Death in the Platte Clove

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Death in the Platte Clove

New postby dave » Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:15 pm

Late Saturday afternoon, a 27-year-old Kingston man fall off a water fall in the Platte Clove. He has been identified as Alec Mangiaracina of Kingston, NY. He was hiking with his fiance on a hiking trail on the east side of the clove. It was reported that the trail was the one from the Little Red House on Catskill Center property. This trail takes you from Platte Clove Road down to the base of Plattekill Falls. You can see the hike here: http://www.catskillmountaineer.com/KM-Uplatte.html

From our information, we believe that he might have fallen off Bridal Veil Falls, which is about 90' high. It is the highest waterfall in the Platte Clove. I might add that getting down to the top of either Plattekill Falls or Bridal Veil Falls is VERY dangerous. And, it should not be attempted without a rope, harness, and good training.

It is our understanding that both people were novice hikers. The trail down to Plattekill Falls is fairly safe when you stay on the trail. But, both of these people ventured off the trail to some very dangerous locations. It is very difficult to get a good view over the Platte Clove from the Catskill Center Trail and surrounding area. This prompts people to get too close to the edge of the dangerous Hell's Hole. This has led to numerous deaths over the years.

It was reported that he fell 50-60' to the bottom of the falls where there are large rocks and very small water basins. We believe that if he fall off Bridal Veil Falls, he probably fell closer to 90'. He died at the bottom of the Falls. They had climbed down the dangerous bank to the top of the falls to take pictures of the clove.

Update: (8/4) Funeral Information: http://www.holcombefisher.com/obits/obit.cfm?obitid=2070

NYS Police Report:
The New York State Police at Catskill report the death of a hiker who fell from a trail in the town of Hunter, Greene County, NY. At approximately 7:00PM on Saturday 07/30/11, ALEC G. MANGIARACINA, age 27, of Kingston, NY had been hiking on a trail on the east side of the Platte Clove Gorge with his fiancé. As the two approached an area at the top of a waterfall they stopped to take pictures. As MANGIARACINA approached the edge of the waterfall he lost his footing and fell approximately 50 – 60 feet to the water and rocks below. Rescuers from the Tannersville rescue squad, Tannersville Fire Dept., Centerville Fire Dept., Hunter Fire Dept., and the Haines Falls Fire Dept. responded to the scene however MANGIARACINA succumbed to his injuries at the scene. MANGIARACINA and his fiancé were novice hikers who hadn’t hiked that area of Platte Clove Gorge before. Investigation was conducted by the NYSP, the Town of Hunter Police Department, and the DEC. An autopsy is scheduled for Sunday.

Here are some pictures of the area:

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Bridal Veil Falls from across Hell's Hole - 90' high

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Plattekill Falls from the end of the Catskill Center Trail - 60-70' high

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Ledge on the north side of Hell's Hole

More details to come.
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Re: Death in the Platte Clove

New postby mike » Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:16 pm

Hell's Hole got it's name for a reason. A lot of people have been killed there over the past couple hundred years. The mohawk Indians used it to escape people from chasing them back up in the Catskill Mountains.

Getting to the top ledge of both Falls is very difficult. Getting down to the top ledge of Bridal Veil Falls is quite a challenge. There is a chute that runs down it. Slip there, and you can slide right off the falls. From the north side, you would have to jump off a 5-6' ledge. Make a mistake there, and you can slide off the top of the falls. You also have to be careful on the ledge because the rock is smooth in some spots. I would not go down there w/o a rope and harness.

One major attraction is that you know that there is a view, but just cannot find a spot to look. This attracts people to the edge of the hole. This is how so many people get killed. It is very difficult to look into hell's hole from the rim. It is difficult to get down into hell's hole also. Once inside, it is a little bit better, but still dangerous.

I should also note that Plattekill Falls is about 300' above Bridal Veil Falls. There is a series of falls down the steep ravine.
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Re: Death in the Platte Clove

New postby mtnclimber » Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:41 pm

It sounds like he was probably standing in water, or on wet rocks. Lots of algae in those streams.
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Re: Death in the Platte Clove

New postby mike » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:32 pm

That would be my guess. Very unfortunate accident.
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Re: Death in the Platte Clove

New postby mike » Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:24 am

This is a story that was run in the Kingston Freeman a couple days ago: http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2011/08/02/news/doc4e3732bf56da5086129063.txt?viewmode=fullstory

The Kingston Freeman story has created some very vocal and anger comments by Catskill hikers. Many hikers do not want a political approach to solve the problem. Many believe that the changes taken last year are a good enough. More changes can be made if needed.

A great many people have died in this clove over the centuries. Back in the 1970's the Bridal Veil Lookout was open to the public. But, after deaths became a weekly occurrence, the owner closed the area. Last year, the property was sold, and a few irresponsible hikers, ripped down the No Trespassing signs. This started a stampede of hikers into the area. This is why we have had 4 deaths in the past 15 months.

The community has made some changes in the past year, and they are working very well. While we knew that more deaths would happen, we knew that this would eliminate most of them. The community has several more steps they can take if deaths continue. Some of the changes and comments posted in the Kingston Freeman are inappropriate. But, hazard signs from the DEC would probably be beneficial. A group of people are trying to get sensible changes made to reduce future deaths. They are also trying to get changes made over at KF to reduce deaths there as well. The Town of Hunter is also making changes to drive curious hikers away from a region that they don't belong in.

In regards to the death this past weekend, here are some more particulars:

1. The trail to Plattekill Falls has rules (non DEC land). This Trail is owned by the Catskill Center. You cannot leave the trail, and you are instructed to stay away from slopes near the rim. The sign is right on the trail. You can't miss it.

ImageImageImage
No shortage of signs warning of the dangers - But, yet he ignored them.

2. Marc choose to break the rules and left the trail. He choose to ignore the warning to stay away from the rim.

Here are some pictures. Let me know if you think it was safe to climb down there?
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This picture was taken about 20' vertical feet above Bridal Veil falls. If you look carefully, you will see a tip of white. This is the large ledge rock on top of the falls (see picture at top).

You can access the top of Bridal Veil Falls by climbing down the slippery chute. Or, you can jump off the 5-6' ledge on the left side of the stream. Both are very dangerous. I would not got down there without a rope and harness. The rocks are slippery and algae lined. Yes, the view is very good from the top of the Falls. But, it is also very risky to climb down there w/o climbing equipment.

Most people die while on the rim, or while climbing down the rim. We have posted some hints as to how to get into the clove safely. This has helped a number of experienced hikers. A local resident also leads some hikes into the region. There are "safe" ways into the clove, but you need to find them. They are on the south side of the rim.

For experienced hikers. Be a little paranoid while hiking in this region. Some dangers are not so obvious. If you get slightly injured, expect to pay 10k for a helicopter ride out. A guy broke his ankle, and the Rangers called a helicopter instead of carrying him out.
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