Two members of Altadena Mountain Rescue who have been in Sheriff's Reserve Academy had their Pinning and Graduation Ceremony on Monday. We're proud to have our teammates back after 6 months of hard work. Congratulations! Unfortunately, for a few of us, just as we arrived in Down Town L.A. for Graduation we needed to turn right back around to respond on a call for a hiker stuck on a cliff in Eaton Canyon.....
The day started bright and early at 0700 with team training in Moist Canyon and Coyote Canyon. We practiced tracking and rescuing an uninjured victim. It was also a great opportunity for our newest member to learn some of our local terrain.
Similiar to our last posting, two stranded hikers were rescued on Wednesday night after getting stuck on Tom Sloan Ridge. The two intended to finish off with a shuttle and parked a vehicle at the Millard Campground parking lot. They began their hike at Switzer's off Angeles Crest Highway just past the Clear Creek Ranger Station. They hiked down the Arroyo and into Bear Canyon. Before the fires, the trail wasn't in too bad of shape. However, since then with the lack of foot travel, overgrowth, and any damage caused by the fires, the two lost the trail and were forced to climb up the side of the canyon wall. They did make it to the top which put them on Tom Sloan Ridge and soon they hiked to the saddle. At that point, the hikers stated that the trail was in terrible shape and became tired and unsure of continuing. They called for help. Altadena Mountain Rescue was notified of the two lost hikers at 10:38pm. Our point of entry was the upper gate to the Mt. Lowe Fire Road off of Chainey Trail. Two units were in the field. Unit One began the drive up the fire road while Unit Two stayed back at the gate to provide additional support if needed. During this time, Unit Two stayed in cell phone contact with the missing persons via text messages. Getting through on the phone was "iffy" however, texts work quite well. This helped greatly in that they were able to state when they were able to see our lights and gave us their position in relation to where we were. The road becomes impassable due to rock fall up high. Unit One continued to move forward on foot and made contact with the missing persons soon after. They had no injuries and were escorted back to our vehicle and driven back down. The two were released at their parked vehicle. The op went well!
Two standed hikers were rescued on Tuesday night. The two started off at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center with the intent of hiking up to the first falls. They did just that and decided on a side trip up Acrophobia Ridge. The two lost their way while on the ridge and continued making their way up instead of back down to canyon bottom. Ultimately, they ended up near the set of power towers atop the canyon wall, just north of the Mt. Wilson Toll Road Bridge. The two phoned their parents who, in turn, called emergency services for help. Altadena Moutain Rescue was notified at 9:18pm of the two stranded young men. When we arrived on scene, (Pinecrest Gate), we were informed that residents could here the two calling for help. A two person rescue crew was driving up the Mt. Wilson Toll Road. When the crew stopped and called out for the missing persons, they could here responsive crys for help. As they scanned the moutian side, they were able to see a flashing signal light. Once the light was spoted, a plan was made and a four person rescue crew made their way up a game trail from the backside of the moutain and made contact with the two stuck hikers. The rescue crew gave the two hikers water, helmets and harnesses. The rescue crew helped the two hike back down to safety as the rescue crew laid out safety handline lines for support. The two were taken back to their parked vehicle at the Eaton Canyon Nature where their family members were waiting. A happy ending and everyone made it home safely.
Team paged for Lost Hiker 2106hrs. Lost hiker near Millard Campground, uninjured, cannot hike out due to leg cramps. The Operation Leader was able to make phone contact with the victim and because all Team members are required to have very good knowledge of the trail and terrain in their area, was able to figure out almost exactly where the missing hiker was. He was instructed to stay where he was and signal the rescue vehicle when he saw it.
R1 was dispatched up the Mt Lowe Rd and found the hiker very close to the Lowe Rd gate. The R1 crew chief made sure the hiker was uninjured and noticed he had 2 backpacks. He questioned the hiker and learned the pack belonged to the hikers girlfriend. Upon further questioning learned that the hiker was one of 10 people doing an overnight camping trip and that he became separated from the group. He was not sure where they were supposed to camp and didn't know which way to go at a trail intersection and took the wrong trail. The Crew Chief suggested that the Team look for the rest of the party to prevent another call out later as he was sure the other members were looking for the missing member.
The crew chief was able to get vehicle descriptions and partial license plate numbers and R2 verified the vehicles were still there. They noticed lights coming down the Lower Sam Merrill trail, so staged themselves at the trailhead to question anyone coming out to see if they were looking for a missing hiker. Several large groups exited the trail, but none were missing a hiker.
R3 was dispatched to the Echo Mt. trail to check with any hikers along that trail.
R1 located most of the party at Alpine Tavern, who reported 2 members went out to look for the missing hiker. A short time later the last 2 hikers were found at Inspiration Point and all units returned to the station and the search was ended at 2400hrs.
All hikers should make sure everyone in the party knows what trails they will be going on, and what the destination is. At all trail intersections, hiking parties should regroup to insure all their members are accounted for. A means for communication would be a good idea, like FRS radios for all members, or at least the hiker in the lead and the hiker bringing up the rear. Cell phones don't work in all areas, so they should not be relied on.
The Altadena Mountain Rescue Team passed our technical rock recertification for the California region MRA with flying colors. Search and rescue teams from all over California all met in the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine to be tested and re-certified on their technical rock rescue skills. Using a system described as "elegant" by our testing proctors, we were able to extract a simulated injured victim and transport him to safety over difficult rocky terrain while maintaining a high standard of medical care. Shown above is the team after the recertification including the two newest full members showing off their MRA patches.
At around 3pm on Sunday, February 20th, the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team was called on to rescue three teenage girls who had gotten themselves in a tight spot. The teens had been exploring the small canyons on the east side of the Eaton Canyon Nature Center, when they decided to start climbing up the side of the canyon. They had started with five girls, but at that point two of them decided not to make the climb, and turned back. The first two AMRT units to respond met up with the two teens at the Nature Center, and the girls then attempted to show the rescuers the route their friends had taken. When they failed to remember where their friends had started climbing, the search was on.
The girls were found at the head of Cascade Canyon on a ledge in a tight water runoff chute. Ahead of them was about an 80ft drop. They had the steep chute walls on both sides and a 15 foot vertical climb behind them. They had climbed down to this spot and became trapped. Also, from this position they couldn't see anything, and were unable to identify any landmarks that could help rescuers find them. Upon arriving on the scene, one rescuer rappelled down and secured the girls while his teammates set up a rope system to raise them out. They were all raised out of the chute and safely escorted down the side of the adjacent canyon. They all reached canyon bottom just as the sun was setting.
The Altadena Mountain Rescue Team and neighboring Sierra Madre Rescue team members joined forces to rescue two adult males and an 8 year old boy from a precarious perch high atop Acrophobia Ridge in Eaton Canyon.
The victims phoned for help at about 6 p.m. when they found themselves lost in the darkness on steep, rocky terrain just South of the Eaton Canyon Waterfall.
Rescue crews scaled Acrophobia Ridge shortly after 7:30 p.m., located and secured the victims in rescue harnesses and slowly escorted them down the long, rocky ridge to safety using a system of hand lines and secure tie-in devices. All parties were safe at canyon bottom just before midnight. There were no injuries.
AMRT Members and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Air 5 Helitac Team responded to a distress call reporting a severely injured hiker who plunged approximately 80 feet from a rock cliff near the Eaton Canyon Waterfall shortly after 5 p.m. The Air 5 crew extracted the male victim and transported him to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena.
The injured male was hiking in Eaton Canyon with a group of nine people. One other group member sustained minor injuries and was treated and released at the scene.