac related,” Jennings said. “He was with, I guess, four of them all together. They did make it to the summit.”

On the Facebook page for the Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge, Paul “Curly” Curless said Earle had just finished the Fire Tower Challenge, which requires hikers to climb all five fire towers in the Catskills and at least 18 of the 25 Adirondack fire tower peaks.

“He had just finished his Fire Tower Challenge and we were on our decent when he collapsed in front of me,” Curless wrote. “Myself and (three) others in the group administered CPR for almost (three hours) before the Rangers, Police and Medics arrived and told us we could cease.

“He called the Adirondacks his ‘Happy Place,’ as many of us do, and always said, ‘When I go, I want to be in the Mountains.’

“It was a lot sooner than any of us would’ve liked. But he got his wish. Owl’s Head was literally his last peak.”

State Department of Environmental Conservation forest rangers and members of the Long Lake Rescue Squad recovered the body. The DEC said New York State Police and the Hamilton County coroner will conduct an investigation.