Death at Kaaterskill Falls

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A young man from Yonkers went missing April 24. His rented car was found April 30 at the main Laurel House Road parking lot. The next day, his body was recovered from the base of the falls.

Kaaterskill Falls is one of the most popular Catskills destinations, but has also been the site of many injuries, and many deaths, over the years. This is a grim beginning to the 2021 hiking season.

The site has recently been upgraded for public safety but people often venture beyond the signs that warn hikers of danger and potential death.

The rock-bed around the falls is wet and slippery. The man appears to have died from head injuries sustained during his fall.

It is extremely dangerous to venture anywhere near the edge of any of the falls’ overhangs.

About a month ago, in icy conditions, another man almost fell to his death as seen on this video posted to Reddit. But deaths have occurred here in all seasons.

Casual Hikers Take Note

Kaaterskill Falls is a magnet for day-trippers and casual hikers who may not understand the risks associated with hiking in a wilderness environment.

The fact that the site is “hardened” for thousands of visitors, and is so close to a major parking lot, may add to a mistaken sense of safety.

This is very much a wilderness site, and these falls are ever treacherous.

Your Safety

If you visit Kaaterskill Falls, please be overly-sensible. Wet rock is incredibly slippy. Every experienced hiker has a story about slipping on wet rock.

Make sure you wear your best hiking boots or hiking shoes, with extra traction in winter.

Never wear casual shoes or sneakers to this location.

Even with all the right gear, do not let your guard down.

Heed the posted warnings. They are there for very real and present reasons.

Take no risks at this location.


DEC Notice

Town of Hunter | Greene County
Wilderness Search:
On May 1 at 2 a.m., DEC’s Central Dispatch received a call from New York State Police requesting Forest Ranger assistance to search for a missing individual. State Police had located the missing subject’s vehicle at the Laurel House parking lot. Forest Rangers Fox, Bink, Gullen, Martin, Mitchell, Petit, and Slade responded, along with New York State Police K-9s and Greene County Sheriff’s Deputies. Forest Ranger Slade searched from the air in a State Police helicopter, while Ranger Martin used a drone to cover other dangerous terrain. Rangers located items believed to belong to the subject, which served to focus the search to a specific location. Divers from the Sheriff’s Office and State Police located the subject, a 36-year-old from Yonkers, deceased in one of the Kaatterskill waterbodies. Haines Falls and Tannersville fire departments assisted in the carry-out to the trailhead where the subject was released to the Greene County Coroner.

 

2 responses to “Death at Kaaterskill Falls

  1. In your article, your sugestions and “warnings” are so right. I wish more people would read these and follow them. Thrre’s too many deaths and serious injuries happening at Kaaterskill Falls. The DEC has been so proactive in keeping people safe by adding warning signs, monitoring the trail, and educating people on safe hiking. I’m afraid they are going to have to close the trail. This would be a shame, so what can we do? I believe education is the key. I hope everyone who reads your article spreads the word on using proper hiking safety measures. I hope people visit and enjoy the beauty of Kaaterskill Falls safely.
    Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Kristi. During the winter, I saw how many people were unprepared up there. I watched several people slip and fall. It’s really not the DEC’s fault. They have clear warning signs posted all over the place. But people either don’t bother to read the signs or pshaw their warnings, thinking, “This doesn’t apply to me!” or something like that? It’s pretty consistent. A death like this has to act as a reminder. But in a few months I suppose it’ll fade from memory, until the next one…

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