Two men overdue hiking up to upper tram
We had just finished our third cup of coffee about 0800 after an all night search on Black Mountain when the Banning Sheriff's office asked us to stand by for a p05sible search in Chino Canyon. Eric Foremen and Patrick Axt were twelve hours overdue from their hike from the lower Palm Springs Aerial Tramway station to the Long Valley station, 8,500 feet above. Patrick had attempted Chino Canyon previously but was turned back because of deep snow.
090-0 and we set up base camp at a parking lot below the lower tramway station. Operations Leader Rob Gardner requested helicopter assist and, after consulting topo maps, determined that not only Chino Canyon but North Chino Canyon and the East Ridge and the Skyline Trail should be covered with a hasty air search. Steve DeJesus from Landells Aviation was the pilot and Kevin Walker and Ray Hussey flew the first hasty search, followed by Walt Walker and Joe Erickson. No sign or activity was noted. Meanwhile, Steve Bryant, Jay Pion and J.R. Muratet covered lower Chino Canyon to the first tower, with no sign.
The OPS leader, Rob Gardner, then was about to change and intensify tactics and strategy when Eric and Patrick walked into the upper tram station, safe and sound, although a bit tired, sunburnt and weary from their ordeal. As it turns out, they took the North Chino Canyon route which is considerably less technical than the Chino Canyon itself. Everyone was quite relieved - the temperature was hovering around 120 degrees and we were all badly in need of a hot shower and a good night's rest.
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