During the past month Sierra Madre Search and Rescue (SMSR) responded to nine calls for assistance.
Search for homicide suspect, local mountains: The Team assisted the L.A. Sheriff’s Department and local law enforcement agencies in the search for a homicide suspect in the local mountains. SMSR’s Station 108 served as the command post for the multi-day operation, SMSR members were deployed to aid with field searches and containment posts, and SMSR assisted in planning using its new GIS mapping software. The subject was found deceased near Chantry Flat.
Multi-incident callout, Chantry Flat: Sometimes, when it rains it pours. The Team responded to a report of a trauma patient in the Hermit Falls area near Chantry Flat. A “bash crew” — a rapid, first-response element of SMSR team members — reached the site within minutes, and the patient was extracted by the L.A. Sheriff’s Department’s Air Rescue 5 helicopter. While making their way back to the trailhead Team members and U.S. Forest Service first responders were able to assist two other parties with minor injuries, delivering them safely to L.A. County Fire Department paramedics in the Chantry Flat parking lot. While these two patients were still being treated, a lone hiker informed SMSR that their hiking companions were overdue and possibly injured. SMSR immediately dispatched Team members on a hasty search and the parties were located. Both were treated by Team members for minor injuries and were given a ride to their car in the parking lot. This kind of multi-incident callout is not unusual for the Team, particularly in the busy summer months, and it is a good example of the interagency cooperation that is common in SMSR’s operational area.
Stranded hiker, Chantry Flat: SMSR responded to a report of a hiker stranded off-trail in a steep location near Chantry Flat. Team members prepared for a stranded hiker rescue, a technique the Team practices regularly in order to safely rescue those who fall victim to the steep and unstable slopes of the local mountains. Air Rescue 5 helicopter was alerted and its crew was able to lower a paramedic to the subject, secure them, and hoist them out of harm’s way.
In addition to performing rescues and training, SMSR was proud to participate in two local sporting events during the past month: the inaugural Monrovia Fountain to Falls Run/Walk, and the legendary Mount Wilson Trail Race in Sierra Madre.
Preparing for the Mt. Wilson Trail Race is one of the highlights of the Team’s calendar every year. Hundreds of pounds of rescue gear must be hauled up the trail and pre-positioned: from ropes to litters to oxygen tanks. The Team prepares for any eventuality that may arise when hundreds of runners face the challenge of an 8.6-mile course, 2100 feet of elevation gain, and steep, rocky mountain trail. This year the Team aided several runners with minor complaints, and all were able to walk down the trail under their own power.
SMSR has a long history of providing support to the Mt. Wilson Trail racers, and the Team is fortunate to be the beneficiary of the proceeds of the pre-race pasta dinner and the post-race beer garden.
Sierra Madre Search and Rescue is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that has been serving the local community for 60 years. The team has a proud history of never refusing a call for help no matter what the conditions, and also provides a range of public programs on wilderness safety. 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.