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Woman Clings to Spruce Sapling All Night to Survive Deadly Fall in Adirondacks’

5 months ago
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A lone spruce tree barely bigger than a Christmas decoration saved a hiker's life after she fell hundreds of feet down a steep, icy mountainside. Clinging to the tiny tree all night long in below-freezing temperatures, the woman miraculously survived until rescuers arrived at dawn.

The harrowing saga unfolded in New York's rugged Adirondack Mountains just days ago. The 46-year-old woman had set out to hike solo up South Dix Mountain, one of the range's tallest peaks. Though an experienced hiker, she decided to blaze her impromptu trail up part of the mountain rather than follow marked paths. This would prove to be a fateful decision.

About halfway up the 4,000-foot mountain, the woman reached a steep, rocky slope covered in snow and ice. The unconventional route she had chosen was proving treacherous. Carefully picking her way up the roughly 200 feet of 45-degree incline, disaster struck without warning.

She lost her footing on the slick, snow-covered rocks. In an instant, she began sliding uncontrollably down the precipitous face. The woman plunged downward, violently slamming against boulders and thick trunks of trees growing out sideways from the slope.

Miraculously, none of these collisions knocked her unconscious or caused debilitating injury. The snow and brush provided just enough cushioning as she careened hundreds of feet in mere seconds. Still, the brutal fall certainly left its mark with cuts, gashes and deep bruises.

Finally, the woman slid to a stop on a narrow rocky outcropping about two-thirds of the way down the mountain's eastern slope. Disoriented and in shock, she slowly realized the dire predicament she now faced.

The ledge she found herself on was only about three feet deep and five feet long - barely enough room for her to lie down. The icy rocks provided hardly any traction or grip. Any attempt to move meant risking sliding right over the edge to yet another plunging fall down the cliffs below.

The night was also fast approaching, threatening frigid temperatures high up on the exposed mountainside. The woman was an experienced hiker dressed in layers, a hat and gloves. But she was unprepared to spend a night enduring the brutal Adirondack elements with no tent or sleeping bag. Hypothermia could set in rapidly, even proving fatal before sunrise.

In those panicked moments immediately after her fall, the woman’s survival instincts somehow focused on a small spruce tree growing out sideways from the rock face at the very edge of the precipice. It was barely more than a sapling, no more than five feet tall and four inches in diameter. She lunged for it.


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