Lost Hiker Black Mt.
April 24, 2020
Black Mt. Trail
Written by Vinay Rao.
After a quiet two weeks the RMRU team was activated mid-Friday afternoon for a search for two stranded hikers on the North Face of Mt. San Jacinto, the Snow Creek area (see separate write-up by Tyler Shumway). While team members were driving to respond to that rescue a separate call-out came for a lost hiker that was in a drainage off the Black Mountain Trail. Call captains Glenn Henderson and Gwenda Yates had to make a quick decision to split the responding team members between the two callouts. Tyler Shumway and Blake Douglas were assigned to the Snow Creek rescue and the rest of the team was diverted to the Black Mountain rescue.
The lost hiker had begun his hike on a beautiful Friday morning and was enjoying the fantastic views offered by the Black Mountain Trail. On his way back down to his vehicle which was parked at the trailhead he started heading down a steep drainage to get water from a nicely flowing creek (Azalea Creek). Unfortunately, he continued quite a way down into the drainage and found himself in a very overgrown area and given the time of day he made a wise decision to call for help.
The command post (”CP”), composed of Glenn and Dana, for the search was set up at the Black Mountain trailhead at approximately 5:15pm. Team 1(Vinay and Beth) were sent out as the hasty team; Team 2 (Cameron, Tony, Michael, Tyler and Blake) followed around 1 1/2 hours later. The cell phone ping for the hiker indicated that he was at approximately 5900’ in the drainage. The Riverside Sheriff Office (“RSO”) deputy assigned to the search was able to make cell phone contact with the hiker who was advised that rescuers were on the way and to STAY PUT.
Team 1 hiked the trail for about two miles to the beginning of the drainage and then entered. Given the overgrown conditions Team 1 had a slow descent. After approximately an hour of descending, Star 9 (the RSO helicopter) flew overhead and was able to locate the hiker. Team 1 found the hiker at around 7:45pm and performed a basic medical assessment on the extremely grateful hiker who was ok. After giving him some food and water to boost his spirits and a headlamp, Team 1 began a steady ascent back up the drainage, eventually meeting up with a portion Team 2. After reaching the trail again, the rest of the hike back to the CP was uneventful and we were able to see some amazing stars overhead on the way back!
RMRU Members Involved: Cameron Dickinson, Blake Douglas, Michael George, Glenn Henderson, Tony Hughes, Beth Jeffery, Dana Potts, Vinay Rao, and Tyler Shumway.