Ascent of Katahdin on 2010-07-15

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Sarah
Daniel Musser
Karen Musser
Date:Thursday, July 15, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Elevation:5268 ft / 1605 m

Ascent Trip Report

My second summit of this wonderful peak - this time from the Kinife Edge side and along Pamola Peak. Saw two helicopters as a rescue was needed for people crossing the Knife Edge after me and my family. I have now seen about 5 helicopter rescues doing state HPs and I docuemnt the circumstances to remind me and all that it is a dangerous hobby and how to avoid trouble. The news excerpts follow:

Injured hiker rescued from the Knife Edge Trail on Mount Katahdin
Maine Sun Journal Staff Report for Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 4:04 pm

"A member of a Bangor TV news station crew was injured early this afternoon while hiking the Knife Edge Trail on Mount Katahdin on a news assignment, according to a press release from Baxter State Park. According to the park, hiker Dan Frye was reported to have fallen 10 to 12 feet and sustained head and torso injuries as a result of the fall. He was successfully removed from the trail by helicopter and is being treated at Millinocket Regional Hospital. The fall was reported at 12:30 p.m. by Jackie Ward, another member of the hiking party and employee of WLBZ News. A ranger was dispatched to the scene. Park rangers then notified the 126th Army National Guard Medivac Unit in Bangor, who arrived in a Blackhawk Medivac Helicopter, according to the park.

WLBZ television news anchor Chris Faccini, who at one time was an anchor for WCSH in Lewiston, was also in the hiking group. According to the press release, the three were hiking the trail on assignment for WLBZ. In a press release, park director Jensen Bissell said that the party was fortunate that "weather was perfect" and the 126th Medivac crew were prepared to fly the mission. Bad weather would have "resulted in a multi-day rescue operation involving more than 40 people," according to the release."

And from a local news station later….
WCSH Channel 6 Portland News Special

MT. KATAHDIN (NEWS CENTER) -- We report each year on accidents and rescues in Baxter State Park and other parts Maine's woods and waters. But a few weeks ago, three NEWS CENTER team members got a painful, first-hand lesson in just how quickly a good day of hiking can turn very bad. Photojournalists Dan Frye and Jackie Ward and NEWS CENTER anchor Chris Facchini were climbing Mt. Katahdin, to do a story on one of Maine's most beautiful places. Dan is an experienced Katahdin climber. He was leading the others on their first hike.

On the Knife Edge trail, Dan slipped, lost his balance because of a heavy pack and fell. He went down face first on a ledge several feet below. Dan suffered face and head injuries, an injured wrist and had back pains. After Jackie and Chris and a doctor who was hiking nearby all gave First Aid, Baxter Park rangers decided to call in a Maine National Guard helicopter. Deputy Chief Ranger Stewart Guay says the possibility of head and back injury meant Dan would need to either be carried off the mountain or airlifted. Carrying him off from the Knife Edge, says Guay, is a long and difficult process, involving 30 to 40 rangers and volunteers, and would likely have taken all night and part of the next day. Luckily, the weather that day was perfect for flying and perfect for a helicopter rescue - a rare occurrence on Katahdin.
The Maine National Guard lowered a medic to the trail, then used a wore basket to lift Dan to safety and whisk him to the hospital. Sgt. Mark Urquhart, the medic, says the rescue went as well as it possibly could: "This was at least a ten, This was awesome. This went very well. We had the opportunity to really be challenged by the setting. The professionalism by the crew makes it look easy from my part".

Dan was able to walk out of the hospital several hours later and is now back at work, though still recovering from a few of the injuries. He and his hiking companions say they're grateful to the Guard, the park rangers and the other hikers who came to Dan's aid. They also agree with the professional rescuers that anyone going into the Park - or any other part of the Maine outdoors, needs to be prepared both physically and mentally in case of trouble.
Says Deputy Chief Ranger Stewart Guay: "Anytime anything goes wrong doesn't mean that someone is gonna come swooping in, scoop them up and bring them to safety for convenience sake. There is considerable responsibility that falls on each person when they step off into the wilderness, whether it's Katahdin, Mt Washington, or Cadillac Mountain. And everyone should be prepared to take care of themselves, to self-rescue ultimately."
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:68 ft / 21 m
    Elevation Loss:1008 ft / 307 m
    Distance:1.4 mi / 2.3 km
    Grade/Class:1,2, and 3
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:68 ft / 21 m
    Distance:0.1 mi / 0.2 km
    Trailhead:Saddle between Peaks  5200 ft / 1584 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:1008 ft / 307 m
    Distance:1.3 mi / 2.1 km
    Trailhead:"The Saddle" in the Table Land  4260 ft / 1298 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Pamola

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Pamola Peak2010-07-15 a
2Chimney Peak2010-07-15 b
3Katahdin-South Peak2010-07-15 c
4Katahdin2010-07-15 d
5Hamlin Peak2010-07-15 e

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