Deer Springs Rescue

January 27, 2019
San Jacinto Little Round Valley

Written by Eric Holden

The call came out that two were needed for a hoist near Little Round Valley on Mt. San Jacinto. Three 18 to 19-year-old males were stuck in very icy conditions. I quickly meet Glenn at the Hemet hanger and we find out that a hoist isn’t going to be possible due to the wind conditions, but they have found a landing spot.

The plan was to fly us up, land near Little Round Valley and then we would hike about 0.25 miles to the subjects and bring them back. We quickly loaded up our gear, boarded the helicopter and were heading up too Little Round Valley. After multiple passes and attempts at landing we didn’t have enough power. We went back down to Lake Fulmer and dropped Glenn off. With the lightened load we were able to land.

Eric Helicopter

Eric leaving Helicopter
Photo by Pilot Manny Romero.

I strapped on my snowshoes and within 5 minutes was at the young men. The conditions were super icy, completely slick, and their Vans didn’t offer any type of traction. I put one pair of micro spikes on of the subjects and held the other’s hands. Myself being about 6’2″ 250lbs I was able to act as crutch, leaning post. and life line as we slowly made our way out of the gully they were in and back to the helicopter. At one point along a traverse I had to move with them one at a time to ensure no one slipped down the steep slope. In about 15 minutes we had reached the helicopter.

Subjects, TFO, and Eric

3 Subjects, TFO Jerry, and Rescuer Eric
Photo by Pilot Manny Romero.

After a few loads of flying out, everyone was back safe. Big time thanks to the expert flying of the Riverside Sheriff’s Aviation Unit. The landing spot they found was tight, but they were able to make multiple landings without issue.

What Happened: The subjects had gone for their very first snow hike and were quickly in over their heads. Vans shoes, no navigation tools, 1 flashlight between them all, improper clothing. All the mistakes of a beginning hiker. Always be prepared. Do your research and practice on smaller hikes before attempting a 10,800ft mountain in winter.

RMRU Members Involved: Glenn Henderson and Eric Holden.

Sheriff’s Aviation Unit: Pilot Manny Romero and TFO Jerry Osterloh.