Search, Search...and Search

January 21-23, 2004
San Gorgonio

by Will Carlson

Excitement ran through my veins as I heard the all too familiar sound of my pager. I called the rescue line and quickly learned that we were requested by San Gorgonio SAR to assist in a search for a missing 25-year old hiker. I was itching to go because of all of the sad outcomes of the previous searches we had had this year. The man had been missing for only a few days and he was well equipped. That gave us hope that he was alive .... just disoriented.

Wednesday morning Pete Carlson (my dad) and I met up with Jim Fairchild and Dave Webb. We waited around for an assignment that never came because of some issues with the weather conditions and the helicopter. However, many teams could be flown in to an area know as Dry Lake. They searched the North side of the mountain but found no sing of the missing hiker.

I returned on Friday and was teamed up with three members of the San Diego Mountain Rescue Team and a member of San Bernardino SAR. We were given the assignment of searching up the Mill Creek Jump Off. It was a likely area that he could have ended up. We searched the whole stream bed and many of the side canyons. As we approached the Jump Off we opted to split into two teams. Those of us who felt comfortable on icy conditions continued up and the other two went back to search some of the other can­yons and return to base.

We climbed the last steep section and crested to see that we had to basically go swimming in Manzanita and other types of bushes in order to get to where the helicopter would pick us up. That was the hardest part of the day but we made it. The helicopter did a hovering pick off and we were flown back to base.

Members Present 1-21-04: William Carlson, Pete Carlson, Jim Fairchild, and Dave Webb. 1-22-04: Jim Fairchild. 1-23-04: William Carlson.

Note: The search continued for 2 weeks and the body of the missing hiker was eventually found. This hiker was the 4th hiker to slip on ice and fall to his death since January first.