Beloved Adirondack Forest Ranger Dies

A well-known, well-liked, and highly skilled Adirondack Forest Ranger, tragically died last week after falling nearly 1000 feet while ice-climbing in Denali National Park, Alaska, according to sources.

Sadly, according to sources, Robbi Mecus (52) fell while she and hiking partner Melissa Orzechowski were ice climbing in Denali National Park.

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A climber takes on a high peak in Denali National Park, Alaska Photo: Getty Images


According to the report, the two-person team fell approximately 1,000 feet while climbing Mt. Johnson, an 8,400-foot peak located in Denali National Park and Preserve’s Ruth Gorge, on the night of Thursday, April 25.

Mecus tragically was killed in the fall, while her climbing partner from California sustained serious traumatic injuries.

Robbi Mecus Photo: Facebook
Robbi Mecus Photo: Facebook

Robbi Mecus was an Adirondack Forest Ranger

Mecus, according to sources, was as well-skilled as she was well-liked, and the Keene Valley New York resident spent much of her life rescuing people from dangerous situations in the Adirondacks.

An article from included a note from the commissioner of the NYS DEC, who along with many in the North Country, is mourning the loss.

"I join the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) family in mourning the sudden and tragic passing of Forest Ranger Robbi Mecus," DEC Interim Commissioner Sean Mahar wrote in a statement. "Over her 25-year career with DEC, Ranger Mecus demonstrated an unparalleled passion for protecting the environment and New Yorkers."


Robbi Mecus, 52, died tragically when she fell 1000 feet while ice climbing in Alaska. Photo: Facebook
Robbi Mecus, 52, died tragically when she fell 1000 feet while ice climbing in Alaska. Photo: Facebook

5,000 Feet of Steep Ice, Rock, and Snow

According to the source, both climbers were "ascending a route on Mt. Johnson known as “the Escalator,” a steep and technical alpine climb on the peak’s southeast face. The approximately 5,000-foot route involves navigating a mix of steep rock, ice, and snow."

The "Escalator" route on Mt. Johnson, Denali National Park and Preserve. The X indicates the approximate location of the rescue of the surviving climbing partner. Photo: NPS.Gov

Responders Dug a Snow Cave

According to the National Park Services, the fall was witnessed by another climber who alerted the Alaska Regional Communication Center at approximately 10:45 pm. The reporting party then descended to the accident victims and confirmed one climber had died in the fall.

The responders dug a snow cave and tended to Melissa Orzechowski's injuries throughout the night, according to the report.

Robbi Mecus is survived by her daughter and former wife, who live in the Keene Valley community.

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