Bangor man survives Christmas Day fall in Acadia

Precipice Trail - Wood Rescue on 12-25-16 Photo by Carol Bult

Acadia National Park rangers and volunteers from Mount Desert Island Search and Rescue prepare to hoist Tyler Wood in a litter to a Maine Army National Guard helicopter. ANP photo by Carol Bult.

A Bangor man who plummeted 30 feet from one of the deadliest trails in Acadia National Park is in stable condition at a Bangor hospital, according to a hospital official.

Tyler Wood, 27, fell about 30 feet while hiking up Precipice Trail on Christmas Day, park officials indicated Tuesday in a press release. He lost his footing on the steep trail when he slipped on some ice around 10:30 a.m.

Wood’s hiking companion used his cell phone to call rangers who, along with members of Mount Desert Island Search and Rescue, arrived at the scene about halfway up the trail approximately two hours later. They secured Wood in a litter and lifted him with ropes about 12 feet up the steep rock face, where he then was hoisted to a Maine Army National Guard helicopter.

The helicopter then flew Wood to Eastern Maine Medical Center where he remained in stable condition Tuesday evening, according to a nursing supervisor.

Precipice Trail, which has sections where hikers have to climb metal rungs to move up or down the steep rock face, is among the most challenging trails in the park, even in warm and dry weather. It and the Orange & Black Path are two trails that skirt along narrow ledges high up the sheer East Face of Champlain Mountain.

Signs erected in the park warn hikers to be cautious when hiking Precipice Trail because of the steep incline and potential for falling. The trail is so steep that the park classifies it as a non-technical climb (where rock-climbing equipment is not needed) as opposed to a hiking trail.

Park officials advise hikers to avoid dangerous conditions and be prepared for severe weather conditions while visiting Acadia in the winter. Hikers are strongly encouraged to wear appropriate clothing and footwear (including shoe traction devices for ice and snow) and to carry water, food, a headlamp, map, and cell phone. Hikers should tell someone about their plans, leave a note in their vehicle when they park near a trailhead, and avoid hiking alone.

According to statistics kept by the park, the East Face of Champlain Mountain is one of the most dangerous places to hike in Acadia. Since 1978, three people have fallen and died while hiking Precipice Trail while another died in 1997 after falling an estimated 30 to 35 feet while hiking the Orange & Black Path.

Bill Trotter

About Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors. He writes about fisheries, marine-related topics, eastern coastal Maine communities and more for the BDN. He lives in Ellsworth. Follow him on Twitter at @billtrotter.