Man lost after making wrong turn

June 06, 1980
San Jacinto Mtns

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By Jim Garvey

I arrived at base camp late Friday morning expecting a quick evacuation of an injured hiker based on the initial information received in the call-out. As usual, the situation developed into something a little more complex, a two-day search involving not only RMRU, but MRA teams from Southern California (Altadena, China Lake, Los Padres, and Sierra Madre), many hours of helicopter searching, a scent dog and numerous rides up and down the Palm Springs tram.

NEW & OLD - RMRU's No. 2 Van and recently completed No. 1 Van were set up during the CRMRA search for Tim Hoy at the base of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. (photo by Jim Fairchild)

Timothy Hoy, age 20, of Buena Park had hiked the two miles from the upper tram station to Round Valley to spend Wednesday night. He was due out Thursday.

This mission, like most, came at a bad time. RMRU was preparing to host a joint MRA search out of Idyllwild for Gregory Tanner, missing since December 20th.

RMRU searched Friday with ground teams, including Jim Fairchild and his scent dog. Also helicopter pilot Don Landells air searched with negative results for several hours. The decision was made to divert MRA teams scheduled to arrive Saturday morning from the Tanner operation to our base at the lower tram station to search for Hoy.

Field teams went out early Saturday morning, 30 trained mountaineers combed all the trails, campsites, ridges and drainages on the tram side of the mountain.

SAFE RETURN – RMRU member John Dew guides Tim Hoy away from Don Landells Jet Ranger, while Altadena team member Chuck Ballard and RMRU member Kevin Walker remove gear. (photo by Jim Fairchild)

Don Landells arrived at 0700 hours and took off with Don Chambers and myself. We spent several hours air-searching Tahquitz Canyon and other areas not searched the previous day. Just as Landells was preparing to drop Don and I off in Skunk Cabbage Meadow for a hiking assignment we heard over the radio that Hoy had been found.

He had apparently lost the trail on his way back to the tram station and ended up spending Thursday night in the upper end of Tahquitz Canyon. Luckily Hoy realized his error and spent all day Friday climbing back out of Tahquitz Canyon. He spent Friday night near Caramba Camp and was found by an Altadena team on the trail headed toward Willow Creek.

Landells dropped us off in Long Valley and picked up Hoy at Hidden Lake. He was flown to base and headed home in good shape, if only a few days later than he originally planned.