Unresponsive Hiker

September 30, 2023
Mount San Jacinto Peak

Written by: Richard Yocum

At 1233 pm on Saturday RMRU was activated to assist with a male hiker found unconscious and pulseless by an unrelated group of hikers about 350’ below the peak of Mount San Jacinto. Seven members of RMRU arrived at the lower tram station between 2:20 and 3:00 pm and began to collect information about the status of ongoing efforts to reach the hiker. Air support was not available due to winds and cloud cover. Three members of State Parks were on the trail and enroute to the subject with ETA 4:30-5:00 pm, with a 4th member soon to depart the ranger station. Several members from Cal Fire had been at the tram but had departed.

The hikers administered bystander CPR for about 1 hour without success. The weather was deteriorating and predicted to worsen into the night, currently with 40 mph winds, and rain having already turned to snow at Long Valley as temperatures were dropping. The State Parks group hiking up the trail reported heavy precipitation and total ground cover at Wellmans already by ¼” of snow and hail.

In consideration of the weather and risks of a litter carry down the mountain in the storm over the wet, slippery, rugged trail that would not be concluded until after nightfall, both RMRU and State Parks agree to not attempt an extraction that evening, instead preferring to shelter overnight with the deceased subject. The weather forecast at the peak for the following morning was much better, with sunshine and light winds and the preferred extraction was a helicopter hoist the next morning.

The weather the next morning cleared and RSO Rescue 9 helicopter completed a hoist extraction of the deceased subject at 0930 on 10/1/2023. RMRU extends its condolences to his family and friends during their time of loss.

RMRU Members Involved: (Dave Bever, Blake Douglas, Matt Frenken, Jeff Leisner, Tobias Moyneur, Blake Rankin, and Richard Yocum)

Other Agencies Involved:
• San Jacinto State Park Rangers and other personnel
• Riverside County Sheriff’s Aviation Unit (Rescue 9 helicopter)
• Riverside County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team
• Cal Fire