Skyline Rescues

Skyline Rescues
Rescue No. 1

Three years ago a guy started hiking in July at 10AM [As per P.E], the tram was closed due to maintenance and repairs. He tried to return the same way, and got off trail. He must have run low on water and lit a signal fire to attract attention in Palm Springs to his plight. He started a forest fire and was rescued by helicopter.

Other challenging and worthwhile hikes are the Vivian Creek trail up to Mt. San Gorgonio from Forest Falls – 16 miles round trip with 5300 ft of elevation gain. The Bear Creek Trail from Baldy Village to Baldy [Mt San Antonio] – 16 miles round trip with 5700 ft of elevation gain. Less strenuous hikes can be found in the Indian Canyons in Palm Springs and Mt Baldy from the Falls Road at Manker Flats. Ice House Canyon below the Ski Lift Rd. is also well worth the trip.

Rescue No. 2

Icy trails trap six on mountain
Two separate groups of triathletes escape serious injury in mishap

Taya Kashuba, The Desert Sun

Mountain rescuer Rick Maschek of Hesperia packs up his gear after the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit rescued lost hikers from the mountainous area of the Aerial Tramway in Palm Springs. The hikers were reported missing on Monday evening and were found Tuesday morning.

    What you should take on a hike depends on the weather conditions and the expected length of your hike, but the American Red Cross recommends that every backpack contain:

  • A Cell Phone
  • A Compass
  • Extra Socks
  • First Aid Kit
  • Extra Food
  • Rain Gear
  • A Flashlight
  • Foil
  • Hat

Brian Joseph
The Desert Sun

Published January 19, 2005

Six hikers were rescued Tuesday morning from Mount San Jacinto in Palm Springs after they were overcome by icy conditions on the Skyline Trail, which runs from the Palm Springs Desert Museum to the top of the mountain.

No one was seriously injured, although one woman suffered a sprained ankle and one man tripped on the ice and cut his forehead.

"They thought they were prepared, but they weren’t prepared," said Terry Greenstein, vice president of the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit, which was called in Monday evening to rescue the hikers. "I think they expected snow, but they didn’t expect ice."

Greenstein said the hikers did not have the proper equipment to traverse the icy trail, but when they realized that, it was too late: The hikers couldn’t get off the mountain without help.

The volunteer rescue unit was called into action about 7 p.m. Monday when three hikers, using a cell phone, called for help on the Skyline Trail. A short time later, a second group of three hikers on the same trail called for help as well.

"They’re lucky they were on the same trail," Greenstein said.

If not for that, the rescue unit would have had to divide its resources to find the two groups of hikers. As it was, the unit was able to coordinate the two rescue efforts.

The first group, described by rescuers as two men and one woman from San Diego in their late 30s or early 40s, was found at about 7,800 feet. Rescuers simply rode the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the top of the mountain, hiked down to them and then led them out of harm’s way on foot around 1 a.m. Tuesday.

The second group was more difficult to find. Dana Potts, a member of the rescue team, said rescuers couldn’t locate the other group in the dark. The rescuers hunkered down for the night while the three hikers made a fire to stay warm.

After dawn, the rescue unit called in a helicopter to locate the hikers and rescuers. The hikers were airlifted out after 8 a.m., the last of the rescuers after 10 a.m.

Rescuers said the second group was found at about 7,400 feet and was composed of two men and a woman in their late 20s, all of whom are stationed at Camp Pendleton.

"They were all triathletes," Potts said.

Said Greenstein: "I think both groups were very happy. The second group was more embarrassed."

Rescuers said to avoid situations like this, hikers need to be prepared for all kinds of weather conditions. The hikers had hiking boots with only four spikes on them. The rescuers had to use boots with 10 or 12 spikes in Tuesday’s conditions.

"When you’re dealing with winter weather hiking" Greenstein said, "the conditions can change in 10 minutes.

"They weren’t prepared for the conditions."

A friend of mine named Ellen Coleman, was rescued by helicopter eight days ago from the top of Mt San Jacinto after breaking a leg on an icy patch and then crawling for three miles on hands and knees in a raging blizzard up to the shelter on top of the peak. She spent two freezing nights there before search and rescue found her.

Mt. San Jacinto Message Thread | Mt. San Jacinto 2nd Thread | Crucible Fitness’ Ellen’s Rescue