After a successful day of search and tracking training in Millard and Grand Canyons, the call came out Sunday evening just before 9pm for five lost hikers, last seen at approximately 4pm. According to the informant, who was at the nature center, they were looking for the second waterfall in Eaton Canyon and were overdue. Members of the team proceeded up canyon towards the first waterfall, while other members were staged at the nature center on the chance that the lost hikers made it down on their own, which turned out to be the case. The team that was working their way up canyon intercepted the five lost hikers on their way out, which included two children, ages 3 and 5, along with three adults of varying ages. Upon learning of the fact that the children were taken up the ridgeline above the first waterfall, the parents were educated on the extreme dangers of that route, especially for such young, incapable children. Having also been informed of the number of serious injuries and deaths that had occurred in recent years, they were sent on their way, hopefully with a better understanding of the seriousness of their actions.
AMRT, along with units from LA County Fire and Pasadena Fire, responded to a call for a man hiking in Coyote Canyon who became stuck on a cliff. The victim was eventually airlifed by LA County Fire and released with only minor injuries.
Photo credit to Pasadena Star-News
At approximately 7pm on Saturday September 29th, a call came in for a hiker stuck on a rock between the first and second waterfalls in Eaton Canyon. AMRT responded, with support provided by Sierra Madre Search and Rescue.
Once on scence, the victims exact location was determined and a crew was dispatched up the ridgeline. Now positioned above the victim, we were able to communicate clearly and determin he was uninjured. A lowering system was set-up allowing a team member to reach the victim, who was then safely lowerd to the canyon floor approximately 200 feet below.
A call came out for a 30 year old female stuck on the Dawn Mine trail; turns out they were off the Sunset Trail and it was two women with two dogs. Fire Department helicopter airlifted 2 female hikers and 1 small dog. The other dog they could not get to.
Two AMRT members went to Millard Canyon bottom where they heard the dog above them. An attempt was made to climb up to where the dog was located but a 50 foot vertical section proved to be impassable. It was decided we would try to access the dog from above. We could hear the dog, a 90lb. German Shepard, almost directly below us at the Sierra Saddle.
Once the winch truck was in position, we began lowering two members and a litter down to the dog. Along the way they encountered a considerable amount of poison oak over the 600+ foot distance that would be covered to reach the dog. Once on scene, we provided the dog with much needed water.
Now secured to the litter, we began to raise the dog up to Sierra Saddle. The raise went smoothly, and once at the top the dog was reunited with its' owner.
Turns out the German Shepherd spotted a deer and took off, breaking free from his leash. While attempting to retrieve him, the victims became stuck, prompting the rescue.
Shortly after 6pm on Wednesday August 8th, the third call of the evening was received by AMRT. This call was for a young male, approximately 20 years of age, who had fallen from the ridgeline above the first waterfall in Eaton Canyon. The team had just left the Eaton Canyon area minutes earlier, after responding to the earlier call for a fall victim.
Upon their return to the access road to the canyon, two team members quickly made their way to the scene of the incident. AMRT was first on scene, and located the victim, who had fallen in the same area as one of the fatalities that occurred the previous year. It was determined by the first responders that the vicitim had died as a result of the injuries suffered during the fall.
The team worked quickly to secure the scene and interview witnesses to the fall.
The victim, who was hiking with three other individuals, decided to climb to the upper falls alone while the other members of his party stayed below. The route chosen by the victim, while appearing to be a trail, was nothing more than loose stones and rocky debris covering a very steep slope. It was during his attempted return to the canyon bottom that he lost his footing and fell approximately 150 to the canyon bottom.
The images below have been added to this post to emphasize the seriousness of the situation and the potential consequences.
Three calls come in within minute Wednesday afternoon. One call for two missing hikers and two separate calls for fall victims. This post will be updated as details become available.
UPDATE: The two missing hikers were located without incident.
The first fall victim, who fell near the first waterfall in Eaton Canyon, was seriously injured and transported to the hospital for treatment.
The second fall victim, who also fell near the first waterfall in Eaton Canyon, did not survive the fall.
Members of the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team joined the search effort near Big Pine, in Inyo County, for a 60 year old male hiker. He was reported missing by friends after he left camp at 2:00pm on Saturday July 28th to climb Norman Clyde Peak and failed to return that evening. He had signed the register at the top of the peak at 6:30pm, but was not seem afterward. Access to the peak is very difficult, as there are no marked trails and the train is very steep and surrounded by glaciers.
Upon arrival at the command post, we were given our assignment and prepared our packs accordingly. We were flown in via helicopter to begin our search. The terrain consisted of huge boulder fields, dense brush, steep canyons, and cliffs, with the search beginning at 11,300 feet in elevation. The rough terrain and lack of marked trail kept us in the field until nightfall. The decision was made to set-up camp for the night and not risk navigating the treacherous terrain in the dark.
At sunrise, we continued on our assigned route and ended the operation back at the command post. Upon our arrival, we learned the victim was found deceased late Wednesday night on the south face of Norman Clyde Peak.
The photo below shows some of the terrain searched by teams in the area of Norman Clyde Peak.
Photo credit to Inyo County Sheriff Department
Saturday evening, while team members were prepping to support the Angeles Crest 100 endurance race, a call came in to headquarters regarding three hikers stuck in Eaton Canyon above the first falls. We were able to make cell phone contact with the victims to determine their exact location and instructed them to conserve their phones battery if we should have the need to contact them later.
Once on site, and as we approached the base of Acrophobia Ridge, we were able to make voice contact with the victims. Members of the team headed up Acrophobia Ridge while other members prepped the high line gear and headed to the base of the falls to get better voice contact and hopefully visual contact with the victims.
At the base of the lower falls, we were able to get solid voice and visual contact with the victims. They were instructed to stay in their current location, on the canyon wall between the upper and lower falls, as crews were making their way to them.
When it was determine they victims were uninjured, team members worked to get all three victims to canyon bottom above the lower falls. Once on canyon bottom, it was decided the best option would be to lower each victim, with a rescuer, over the lower falls. Because of low water flow this time of year, it proved to be the safest option.
All three victims were safely lowered to canyon bottom, and escorted out to their vehicle. By the time this operation completed, it was nearly 1:00 A.M. Sunday.
A call was received around 8:30pm regarding a hiker stuck on some rocks in Eaton Canyon just south of the first water fall. We were able to talk to the informant and obtained information that let us know that he was on the south side of Acrophobia Ridge about 200 feet down. The informant told me that the victim was not injured and seemed safe on a rock ledge but was tired.
Once on scene we found the informants at the base of the scree slope on the south side of Acrophobia Ridge. Six members of the team continued up Acrophobia Ridge while other members remained on the canyon floor with a visual on the victim's location.
The members of the team that ascended the ridge above the victim began setting up a lowering system. Once the system was established, a team member was lowered down to the victim. Because of the loose nature of the slope, the descent was angled to the victims left to reduce the chance of injury from falling rocks. The victim was secured and lowered to the canyon floor. The victim was assessed for injury and escorted out of the canyon where he was transported to his vehicle.
The operation concluded at approximately 1:30am.
The call came in at approximately 5:40pm for a male hiker stuck on the west ridge of Eaton Canyon. Ultimately, this operation would last nearly 7 hours and prove to be a very technical rescue, requiring multiple rope systems.
Members of the team went into the canyon to meet the victim's companions who guided them to his approximate location. The stuck hiker was on the west side of the canyon directly across from Poison Oak Flats-approximately 210 feet from canyon floor. AMRT proceeded up canyon to Acrophobia Ridge and traversed the ridgeline until victim's exact position was located. Sierra Madre Mountain Rescue crews came in from another trail to provide assistance.
Because of the victim's location approximately 210 feet above the canyon floor, AMRT members had to be lowered down from above. The initial lower down to the victim would end up being approximately 400 feet from the team's position above. Because of the distance of the lower and the likelihood that a secondary lower system would be needed, the decision to send down two rescuers was made.
Once lowered, the rescuers secured the victim and set up a secondary lowering system to lower the victim to the canyon floor. The victim was lowered down a huge rock face to the canyon floor 210 feet below.
After a medical assessment, the victim was determined to be uninjured.
At approximately 5:30pm on July 9th, the team received a request to assist Sierra Madre Search and Rescue with a reported injury at Chantry Flats. This post will be updated as more information becomes available.
Update: The team located the missing hiker, who actually had called to report that her dog was missing. The missing dog was located.
Shortly after 1pm on Monday July 9th, the team receved a call from a female hiker who reported she was lost on Echo Mountain. Before specific details could be obtained the call was lost. The team has responded with a search operation.
This post will be updated as further information is obtained.
At 9:15 am on Monday July 9, 2012 the team received a call regarding 2 male hikers who did not return the previous day from a planned hike.
The team received a description of the missing hikers vehicle, and began a search of trail heads in the Altadena area.
At approximately 11:00am, contact was made with the missing hikers by members of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station. The hikers had indeed been lost and chose to camp another night once it got dark. Once morning arrived, they were able to find their way out to their vehicle.
The call came out just before 5pm for a 23 year old male with a possible broken ankle above the waterfall in Eaton Canyon. The first responders from the team arrived at the Pinecrest gate and started to hike into the first falls. It came over the radio that Air 5 was not available, however, fire department helicopters were in the area and one of them would be able to airlift the victim if needed.
Near the base of the first waterfall, we met up with members from the fire department who were waiting for the helicopter to make the airlift. A helicopter arrived on scene and dispatched a medic to access the victim. While on scene, we made contact with others who were in the area when the victim was injured. Apparently he had climbed above second waterfall and jumped off, hitting the bottom of the pool below and injuring his ankle. A member from Sierra Madre Search and Rescue was rappelling at that time with a group of students from Caltech and was assisting the medic on scene with the airlift. The victim was transported to Huntington Memorial Hospital for treatment.
Altadena Mountain Rescue Team, assisted by the Los Angeles County Fire Department and United States Forest Service, responded to Henninger Flats in response to a psychological rescue. A 28 year old female hiker was located inside the Nature Center at Henninger Flats. She had been hiking all night and into the day from the city of Bellflower to Altadena and had no food or water with her and appeared to be dehydrated. The female hiker was transported to Huntington Memorial Hospital by ambulance for evaluation.
The team arrived at the Cobb Estate and was briefed on the situation by The Fire Department who was already on scene. We were informed that the victim was located near the 2 mile mark on the Lower Sam Merrill trail and was suffering from heat exhaustion.
A unit was sent to the Echo Mountain trail to come across and down the Lower Sam Merrill trail to the victim. With the victim located near the top of Lower Sam Merrill trail, this route proved to be the fasted option to reach the victim.
As we descended towards the victim, we were informed that it might be a dog, not a human, suffering from heat exhaustion.
Once at Echo Mountain, we made contact with a medic from the Fire Department helicopter. He had cleared the ruins atop Echo Mountain. At that time we proceeded down the trail towards the victim. We located the reporting party who informed us she had called for her dog, not herself. The dog was hot, dehydrated and could not stand.
The helicopter medic advised us that they would airlift the dog and owner. While the litter was prepared, members of the team provided the dog with water in an attempt to cool it down.
Once prepped, the dog, owner and medic were airlifted and transported to Farnsworth Park.
We then transported the dog and owner back to Cobb Estate and requested she take the dog to the vet.
Items to note when hiking with dogs:
- Dogs get dehydrated, some species quicker than others. Carry plenty of water and a collapsible bowl with you at all times.
- Allow time for frequent rest and water breaks, preferably in the shade.
- Dogs cannot communicate physical distress until the situation is serious. Observe you dog and be aware of signs of overheating or exhaustion.
- Don't hike during the hottest part of the day; instead begin your hike early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
- If possible, choose a trail that follows a stream that will allow access to the water.
The call came out at 10:44 on June 9th for an injured hiker in Coyote Canyon. AMRT responded and on scene were met by an informant who told us the victim was injured and up canyon. Near the base of the first waterfall we met another informant who stated the victim had climbed up the left side of the waterfall and headed up canyon. The team continued up canyon towards the victim.
The victim had fallen off the side wall of the canyon but it was unknown how far. The victim, was in altered levels of consciousness and suffered from shortness of breath along with lacerations to his forehead.
L.A. County Sheriffs Air 5 responded and dropped a medic on scene to further assess the situation. The victim, suffering from two collapsed lungs along with other injuries, was placed on a backboard and packaged in a litter in preparation for evacuation and transportation to Huntington Memorial Hospital.
Ron's passion was search and rescue and law enforcement. He was a member of the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team for more than 30 years (serving as Chief for several years) and an instructor for the L.A. Sheriff's Academy for 15 years. Ron Jack passed away at home on May 5th surrounded by friends and family. He is survived by his four children,in addition to his 13 grandchildren, six great grandchildren, brother and sister.