Hiker Stranded on San Jacinto Peak
by Pete Carlson
At 8 p.m. we got a call from the Sheriff that a 51-year-old man had called them on his cell phone and was on San Jacinto Peak in the dark. He could not find the trail back down to the Tramway. They told him to get in the Summit Hut and stay there until RMRU got to him. Six RMRU members made it to the Tramway to catch the last car up around 10 p.m. Kevin Walker and Grace Manus were going to run base while Jim Manus, Rob May, Jeff Toscas, myself (Pete Carlson) started the hike to the peak.
We left the upper station at 10:10 p.m. in mild temperatures and a light wind. By the time we got to the creek crossing about 1/2 mile up the trail we split up into two teams with Jim and I going ahead as the fast bash team and Jeff and Rob following in case the subject, Chase, was not in the hut and we had to search for him. By the time Jim and I reached Wellman's Divide Junction it was below freezing and the wind had picked up. There were some icy patches on the trail and we had to watch our footing We put on more jackets and continued on reaching the Summit Hut in 2 hours 18 minutes to find Chase inside. He was cold and thirsty, but otherwise OK. After some food and water we gave him a head lamp and some trekking poles and started down about 1am, now Wednesday morning.
About 2:40 a.m. we reached Round Valley and met up with Rob and Jeff who had waited there once they heard we had found the subject. We took on more food and water and then on down to the Tramway. We got back at 4 a.m. to the upper station and took a 1 hour nap until the 5 a.m. tram car came to take us back down. We went to breakfast and then left for the drive home arriving around 8 a.m., exactly 12 hours after we had left home.
Our thanks to the Tramway Staff for staying late to let us ride up after normal hours and to the Riverside County Sheriffs who got us breakfast after a long night without much rest.
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