North Face of Tahquitz Peak Fatality

January 31, 2022
North Face of Tahquitz Peak

Written by: Eric Holden

On January 30th there was a report of a hiker who slipped from the Tahquitz traverse coming from Chinquapin Flats. The Riverside Sheriff’s Rescue 9 helicopter was able to fly the area at dusk and lower a technician down to the subject. The subject unfortunately was found to be deceased. Due to the steep icy terrain Rescue 9 was not able to retrieve the subject. Due to the fading light, it was determined that a recovery would happen first thing the next morning.

On January 31st James, Glenn, Rob, Tyler, and myself met at Keenwild heliport. It was determined that James, Tyler, and I would be inserted via helicopter with crampons mounted and ice axes ready to go. Glenn and Rob would be stay back at base, in reserve in case something went wrong. James was lowered down first and setup and anchor in case anyone needed it to work on the icy slopes. Tyler and I followed quickly after. Once down James let us know he took a nasty spill as he hit the ice and impaled his leg on his crampons.

James with two crampon point holes in his leg.

While Tyler began prepping our work area, I cleaned and bandaged James’s wound. We loaded the subject into the litter and Rescue 9 was able to lift him back to Keenwild. Rescue 9 came back and was able to hoist all of us out of the ice chute without further incident and Rob was able to clean and dress James’s wound in a more controlled setting at base.

RMRU would like to remind all our hikers and climbers that in winter conditions, we have extremely dangerous parts of our mountain. Proper mountaineering gear and the training to use them is very essential to recreate safely in the mountains. Our thoughts go out to the subject’s friends and family.

RMRU Members Involved: (James Eckhardt, Glenn Henderson, Eric Holden, Rob Newton, Tyler Shumway)

Other Agencies Involved: (RSO – Rescue 9)