When training turns to reality – November 15, 2015

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.arroyo 11 15 2015 01

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.

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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.

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AMRT responds to report of cries for help in the area of Rubio Canyon – November 9, 2015

At approximately 8:50AM on Monday November 9th, a call from an informant was received stating she heard cries for help in the area of Rubio Canyon. The Altadena Mountain Rescue Team, along with Sierra Madre Search and Rescue and units from Los Angeles County Fire, began searching Rubio Canyon and several dry waterways and debris basins in the surrounding areas.

The victim was located in Rubio Canyon by ground crews, and hoisted by LA County Fire Helicopter 14 and transported to Farnsworth Park. Upon arrival at Farnsworth park and after further assessment, it was determined the victim needed further treatment and was transported by ground via ambulance to Huntington Memorial.

The victim, a 23 year old female, was on a hike to Echo Mountain when she took a wrong trail and became lost, spending 2 days out in the elements. She had no cell phone coverage, little food or water and lacked warm clothing.

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AMRT responds to call for injured mountain biker - October 28, 2015

At approximately 10:35am on Wednesday October 28th, a call came in for an injured mountain biker on the Lower Sam Merrill Trail, approximately 2 miles from the trailhead.

AMRT, along with ground crews from LA County Fire, hiked in from the trailhead at Lake and Alta Loma while a second crew from AMRT drove up the Mt. Lowe fire road to approach the victim from above.

LA County Sheriff’s Air Rescue 5 began a search from the air, and was able to locate the victim, approximately 30 feet over the side of the trail. A medic was lowered down to attend to the mountain biker, who was then hoisted into the helicopter and transported to Huntington Memorial Hospital. The victim, a 51 year old male from Alhambra, received numerous scratches along with a punctured left lung from his fall. 

With the victim safely on his way to the hospital, AMRT continued to the scene of the incident to retrieve his bike and personal belongings and return them to him at Huntington Memorial.
According to the victim’s statement to AMRT, he was riding up the narrow Lower Sam Trail and had moved to one side to allow hikers to pass. Upon putting his foot down and finding nothing there, he fell approximately 30 feet over the side.

This operation concluded at approximately 2:00PM




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As the dog days of summer continue, so do the dog rescues - August 2nd, 2015

At approximately 3pm on Sunday August 2nd, the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team responded to a call for an injured dog on the Lower Sam Merrill Trail. The victim, a 5 year old Shephard mix, along with its owner, were located approximately 1 mile up the trail. Once on scene, the team determined that along with a laceration it had suffered to its paw, it was also suffering from heat exhaustion. Efferts were made on scene to begin cooling the dog while also attending to its lacerated foot. The dog was then transported via litter down the trail and placed in the air conditioned cab of a waiting Sheriff's vehicle. The dog and its owner were then driven to their own vehicle, with the owner taking the dog to a private veterinary clinic for treatment. This opeation concluded at approximately 5:30PM

As temperatures are expected into the high 90's again this weekend, remember that your four legged hiking partner needs water also. Bring along a collapsible bowl and plenty of bottled water, and avoid hiking in the middle of the day when the sun is directly overhead, limiting the amount of shade on the trail. 




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Altadena Mountain Rescue Team rescues dog suffering from heatstroke – June 8, 2015

As temperatures reached the 90's by mid-day, a page went out to team members for a dog suffering from heatstroke near the waterfall in Eaton Canyon. The team learned that LACoFD Engine 66 was at the Pinecrest gate and had made contact with the informant. The informant stated the victim, a four-year-old Boxer, was somewhere along the Eaton Canyon trail between the bridge and the Nature Center.

AMRT sent members into the canyon from both ends, locating the victim just north of Walnut Canyon. The dog's owner sought shelter in a shady area just off the trail; attempts to provide the dog with water proved unsuccessful, as he was unable to keep it down.

The decision was made to transport the dog out of the canyon in one of the teams air conditioned vehicles to a shady area on Pincecrest Drive. It was there that multiple ice packs were utilized to begin cooling the dog. He was then transported by the team to the Nature Center, where an officer from the Pasadena Humane Society assisted in giving the dog cold water to further lower his temperature. The dog was now out of danger, and transported along with his owner back to their vehicle.

As summer approaches and temperatures rise, be sure to consider the safety of your four legged friends as you hit the trails. Dogs cannot clearly communicate their distress until it is often too late. Be sure to carry plenty of water and a portable/collapsible bowl. Also plan to hike in the early morning or late afternoon hours when temperatures are lower and the sun is not directly overhead.

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