Lost Hiker High Country

August 7, 2020
San Jacinto Peak

Written by Vinay Rao.

After a quiet two weeks, RMRU received a call about a lost male hiker near the Mt. San Jacinto peak. Responding team members were Glenn and myself. Given the location of the subject, RSO Aviation took us up to the Peak where the subject’s cell phone was pinged when he called 911. The team assisted pilot Chad Marlatt and TFO Jerry Osterloh in doing a visual search of the area.

Apple Fire from Star-9.
Image by Vinay.

Due to the wind conditions at the Peak, the pilot was not able to maintain a hover but skillfully circled the areas several times. We were unable to locate the subject despite the TFO using the speaker system to call out to the subject. We did see several other hikers on the trail to Peak. We then decided to land at Round Valley where Glenn and Vinay were dropped off to hike the roughly 2.5 miles to the Peak and do a ground search. Aviation left the area to return to their base. While they were at base, they changed TFOs out, Jerry for Ryan Burke.

Approximately a mile up the trail, the team ran into four of the hikers that we had seen while circling the area who were on their way down. They indicated that they had seen the subject and gave us a good description of him. We called this information to Aviation who, coincidentally, had just received word that the subject was headed down Marion Mtn. Trail after apparently meeting up with some of his party who had hiked up to the Peak with him.

Aviation returned to Round Valley and picked us up. While returning, we did a visual search of the Marion Mtn. Trail for the subject. While conducting this visual search, we were told that the subject’s wife had separately called 911 to indicate she was heading down a trail and believed she was about 2 miles from a parking lot. She did not give the name of the trail and the 911 call center was unable to reach her cell phone on subsequent calls.

So… we then proceeded to search some of the other trails in the area and after about 20 minutes of looking we located her close to Humber Park on the Devil’s Slide Trail. After making sure (using the speaker system) she was ok, Aviation and the RMRU returned to Hemet Ryan Airport.

RMRU Members Involved: Glenn Henderson and Vinay Rao.