Archive for July, 2008

A.T.A. is excited to announce their new economic Hiking Spa Vacation Program.

July 11, 2008

Killington, VT (PRWEB) July 10, 2008 – Appalachian Trail Adventures Hiking Spa Vermont’s premier hiking spa destination resort (ATA) is excited to announce their new economic Hiking Spa Vacation Program . After receiving a high demand, ATA developed a program for those hiking spa vacationer. They provide the guided hikes, transportation, breakfast, lunch and the accommodations starting at the spectacular low rate of $130.00. In addition a variety of a la carte option exists. Such as massage, yoga, cooking classes, tennis lessons, water aerobics, canoeing and kayaking.

ATA Hiking Spa hand picked their hikes out of the 1,000 miles of trails in the Green Mountains of Vermont with the best scenic mountain vistas, waterfalls, historical features and lakes for hikers of all abilities. In addition they hike along the Appalachian Trail and Long Trail, the oldest long distance hiking trail in the country. Even the novice hikes will take you along beautiful country trails and roads in the Green. In the fall some of the most spectacular foliage hiking in New England is offered. Mountain National Forest

To learn more visit


John Keough, Founder & Guide
888.855.8655 or


Helping with a Vermont cave rescue

July 5, 2008

This past week Vermont had a cave rescue and as being a member of the cave rescue network i was called to the scene. I was the second caver in to help the young girl, i am very glad everything worked out for the best. It was a long night, I was at the scene at 9pm and got home at 5am after the clean up.



School offers rescue details
Girl in cave fall reportedly OK
July 3, 2008


DANBY — The New Hampshire-based “adventure education” school whose student was the subject of a five-hour rescue from Monday night into Tuesday morning released an incident report providing more details of the fall which trapped the girl in the cave. However, the release still did not identify her.

The girl, who police said was a 16-year-old from Florida, was part of a group from Kroka Expeditions, of Marlow, N.H. Rescue workers at the scene said on Tuesday that the girl was an active participant in her rescue from False Cliff Cave on Dorset Mountain, near the border of Dorset and Danby, when she left the cave around 1 a.m. on Tuesday.

According to Kroka’s report, the girl was examined at Rutland Regional Medical Center and released by 7 a.m. after no injuries were found.

In the report, Misha Golfman, founding director of Kroka, said the girl was part of a group of eight students led by Michael Dammer and two other experienced cavers. Golfman said Dammer, Kroka’s lead climbing guide and a member of the Ecuador National Mountain Rescue Team, had led the class before.

The class was on the ninth day of the two-week “Caves, Cliffs and Waterfall” class when they entered False Cliff Cave. The students were leaving the cave by a 10-foot rope ladder that Golfman said was supported on the top, middle and bottom by instructors, but the girl, who was the last student leaving, slipped and fell near the top of the ladder.

Her fall was cushioned by the instructors, but Golfman said there were still concerns she had hurt her spine. The girl was awake but confused, according to the report.

“Upon exam, pain and tenderness (were) found around left leg and sides of the lower back. There was a small laceration and some bruising on a cheek. … Under the circumstances (of) acute stress reaction combined with (cold, wet and dark) conditions …, team was not able to clear the spine,” Golfman wrote.

Acute stress reaction is more commonly called “shock.”

The girl was moved about 6 feet to a dry chamber from the tight, uneven, wet space where she had fallen, Golfman wrote. Dammer sent the other students back to their camp about half a mile away.

A Kroka rescue team and local firefighters were called. The Danby/Mount Tabor Fire Department and East Dorset Fire Department responded to the cave and Danby/Mount Tabor Fire Chief Ken Abbott called in volunteers from the Vermont Cave Rescue Network.

Dammer made several trips into the cave to bring down food, water, clothes and sleeping bags to keep the girl warm and comfortable.

Kroka sent a six-member team, including a team leader, vertical rescue specialist, equipment manager and communications coordinator, all certified as Wilderness First Responders, to the cave. Two members of the team knew the cave, according to Golfman.

Rescue efforts were coordinated with Vermont Cave Rescue Network member Steve Hazelton.

When three members of the team entered the cave, the girl was already being assisted by the class’ instructors, an emergency medical technician and two other cave rescue volunteers.

Golfman said that while a spinal injury had not yet been ruled out, the only practical way to get the girl out of the cave was to help her out without immobilizing her.

Hazelton, of Rutland, said the cave was unusual because of a sharp drop, where the girl was stuck, leading to a tight horizontal access from the cave. According to Hazelton, it would have been very difficult to get the girl out of the cave if she hadn’t been able to make the turn into the horizontal access herself.

Several members of the Kroka team helped guide the girl and support her as she left the cave.

In the report, Golfman called the rescue effort “a great success and a learning opportunity.”

“Incidents do happen in adventure education. Appropriate risk-taking activities are very important for the healthy development of capable youth. Kroka Expedition has an excellent safety record of which the organization is proud,” the report concluded.

Abbott said on Wednesday his department would be reviewing their efforts in the cave rescue to improve their response and said he hoped Hazelton would be part of the self-critique.

Kroka officials could not be reached on Thursday.




Trapped teen rescued from Vermont cave

July 2, 2008


Members of the Vermont Cave Rescue Network, Mount Tabor/Danby Fire Department, Manchester and Rutland ambulance and the Vermont State Police Tuesday at 2 a.m. rescue a 16-year-old girl from the Falls Cliff cave in Danby where she had fallen and was injured and could not get out. It required a technical rescue from cavers called in by a emergency response network from throughout the state.
Photo: Vyto Starinskas / Rutland Herald

DANBY — A 16-year-old girl was rescued from a cave after about four hours of rescue efforts from firefighters and volunteer cavers Tuesday morning in Dorset Mountain, near the border between Dorset and Danby, where she had gotten trapped after falling into a tight area.

According to the Vermont State Police, the girl was part of a group from Kroka Expeditions, of Marlow, N.H. Members of the group were leaving the cave when the girl slipped and fell a “considerable distance” into what police said was a “narrow and difficult to reach area of the cave.”

Police said the group’s leaders, who they said were experienced cavers, were able to talk with the girl but couldn’t get her out of the cave.

Steve Hazelton, of Rutland, a member of the Vermont Cave Rescue Network, said the girl had become trapped in the cave because of its unusual configuration. The cave, called False Cliff Cave, has a tight horizontal entry point and then opens up almost immediately to a drop of about 20 feet, Hazelton said.

Hazelton and Danby/Mt. Tabor Fire Department Chief Kenneth Abbott said they didn’t know the extent of the girl’s injuries, if any, but both pointed out that she was an active participant in her rescue.

Police and firefighters were unable to provide the name of the girl on Tuesday but said in a press release she was from Florida.

Rescue workers were called to the cave a little after 7 p.m. Abbott said some of the other members of the girl’s party were able to help his department, and the East Dorset Fire Department, locate the cave.

Abbott said he quickly realized the rescue workers would need the help of experienced cavers.

According to Hazelton, an emergency medical technician, who is also a caver, contacted him to tell him about the situation. Hazelton maintains a “phone tree” of volunteer cavers who help out in rescue situations like the one on Monday night.

“Those situations in Vermont caves are not your typical rescue by any means. It takes teamwork,” Hazelton said.

According to Hazelton, the first thing that needed to be done was to identify the cave correctly. Experienced cavers have found that sometimes rescue workers don’t know the caves as well as those who regularly explore them.

A military-style phone and wire were provided to rescue workers, the girl and member of her expedition so communication could be established.

Abbott said rescue workers used plastic canvases to divert a stream of water that was flowing into the cave.

Hazelton said he didn’t speak to the girl directly but rescue workers were able to establish that she could participate in her own extrication.

According to Hazelton, the girl’s mobility made a big difference. After the 20-foot ascent the girl needed to make, there was a difficult corner to turn to get the horizontal access to the surface. Hazelton said there really wouldn’t have been any room in the narrow access corridor for anyone to help her make the corner.

Rescue workers were able to drop her ropes, so she could safely make the ascent, and a rope ladder.

Once she turned the corner, the girl could have been pulled from the access corridor by a special stretcher used for cave rescues, according to Hazelton, but she decided to leave the cave on her own.

The girl left the cave around 1 a.m., according to police.

Abbott said he believed the girl was taken to Rutland Regional Medical Center primarily for observation. She was reportedly later released. Firefighters and members of the girl’s expedition had been able to provide blankets to keep her as dry and warm as possible.

Abbott said he was pleased by the coordination and cooperation between the fire departments and the volunteer cavers who worked together to get the girl out of the cave safely.

Vermont State Police referred calls about the girl’s identity to Mathias Dammer of Kroka Expeditions of Marlow, N.H. An employee of Kroka said they would issue a statement today.

According to their Web site, Kroka is an “Earth living skills school dedicated to assisting young people in developing strong character, responsibility, community and a sense of place in harmony with nature,” which teaches adventure sports and wilderness living.

The Web site also describes one of their classes, “Caves, Cliffs and Waterfalls,” taught by Dammer, which takes place from June 22 to July 5 and takes place, in part, in Dorset.

“Each caving day we will explore new caverns, going deeper into the underground world as we gain experience in speleology, the skill and science of caving. We’ll scurry through tunnels, wade through underground streams and witness stalactites and stalagmites that have been forming for thousands and thousands of years,” the Web site said.

Hazelton, who has been caving primarily in Vermont for 25 years, said the problems rescue workers had on Monday were fairly typical of Vermont caves. Because they are made of marble, not limestone, the caves tend to be not as deep but the access paths are tighter and smaller than in limestone caves.


N.H. camp releases details of cave rescue




MARLOW, N.H. (AP) — A teenage girl who was trapped in a Vermont cave for several hours was kept company by her instructors and had food, water and warm clothes delivered to her during her ordeal, the director of the Kroka Expeditions wilderness school said Wednesday.

The girl had been exploring the False Cliff Cave in Dorset, Vt., as part of the school’s Caves, Cliffs and Waterfall summer program when she fell from near the top of a 10-foot rope ladder, Misha Golfman said in an incident report.

One of the instructors broke the girl’s fall, but she suffered a small cut on her cheek along with leg and lower back pain. Concerned about a possible spinal injury, instructors decided to call for help.

Two instructors stayed with the girl, making sure she was warm and comfortable and providing emotional support, Golfman said. A rescue team from the school worked with local authorities to set up a hauling system, and the girl was rescued around 1 a.m. She was released from the hospital early the next morning.

Golfman praised the cooperation of all involved, particularly Vermont Cave Rescue.

“Incidents do happen in adventure education. Appropriate risk-taking activities are very important for the healthy development of capable youth,” he said, emphasizing the school’s excellent safety record. “The handling of this incident by everyone involved provides for outstanding learning opportunities in incident prevention, emergency response and rescue efforts.”

Kroka Expeditions was founded in 1996 and offers summer programs, programs for schools and accredited high school semesters focused on adventure sports, wilderness skills and sustainable living. The cave exploration program is for children age 12-16 and includes eight students and three instructors.

Authorities said the girl is from Florida but did not otherwise identify her