Posted 12/18/12 – During the month of November, Sierra Madre Search and Rescue (SMSR) responded to several calls for assistance. Two notable calls are described below.
Lost Hikers, Chantry Flat/Big Santa Anita Canyon: The Team responded to Chantry Flat to assist two hikers who had gotten off trail, become disoriented and were unable to get back to the trailhead due to darkness. Rescue team members began searching along potential routes of travel based on the limited information SMPD had been able to obtain during the initial call for assistance. SMSR Operations Leaders (OL) were able to establish communication via SMS/text messaging and determined the hikers were using an Apple iPhone. Using one of the OLs iPhones they were able to use the “Find My Phone” application to get an approximate location that allowed crews to concentrate efforts near Hermit Falls. Since the “Find My Phone” application was not able to provide detailed location information, rescuer’s familiarity with the area was critical in determining the side canyon where the subjects were stranded. Field crews located the hikers several hundred feet up the side of a side canyon. The subjects were cold but uninjured and required the use of a rope “handline” to get back to the trail.
Missing Hiker, Chantry Flat/Big Santa Anita Canyon: The Adams Pack Station staff received word from a hiker at Sturtevant Camp that his friend had fallen from a section of the trail between Mt. Wilson and the camp. The hiker reported that he was no longer able to locate his friend. SMPD put out a page notifying SMSR and the Team responded. A so-called “bash crew”, equipped to move quickly and evaluate the situation, was immediately sent into the field to make the approximately 4 mile hike to the location where the hiker was last seen. The bash crew reached the location in just over an hour and made contact with the reporting party who escorted them to where he had last seen his companion. After several minutes, verbal contact was made with the missing hiker and the crew was able to locate the subject in the canyon bottom below the trail. After determining that there were no injuries beyond a few scrapes, crews escorted both hikers back to their vehicle at Chantry.