Three women with horses lost the trail

October 21, 2000
Pacific Crest Trail
UTM 11S 0544576, 3719909

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By Gene Baune

Gene Baune prepares to conduct aerial search (photo by Jim Fairchild)At 0530 on October 21, 2000 the page went out. Desert SAR was requesting assistance on a mission to assist three horsewomen who had lost the trail and were unable to get back to civilization. On October 20, 2000 Jeanne Rodriquez-Dettleff, 40, of Newport Beach, Annete Dunning, 34, and Sylvia Kuttel, 39, both of Huntington Beach, had attempted to ride the Pacific Crest Trail to Live Oak Trail and return on Palm Canyon Trail. Although experienced and well equipped, they lost the Live Oak Trail and bushwhacked to a location where they were unable to travel any further because of their horses. One of the horses was injured when a sharp object jabbed into its chest. They then contacted the USFS and tried for several hours to regain the trail without success. When that failed they decided to call 911 and Sgt. Alcorn of the Riverside County Sheriff's Office arranged for CHP to deliver blankets, food, and water by helicopter. Riders and rescuers hike out (photo by Jim Fairchild)The riders, unwilling to abandon their horses, then spent a long cold night out. Meanwhile, six members of the Desert SAR team were making their way up the PCT to the stranded horsewomen but eventually ran into the same difficult terrain that stumped the riders. DSSAR requested assistance of someone who knew the area and could determine the best route out for the stranded riders. After assessing the situation it was determined to hike the subjects back up toward the ridgeline to get them out of the treacherous ravines and then head south toward a road that Jim remembered from his days with the Boy Scouts. Jim and Gene were flown in with extra water and feed for the horses, and the DSSAR Team was extracted. After a hike/ride of several miles horses, riders and rescuers arrived at the road for several more miles of walking until they reached a location where the trucks and trailers could pick up the horses.Horses and riders take a break (photo by Jim Fairchild)

Members present were Darryl Bell, Jim Fairchild, Gene Baune, Michael George, Travis Henderson, and Phil Thompson.