Successful Search & Rescue Missions with happy endings

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Re: Successful Search & Rescue Missions with happy endings

Post by lingolddigger »

sardude wrote:With the summer temps upon us, Pinal County SAR has been reasonably quiet. We have had some days with the heat index approaching 120 degrees.
Sunday June 26, callout 2030. 28 year old male visiting from WA. Left Peralta at 1100 intending to do 104 to Bluff Springs Loop (counter clockwise) He had six, 16 oz bottles of water. Wife called him in as overdue around 2000.

8 of us showed up at TH as Ranger was doing it's first search. Hiker spotted North of Weavers Needle on Terrapin. Ranger flew him back to TH since he was out of water and cramping.

It sounds like as he approached the Terrapin junction off of Bluff Springs, he was walking in the wash and didn't see the sign since it was dark and the sign is up on the trail. He saw the trail down by the wash going up so thought he was still on Bluff Springs and didn't realize he was on Terrapin.

When Ranger got to him, he'd already been out of water for several hours. He has no clue how close to death he came. Temperatures were still in the 100's after dark.

Saturday July 10. Search started 1900 hrs in Maricopa vicinity. Searching for clues to a possible crime scene. No other info can be offered. Very large dust storm, then lightning and rain. Around 2330 we received a call about a lost hiker on Picketpost Mt., around 70 miles in the opposite direction. En route, teams were hit with a torrential monsoon storm.
53 yr. old male left TH at 0500 to hike to the top of Picketpost. He encountered issues that made a longer than expected hike. He ran out of water but the torrential rain helped as he captured water in his Nalgene bottles. He was semi prepared as he had a light, whistle, hiking poles, and good hiking boots. The teams ran into him about 30 minutes from the TH. He was cold, wet, and happy to be getting back to the TH. Teams out of field 0400.

July 23, callout 1620, temps approaching 110. Hiker 911 from Robber's Roost/West Boulder area. Out of water and in distress. MCSO helo extracted subject and delivered them to TH. Teams in route called back. Thank God, hiking up Carney in 110 degrees is not my cup of tea. Thanks to MCSO helo.

Mostly, people hiking in the summer in the Supes are prepared. The logic is somewhat scewed, but whom am I to talk logic. Time of day and lots of water and knowledge will lead to a "fun" hike and not having to put my SAR brother and sisters in harms way. If you have to think twice before you do it, Don't do it.
later, SARDUDE
Maricopa County Sherriff’s Search and Rescue. Another Life Saved by Volunteers

As I left the Canyon Lake Sherriff’s Sub-Station at Canyon Lake, I was handed a card for survival in the desert.

“Tell someone where you are going and when you will return. I did this in spades to no avail.” I told three people and no one called 911. One of them gets a pass because I lost cell phone service while saying, “If I am not out by 1:00 call 911.
“Carry plenty of water.” I am guilty of not doing this one. When my two waters were half gone I knew I needed to go back. But I was too heat exhausted to climb up the way I went down, so I headed for the lake down a wash.
“Don’t hike alone. Stay together.” I am guilty again. I went alone thinking I would be out before it got hot.
“Know the names of the area & trail.” I am a seasoned hiker but did not know the name of these particular trails.
“Carry a trail map.” Guilty again! Even though I studied the area on Google Earth I had no map.
“Wear appropriate clothing and sturdy hiking footwear.” I did this part fine.
“Know your limitations.” Guilty, I had never experienced heat exhaustion, but I did this time, was literally crawling when I found the watering hole.
“Carry the 12 Essentials.” (over)
“Be weather wise.” I was aware of flash floods and would have stayed out of the low lands if it rained. I did not think the heat would sap me so much.
“Learn basic first aid.” I felt pretty good about this one.
“If you are lost, stay calm & stay put. After a few circular routes after finding a watering hole, I knew to stay put.
The 12 Essentials

1. “Navigation” (map & compass)” I had the compass, no map. I had no energy to go in the right direction over the rough terrain.

2. “Sun Protection” (hat, sunscreen) I had the hat could have used the sunscreen.

3. “Insulation” (extra clothing) Heavy fishing vest and long sleeve denim shirt and chaps, which I soon discarded the chaps, too hot, too heavy, I also left my metal detector along the trail. When your life is at stake material things do not matter.

4. “Illumination” (flashlight) I had a flashlight on my weather radio, great comfort and very necessary illumination.

5. “First-Aid Supplies” I did not have anything like that.

6. “Repair Kit & Tools” (incl. knife) No knife, no repair kit. I did have tools that

helped me rip apart a Saguaro and eat it, which I learned later was a no, no. dehydrated me and gave me violent diarrhea. I guess okay to suck the moisture and eat the fruit.

7. “Fire” (matches or lighter) I had a lighter and started two fires in 119 degree temperature

8. “Nutrition” (extra food) I had eaten my breakfast and had nothing more, it was all left in the car.

9. “Hydration” (extra water) I ran out of water at 1:00 p.m. on 07-07-2011 and did

not find First Water Creek until 8:00 p.m. the same day. Rescued 07-08-2011 5:00


10. “Emergency Shelter” (trash bag) No, nothing like that. I used overhanging boulder during the hottest part of day.

11. “Signaling (whistle, cell phone) I had both and used the whistle, which seemed to wet my whistle. The cell phone was useless at Canyon Lake. I would like to see a tower up there.

12. “Personal (glasses, prescriptions) I had the sun glasses the first day then they broke. I do not take any prescriptions even though I am a 63 year-old female.

Kudos to Dave, (commander of the operation and Eric, what gracious guys who were only worried about my safety, even though the helicopter could not land and had to walk out most of the way after they worked to clear the trail for the landing. Thanks to the pilot who was a very gifted pilot and Jeanette the paramedic who saw me to the hospital and the safe driving of the ambulance driver. I also want to thank the Ranger who noticed my car along Highway 88 at 6:00 p.m. on his way home and then again the next morning and started the search. Thanks to all involved, I am alive and will not go in the mountains alone again. Side note: It was not lost on my rescuers that it was exactly to the day the one year anniversary of when the three hikers from Utah went missing.

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Re: Successful Search & Rescue Missions with happy endings

Post by sardude »

Well, the cooler times are coming and so are the fun and games in the mountains.
It was a very quiet August and September in Pinal County, however our team got calls from Apache county to help look for a lost soul in the Mt. Baldy area. We sent several teams up there multiple times, searching out of the heat was a gift, but as of now the hiker has not been found.

September 5, 2 20ish yr. old hiking the Cave Trail, we guess. Left the parking lot at around 1500 temperature in low 100's. Somewhere in the vicinity of Devil's Slide they got off trail and wandered around then ran out of water. They ran into another hiker who gave them some water then walked out and called 911. Teams dispatched at 1600. As they started up the trails they ran into the lost hikers and hydrated them and walked them the rest of the way out. Out of field around 1800.

September 24, callout Picacho Peak. 61 yr old female from Alaska decides to hike to the peak in 105 degree temperatures with friends. Appeared to be suffering from heat exhaustion and unable to keep fluids down, DPS helo and PCSO did a short haul out to the TH. The rest of the party was able to get down on thier own.

October 9, callout at Siphon Draw. Overdue hiker in 100 degree temps. Teams dispatched and in field 1600. Ran into hiker near the waterfall and escorted down to TH.

October 15 hiker attempting the Ridgeline hike in 90 plus degree temps. Because of the temps and time it would take to reach the hiker near the top of Hog Canyon, DPS Ranger called in, located and extracted. I personally would never do the Ridgeline at any temp over 75. No shade to speak of, no water, and no easy way down if something goes wrong.

October 15 callout around 2100, lost hiker from Peralta TH. 53 yr. old male and younger female hiking the Weaver loop. Probably underestimated the distance and terrain and ran out of water around 1330. He gave the young lady the water and set down next to the trail to wait for dark. While trying to hike out, lost the trail. Teams found them around 2330 near the Needle Crosscut trail on Terrapin hydrated them and walked them out to TH. Teams out of field around 0330.

October 15 dog teams dispatched to Willcox to help in a search.

October 21 dog teams dispatched to Casa Grande for a search. Victim found on 25th near her home. She did not make it.

The team wishes to pay respect to Jim Hatt, a friend and great resource, whom passed away on October 13. A veritable encyclopedia pertaining to the Superstition Mountains and always ready and willing to help his fellow adventurers at any time. We will miss you hombre.
thanx, sardude

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Re: Successful Search & Rescue Missions with happy endings

Post by hikin_jim »


First, I'm very sorry to hear of the passing of Jim Hatt. :( May he rest in peace.

Second, thanks for all the updates on local SAR happenings. I actually like hearing about some of the less spectacular ones. Sometimes the more "ordinary" SAR call outs are good reminders of what some of the basics are:
Proper trip planning -- make sure you can a) do the trip and b) do it in the time allotted
Bring plenty of water
Don't be an idiot and hike in super hot temperatures
Bring a map and be proficient in navigation
Bring a light in case you're caught out after dark

There are others of course, but the incidents you just listed reminded me of these.


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Re: Successful Search & Rescue Missions with happy endings

Post by sardude »

Been awhile since the last Pinal County SAR Posse update. Things have started to get hopping since the weather has changed. Usually, same old callouts for the same old reasons.
11-04-11 callout 1600 to Peralta TH. Hikers lost on the Cave Trail. Teams dispatched and upon arrival at the TH, 2 hikers from Tucson had combined with other hikers and found there way down. Got lost in the vicinity of Devils Slide, which can be confusing. Teams out of field 1715.

11-14-11 callout for an assist by MCSO 0900. Hiker overdue from First Water TH. Ended up finding his way out to Boulder Canyon TH at Canyon Lake. Took wrong turn and ended up with a lot longer hike than he imagined.

11-15-11 callout 1600, lost child in Coolidge. Teams dispatched and searching neighborhood when child came out of hiding and was found. Emotional issues with the child was the underlying cause.

11-23-11 callout 1825 3 overdue hikers in Siphon Drawa plane crash While enroute callout 2 at 1845 a plane crash in Siphon Draw.The plane crash was a horrible tragedy. PCSO Sar was called out, helped secure the scene, and did a preliminary recovery mission under the supervision of PCSO. NTSB then came in and did a workup and recovery of the plane and will put together the puzzle and try and figure out what occurred. The SAR team received praise from several entities for a job well done under very trying circumstances. A total of 6 victims including three children.The team sends prayers to the families. We also ask that anyone going to the site be VERY RESPECTFUL and treat the area as a living memorial. Treat it as you would want to be treated. The NTSB requests that NOTHING, AGAIN, NOTHING be removed from the site.

12-18-11 Callout 2100, overdue hikers hiking to 3 Sisters in Supes. Teams dispatched and headed up to Ridgeline trail in VERY trying circumstances. Temps in the 30's, foggy, and snowing. Teams searched all night and were relieved at daybreak. Communication made with 2 adults via text, SO pinged the cell phone and got an approximate coordinate. Teams headed in and found them in the canyon between Carney Springs and Peralta canyons. DPS Ranger extricated the couple. They got lost in the fog on the way down and missed the Carney turn, wandered around then holed up in the rocks and spent the night. Teams out of field 1400 on the 19th.

12-22-11 callout approx. 1500, teams dispatched for injured hiker on Siphon Draw. A lady suffered a fall and injured her ribs above the waterfall/basin. Team wraooed her and she felt that she could walk out. Members set up a belay to get her down below the waterfall and walked her out. Out of field around 1900.

12-27-11 callout approximately 2000, Peralta TH. 3 people doing the Bluff Springs loop ccw overdue. Hikers from New York missed the turn in Barks Canyon near the Peralta rock due to high water in creekbed. Teams discovered them on the mountain east of Barks and warmed them up with hot drinks and helped them walk out. Out of field at approximately 0300 on the 28th.

A bad start to 2012. 12-1-12 Callout 1700, 2 children in canal south of Maricopa. Upon arrival, MCSO dive team had just pulled the second child out of the water. 3 brothers walking along the canal and the 6 yr. old fell in. The other two 8 and 11 went in although none could swim. The 8 yr. old made it out and called for help while the others didn't make it. Prayers for the family.

When final totals are tabulated the numbers will be posted.
Larry SR65


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Re: Successful Search & Rescue Missions with happy endings

Post by hikin_jim »

Thanks for keeping us updated. Really sucks when kids and fatalities are involved. Sure glad there are SAR guys out there. I busted my leg really badly in the backcountry in 2001 (multiple fx, rt femur). Got pulled out in horizontal position. Not in AZ, but my thanks to all SAR.

Happy (and safe) New Year to all,


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