Park rangers and volunteers from Mount Desert Island Search and Rescue, including Dr. Julius Krevans of Bar Harbor, center, prepare to hoist an injured man into the Maine Army National Guard helicopter after a fall on the Precipice on Christmas Day. PHOTO COURTESY OF CAROL BULT, MDISAR

Helicopter lifts man from Precipice on Christmas

ACADIA NAT’L PARK — More than a dozen rangers and volunteer emergency responders spent the afternoon of Christmas Day coming to the aid of a Bangor man who fell while climbing on the icy Precipice Trail here.

According to reports, Tyler Wood, 27, was climbing the Precipice around 10:30 a.m. when he lost his footing.

He tumbled 30 feet and suffered injuries rangers described as severe.

Wood’s friend was able to climb down to him and used a cell phone to call for help. It took rangers and volunteers from Mount Desert Island Search and Rescue more than two hours to reach the injured man’s location, about halfway up the cliff.

“Because of Wood’s critical condition and the icy trail conditions, park rangers requested a helicopter from the Maine Army National Guard to remove Wood from the mountain,” park officials said.

A total of 14 rescuers used a technical rope raising system to get Wood 12 feet up the cliff to a spot higher on the mountain that was deemed safer for helicopter extraction. A Maine National Guard helicopter then was able to hoist the victim off the cliffs around 4:30 p.m. He was flown directly to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

“We want to thank all of the emergency responders for their efforts in rescuing Mr. Wood under such difficult conditions,” said Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “We are grateful to the Maine Army National Guard and volunteers from Mount Desert Island Search and Rescue for their outstanding service to the park.”

The National Park Service strongly advises visitors to avoid dangerous conditions and be prepared for severe weather conditions while enjoying Acadia National Park in the winter, park officials said in a prepared statement. “When hiking, wear appropriate clothing and footwear (including shoe traction devices for ice and snow) and carry water, food, headlamp, map and cell phone. Also, make sure to tell someone about your plans, leave a note in your car and avoid hiking alone.”

The Precipice rises nearly 800 feet from the terrain below and features many narrow ledges that are often ice-covered in winter. In places, the trail features iron ladder rungs and hand railings to assist hikers. The park describes the Precipice Trail as a “non-technical” climbing route. It is seldom attempted in winter by other than experienced ice climbers.

Earl Brechlin

Earl Brechlin

Editor at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander editor Earl Brechlin first discovered Mount Desert Island 35 years ago and never left. The author of seven guide and casual history books, he is a Registered Maine Guide and has served as president of the Maine and New England Press Associations. He and his wife live in Bar Harbor.

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