Stranded Family

April 8, 2017
Joshua Tree National Park

Written by Eric Holden

We had just finished our Technical Rock training at Joshua Tree. Most of the group went home for the night but a few of us decided to camp out. It was about an hour before dark when someone from JOSAR (Joshua Tree Search and Rescue) drove up and said all their members went home and wanted to know if we could assist with a technical rescue, of course we said yes!

Tyler, Corey, Tony, Gary and myself geared backup and headed out. When we arrived on scene there was an adult male laying on the ground of the parking lot with his leg up on a fence. He was the father of the stuck family. They had been scrambling when they got into a dicey area. The father kept going and took a fall injuring his ankle. I did a quick medical and wrapped his ankle. I highly suggested he go see a doctor after we get his family off the rock face.

After about 30 minutes we had 4 members of JOSAR and 5 of RMRU ready to deploy into the field. We did some route finding and quickly got to the top of the gully were the family was stuck. Dave from JOSAR would be the man over the side and I would be running operations at the top of the rock. Our two teams worked extremely well together as we both use the same lower/raise devices. Dave scrambled down to the first subject and while he was getting her harnessed/helmeted up, we setup anchors and prepared a rope to lower the subjects.


RMRU and JOSAR working together
Photo by Shani Pynn.

We first lowered the female, but due to the age of the youngster Dave performed a "Pick Off" maneuver in which both he and the youngster were attached to the rope. We lowered Dave and the child in a very textbook like manner. With the sun now gone, we donned headlamps, removed all our gear, and headed back to camp.

This was a great showing of how well two teams can work together to get a mission accomplished. Our hats off the all the professionals from JOSAR as their game was quite top notch and it was our pleasure to assist them.

RMRU Members Involved: Corey Ellison, Gary Farris, Eric Holden, Tony Hughes, and Tyler Shumway.

JOSAR Members Involved: Dave, and lots more before the mission was completed. Wish I could remember all their names.