Lost Hiker Folly Peak

September 06, 2019
San Jacinto High Country

Written by Pete Carlson

I was hiking in late Friday afternoon for the Friday night to Saturday evening training. I started at 4pm on the Marion Mt. Trail and reached the junction with the Deer Springs Trail just before 6pm. I was then going to continue to the junction with the Bed Springs creek and going to camp at Bed Springs. Other members were hiking in later after 5pm. As I was hiking up the towards the Bed Springs junction when I heard Star-9 Sheriff’s Aviation flying around. They soon left the area. I turned on my radio and called for any RMRU unit.

I heard (Tyler, Blake, Kaitlyn) responded that they were coming up the trail and that we had a mission for a lost hiker near Folly Peak. I told them I would head up and meet them at Little Round Valley. Once I got to Little Round Valley, I eat some food and got a good drink and filled extra water bottles. I got on the radio again and found out they were still 45 minutes away.

I started going cross country towards Folly Peak in the now dark of night using my headlamp. After about 45 minutes I recognized exactly where I was on the ridge going up to Folly from the saddle between San Jacinto and Folly. I have been on this route half a dozen times in the last ten years and could tell from the rocks where I was. I had only gone another 100 feet on the ridge when I saw a light and heard a voice below me about 200 feet away. It was our subject who was lost.

I told her to stay put and that I was with Search and Rescue and would come to her. When I got to her, she was in good shape and had food and water, just not exactly sure where she was. She had called 911 on her cell phone and Star-9 had found here but could not do a hoist in the wind. About 20 minutes later the other 3 rescuers arrived at our location. She had climbed San Jacinto Peak from the Tramway and gone down the wrong side of the peak away from the Tramway. Once it got dark, she did not have a headlamp, only her cell phone as a flashlight.

We then decided the shortest and fastest way out was down the Marion Mt. Trail. Tyler had a good track on his GPS back to Little Round Valley with not much brush or not many big boulders. Once in Little Round Valley it was easy going back down the trail. When we reached the Fuller Ridge Junction just after midnight Blake and I decided to get some sleep. Kaitlyn and Tyler said they were fine to hike out with the subject. Blake and I did a quick set up of ground tarps, sleeping pads, and sleeping bags and were falling asleep in 15 minutes.

Tyler and Kaitlyn got the subject out around 3am to the trailhead. Kaitlyn then went to sleep in her car and Tyler drove the subject to Hemet where he lives and dropped her off at her friend’s home. Her friend was going to take her to Palm Springs Tramway in the morning to get her car. In the morning Blake and I were up by 6:15am and hiked back to the trailhead where Kaitlyn was just waking up at 8:15am when we got there.

So again, it seems that when ever RMRU has a training we get a mission, but at least this time we were already hiking it the correct direction.

RMRU Members Involved: Michael Cara, Pete Carlson, Cameron Dickinson, Blake Douglas, Kaitlyn Purington, and Tyler Shumway.