February, 2012 Rescue Log, Sierra Madre Search And Rescue Team


Posted 3/4/12 – During the month of February, Sierra Madre Search and Rescue (SMSR) responded to  four calls for assistance.

Injured Hiker, Big Santa Anita Canyon: Members of a hiking party at Chantry Flat reported that two of their companions were overdue and possibly injured. Due to darkness and poor weather conditions hypothermia was also a concern. SMSR field crews were immediately dispatched and found the missing subjects, one of whom was injured. A litter and additional personnel were sent to the site and the subjects were evacuated.

Missing Hikers, Big Santa Anita Canyon: SMSR was notified of two hikers missing in the Chantry Flat area, and responded along with units from the L.A. County Sheriff and Fire departments and the U.S. Forest Service. Cell phone contact was established with the subjects and Team members were able to determine their location based on their description of their surroundings. While Team members assisted the two lost hikers back to Chantry Flat, two more hikers reported that they, too, needed assistance, and Team members brought them to safety as well.

Stranded Hikers, Eaton Canyon: Altadena Mountain Rescue requested assistance in rescuing four hikers who became stranded after dark in a steep, exposed area of Eaton Canyon. Sierra Madre Search and Rescue and Altadena Mountain Rescue conduct joint trainings for just this kind of situation, and the rescue operation went smoothly. Using ropes and harnesses members of both teams assisted all four subjects safely to the bottom of Eaton Canyon and then out to the road.

A new class of probationary members began their training in February, the first step on the arduous road to becoming a full member of Sierra Madre Search and Rescue. The probationary members will attend class one night per week, plus team meetings and trainings three times a month. The skills they will have to master include high-angle rescue, land navigation, patient packaging, man-tracking, helicopter operations, snow and ice travel, swiftwater rescue, and radio operations. Then once they’ve qualified for the team they’ll head back to school to become nationally-certified EMT’s. The entire process takes approximately two years and represents a tremendous commitment of time and effort. But it is all necessary to uphold the team motto: “Anywhere in the wilderness that someone needs help…”

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 www.smsr.org.