Deer Springs Rescue

January 25, 2019
San Jacinto near Little Round Valley

Written by Tyler Shumway

We received a call out at 3:00pm Friday afternoon for 2 lost hikers along the Deer Springs Trail. Glenn, Gary and Vinay were first to arrive at Deer Springs Trailhead. Josh and I couldn’t make it till 5:45pm and the team decided to wait for us. We moved base to Marion Mountain Trailhead and were briefed by Deputy Chris Waters and Frank James. The two subjects had cell signal and were able to get a 911 call out. Star 9 was able to locate them and provide coordinates but due to high winds a hoist was unable to be performed. They stated they were cold but had emergency sleeping gear, food and water. Their location was just above the Fuller Ridge Trail at 9,000ft next to the N. Fork San Jacinto River.

Josh, Gary and I began our hike up Marion Mountain Trail at 6:45pm. The steep trail was full of ice beginning at 7,000ft which slowed our pace. Once we arrived at Fuller Ridge Trail junction, we decided to continue up Deer Springs Trail till 9,200ft in hopes of finding where they dropped down. We found tracks wandering off trail and down into the drainage but quickly were lost due to the wind-swept slopes. We post holed up to our hips while descending and were able to make voice contact with shout outs which led to us to their location.

Map of area

Map of where Subject was found
Photo by Tyler Shumway.

They were both wrapped up in their emergency blanket a little cold but in good spirits with no injuries to report. They were experiencing mild hypothermia and were provided warm clothing, dry socks and traction devices for their boots as well as hiking poles. Within 15 minutes we were up and moving and made our way back to Deer Springs Trail via Fuller Ridge Trail. This section of trail had not been traveled so far this winter and to our surprise the traverse was easy to follow with only minor post holing among deep snow drifts. In hind sight we should’ve taken Fuller Ridge instead of dropping down in from Deer Springs. Nonetheless, we safely made our way back to Marion Mtn Trailhead and arrived at base camp at 3:30am.

Hikers plan: Two hikers left Deer Springs Trail early morning in hopes of getting to San Jacinto Peak. They made it to about 9,500 feet and decided to turn around. They lost the trail shortly after and started following the North Fork pf the San Jacinto River drainage towards Fuller Ridge Trail. They were not equipped with any traction devices or hiking poles and quickly realized they were in trouble in the steep icy terrain. Luckily, they were able to get a cell signal to call for help. They did have emergency sleeping gear which proved to be very effective at preventing severe hypothermia.

RMRU Members Involved: Gary Farris, Josh Gould, Glenn Henderson, Tyler Shumway, and Vinay Rao.