Hiker Lost in Snow on Skyline Trail

April 23, 2010
Skyline Trail ~ 7000' Elevation

Written by Pete Carlson

We got the call after 9pm Friday night about a solo hiker who was lost on the Skyline Trail in the snow chutes below the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Since the Tramway would already be shut down for the night, we drove out to the bottom of the road and met with the Sheriff's deputy. He was in cell phone contact with the subject. RMRU spoke with the subject, who indicated that he would be OK for the night. He had with him a warm jacket and matches which he would use to start a small fire to stay warm.

The road to the Tramway base station opened for the day at 5:30am Saturday morning. We drove to the lower station and got ready to ride the first upbound tram car at 6:15am. At the top Paul took over base communications as Les and I hiked to the top of the Skyline Trail at 6:40am. Les and I called out for the subject (Mike) while we descended the trail to the traverse at 7,000 feet. A second team of rescuers (Ralph, Nick, Carlos, and Doug) came over to the top of the Skyline to wait and see what the first team would find.

RMRU and Subject Mike on Skyline Traverse

Les Walker and Mike on Skyline Traverse

By 7:30am we made visual contact with the subject Mike. He was fine. He still had food but was out of water, so we gave him a liter which he drank down right away. The snow was soft even that early in the day so we just showed Mike the trail and walked him back up. If he had been able to find the trail at night in the dark he could have walked out on his own. We reached Grubb's Notch around 9am and were met by the State Park Ranger and volunteers, who chatted with us while while we ate and drank. By 9:30am we were all back at the upper Tramway station and ready to go home.

Break Time at Grubb's Notch

Break Time at Grubb's Notch

It was an easy mission this time but we never know until it is over. Please read a personal write-up by the subject, Mike.

Members present: Paul Caraher, Pete Carlson, Carlos Carter, Ralph Hoetger, Doug Kelbert, Nick Nixon, and Les Walker