Missing 60 Year Old Man Tramway

December 29, 2013
San Jacinto Tramway

Written by Pete Carlson

At about 8:00 pm on Sunday night we got a call for a 60 Year Old Man who had not returned from a day hike to San Jacinto Peak from the Tramway. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Helicopter flew the area and spotted two camp fires. At the first near Tamarack Valley the sole person by the fire ran away into the forest when the fire was spotted. At the second the person stood up and waved at the helicopter. So it was a good guess that the second fire was our subject. It was too windy for the helicopter to land or to lower anyone down to the ground. But they got GPS co-ordinates for us to entry into our GPS units and do a go to function and find the fires.

By the time everyone got to the Tramway and ready to go it was 10:40pm. We would like to thank the Tramway Officials who had kept a few people around and they took us up to the top before closing for the night. We sent the State Park up the Sid Davis Trail to check on the Tamarack Fire and a team of two RMRU and two DSAR people up the Round Valley Trail towards the second fire. We could then slip the 4 member team into two teams if the need arose. The fire looked to be just off the trail to round valley and just short of round valley. We stayed on the trail which was half dirt and half covered in a thin layer of ice.

As we went up the trail we called out every 5 minutes just in case the subject had moved or that the fire was not that of the subject. After 50 minutes of hiking and almost to Round Valley we got an answer to our calling out. In 2 more minutes we were 400 feet off the main trail and at the fire with our subject. He was in great shape and keeping warm, just got off the trail in the dark and did not have a light. He had just taken longer than he thought to reach the peak and by the time he was back at Round Valley it was almost completely dark. He tried to follow the trail but got lost. He then stopped, stayed put, and build a fire to stay warm. He did all the correct things to do if you get lost.

We put out the fire and gave him a head lamp and hiked back to the Tramway, arriving about 1:45am. He stayed with the State Park Rangers in their cabin and the rescue members all went back up to the Tramway and sleep on the floor in the back special events room. The Rangers brought him up to the Tramway at 6am and we waited for the 6:15am car to come up. The Tramway Officials again did another special run to take us back down at 6:30am.

RMRU team members present: Pete Carlson, Glenn Henderson, Eric Holden, and Dana Potts.

DSAR team members present: Donna Beane, Michael Calhoune, and Chris Miller.

Other Agentcy's Assisting: State Park Rangers and RSO Helicopter Crew.