Injured man strayed from planned route

March 14, 1989
Tahquitz Peak

ForwardReturn to IndexBack

BACK HOME - After a very long week, David Adams and his wife return to base camp for a de-briefing. (photo by Donna Halcrow)This brief story is about a tri-athlete that beat the odds. David Charles Adams, age 33, had gone on a solo hike to Tahquitz Peak and a search was initiated when his wife reported him over-due. The search built up to include all RMRU people in search teams on the desert divide and Tahquitz Peak area, a regional call-out of the California Mountain Rescue Association, and aerial search by helicopter. Ultimately, David was helped out of the mountains by a passing hiker. He reported the following: He had entered the mountain on a Tuesday, via the South Ridge Trail, hiked to Tahquitz Peak, and camped there as planned. On day two he hiked towards Laws Meadow, where he camped that night. At this point, he had strayed from his planned route into the adjacent area. Therefore, the first day of the search had not expanded to where David actually had gone. On day three the ;adventure; began, when David fell and injured his left ankle. He was near Tahquitz Creek, when he leaned on a branch that broke away, resulting in the fall, and the injury, that immobilized him. His exact location, by his report, was near the ;impassible falls; at Tahquitz narrows. He bravely crawled out to the south side ridge, where he could over-look the city of Palm Springs in the distance.

HAPPY ENDING - Carter, left , chats with RMRU members Joe Erickson and Pat Tillman. (photo by Donna Halcrow)On day four he tried to get to an open spot and near a source of water. On the fifth day he scrambled to a higher ridge, built smoke fires all morning, running out of wood in the afternoon. At dark he could hear the search helicopter, but he had run out of wood to signal with.

At this point David was weak from lack of food and his spirits were down. He was beginning, for the first time, to feel fear.

On day six, he gathered himself up and began to crawl back toward Humber Park, staying to the south side of the valleys. He got to the Willow Creek Long Valley sign post in the evening and camped there.

Day seven (of the planned two-day hike) David made his way to Humber Park where a good citizen and fellow hiker detoured from his own plans to assist him from Saddle Junction, down the mountain, and then drove him to the Idyllwild U.S. Forest Service office. An ordeal with a good outcome.