Hiker injured on Monument Mountain


GREAT BARRINGTON — Emergency responders swarmed the Squaw Peak area of Monument Mountain on Monday night to rescue an injured hiker — the third such response in recent weeks.

Local firefighters and EMTs were called to the area about 2:41 p.m. to respond to a report of a hiker who had fallen and injured his ankle, according to a news release by Great Barrington Fire Chief Charles Burger.

The injury was not severe, but the 60-year-old hiker, who was hiking with a friend, could not put any weight on his foot, Burger said.

The man was located on a very steep portion of the mountain, Burger said. Firefighters had to rig up a rope system to lower the man about 150 feet down the mountain. The Western Mass. Tech Rescue Team assisted in the work.

When the hiker was lowered to a more level area, he was carried by EMTs about a quarter mile to an area where a four-wheeler could pick him up and take him off the mountain.

He denied medical treatment and was transported to his home by his friend, Burger said.

Earlier this month, Sheffield resident Joan Sussman died following a fall in the same area. A third recent rescue did not involve a fatality or serious injury.

"It can be a pretty difficult area to climb," said Deena Gilbert, founder of the Berkshire County Hiking Club, speaking of the Squaw Peak area on Monument Mountain. "On parts of the trail, you find yourself moving from one boulder to the next."

In addition to the three Monument Mountain rescues, the Great Barrington Fire Department also assisted the Monterey Fire Department with an injured hiker on the Appalachian trail several weeks ago.

Monterey and Stockbridge Fire departments assisted with the rescue on Monday. Burger thanked all the agencies "that have routinely assisted us. It is a strenuous, time-consuming job and (Monday's) incident demonstrated teamwork at its best."

The National Trustees of Reservations, which owns the property, warns on its website that the Squaw Peak trail requires a "moderate level" of fitness, adding that hikers should be aware that some of the trails get slippery with moisture after a rain.

The Trustees' website also warns hikers to be cautious near the ledges on the mountain.

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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