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Missing hiker found dead in Great Range

August 1, 2017
By ANTONIO OLIVERO - Staff Writer (aolivero@adirondackdailyenterprise.com) , Lake Placid News

KEENE VALLEY - A man missing in the High Peaks Wilderness since Sunday was found dead today.

State police Public Information Officer Jennifer Fleishman confirmed the name of the man, Skip Baker, and said his manner and cause of death are pending police investigation.

Essex County Coroner Frank Whitelaw said Baker was 50 years old, from Webster near Rochester, and that his body was found in the East Branch of the AuSable River near the base of Upper and Lower Wolfjaw mountains in the Adirondacks' Great Range. Whitelaw added that it can't be determined before an autopsy if Baker drowned or died from trauma caused by falling. The autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, to be performed by Dr. C. Francis Varga at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.

Article Photos

Skip Baker holds his first and only granddaughter, Isabella Baker, after she was born in May 2016.
(Photos provided by Christie DeMaria)

Baker was found after a large-scale search for him spanned two days in the vicinity of the state-owned High Peaks Wilderness and Adirondack Mountain Reserve property.

The search followed a call placed early Monday morning to the DEC's central dispatch that reported Baker had not returned to his truck, parked at the entry to the AMR at the AuSable Club. The caller said he believed Baker had set out to hike Gothics, the state's 10th highest mountain, southwest of the Wolfjaws at the core of the Great Range, according to DEC spokesman David Winchell.

Search efforts today consisted of 17 forest rangers, an assistant forest ranger and a state police helicopter. No sign of Baker was found Monday, when four forest rangers, an assistant forest ranger and AMR staff searched along with a state police helicopter.

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