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Lost Queens hikers find way out of High Peaks Wilderness

October 12, 2012
By staff (adenews@adirondackdailyenterprise.com) , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

LAKE PLACID - Amid a search effort, two New York City men found their way out of the High Peaks Wilderness Friday after getting lost there the day before.

They were in good condition, even though they hadn't been prepared for cold weather, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. It got down to 33 degrees that night at nearby Mount Van Hoevenberg, according to Andy Nash, chief meteorologist of the National Weather Service in Burlington, Vt.

Nathan Chintala, 21, of Rego Park, Queens, and Steven Sawyer, 20, of, Queens Village, Queens, called 911 around 4 p.m. Thursday to say they didn't know where they were. An Essex County 911 dispatcher transferred them to a DEC rescued dispatcher in Ray Brook. They had left Marcy Dam earlier that day to climb Avalanche Mountain, they told the DEC dispatcher.

"They reported they were in an area where 'thousands of trees down and looks like a tornado' had struck," DEC spokesman Dave Winchell told the Enterprise by email Friday. "It was believed they were on the new Colden Slide that had been created by Hurricane Irene or the false summit of Colden overlooking Lake Arnold."

Four DEC forest rangers responded but couldn't find the two young men that evening, Winchell said. The search was called off when darkness fell and resumed at 5 a.m. Friday with five more rangers.

"Some time later it was learned that Mr. Chintala and Mr. Sawyer had bushwhacked down to Marcy Dam beginning at first light and had continued to the Adirondack Loj by about 7:30 am," Winchell said.

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