Newton Drury Lost Hikers

August 25, 2019
San Jacinto High Country

Written by Vinay Rao

At approximately 7:00pm on Sunday night the RMRU Team received call about three lost hikers near Newton Drury Peak which is approximately a 1/2 mile southeast of Mt. San Jacinto Peak. Responding team members were James Eckhardt, Cameron Dickinson, Kase Chong, Kaitlyn Purington, Blake Douglas and Vinay Rao (the “team”). The three hikers had hiked to Mt. San Jacinto on Sunday morning (via the tram) and on the way back down in the afternoon ended up on the wrong trail which led them down towards Newton Drury. They notified 911 at approximately 6:15 pm of their situation and stated that they had minimal water/food and their cell phone batteries were draining down. A later, second call to 911 indicated that they had moved and at that point the hikers were advised to stay put as a rescue was being organized. Fortunately, they were not injured, and the weather was warm and presented no danger.

The command post was set up at the Marion Mountain Campground (the “CP”). After an initial briefing with the on-site SO deputy and a State Parks representative the team split into two groups; Team 1 – James and Blake & Team 2 – Cameron, Kaitlyn, Kase and Vinay. Both teams went up the Marion Mountain Trail and then to Deer Springs Trail. Based on the location (pinged from cell towers) Team 1, which was the faster team, continued further up Deer Springs Trail and as they got closer to the hikers moved off trail southeast. Team 2 was targeted to start off trail from Deer Springs Trail at Bed Springs creek and move northwest towards the hikers. Team 1 located the hikers and after assessing them and providing food/water began hiking them down towards Team 2.

After reaching Team 2, the hikers were then handed off to Team 2. Team 1 (James and Blake) had to get back to go to work in the morning, so they hiked out fast and drove home. Team 2 stayed with the hikers who by this time were exhausted and eventually walked them down to the CP at a slow but steady pace returning to the Marion Mtn. Campground at approximately 8:30am on Monday morning. The hikers were assessed by Cal Fire & EMTs and were extremely grateful to have been rescued!

Team and Subjects at Base

Two Subjects, Vinay, Cameron, Kase in back, Kaitlyn by her pack, and last subject at Base
Image by Riverside Sheriff.

RMRU Members Involved: Kase Chong, Cameron Dickinson, Blake Douglas, James Eckhardt, Kaitlyn, and Vinay Rao.