Lost Hiker Skyline Tramway

September 06, 2016
Skyline Trail, Tramway

Written by Eric Holden

Tuesday night and we get a call for a lost hiker out of the Tram. The subject was spotted by Star 9 and was determined to be in an extremely steep location on the east side of the San Jacinto Mts. I met with Glenn at the hanger, and we did some checking on the GPS and it turns out our subject was very close to the Skyline trail. The plan was to fly to long valley to be inserted but due to the high winds we had to abort and land near the bottom of the Tram. We took the tram up and quickly set out down to Grubbs Notch. We were lucky enough to have Sharon from DSSAR down in Palm Springs so that she could maintain radio contact with us and run base from her back porch.

After about 45 minutes of hiking down the Skyline trail we came upon our subject only 20 feet off the trail. He was cold, hungry, and thirsty. We quickly started getting him warm and getting food and water into his system. It turns out that he had started hiking the Skyline trail at 6am this morning and ran out of water at 2pm, it was now 11pm. He had only brought 2.5 litters with him. Normal for this trip, in fall, would be 5 liters, this isn't fall, but still summer with temps in the low 100s down in palm springs. With no water, he couldn't choke down his super dry power bars and stopped eating about the same time, all while continuing the hike.

Glenn and Subject

Glenn and Subject Resting
Photo by Eric Holden.

While getting out subject restored with water and electrolytes both his legs started cramping up. We continued to coach our subject in how to alleviate cramps and lucky for him, I give the best leg massages. After about 30 minutes of rest, food, and water, our subject bounced back and was ready to make the 1000 foot climb back up to the tram. He was able to make it all the way back to the Tramway without another break.

Normally at this late at night, I would be saying how we got back to the Tram and bedded down for the night, but not this night! The Palm Springs Arial Tramway was nice enough to hold a car for us and we got a ride back down the mountain! Big thanks to RSO Aviation, Sharon from DSSAR, and the Palm Springs Tramway for assisting in this mission.

RMRU Members Involved: Glenn Henderson and Eric Holden.