Two Hikers Rescued On Skyline Trail

February 3, 2008
Skyline Trail, San Jacinto Wilderness

By Patrick McCurdy

On the night of Saturday, February 2nd, RMRU was called out to search for two Skyline Trail hikers who were stranded on an icy stretch of trail near the top (See Mission 2008-004 for details on that search). With David Webb leading, myself, Jim Manues, and Pete Carlson paid out 800 feet of rope from the top of the trail to the area where the hikers were reported to be stranded.

At that point we found two other hikers (not the ones we were looking for) who had attempted the same trail, but had failed to make the top before nightfall. One of them was exhausted, hypothermic, and unable to manipulate his own gear (snowshoes, etc.) As the other three RMRU members continued down the steep slope, I gave each of these two an ascender on our rope and the three of us headed straight up the slope to the top. The more exhausted of the two dropped his pack after just a couple hundred feet to make the climb easier.

Once at the top we headed the short distance to the upper tram station where we arrived about 2 a.m. and provided them with dry clothes and loaned a sleeping bag to the hiker who had left his pack behind.

The two hikers slept at the tram while the search continued for our original subjects. The pack was retrieved the next day and the grateful hikers were on their way home no worse for the wear, if a little more tired than expected.

To date RMRU has rescued seven Skyline Trail hikers this year alone. Please consider that before attempting this unusually difficult climb.