August Rescue Log, Sierra Madre Search And Rescue

Posted 9/13/12 – During the month of August, Sierra Madre Search and Rescue (SMSR) responded to a dozen calls for assistance.   A selected set of calls are described below.

Injured Hikers, Big Santa Anita Canyon: Sierra Madre Search and Rescue responded to reports of an injured hiker below Chantry Flat.  Initial reports indicated that the hiker was near a trail junction in the bottom of the canyon.  While hiking in to the scene, inquiries made of other hikers allowed rescuers to determine that there was a second injured hiker further down canyon.   The responding units quickly developed a plan for managing the two separate incidents.  The initial subject was stabilized and transported by wheeled litter to a waiting ambulance.  An assessment of the second hiker determined that his injuries were more severe and warranted a helicopter extraction and transport to the hospital.

Three other calls in the Chantry Flat area involved more than one subject.  Initial information received via 9-1-1 on incidents may be incomplete or inaccurate.  As a result, emergency responders are well versed in managing incidents where the unexpected is always expected.

Overdue Hikers, between Fish Canyon and Switzer Falls: SMSR joined other Los Angeles County Sheriff’s search and rescue teams in the search for 2 hikers overdue from a hike to take pictures of a “waterfall” in the local mountains.  A coordinated plan was developed and search teams dispatched to trailheads at Fish Canyon on the east to Switzer’s picnic area on the west.  Attempts to reach the subjects via text message were ultimately successful and the subjects were located near Switzer Falls.

Searches often involve coordinated use of multiple tactics and technologies to locate missing hikers, but the job of Search and Rescue teams is greatly simplified by letting someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back.  The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Hiker Plan is a good way to document your plans.

Missing Hiker, Norman Clyde Peak, Eastern Sierra : SMSR provided mutual aid assistance to the Inyo County Sheriff in the search for a missing hiker on 13,855 foot Norman Clyde Peak.  Located in an area that contains four of California’s highest peaks, the mountain is a difficult climb from any side.  Sadly, Dr. Dankworth’s body was found below the summit of the peak several days after search efforts had been initiated.  SMSR extends our condolences to the family and friends.

For 60 years the all-volunteer Sierra Madre Search and Rescue team has been responding to calls for help in the local mountains and beyond. Funded entirely by private donations, SMSR provides a range of public programs on wilderness safety in addition to its search and rescue activities. The Team never charges for any of its services.

For more information, including how to arrange a wilderness safety demonstration for your school or group, visit