Hiker Overdue Pacific Crest Trail

February 2nd, 2005
North Face of San Jacinto, Snow Creek Drainage

by Travis Henderson

We got called to Snow Creek to look for an overdue hiker who was said to be on the Pacific Crest Trail. When we arrived the water district caretaker said he had talked to the hiker and was told three times that he was not going to attempt the north face but instead hike up the PCT and go to Idyllwild. It is illegal to climb the north face now since it is the water district's land and they don't like trespassers. After base was set up Patrick McCurdy, Jeri Sanchez, Brad Scott, Jeff Sutch and myself were assigned to hike up the PCT and look for the missing hiker or any sign of his presence. We fond some prints but were unable to tell if it was the missing hiker's or not since we didn't have an exact description to start with. We hiked for about seven hours until it was around two in the morning when we decided to rest. We got going again around 6 and had just started hiking when we were told to stop, the subject may have been found. After about five minutes it was confirmed that the subject had indeed been found several miles east of where he said he was going to be.

What had happened was that the hiker had lied to the caretaker and had headed to the north face. He did not get far before he realized that it was going to be a serious climb and he was not prepared for it. At this point in the year a great deal of snow has accumulated and the conditions are extremely icy. Fortunately the hiker realized that climbing the north face right now is far beyond his experience and comfort level so he decided to go farther east and try to climb up to the tram. No matter how far east he went he kept running into serious ice so finally, after two days, he thought it would be a good idea to turn around. But by now he was miles east of where he left so he went down to Windy Point on Highway 111 where he was found.