The Sierra Madre Search and Rescue (SMSR) Team responded on seven search and rescue calls in September. With schools back in session the tempo of rescues is beginning to drop after a busy summer.
As part of the larger local search and rescue structure, Sierra Madre Search and Rescue often responds to assist other agencies and SAR teams on incidents. One of these mutual aid assists is detailed below along with the search for a missing hiker.
Hiker, Eaton Canyon:
The Altadena Mountain Rescue Team (AMRT) contacted SMSR at 2:28 p.m. on
September 11th to assist in the rescue of a hiker stranded on a cliff
in Eaton Canyon. SMSR and AMRT
personnel established a command post at the entrance to Eaton Canyon and
assembled rescue teams to access the subject. The initial rescuers on-scene determined that the hiker was
uninjured but was stranded approximately 200 above the canyon floor and unable
to safely ascend or descend from his position. Rescuers quickly determined that accessing the subject from
above by lowering a rescuer to his position and then lowering both the rescuer
and hiker to the canyon floor would be the safest course of action.
This type of rescue scenario is one that members of all the SAR teams regularly practice. Familiarity with working together and the topography of the canyon allowed rescuers to execute the plan safely and efficiently. Hikers are reminded that getting off trail into the vertical or near-vertical areas of our mountains can be very risky. It is often very easy to climb up into an area and find that it is not possible to safely ascend or descend. Avoid placing yourself in this situation if at all possible, but if you do, to avoid the risk of serious injury or death, do not hesitate to request assistance if necessary. The rescue was secured after all personnel were out of the field at 6 p.m.
Hiker, Clamshell/Monrovia Peak area: SMSR was paged at 8:56 a.m on September 22nd to
search for a missing hiker in the area east of Chantry Flat near Monrovia Peak. Crews initially staged at the upper
helicopter pad at Chantry Flat for potential helicopter insertion in the search
area. Information associated with
cell phone information placed the hiker in the so-called Clamshell area high
above Monrovia. Due to aircraft
availability and timing, field crews made the long drive into the area via
Teams hiked into the area to check trails and the register on Clamshell Peak. No sign of the hiker was located and the field crews returned to Sierra Madre. Late in the afternoon, the hiker was able to contact his family and report that he had been able to get back to town safely. Search efforts were cancelled at that point and the operation was secured at 5 p.m.
For over 60 years the all-volunteer Sierra Madre Search and Rescue team has been responding to calls for help in the local mountains and beyond. Funded entirely by private donations, SMSR provides a range of public programs on wilderness safety in addition to its search and rescue activities. The Team never charges for any of its services.
For more information, including how to arrange a wilderness safety demonstration for your school or group, visit www.smsr.org.