ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — A hiker attempting to climb the Precipice Trail on Wednesday instead spent four hours on the side of Champlain Mountain waiting for the Air National Guard to rescue him.

Identified only as a 26-year-old man from Belfast, the hiker set out from Schooner Head Road around 9 a.m. but at 11:02 a.m. called for help after becoming stuck on an icy vertical face unable to move either up or down, according to Jay Elhard, a spokesman for the National Park Service.

The Precipice is a rugged non-technical climb with open cliff faces and iron rungs. It was the first time to Acadia for this visitor and he did not have any type of crampons or traction control devices, said Elhard.

Champlain Mountain as seen from Schooner Head Road in late November. Islander photo by Kate Cough

The hiker was able to wedge himself against a tree to avoid sliding down the face as he waited for help to arrive. Because of his location and the conditions on the mountain, reaching him by foot was nearly impossible, prompting a transfer of the mission to the Maine Air National Guard.

The Air National Guard responded and conducted a hoist operation to evacuate the hiker at 2:45 p.m. He was flown to the Bar Harbor ball field, where he declined medical assistance.


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