Some of the darkest days of 2021 are setting in. On December 21st we will have less daylight than any other day of the year. With this in mind, I suggest not setting out for a hike to New York's highest peak near sunset.

Last month, one New York decided to hike to the summit of Mount Marcy in the Adirondacks. Problem is they left late in the day, couldn't read a map and wore every day sneakers. Oh and there was nearly a foot of snow at the top of the mountain.

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According to New York Department of Environmental Conservation, Ray Brook Dispatch received a call, on Thanksgiving Day, around 5 O'clock in the afternoon. A party of 3 hikers are requesting assistance at the summit of Mount Marcy in Lake Placid. Are there injuries, illness or worse? No, they were requesting a ride off the mountain!

Rangers responded to the call but initially had a tough time locating the 3 because the hikers could not read a map properly. Keep in mind, the trail to the summit is over 7 miles and the elevation is 5,344 feet!

Just before 10pm, 5 hours after the call came in, Rangers reached the hikers and found that they were wearing regular sneakers and complaining of frozen feet with at least eight inches of snow near the peak. Rangers helped them to Marcy Dam and then to their vehicle. The ordeal was over by 10:40 p.m. suggests the following for Winter hikes at Mount Marcy:

  • Experienced hikers only
  • Snowshoes are a must
  • Snow spikes or crampons are necessary
  • Temperature in the higher elevations will be at least 20 degrees colder than in the valley
  • Bring several extra non-cotton layers
  • Headlamp with spare batteries
  • Extra food
  • Goggles
  • Face mask
  • Supplies for spending the night in case of emergency.

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