Posted 3/24/13 – Search and rescue activity in our local area continues at a very modest level with the Sierra Madre Search and Rescue (SMSR) Team responding to three calls for assistance in February.
Injured Hiker, Big Santa Anita Canyon, Chantry Flat: The Team received a page at 1:00 p.m. on February 7th to respond on reports of a hiker with an injured ankle near Sturtevant Falls. Search and rescue team members were joined at the Chantry parking lot by responding fire department units from Los Angeles County and Sierra Madre. A unified command was established and rescuers began making their way to the subject’s reported location. Crews on scene assessed the hiker’s injuries and determined that they were not serious. An LA County Fired Department helicopter responding to the incident was cancelled and a ground-based litter wheel out was initiated. The operation was secured at 2:00 p.m. and all units released from the incident.
Stranded Hiker, Eaton Canyon: At 6:30 p.m. on the 17th, SMSR responded to a mutual aid request from Altadena Mountain Rescue to assist in the technical rescue of a hiker stranded on a ridge above Eaton Canyon. The hiker had become separated from his hiking companion and reached a point along the ridge where he could neither ascend or descend safely. The hiker’s cell phone became invaluable not only in communicating with rescuers, but by using the light from the phone’s screen he was able to provide a visual clue to his location. A small light source can often stand out easily against a very dark mountainside at night. Rescuers used a series of rope systems to reach the hiker and bring him to a safe location and walk him out to the trailhead. The rescue was secured at 10:09 p.m.
Rescuers would like to remind hikers that off-trail travel in our local mountains can often present significant challenges to the unprepared. Steep cliffs, loose rock, poison oak and other hazards can easily turn a fun day in the mountains into an unpleasant or even life threatening situation. Cell phone coverage is very limited or non-existent in many areas.
For more than 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 www.smsr.org.