Two weekends ago, when we had a rare, kind-of-warm, sunny day, I set out to climb Rogers Rock in Hague. I had never been up to the top, but had talked to a few people who said the views were spectacular.
The biggest hindrance to getting to the top of the mountain is that there is no marked trail. It is state-owned land adjacent to Rogers Rock Campground, but to get to the top means following a herdpath or GPS. And in the snow, there were no herdpath evident.
I had found a few maps online that showed a rough route, which I saw seemed to start at the northwest corner of the campground. So I headed there, found some footprints into the woods, and started heading in what seemed to be the right direction.
After a half-mile or so heading northeast, at the base of the steep mountain, the tracks stopped. Apparently the trailblazer had thought better of the steep rocky hill staring them in the face, and they turned around. But I saw orange ribbons tied to trees, a fairly decent sign of a trail, so I followed them through the snow.
Well, to make a long story short, that wasn't a great idea in late winter. What may have been a decent route in dry weather was a bit tricky in ice and snow. After a couple of hairy sections working my way up the west side of the mountain, I made it to the north side of the hill, and was able to find my way to the top and the edge of the rock for some nice pictures.
With this experience fresh in my mind, I was not real surprised to get a press release Monday from the state Department of Environmental Conservation detailing the efforts state Forest Rangers made late last week to rescue some stranded hikers on the ledges around Rogers Rock.
It's unclear where or how they got stranded, but it sounds like they made a good decision to stop and call for help. There are some steep, steep cliffs around the mountain, and a slip could be deadly. They were apparently using a GPS mapping application on a phone, which is a great asset but no substitute for a marked trail.
Rogers Rock is another one of these state-owned areas around Lake George with unofficial, unmaintained hiking trails, and I'm not sure why there are no marked trails. Pilot Knob Mountain and Erebus Mountain are a couple of others that jump to mind.
The DEC press release is below.
-- Don Lehman
Recent missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers include:
Town of Hague
Wilderness Rescue: On April 6, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a cell phone call from two Fairport men ages 20 and 23, stranded on the steep ledges near Rogers Rock Campground along Lake George. The two subjects were following a mobile mapping application but determined they could no longer travel safely on the route. Four Forest Rangers responded and because the lake still had ice, determined the best course of action was for the pair to walk to the shoreline for retrieval by airboat. Within three hours of the initial call, the pair made their way to the shoreline for Ranger pickup. The men were returned to their car and no injuries were reported.
Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On April 7, Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch from a 28-year-old Avon man hiking on Wright Peak. The hiker was unable to find the trail due to harsh winter weather and his unfamiliarity with the mountain. Phone coordinates placed the man on the trail about halfway between the summit and the treeline in a location that would be easy to talk him off the mountain. As one Forest Ranger guided the subject by phone over the trail and down the steep rock slab, two additional Rangers began hiking in to find him. The hiker slowly made his way down the trail where he met up with the Rangers who then escorted him back to the Adirondack Loj parking lot. Within two and a half hours of his first call, the hiker was back at his car without injury.