Six hikers were rescued from Maine’s tallest mountain after getting stuck on Mount Katahdin’s exposed Knife Edge trail over the weekend.

The rescue took 21 hours and involved the rescuers and hikers spending a night atop the mountain and a helicopter evacuation for a woman who lost consciousness, according to the director of Baxter State Park, and North Search and Rescue, a nonprofit search-and-rescue organization that assisted in the response.

The hikers began their trek up the mountain from Roaring Brook Campground on Saturday, reached the 5,267-foot summit around 5:30 p.m. and decided to continue across the Knife Edge, a 1.1-mile rock scramble along a narrow ridge with steep drop-offs on both sides, said Kevin Adam, director of Baxter State Park.

“They started to run into some issues that slowed them down until it got to the point it was around 9:30 and a 20-year-old woman started to have some physical issues,” Adam said. “It was probably just related to her body being tired and it being a long day, so they decided to call 911.”

A ranger was able to get up the mountain and found the group late Saturday night, Adam said, but by that point the woman was unconscious and needed medical attention. A second ranger was deployed to help take care of the woman and the five other hikers, Adam said. In a social media post, North Search and Rescue said three of its members also reached the hikers on the Knife Edge and assisted the rangers as the group sheltered in place, buffeted by winds gusting to 30 mph.

Adam said a Maine Army National Guard helicopter arrived Sunday morning to take the woman to a Bangor hospital.


The woman had left the emergency room Wednesday, Adam said, but he was not sure if she had been released from the hospital. The rescued hikers have not been publicly identified but Adam said they are all from Maine.

Rangers and the volunteers from North Search and Rescue assisted the five remaining hikers in getting down the mountain, Adam said.

“Over the next 11 hours, members sometimes, lifting, carrying and guiding the party members and with support from another North member who heard the call that water was running low jumped into action arriving in time half way up the trail with something like 10 bottles of water successfully evac’d 5 very tired and sore individuals to Roaring Brook,” the rescue group wrote in a post on its Facebook page.

“With support from Baxter Rangers, 5 of our members, and Maine National Guard, a total of 21 hours were spent in active response on top of Maine’s greatest mountain,” the post said.

Adam said the rescue should serve as a reminder to hikers who might be considering making a climb to be prepared and know their limits. He said people should hydrate, carry enough water, talk to park rangers about how much time a hike will take and set limits for themselves.

“If you don’t get to a certain spot by a certain time, then you need to turn around and you need to have the discipline to honor those times,” he said. “If you get to the top or where you want to go and maybe it’s a little later than you would want, take the easiest route down.”

Adam did not respond to a follow-up email asking about the cost of the rescue operation.

Comments are not available on this story.