A friend went hiking in Kings Canyon last week and failed to call in on time Saturday. His wife called the authorities and the search for them started Sunday morning. By Sunday evening they had found my friend Jim and his son. They had gotten off the trail, could not hike out, and hunkered down with plenty of provisions. They were spotted by air Sunday evening and flown out by helicopter Monday morning.
This is the best imaginable outcome. Everything worked as it should have: Jim's wife, Charlotte, knew to call when he was late. Jim knew to stay in place when lost and trapped. They packed plenty of food. And Fresno County SAR did their job perfectly. Nobody was injured.
I have attached a picture of Jim and the rescue team that found him as well as a few of the news stories. Not all of these stories have happy endings. This is particularly meaningful to me as I was just sworn in with the SLO County Sheriff's Office as a SAR Volunteer.
This is the note Charlotte sent out expressing her gratitude:
The Fresno County Search and Rescue team is incredible at what they do. Sergeant Homer Montalvo organized the entire rescue and deployed three different teams to scour the area identified as Jim and Jason's planned itinerary. In the rescue photo I have attached, the three men to the side of Jim and the two to the side of Jason are the team that were helicoptered to a drop off point and then hiked the remaining trail to rescue them. The black haired man with the sunglasses on and the orange vest is Sgt. Homer Montalvo, who never once eased up on the effort and I mean, not once. They are truly inspiring people! My gratitude to them for their willingness and commitment to demonstrating that unconditional love and compassion through their service is unending. And to my husband who made the absolute right and best decision to stay put at their planned destination and wait for me to report them as overdue hikers and initiate the search and rescue. Jim said it was a painful decision but a necessary choice to return safely. The journey down the dangerous switchbacks to Tehipite Valley proved to be too treacherous to even attempt an ascent back up with our son. Jim stayed steady in the physical, psychological and spiritual support necessary for Jason to return home to all of us. Jim knew that come Saturday afternoon my life would be turned upside down and inside out. Jason demonstrated remarkable ability. We are recovering now and integrating this whole experience.
Missing Kings Canyon Natl Park Hikers Found
Originally printed at http://www.ksee24.com/news/local/Mis...162635146.html
By PRESS RELEASE
July 16, 2012
A father and son hiking team were located in good health earlier today after a search that began this past weekend. The hikers were located in Tehipite Valley in eastern Fresno County at an elevation of 4100’. The location is in the Kings Canyon National Park.
The hikers were located last night around 6:30pm by air searchers. However, due to the terrain and lack of communication, rescuers could not get to the pair until early this morning. Other than some scratches and poison oak, both were in good physical condition.
Eagle One flew both hikers out of the search area and reunited them with family members at Wishon Dam.
The hikers were on a 6 day hike on the Rancheria Trail near Wishon Lake. While hiking in the Tehipite Valley, they lost the trail. The terrain was so difficult they realized they could not get out on their own. The hikers had no cell phone but had made plans with family members to call authorities if they were not heard from by a specific date and time. The hikers stayed in the area and waited for help.
The search began on Saturday evening when family members called the Sheriff’s Office to report the Southern California hikers overdue.
As many as 35 SAR personnel participated in the search including mountaineers, members of the jeep squadron, mounted posse, SAR canines, and the Air Support Unit. Personnel from Kings Canyon National Park also assisted.
The hikers assisted in the search by having a pre-plan with family members, and staying in one place once they realized they could not get out on their own.
Missing Hikers Found Near Tehipite Valley
Posted: Jul 16, 2012 2:58 PM PDTBy KMPH Web Staff - email
FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KMPH) -The Fresno County Sheriff's Office says a father and son who disappeared while hiking near Wishon Lake have been found safe.
The 51-year-old man and his 13-year-old son were on a six-day hike on the Rancheria Trail when they got lost.
Rescuers spotted the hikers in Tehipite Valley around 6:30 p.m. Sunday, but they weren't able to get to the pair due to the terrain and lack of communication.
A helicopter was brought in Monday morning. Both hikers were flown out of the area and reunited with family members at Wishon Dam.
Other than some scratches and poison oak, the father and son were doing okay, the sheriff's office said.
Deputies say the hikers didn't have a cell phone but had made plans with family members to call authorities if they were not heard from by a specific date and time.
About 35 search and rescue personnel helped with the search.