Injured Climber On Tahquitz Rock

July 5th, 2006
Tahquitz Rock

by Pete Carlson

We had just arrived at the Hemet Sheriff's station for our monthly meeting at 7 p.m. when a deputy came in and said, a climber has fallen on Tahquitz rock and may need help getting out. We waited thirty minutes until it was confirmed that we were needed and then ended the meeting. Some members went home to get gear while others took the Rescue Vans and headed up to Idyllwild.

By 8:30 p.m. we were sorting gear and getting ready to start hiking. We took 2 two hundred foot ropes and lots of sling for putting around trees that would be our anchors. One person took the rescue wheel and carried it in their arms, while several of us took turns carrying the litter. We had to turn on headlamps as it got dark. We reached the subject, Kenneth Schneider, around 9:30 p.m. The Idyllwild Fire paramedics had already splinted Ken's leg. All we had left to do was to tie him into the litter, with the wheel on, and we were ready to go.

We tied one rope onto the litter and belayed from the first big tree near us. With six people on the litter they slowly rolled it down the slope over boulders, tree roots, and whatever else was in the way. The slope is between 20 and 35 degrees so this is no easy task. When the 200 foot rope ran out, we put more slings around the next big tree and repeated the process with the other rope. After over a dozen of these lowers we finally reached the trail. From there it was an easy 1/3 of a mile walk back to the road. We finally arrived about 11:30 p.m. The Sheriff had gone into town and purchased several large pizzas for everyone to enjoy before heading home.

We would like to thank Idyllwild Fire and the other climbers who helped us with the carryout. Also two former RMRU members, Mike Daugherty and Jim Dodson, who loaned us some extra packs and headlamps for those of us at the meeting who did not go home to get gear.

RMRM members present: Pete Carlson, Kevin Walker, Lee Arnson, Travis Henderson, Henry Negrete, Jim and Grace Manues, Jacoba Leeuwen, Jim Bakos, Steve Bryant, Gwenda Yates, Brad Scott, and Glenn Henderson.

Here is an email from the subject:

My heart skipped a little each time one of you lost your ever sure footing in your selfless effort to bring me to safety. You left the comforts of your homes to respond to the need of a fallen stranger, and I cringed to think that my climbing mistakes could have lead to an injury to one of you as you strained to lift the liter over rock after loose rock on the lose dark steep slope. Your professionalism and steadfastness could be an example as a benchmark for any organization anywhere.

Except for three fractures to my left tibia plateau and a few scrapes an bruises I came out of my fall in good shape. I also wish to thank the firefighters, my climbing partner, and the other climbing team that stuck with me from high on the mountain to the door of my jeep you are all incredible people.

Thank You, Kenneth Schneider