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Rescued ice climber still in critical condition

December 18, 2012
By PETER CROWLEY - Managing Editor (pcrowley@adirondackdailyenterprise.com) , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

A Syracuse man who was rescued from a remote Adirondack mountain Sunday was still listed in critical condition as of midday today.

Calum Stewart, 41, suffered traumatic injuries from a 150-foot fall down a slide on Nippletop Mountain, plus cold-related damage from spending Saturday night on the side of the mountain, state forest ranger Lt. Julie Harjung told the Enterprise today. He is at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vt., where he was transferred from Elizabethtown Community Hospital.

Harjung said the rescue effort took 27 to 28 hours and involved about 30 people. That included 15 forest rangers and other agencies including the the Keene Valley Volunteer Fire Department, SARNAK (Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks) and Adirondack Health's Backcountry Rescue, the state Department of Environmental Conservation reported.

Stewart was ice climbing Saturday when he fell on Nippletop, in the Dix Mountain Wilderness in the town of Keene. A member of his climbing party alerted the DEC around 8 p.m. A rescue team was dispatched immediately, but it didn't reach Stewart on the remote slide until 3:40 Sunday morning.

Low cloud cover prevented rescuers from using a state police helicopter, so they used high-angle rope-rescue techniques to lower Stewart to the bottom of the slide. From there they carried him 3.5 miles to the nearest road, on the AuSable Club property in St. Huberts, and drove him to the Elizabethtown hospital. The rescue effort wasn't finished until Sunday night.

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