Lost Hiker Wellman Divide

November 12, 2016
San Jacinto Mountains

Written by Cameron Dickinson

On Saturday night, I received a call from our Call Captain regarding a lost male hiker in the Wellman Divide area, and directed me to report to Hemet-Ryan Airport. Aviation had located missing hiker right off the Wellman's Divide Trail, and through their intercom speaker asked the hiker to stay where he is as help would come to his location. Once I arrived at the Airport I was provided information on our hikerís whereabouts. Since the hiker was about 1.5 miles southwest of Round Valley, Aviation would drop me off in the Round Valley meadow which would allow for closer proximity to the hiker.

Once I was dropped off in the meadow, I began my hike up the trail. Not long after that I arrived at our missing hiker, found him mildly hypothermic, shivering and wrapped in emergency blanket that he had brought with him. Other than the emergency blanket, he had no cold weather clothing, and was out of water, food, and had no headlamp or flashlight. I quickly brought him up temperature with heavy layering, fluids, and food, and within a several minutes we began our hike down the trail. Since Aviation would not be coming back to pick us up, we would hike to the upper tram station where we would be spending the night.

During the hike, down to the tram station, our hiker would share his story on how he became lost. His plan was to hike the Cactus to Clouds Trail, up to the summit of San Jacinto Peak, and finish his hike back down to the upper tram station. His brother and friend would meet him up there, but had planned to hike separately by hiking from the tram station to the San Jacinto Peak. They intended on meeting him at the tram station so they can reach the peak together. They did meet up at the Tramway and continued with him, hiking to the peak as planned. At some point while hiking back down from the peak, the missing hiker would separate from his brother and friend, would accidentally miss the fork in the trail, and ended up in Little Round Valley area. Once he realized he missed the turn off, he turned around headed back up the trail where he would be eventually located by Sheriff's Aviation off the Wellman Divide Trail. Earlier in evening, his brother called 911 and reported him missing, and provided information which would lead Aviation to that area.

We would soon arrive at the upper tram station. With a little more food and fluids, we were ready to call it a night. The next morning our subject would be reunited with his brother and friend exhausted, but in good spirits.

RMRU Members Involved: Cameron Dickinson.

Other Agencies Involved: Riverside Sheriff Department Aviation Star 9.