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Altadena Mountain Rescue Team Blog

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The page went out to team members just after 10pm on Sunday November 9th for group of hikers stranded in Eaton Canyon. Members of the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team responded and began their search. Because of poor visibility, air support was not an option and we would rely solely on a ground search

The missing group, comprised of 15 individuals with ages ranging from 16-35, had been canyoneering Eaton Canyon and was unable to get out of the canyon before darkness set in. Cold and wet, and still deep in the canyon, they had decided to call for help.

After searching through the night, the decision was made to call in Montrose and Sierra Madre to assist with the continued ground search. Once the fog had cleared, air support was called in to search from above.

LASD Air Rescue 5 was able to locate the group in a remote portion of the canyon and began to airlift them from their location. Shortly after 10am all 15 members of the group were safely reunited with their friends and family.

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Search for lost hiker in the area of Echo Mountain - June 5, 2014
 
The page went out to the team just before 9pm on Sunday October 5th for a lost hiker in the vicinity of Echo Mountain. The male victim had been hiking on the Lower Sam Merrill trail when he decided to deviate from the established trail. The victim soon found himself stuck, unable to make his way down to canyon bottom or back up to the trail. He was not aware of his exact location, but it was determined he was located within Las Flores Canyon.
 
AMRT dispatched a team to the area to begin the search for the victim. Because of the large area to be covered in the dark, the decision was made to call in air support to assist with the search. Utilizing FLIR, the helicopter was able to locate the victim on the side of the canyon, approximately 800 feet below. 
 
With accessibility from above limited, and a 2 hour hike required to reach the victim from below, it was determined the best option was an air rescue. While the victim appeared to be in a stable location, the sooner he was removed from the canyon the better chance he would have of escaping without injury. 
 
The victim was hoisted from his location and transported to Farnsworth Park, where AMRT had cleared a landing zone and received the victim from the helicopter. 
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June 19 – At approximately 12:30pm the page went out for a 23 year old male hiker complaining of dehydration in the vicinity of Echo Mountain. AMRT mobilized, and shortly after learned that LASD Air Rescue 5 was in route. Members of the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team met the helicopter at Farnsworth part, where the victim refused medical treatment and signed out against medical advice.


June 19 – As the operation for the dehydrated hiker was wrapping up, another call came in for 4 lost hikers near Panorama Point. They had entered what appeared to be a trail which quickly deteriorated as they worked their way down the slope. Unable to continue down or make the climb back up, they made the decision to call for help. During their ordeal, one of the victims lost his footing and slid 40-50 feet down the slope, suffering lacerations to his hands. Air Rescue 5 was able to extract the victims from their location and transport them to Farnsworth Park. AMRT met the helicopter and transferred injured victim to a waiting ambulance.


June 20 – At 12:32pm a call was received regarding an 18 year old female suffering from a dog bite in Eaton Canyon. Before the team could make it into the field we were informed that she had walked out of the canyon on her own.


June 21 – The page went out at 12:58pm for an 18 year old male who had fallen approximately 20ft in the area of Coyote Canyon. Los Angeles County Fire were first on scene and attended to the victim prior to the arrival of AMRT.


June 21 – Just after 2pm a call was received for 3 lost hikers who were attempting to get to Dawn Mine. AMRT and Air Rescue 5 responded and began the search. Air 5 spotted them in Saucer Branch and began a hoist. Members of AMRT met the helicopter at Farnsworth and transported them back to their vehicle on Chaney Trial.


June 21 – A call came in just before 9pm to assist Montrose Search & Rescue with a search for lost mountain bikers. As teams began to mobilize we had to divert to a call for 4 lost hikers in Eaton Canyon. An informant received a call from one of the victims who stated they were lost above the bridge near the waterfall in Eaton Canyon. AMRT arrived in Eaton Canyon and were able to quickly locate them. They began their hike in the early evening just before sunset and didn't bring flashlights. Without a light source in the canyon after sunset they were unable to find their way out. AMRT walked them down canyon to the team vehicles and transported them to their vehicle near the nature center. As we were finishing the call, we heard that the mountain bikers were located at Switzers.

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A call came in at approximately 7pm for two female hikers stranded ½ mile up from the Mt. Wilson Toll Road sign in the Eaton Canyon area. It was reported that they had started from Chantry Flats on the Winter Creek trail in Sierra Madre. Initial attempts to contact the victims proved to be unsuccessful.

AMRT deployed, heading up the Mt. Wilson Toll Road in search of the victims. Eventually contact was made with the victims, and it was determined they were near the fork of the Mt. Wilson and Winter Creek trails, placing them in the area of Sierra Madre Search & Rescue. SMSAR was immediately contact, while AMRT proceeded as an assist to Sierra Madre.

The victims were soon located by AMRT and transported down the Mt. Wilson Toll Road. Members of Sierra Madre Search & Rescue met the team at the Pinecrest Gate, at which time the victims were handed over to them for transport back to their vehicle at Chantry Flats.

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  A call came in just after 4pm for two dogs suffering from heat exhaustion on the lower Sam Merrill Trail, approximately 1 mile from the trail head. AMRT responded, and once on scene immediately began tending to the victims. The dogs were given water and cooled with ice packs.

Once it was determined the dogs were out of danger, they were released back to their owners to make their way down the mountain.

 sam merrill - canine heat exhaustion 2 20140608 1692317039 sam merrill - canine heat exhaustion 1 20140608 1885530032

As a reminder to all dog owners as we enter into the hot summer months, bring water not only for yourself but for your four legged companion, and plenty of it.

Heat stroke begins with heavy panting and difficulty breathing, and can also be accompanied with wobbly or uncoordinated gait or movement along with other, more severe symptoms.

Animals should have access to shade and fresh water while outdoors. If the temperature is very warm, outdoor access should be limited to short periods of time. Your dog is wearing a fur coat, and temperatures that are bearable to you can become deadly for your dog.

If you plan to hit the outdoors with your pet, do so in the early morning or evening hours when temperatures are cooler and the sun is not directly overhead. And always bring plenty of water.

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After a long quiet weekend for AMRT, a page went out just after 4pm for a male hiker stuck on a cliff near the first waterfall in Eaton Canyon. AMRT responded, sending a crew up canyon to evaluate the situation. After arriving at the location reported by the informant, it was discovered the victim had made his way down to canyon bottom uninjured.

Later that evening AMRT received a call regarding three missing mountain bikers. The group of bikers had started their day at approximately 1pm from Mt. Wilson, in the Angeles National Forest and were expected home around 5pm. Initially, one of the bikers had contacted the informant letting her know they were running late and would not make the 5pm return time. Hours later, with no update from and no contact with the bikers, the informant drove to the Altadena Sheriff's Station to report them missing.

AMRT, along with Montrose Search and Rescue, were notified and began to mobilize. A Los Angeles County Fire Helicopter was called in to assist with the search from the air, utilizing onboard night vision capabilities. After approximately 25 minutes, the victims were located by the helicopter in Bear Canyon. A helicopter lowered a paramedic down to the victims and after confirming they were uninjured, began a hoist rescue.


Members of AMRT, along with LASD deputies, met the helicopter and transported the victims back to their vehicle.


The victims had been on a trail that became less defined, and with darkness upon them, they believed they were lost and made the decision to make camp and start a fire to keep warm.

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While training on the Mt. Wilson Toll Road Bridge, a call came out for two female hikers, with two dogs, lost in Eaton Canyon, one with a possible sprained ankle. Four members were immediately mobilized and began a search of the canyon above the bridge. Minutes later a second team was sent down canyon to clear the area between the bridge and the nature center.

Attempts to reach them by cell phone initially proved unsuccessful. Eventually contact was made with the victims and it was determined they were below the bridge slowly making their way towards the nature center. While the second team continued down canyon in search of the victims, the first team was redeployed, with instructions to go to the nature center and liaison with County Fire that had arrived on scene.

Eventually the second team made contact with the victims near the nature center. They were escorted to the parking area of the nature center where they refused medical treatment. With neither victim appearing to be injured, they were released and sent on their way.

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The period of April 5-9, 2014 proved to be a busy one for AMRT. Below is a recap of the operatons the team was involved in during that five day stretch. 

 

April 5
The Sheriff's department received a call shortly after 10pm stating the sounds of a woman screaming and gunshots were heard in the area of Cobb Estate. A page was sent out asking for available sworn members of AMRT to respond to assist LASD with clearing Cobb Estate and the surrounding terrain. The road from the entrance to Cobb Estate up to the water tank was cleared, with no one found.

A helicopter was called in to sweep the area with infrared, and located a group of individuals under a tree. Contact was made by AMRT members on scene, and after it was determined they were not a threat they were directed to leave the area.

AMRT, along with members of LASD, continued to clear the areas of Los Flores Canyon and Sam Merrill Trail. The source of the person screaming and the gun shots was not discovered.


April 6

A call was received at 2:24pm for 2 injured hikers by the second waterfall in Eaton Canyon. Air 5 was called and notified of the operation, at which point they responded. AMRT proceeded to Pinecrest Gate to liaison with County Fire and Forestry Service. Once on scene, we were informed that Air 5 had lowered a medic to the location of the victim, a 36 year old female with a broken ankle. The victim was attended to by the medic on scene and airlifted to Huntington Memorial Hospital.


April 6

While on the first call a second call came in at 3:12pm for an individual hanging on a cliff in the area of Millard Canyon. With the operation in Eaton Canyon under control, members of AMRT, along with Montrose SAR and County Fire, responded to Brown Mountain Trail.

Ground units began searching the area indicated by the informant while a county helicopter searched from the air. The victim was located by the helicopter, which proceeded to hoist the 22 year old male and transport him to a safe landing zone.

The victim had become lost and wandered off trail and became stranded on a steep mountainside. He only sustained minor scratches and refused transport to the hospital.


April 9

Call came in for 2 hikers stranded above the first waterfall in Eaton Canyon. AMRT responded to the location specified by the informant. While in route communication with Air 5 was established. Based on the location of the victims and the proximity of Air 5 to the scene it was determined an air rescue would be the best option.

AMRT headed to Farnsworth Park to clear a landing zone and receive the victims. Upon making contact with the helicopter, it was then determined that there were in fact 4 victims, all college students at Caltech.

After assessing their condition all 4 victims were released.

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The call came in shortly before 9pm on Sunday April 27th. A male hiker in his 20's began his day at Cobb Estate around 3pm. Approximately 5 hours into his hike, he found himself lost in the mountains unsure of how to get back. It was at that time he called 911 and asked for help.


Contact with the victim was made via cell phone for a brief moment before his battery died, allowing the operations leader to obtain some vague details as to his approximate location.


AMRT began dispatching teams to search the area, with a focus on the trails and terrain around Echo Mountain. A county helicopter initially began a search of the area along with members on the ground, but was forced to turn back due to high winds.


At approximately 4:30am voice contact was made with the missing hiker, and rescue teams believed they were within 500 feet of his location. Because of the rugged terrain, and the fact that he was not on an established trail, finding his exact location proved to be difficult. At first light, Air 5 was deployed to search the area from the air, and within an hour his exact location was determined. At that time a rescuer was lowered from the helicopter to extract the victim. Although cold from his night out without proper clothing, he was not injured.

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Every year, AMRT, along with all accredited Search & Rescue Teams in the state of California, gather to be tested on a set of disciplines to ensure they continue to maintain the skills needed to perform the often highly technical rescues our terrain demands. This years discipline was search and tracking, and was hosted by Placer County in the town of Auburn, located just outside of Sacramento.

Search and tracking reaccreditation consists of three disciplines; Man Tracking, Grid Search and Emergency Location Transmitter Search. AMRT passed all three disciplines. To view pictures from the day, click here

amrt recert march 2014 10

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UPDATE: The hikers have been found, details will be posted as they become available. 

 

A call came in shortly before 6pm on Wednesday February 5th for two male hikers lost in Eaton Canyon. A text message send by one of the hikers to a family member provided vague details as to their location, stating only that they were in the canyon, near powerlines and could hear a waterfall.

Team members located their vehicles at the Nature Center, verifying that they began their day in the Eaton Canyon area. The search began up canyon and continued throughout the night.

As of this posting, the search continues. Information will be updated as it becomes available.

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The call came in around 6pm Saturday February 1st for 5 hikers lost off trail up Millard Canyon, near Dawn Mine. The group had decided to try a cross-country route out of the canyon, instead of following the trail, and found themselves in a precarious position on the side of the canyon. Unable to proceed up the steep slope, and with loose terrain behind them preventing a safe retreat, the group made the wise decision to call for help.

AMRT team members responded to the scene, and once on site determined the victims were in a safe and stable location. Their position on the canyon slope could be reached via hand-line, negating the need for a complex system. Two team members were soon with the victims and began the process of escorting the up to the service road above.

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After an exhaustive overnight search that continued into the morning, the four missing mountain bikers were located deep in the Arroyo at the mouth of Bear Canyon.

Having began their day at Mt. Wilson with a planned destination of the Arroyo behind JPL, the group made a wrong turn and ended up deep in Bear Canyon. When darkness set in, the group determined the best plan of action was to set up camp and stay the night as the rugged train of Bear Canyon would prove to be difficult to navigate in the dark. With no way to communicate with their friends and family, and armed with nothing more than their mountain biking gear, the group was able to start a small fire and huddled together for warmth until morning.

Today's operation is a perfect example of why you should always be prepared for any possibility when venturing into the forest. Luckily this group had the ability to start a camp fire, which more than likely prevented the onset of hypothermia as temperatures dropped into the mid-40's. It always makes good sense to pack items you may need, such as a light jacked and a flashlight, in the event you find yourself in a similar situation. And don't always count on cell service in the mountains, especially if you end up deep in a canyon.

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After an extensive overnight search, the Altadean Mountain Rescue Team continues its search this morning for 4 missing mountain bikers in the Angeles National Forest. 

As previously stated, when details become available this blog will be updated. 

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AMRT is responding to a call for 4 missing mountain bikers in the Arroyo, located behind JPL in the San Gabriel Mountains. As more information becomes available the blog will be updated.

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Established in 1951, the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team is the oldest organization of its kind in Southern California and a founding member of the Mountain Rescue Association. as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization we do not charge for ANY searches or rescues no matter how extensive, difficult, or dangerous they may be. Consequently, over 50% of the funding for necessary equipment, vehicles, and training comes from private donations.

With this active operating tempo the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team is understandably hard on equipment and vehicles. Your tax-deductible donation today will ensure that the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team can continue in needed rescue services to the citizens of Los Angeles County.

training - rubio canyon august 2013 53 20130820 1596830750

 

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Established in 1951, the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team is the oldest organization of its kind in Southern California and a founding member of the Mountain Rescue Association. as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization we do not charge for ANY searches or rescues no matter how extensive, difficult, or dangerous they may be. Consequently, over 50% of the funding for necessary equipment, vehicles, and training comes from private donations.

With this active operating tempo the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team is understandably hard on equipment and vehicles. Your tax-deductible donation today will ensure that the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team can continue in needed rescue services to the citizens of Los Angeles County.

training - rubio canyon august 2013 27 20130820 1667752941

 

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The call went out just after 9am on Sunday October 27 for a missing 10 year old boy, not in the mountians but in the city. Members from AMRT mobilized and began to search the streets in the area the child was last seen. Two members of AMRT were able to locate the missing child approximately 1 hour after their search began.

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The call came in just before 4pm on Tuesday October 8th for a hiker stuck between the 1st and 2nd waterfalls in Eaton Canyon. AMRT responded to the canyon and discovered an individual along the west wall, clinging to a ridgeline approximately 150 feet above canyon bottom.

Rescuers climbed above the victim to assess the situation and determine a location to set-up a rescue system. Once in position, it was determined the best plan of action would be to request a helicopter pick-off. A county helicopter was directed to the rescuers location and the victim was successfully rescued.

It was soon discovered there was a second individual who had continued to climb up the canyon. He was found by two members of AMRT along another ridgeline and safely transported to canyon bottom.

After each of the victims was safely at the command post, it was discovered they each had outstanding warrants and were subsequently taken into custody.

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Interested in becoming a member of the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team? Join us at a membership drive to be held Saturday, October 26, 2013 at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center, 1750 N. Altadena Dr. in Pasadena from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Learn more about the organization, meet members of the team, see rescue demonstrations, and learn how you can help. 

training - rubio canyon august 2013 53 20130820 1596830750

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