Ranger Ralph W. Heath

Ranger Ralph W. Heath

Baxter State Park, Maine

End of Watch Tuesday, October 29, 1963

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Ralph W. Heath

Ranger Ralph Heath died of exposure while attempting to rescue a woman on Mount Katahdin during a snowstorm.

On Monday, October 28th, 1963, two women climbed to Baxter Peak on Mount Katahdin by way of the Cathedral Trail, arriving at the summit at 1:30 p.m. After lunch, the two women started out across the Knife’s Edge and became separated. The two continued on their chosen routes and were in verbal contact until one relayed that she was stuck and could not go up or down.

The second woman descended to Chimney Pond campground by way of the Dudley Trail and alerted Ranger Heath of the situation. At approximately 11:00 p.m., the weather changed drastically with a storm that deposited two feet of snow over the next 24 hours.

Ranger Heath made two attempts to reach the stranded woman. The second attempt was made at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 29th, 1963, from the base of the Knife’s Edge. He attempted to hike up to the woman from below her position. This was the last known action made by Ranger Heath. At some point that day, Ranger Heath and the woman succumbed to the elements.

Ranger Heath's body was recovered on May 17, 1964.

Ranger Heath served with the Baxter State Park for three years. He was survived by his five brothers and two sisters.


  • Age 37
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Hypothermia

search and rescue, weather

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Ranger Heath,
On today, the 60th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice-not just as a Law Enforcement Officer but for our Country as well when you served during World War II and the Korean War. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

October 29, 2023

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