Hikers be prepared!
With forest rangers having made four high-profile rescues in the Adirondack High Peaks in the last two weeks and a foot or more of new snow on the ground, the state Department of Environmental Conservation is warning winter hikers to be prepared.
People should have proper clothing and equipment for snow, ice and cold, DEC officials said today.
"Now that snows have arrived in the Adirondacks, winter recreationist can take advantage of all that the park has to offer," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "However, recreationist must be aware that winter can also present troublesome -- even perilous -- conditions to the unprepared. Visitors exploring the backcountry should dress for cold weather and use snowshoes and skis to navigate trails."
After even the mountains suffered a snow drought earlier in the winter, there is significant snow cover throughout most of the Adirondacks. Snow depths are greater at higher elevations, up to a few feet deep on slopes of the highest mountains.
Visitors to the Eastern High Peaks are required to use snowshoes or cross-country skis for their safety. It is strongly recommended that visitors to other parts of the Adirondacks do the same, DEC officials said.
-- People should dress properly with layers of wool and fleece, not cotton, clothing, a wool or fleece hat, gloves or mittens, wind/rain resistant outer wear, and winter boots.
-- Carry a pack with an ice axe, plenty of food and water, extra clothing, map and compass, first-aid kit, flashlight/headlamp, sun glasses, sun-block protection, ensolite pads, stove and extra fuel, and bivy sack or space blankets.
-- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and eat plenty of food. If the weather forecast is poor, postpone your trip; if weather deteriorates, turn back.
-- Never travel alone and always inform someone of your intended route and return time.
DEC officials said hikers and skiers should also be aware of avalanche risks. An avalanche, triggered by skiers, recently occurred on a slide on Wright Peak.
People can visit the DEC Adirondack Trail Information web page HERE to obtain the latest on trail conditions and use links for current weather and snow cover.