Missing German Hiker

October 3, 2013
San Bernardino County Lake Arrowhead

Written by Glenn Henderson

The team was called on Wednesday evening for assistance in a search for a missing German hiker in the San Bernardino Mountains. Alois Krost, a 62 year old German citizen and physics professor, went missing during a guided hike near a UCLA conference center near Lake Arrowhead. He went missing about 3:45 p. m. Tuesday, October 1, while hiking in a group of about 20 people on Pinnacles Trail north of Lake Arrowhead. San Bernardino teams searched through the night and all day Wednesday. With no sign of him San Bernardino put out an OES (Office of Emergence Services) call for help from surrounding counties. SAR teams responded from the Sheriff’s departments of Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside and the U. S. Forest Service. We were to report to base camp at 7 am.

Lew, Helene, Eric and I responded. Lew and I plus two San Bernardino team members were the first team flown in to our assignment. Helene and Eric were paired up with other SAR personnel and drew an assignment covering an area close to the PLS (place last seen).

We were flown in to a valley on the North side of Pinnacles’ Peak. It turned out to be an extremely rugged, brush covered area. There were many areas that we could not search since the brush was so thick but we believe that if we could not get through, then he could not have gotten through. Even though we were flown in we had to hike back to base camp, so we were in the field from 7:45 am to 5:30 pm. We were the first team in the field and the last one out. No one had found any clues at all.

Boulders and Brush in the Search Area

Boulders and Brush in the Search Area
Photo by Eric Holden

The OES call went out again on Friday but RMRU did not have anyone available to respond. Saturday RMRU responded with Kirk, Carlos, and I. Our assignment was to search up to 50’ off both sides of the Pinnacles Peak Trail from the start to summit. It was obvious that many searchers had been in the area as there was sign left everywhere we went. It was still a good assignment as it would have been impossible to give a 100% chance of finding someone that was not responsive. Again, no clues of any kind were found.

Sunday RMRU responded with Lew, Eric, and me again. Our assignment was to go to the PLS and minutely search a small area to the west. Due to the steep and brushy terrain the assignment took all day to accomplish. Again, after 7 days of searching there was not one single clue as to Alois’s disappearance. The search was scaled back starting on Monday, October 7, with San Bernardino teams continuing the search.

RMRU team members present: Carlos Carter, Kirk Cloyd, Glenn Henderson, Eric Holden, Lew Kingman, and Helene Lohr.