At approximately 12noon on Friday February 2nd, a call came in for two lost hikers in Millard Canyon. Team members responded and began to search an area based on information received.
After more than an hour into the search, the missing hikers were located off trail, on a steep hillside. The two had hiked to Millard Canyon waterfall and were attempting to reach Dawn Mine when they lost sight of the trail and became stranded.
A hand line was set up, and both hikers were helped off the mountain by rescue team members. This operation concluded at approximately 3:30PM
These two victims made the right decision by calling for help. When you lose sight of the trail, and end up in a location where forward progress is impossible, and backtracking is too dangerous, it is best to call for help. Had these victims lost their footing, they could have fallen hundreds of feet down the mountain.
Tuesday January 30th, at 12:50pm Altadena Mountain Rescue Team was called for the rescue of a hiker who had slipped off a trail in Rubio Canyon, in the Angeles National Forest.
The hiker was able to call the Altadena Sheriff’s Station via cell phone and tell them he was not injured, except for a few scratches, and was stranded on a cliff approximately one mile from the trailhead. By 1:30PM, rescue crews were hiking into Rubio Canyon, and within minutes had located the victim.
He was just off the Incline Trail, which leads up to Echo Mountain. He was secured into a harness by a rescuer and raised back up to the trail. The crew finished shortly after 4:00PM
On Friday, January 19th, just after 5:00PM, The Altadena Mountain Rescue Team was activated to search for two hikers lost in the area of Fern Canyon and Brown Mountain, in the Angeles National Forest. AMRT rescue units had text communication with the hikers, who were able to convey that they were not on a marked trail. The missing persons were able to send their location to the rescue team, and with the provided information it was determined they were approximately 1/4th of a mile southwest of Brown Mountain.
Just before 9:00PM, the hikers could be heard yelling, but due to the thick clouds that had moved in that evening, they could not be seen. Team members reported visibility as low as 10 feet due to the dense cloud cover.
For a brief period, the clouds began to break, and a call was made to request a Los Angeles County Fire Department helicopter to aid in locating the hikers. Shortly after the request for air support, the cloud cover returned, limiting the abilities of the helicopter.
The decision was made to hike across the mountain, in the direction of the voices. It was at this point that AMRT was able to visually locate the hikers on the side of the mountain. The victims were medically assessed, and with the cloud cover preventing helicopter assistance, the hikers were escorted off the mountain back to their vehicle, concluding the operation at approximately 1:30AM.
The two victims, a 25-year-old male resident of Los Angeles and a 25-year-old male resident of New Orleans had become lost in the darkness and thick cloud cover. The wise decision was made to call for help, avoiding the risk of injury or death. The mountains can be dangerous, especially when visibility is restricted.
On January 6th, just after 4:00PM, The Altadena Mountain Rescue Team responded to rescue a dog that had fallen into a canyon above Altadena. A hiker and her friend were hiking on the Fire Break Trail when their dog slipped and fell 75 feet down off the trail into a steep canyon approximately 100 feet north of the power lines.
Altadena Mountain Rescue Team members hiked into the area, and after approximately 45 minutes of searching, located Oscar the dog, a 14 y/o terrier. Team members used ropes to raise the dog and rescuer back onto the trail.
The hiker, 23 year old female resident of Altadena and Oscar were not injured and were driven to their residence in Altadena. The hiker’s friend, 23 year old female resident of New York was able to hike out to her personal vehicle. This incident concluded at 7:15PM.
On December 12th at approximately 3:30PM, the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team responded to a call for hiker stranded on top of a mountain near Eaton Canyon, in the Angeles National Forest. The hiker had very low battery on his cell phone and was only able to send out a few text messages. AMRT members began searching Eaton Canyon along with LA Co. Parks Bureau deputies.
Shortly after beginning the search for the lost hiker, the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team was requested for the rescue of a hiker, and his dog, who had fallen off the side of a trail near Eaton Canyon. Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team was requested to assist with the second rescue.
It was determined the dog and its owner were on the Altadena crest Trail approximately 3/4 of a mile west of Eaton Canyon. Sierra Madre search teams started to hike into the area to locate the hiker and his Dog.
Because daylight was fading quickly, LA Co. Sheriff’s Air Rescue 5 had been requested to search for the lost hiker on the mountain top near Eaton Canyon. The family of the second stranded hiker, and his dog, called the Altadena Sheriff‘s to report the hiker was losing his grip on a dog leash that was being used to keep him from falling off the steep mountain side. Air Rescue 5 was diverted to rescue the second hiker, a 67 year old male from Pasadena and his 4 year old female Labrador Retriever named Sam. The two were hoisted by Air Rescue 5 and flown to Farnsworth Park. The hiker and Sam the dog were released to their family at Farnsworth Park.
Air Rescue 5 was then directed to Eaton Canyon to locate the first missing hiker. He was located approximately ½ mile east of Eaton Canyon near the high tension power lines. The 43 year old male, a resident of Denver, Colorado, was hiking on an unauthorized trail and became stranded on the steep hillside. He was hoisted into Air Rescue 5 and flown to Farnsworth Park. From there he was driven to his vehicle at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center.
Both incidents concluded at approximately 6:00PM
At approximately 4am on Tuesday October 17th, a forest fire was reported below the Mt. Wilson Observatory. As fire crews were battling the blaze, the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team was called upon to evacuate hikers, campers and residents in the path of the fire.
Approximately 30 hunters, hikers and campers were instructed to leave the areas of Eaton Canyon, Mt. Wilson Toll Road, Henniger Flats, Spruce Grove, Sturtevant, Chantry Flats, Santa Anita Canyon and the surrounding trails. This specific operation concluded at 2pm.
On Wednesday October 18th, the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team was requested to assist Montrose Search and Rescue in the search for a missing person in the area of the Mt. Wilson Observatory. The missing person’s vehicle was located in an area believed to be near the starting point of the brush fire.
Rescue teams searched the east face of the mountain, locating a body over the side of the road in the burn area. At the time, the extent of damage prevented a positive identification of the remains. It was later confirmed that the body was that of the 18-year-old-man reported missing by his family on October 18th.
By the evening of Thursday October 19th, the Mt. Wilson Fire was 50% contained. However, a strong Santa Ana wind event was forecast to develop over the weekend. USFS and L.A. County fire were preparing an emergency action plan to activate Altadena and Montrose to assist with evacuations if necessary. While the possibility of evacuations was highly unlikely, all parties involved wanted to be sure there was a proper plan in place.
On Friday October 20th, the U.S. Forest Service issued closures for the areas impacted by the brush fire, including many popular hiking trails, roads, and campgrounds.
On Saturday October 21st, AMRT was again requested to patrol the front range of the Angeles National Forest, as it had been reported several hikers were in the closure area. Any hikers that were found to be in the closed area were warned and asked to leave.
Crews would continue to battle the Mt. Wilson fire, with 70% containment as of October 26th. The closure order was also lifted, as it was determined that containment was sufficient to allow use of the impacted trails, road and campgrounds.
On Sunday September 3rd, the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team was activated by the Los Angeles county Fire Department to search for two missing hikers.
The missing individuals, 17 year old male and female residing in Arcadia, had called 911 to state they had been hiking since 6:00PM and had become lost in the mountains above Altadena.
Rescue team members were able to communicate with the lost hikers via text message, with the hikers describing thier surroundings. Based on the information received, team members began up the Mt. Lowe Rd. At approximately midnight, the individuals were located approximately 5 miles north of Altadena.
The hikers were not familiar with the area, and without flashlights or any hikin equipment, became lost after taking a wrong trail. The uninjured hikers were transported to their residence in Arcadia and released to a parent.
On July 31st, at approximately 8:30PM, AMRT responded to search for a lost hiker in the mountains above Altadena. The hiker had called the Altadena Sheriff’s Station, but was only to convey that he was lost before the call dropped. He was unable to provide any details as to his general location. Just after 9:00PM, phone contact was re-established, however, the hiker did not know what trail he was on, what city he was near, or where he parked his car. He did state that he was uninjured, but had run out of water.
At 9:30PM, the hiker placed a 911 call, which provided GPS information. Working with his phone provider, it was determined he was on the Mt. Wilson Toll Rd. above Sierra Madre.
While AMRT was communicating with the lost hiker, his father, who he had been hiking with earlier in the day, called 911 to report his son missing. Sierra Madre Search and Rescue was activated and responded to Chantry Flats to search the Mt. Wilson Trail. After the two teams compared details of each search, it was determined they were both looking for the same individual.
An AMRT rescue, searching on the Mt. Wilson Toll Rd., located the missing hiker approximately ½ mile north of Henniger Flats. The 19 year old male and his 9 month old dog, residents of Norwalk, were uninjured. They were driven to Sierra Madre and reunited with the father.
On Saturday July 29th, just after 10:00PM, the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team responded to a call to assist Montrose Search and Rescue to locate a missing mountain biker in the area of Switzer Campground. Crews searched Switzer Falls, Brown Mountain and Arroyo Seco Canyon. Due to the large search area, and cloud cover that prevented the utilization of helicopters to aid in the search, Sierra Madre Search and Rescue was also called in to assist.
At approximately 3:30AM, the mountain biker was located in Arroyo Seco Canyon. The 44 year old male residing in Santa Monica had run out of water and lost sight of the trail because of overgrown brush. Rescue team members began hiking the victim out of the canyon, reaching their vehicles at 6:30AM. The uninjured victim was driven to his parents residence in La Canada. This rescue operation concluded at 8:00AM Sunday morning.
Bruno was lucky to have survived this ordeal without injury. Had he not landed on the small ledge, he could have fallen 300 feet to the rocky canyon bottom. Upon spotting the rescuer coming down towards him, his cries ceased and he began wagging his tail in excitement. The picture below is just moments before Bruno was reuinted with his owner.
On June 15, just after 2:00PM, The Altadena Mountain Rescue Team was activated for the rescue of a female hiker stranded on a cliff in Eaton Canyon, in the Angeles National Forest. The hiker called 911 but was unable to provide details as to her location other than stating that she “climbed up the side of a mountain in Eaton Canyon”. The hiker was able to send photographs of her location and team members used those to determine her position. A crew began to climb to her location, approximately 400 feet above canyon bottom atop a steep ridge line. The hiker was not injured and was lowered to canyon bottom with a team member’s assistance. The hiker, a 22 year old female resident of Bell Gardens was not on any marked trail. Once safely down, she was escorted to her vehicle near the Eaton Canyon Nature Center. This incident concluded at 6:00PM.
On Monday June 5th, 2017, just before 8:00PM the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team was activated for the search for two hikers in the area of Switzer Falls, in the Angeles National Forest. The two hikers had called the Altadena Sheriff's Station and stated they were on a three hour hike and become lost. The hikers, a 23 year old male residing in West Hills and 24 y/o male residing in Winnetka were able to send a text message with their location. AMRT members plotted the hikers’ location to be on Tom Sloan Saddle, approximately 3/4 of a mile off the Mt. Lowe Fire Road.
When rescuers reached the hikers they said they were part of a four person hiking group, and had become separated from their two friends they were hiking with, and the location of the friends was not known. The first two hikers were given water, and were able to hike out to the rescue vehicles on their own. The rescued hikers’ were medically cleared by rescue team members and were driven to Altadena Sheriff’s Station. Within thirty minutes of locating the first two hikers, cell phone contact was made the remaining two hikers, a 25 year old male and a 20 year old female both residing in El Monte. The second pair of hikers were not lost and able to hike out of Switzer Falls on their own. All the hikers were not injured and were released just after midnight on June 6th.
On at 1040 hours the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team was activated for the rescue of two hikers stranded on a steep hillside in Eaton Canyon in the Angeles National Forest. The hikers, a 20 y/o male and 22 y/o female, both residing in the Eagle Rock area of Los Angeles were stuck approximately 50 feet above the bottom of the canyon. The hikers were attempting reach the upper waterfall, in the closed area of Eaton Canyon, when they became stranded. They were located clinging to small bushes on the steep hillside. . The hikers were not injured and hiked out of the canyon on their own. This incident concluded at 1300 hours on .
Just after 12 noon on Monday May 2nd, the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team responded to a call for a female hiker injured in Eaton Canyon. It was reported that the hiker slipped and fell, landing on her back. While most injuries are directly caused by the fall, this particular situation was different. A pencil in her backpack penetrated the pack and impaled her lower back. Estimates by the treating medic were that it was nearly 3 inches into her lower back.
Los Angeles County Fire ground crews on scene treated the victim, and called in Air Recue 5. Once on scene, Air 5 hoisted the victim and transported her to Huntington Memorial Hospital for treatment.
Altadena Mountain Rescue Team responded to a call for a female hiker with a knee injuyr located near Dawn Mine. Field crews searched the area north of the mine, while Air Rescue 5 searched the south end of the canyon.
Air 5 located the victim approximately 1/2 mile south of the mine and hoised her into the helocipter. She was transported to Farnsworth Park, at which time she was treated by members of the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team and Los Angeles County Fire. She was then transported by ambulance to Huntington Memorial Hospital
The Altadena Mountain Rescue Team received notification of a missing mountain biker Friday January 29th just before 9:00PM. Team members responded to the AMRT headquarters and began prepping for a late night search. Because of the large amount of terrain to be searched, AMRT called in Montrose SAR to assist.
Based on information from the missing mountain bikers riding partner, teams were deployed to various locations to cover as much ground as possible.
While rescuers searched throughout the night, the team leader began to prep for increased efforts at first light. Calls were made to surrounding teams, with support from Sierra Madre, San Dimas, Santa Clarita and Malibu arriving for a 7:00AM deployment.
LASD Air Rescue 5 was utilized to insert teams into the mountains and expand the search to cover more trails and recanvas trails initially searched in the dark.
Members of the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team had prepared a missing persons flyer from images provided of the missing person with his bike. These were distributed at first light to hikers and bikers at the trailheads.
Shortly after 10:00AM on Saturday January 30th, a call was received from a mountain biker who noticed a tire in the bushes. The informant had heard about the missing person from others on the trail that had handouts. Upon further inspection, he discovered the bike and body of the missing mountain biker.
Two members from AMRT were a short distance away, and upon arrival secured the scene while Air Rescue 5 dropped a paramedic down to the location. The paramedic pronounced the missing mountain biker at the scene. He was later transported via Air Rescue 5 to Farnsworth Park. The cause of death was not known at the time the operation was concluded.
The Altadena Mountain Rescue Team would like to thank everyone who responded to aid in the search. It is never a good day when the end of an operation is a recovery and not a rescue. Our hearts go out the victim and his family.
The Altadena Mountain Rescue Team received a call at 4:45PM on December 5th regarding three hikers stranded atop the waterfall in Eaton Canyon, in the Angeles National Forest. AMRT, along with the Parks Bureau, responded into the area, establishing a command post at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center. The lost hikers, part of a 50 person church group, separated from the main group and become stranded atop the falls, unable to get down.
Altadena Mountain Rescue Team members hiked up canyon and made the difficult ascent up to the top of the falls. Because of terrain erosion over the recent months from heavy rains, portions of the trail were no longer considered passable by the members on scene. After scouting a location suitable for an anchor, members rappelled down to the victims, ages 12, 26 and 26. All three were uninjured, however, all were complaining of being cold as the temperatures dropped into the low 50’s and neither was dressed appropriately. The victims were provide with warm clothing while a lowering system was rigged to get them safely to canyon bottom.
Once on canyon bottom, the victims were hiked out and then transported to the command post at the Nature Center, where they were reunited with the waiting members of their group.
This operation concluded at 9:45PM
At approximately 7:15PM on November 21st, the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team received a call regarding a father and daughter stuck on a ridge in Rubio Canyon. Communication via text message was established with the father and he was informed that AMRT was in route.
From the Rubio Canyon trailhead, team members were able to visually locate the victims from their flashlights glimmering on the side of the hill. We proceeded into the canyon to better identify their exact location and develop an extraction plan.
Team members tried to approach the victims from above and below, with both routes initially proving to be unsuccessful. The team members approaching from below readjusted their approach and were eventually able to reach the victims. The father and daughter were safely secured at the location while crews from above rigged a lowering system. Both victims were lowered, along with a rescuer, to the canyon bottom and hiked out. This operation concluded at approximately 12:30AM.
It was discovered during a post-rescue interview that the father and daughter had been hiking the better part of the day and had taken a wrong turn, ending up on a steep scree slope that let them to a steep ridge. Because of the loose terrain they were unable to safely backtrack to the main trail. Wisely, the father decided to call for help instead of risking injury.
These hikers were prepared, with food, water, flashlights and proper clothing. Not all hikers are as prepared. As temperatures stay cool, with lows approaching 30 degrees locally, be sure to carry extra layers. You never know when you may take the wrong trail and end up stuck on a ridge.
Photo credit @LasdDan
The Altadena Mountain Rescue Team was out early Sunday morning for our monthly team training exercise. This month had the team working on ELT (Emergency Location Transmitter) and L-per directional finders.
The morning began early for the “victims” in the training operation, as two team members made their way into the Arroyo Seco to place the ELT and stage a member portraying the injured pilot of a downed aircraft.
As three groups of team members were fanned out across the local mountains to begin the process of locating the ELT, the two members located in the Arroyo Seco took the available time to assess the condition of some of the trails in the area. This area of the Angeles National Forest sees heavy usage, especially among mountain bikers. Being familiar with the main trail and any spur trails in the area is vital.
Having hiked to the debris basin and assessed a side trail, the AMRT members made their way back to the location of the ELT, crossing paths with numerous mountain bikers and a few trail runners along the way.
Once back at the location of the ELT, while reviewing the medical scenario to be presented to the first team on scene for the training operation, the training turned into a real rescue operation.
A trail runner, coming down from the debris dam, stumbled and fell to the ground approximately 100 feet up trail from the AMRT members. From her reaction it appeared she had suffered an injury to her right ankle. The two AMRT members approached the victim and her companion, introduced themselves and asked if she needed medical assistance. Initially she thought she would be able to make it out of the Arroyo and back to her vehicle with the assistance of her running companion. Attempts to place weight on the ankle proved otherwise.
At that time, the training officer called an end to the team training and informed the team of the now active rescue operation. While waiting for the arrival of a litter and additional team members, the members on scene prepped the victim, splinting her right ankle and cleaning a wound on her left knee.
Because team members were deployed locally for the training, they were quick to arrive with the litter and litter wheel needed to transport the victim down trail to a team vehicle. Once at the team vehicle, the victim was transferred from the litter and driven, along with her companion, to their personal vehicle.
There have been many times a training exercise has been cut short because of a call for a real operation. This may be the first time team members actually witnessed the incident they incident that caused the injury.