Climber stranded and off route

July 7, 1988
Tahquitz Rock

ForwardReturn to IndexBack

RMRU was called out at about 9:00 p.m.. A rock-climber was stranded at about three hundred feet up the White Maiden route on Tahquitz Rock in Mt. San Jacinto.

Friends of the fallen climber had hiked out to call for help. They reported that the stranded young man had no injuries, but had gotten off route and was unable to climb up or down.

RMRU assembled at Camp Maranatha in Idyllwild. The problem was further assessed and the Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter from El Toro Marine Base was called in to assist. Using a helicopter for rescue considerably reduced the number of hours the man would be stranded on the rock, as well as the discomfort of many hours on the rock wall. The night temperatures were cold.

The El Toro 212 helicopter arrived, equipped with its powerful ;night-sun; lamp, and winch lowering/raising system. A RMRU team member boarded the chopper at Camp Maranatha, and the 212 proceeded to the Rock.

It was with some effort that the climber was located, being a speck on the huge mass of granite. The El Toro crew medic rappelled from the helicopter to the climber, hooked the climber onto the cable from the helicopter winch, and the crew chief onboard the helicopter raised the climber, and then the medic, to the helicopter as it hovered in the air.

The climber was then whisked over to Camp Maranatha, where his friends awaited him. RMRU members cleaned up gear and went to Dr. Norm Mellor's and Dr. Bill Blaschko's Idyllwild cabins where, as the sun was rising, RMRU retired for a few hours of sleep before July technical training began.