Dehydrated Climbers

June 24, 2017
Tahquitz Rock

Written by Tyler Shumway

I was having dinner with family when I received a call out to Humber Park at 7pm for a possible heat related illness. Upon arriving at Mountain Center, I got a call from Gwenda to report to Keenwild Heliport for a hoist with Riverside County Sheriff's Aviation Unit. Star 9 was able to get a location on the subject which put him right in the middle of the North Gulley descent route on Tahquitz Rock. Climbers use this route for descent after climbing Tahquitz rock.

After gearing up at the heliport base Star 9 picked me up at 8pm. The Pilot and (Technical Flight Office) TFO pointed out the exact position of the subject and were able to safely lower me right to them. The subject was already in good company with Cal Fire and a member of State Parks who had hiked up from Humber Park to the subject. They got to his position 30 minutes prior to my arrival and had provided medical aid. They were two male climbers in their mid to late 20ís and they had just finished White Maidens Walkway which is a long and varied route up Tahquitz rock. Temperatures were in the middle 90ís that day in Idyllwild and on the rock face temperatures could very well have reached close to the 100 degrees.

When they started the descent route one of the climbers noticed his buddy was becoming very fatigued and state of mind was altered. He immediately recognized the symptoms as a heat problem and was able to get a cell signal and call for help. Per the subject and Cal Fire he was having bouts of vomiting and altered mental status which was indicative of Heat Stroke. Upon my arrival Cal Fire had already given him a liter of fluids by IV and his condition was improving. Subject also stated the they had 3 liters of water and that still was not enough to stave off severe dehydration. The climbing partner however, was not experiencing any heat related symptoms.

Light was fading and given the subjects symptoms I put him in a screamer suit and requested star 9 for a hoist. The subject was safely hoisted and returned to Keenwild for further medical attention. Star 9 returned shortly after that to pick up me up while it was decided that Cal Fire and State Parks would hike out with the climbing partner. Back at the Heliport I met up with Cameron and the RMRU Rescue Truck who were standing by in case I needed help or gear from the Rescue Truck. The mission was over by at 8:45pm. This was my first hoist with Riverside County Sheriff's Aviation Unit and I want to thank all parties involved for the successful mission.

North Gully Hoist

Red Circle is where the hoist took place
Photo by Tyler Shumway.

RMRU Members Involved: Cameron Dickinson, Tyler Shumway, and Shani Pynn.