Mutail Aid Call for Two Missing Hikers

December 28th, 2004
Icehouse Canyon, San Bernardino County

by Glenn Henderson

I received a phone call from Jim Fairchild about a request for snow and ice certified searchers about midnight, December 28. The request was from the San Bernardino Sheriff's Dept. to search for two overdue hikers that had hiked up Icehouse Canyon on Monday, and did not return when they were supposed to on Tuesday morning. I put the page out to team members and besides myself, was only able to get Rick Maschek to respond. Rick had an appointment at 11:00 AM and would be responding as soon as he could. Upon arriving at base camp at the Mt. Baldy Fire Dept, I found out that we were searching for twin brothers, Richard and Robert Encinas, ages 44, of Rancho Cucamonga and West Covina. They were well equipped for the conditions but had not returned. There was some concern as a strong winter storm had hit as they were hiking in on Monday. Teams had been sent out during the night but all had returned soaking wet and extremely cold.

Three teams were sent out Wednesday morning via different trails and the rest of us were kept in base camp until more information was gathered. The twins had called in the day before on a cell phone and said they were going to try to get to Icehouse Saddle and camp for the night and then hike out the next day (Tuesday).

About 1300 a team from Sierra Madre and China Lake struggling through high winds, extreme cold, and heavy snow, finally reached Icehouse Saddle and found the twins camp. They were just fine and surprised to see rescuers looking for them. They had done the right thing and had set up camp and were waiting out the storm. Once searchers arrived they packed up their gear and all hiked back out to the road head.