Skyline Rescue in Progress---Big Surprise!

General Palm Springs area.

Skyline Rescue in Progress---Big Surprise!

Postby cynthia23 » Sat May 14, 2016 10:35 am

I did my usual brief summer jaunt a little past the picnic tables this morning. As I was coming down the last hundred feet at around 9.30 I passed a couple of rescue personnel hiking up and a large number of rescues vehicles in the parking lot, along with a helicopter beginning to climb. I heard that a solo woman hiker is stranded at 2500 feet--I didn't ask for details but it sounded like heat.

I wasn't surprised in the least. Thirty minutes earlier, as I returned past the picnic tables at 9 am, I passed no fewer than 3--yes, three--groups of people who told me they were going to the tram. Yes, on a day when the high will be 98, starting on a trek to the tram at 9 am.!!! The first couple, a young man and woman, I am not too worried about, as they were superfit and had just done the trail the day previous. (I had stopped and asked them). The second couple, two young men in their twenties, were completely drenched in sweat and obviously already worked, but when I warned them that what they were doing was dangerous, the first guy arrogantly brushed me off, and the second guy innocently said 'oh, but we're just doing Skyline today." The third couple, two teenaged girls carrying only small packs with maybe two liters of water each, said they were going to 'try to get to the top or as far as we can." When I explained that if they kept going for two hours and then turned down, they'd be out of water and descending in very hot weather, they seemed confused and bewildered, like that had never occurred to them. All three couples kept going despite my warnings. I told the rescue personnel to try and turn back the male couple and the young girls, and hopefully they will, or I strongly suspect they will be doing more rescues today.

The first couple were trail-hardened (and reacted kindly to my warning), and stated they were doing this because they were training for the John Muir. I don't think that really makes sense, but at least they had some kind of rationale for doing something so inherently dangerous, and seemed capable of completing the task. The teenaged girls were simply young clueless locals. But I can't comprehend the two guys--they were obviously out of towners, obviously affluent, educated, and well equipped. How, if you're tech savvy and researched the trail up on the internet, can you rationally think it will be okay start out at 9 am in late May?!!! Sure, I get that 3 a.m. starts sometime turns into 4 a.m. starts, but presumably, their actual plan was to start at 8 a.m. I can't comprehend anyone who has thought about this trail for a few minutes thinking that's a good, rational plan. You do all this research, did they not take twenty seconds to google the local weather? WTF is wrong with these twitheads??

I just shake my head.
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Re: Skyline Rescue in Progress---Big Surprise!

Postby Cy Kaicener » Sat May 14, 2016 2:57 pm

Thank you Cynthia

http://www.desertsun.com/story/news/loc ... /84379322/

An injured hiker was rescued from the Skyline Trail in Palm Springs Saturday morning, according to police.

At 8:44 a.m., police received a 911 call from a hiker who said they had injured their leg while climbing.

The Palm Springs Mounted Search and Rescue Unit and Palm Springs Fire Department responded to the hiker's location and render aid before a California Highway Patrol helicopter airlifted them to a waiting ambulance. The hiker was taken to a local hospital for treatment

https://www.facebook.com/Palm-Springs-M ... nref=story -- log in to facebook to access
From facebook
At approximately 8:50 AM the Palm Springs Mounted Police Search and Rescue received a report of an injured hiker on the Skyline Trail. PSMP-SAR responded along with Palm Springs Fire. The injured hiker was located at the 1,600 foot level and had suffered a broken ankle. CHP H-60 was able to land and rescue crews transferred the hiker to the helicopter which transported the hiker to a waiting AMR unit.
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Re: Skyline Rescue in Progress---Big Surprise!

Postby cynthia23 » Sat May 14, 2016 4:05 pm

Thanks Cy for posting this. Sounds like all ended well for the hiker, thanks to our rescue personnel. As for the other folks I ran into this morning, let's hope for the best. :(
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Re: Skyline Rescue in Progress---Big Surprise!

Postby Hikin_Jim » Sat May 14, 2016 5:02 pm

cynthia23 wrote:The second couple, two young men in their twenties, were completely drenched in sweat and obviously already worked, but when I warned them that what they were doing was dangerous, the first guy arrogantly brushed me off, and the second guy innocently said 'oh, but we're just doing Skyline today."
Famous last words.

cynthia23 wrote:The third couple, two teenaged girls carrying only small packs with maybe two liters of water each, said they were going to 'try to get to the top or as far as we can." When I explained that if they kept going for two hours and then turned down, they'd be out of water and descending in very hot weather, they seemed confused and bewildered, like that had never occurred to them.
Oh, c'mon, Cynthia, if it's safe going up; it's safe going down. Downhill is the easy part and is never a problem, right?

Yeah, well, not quite, as I once learned in the Santa Barbara back country in July. Fortunately for me there was a creek with a pool large enough for me to submerge in. I knew it wasn't going well when I would drink water and yet felt no better. I was HOT. I don't think people realize how dangerous it is if your body builds up too much heat and has no way to shed that heat.

cynthia23 wrote:All three couples kept going despite my warnings.
That's certainly my experience. They sort of shine you on. Maybe it's that the have their hearts set on it. More likely is our overly cautious society with legal CYA warnings on *everything,* most of which aren't all that big of a deal. It's like the yellow warning signs with speed recommendations at curves on the highway. I almost always go 15 mph faster than the signs recommend without the least bit of trouble. I know that those signs are so utterly ridiculous in their recommendations that I factor in additional speed. Some day, some smart a$$ engineer is going to put a "real" mph estimate on one of those signs, and I'm going to go 15 mph faster than that -- straight over a cliff. :lol:

But as I say people have no appreciation of the difficulty or danger of hot, high elevation gain hikes -- unless they've done a lot of hiking. It's sort of like saying the the Milky way is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 km wide. That figure is accurate, but I have no where to hang a number like that. I just kind of know "um, that's kinda big, right?" and that's the best I can do. Until you've done some serious hiking, you have no where to hang "8,000 vertical feet" other than "um, that's kind a big, right?"

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Re: Skyline Rescue in Progress---Big Surprise!

Postby Wildhorse » Sat May 14, 2016 5:27 pm

Cynthia-

The clueless hikers you described are just lucky if they made it unharmed.

The summer insanity begins again.
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Re: Skyline Rescue in Progress---Big Surprise!

Postby cynthia23 » Sat May 14, 2016 11:01 pm

You're right HJ, there comes a danger point where your body is so hot you can't cool down. That must have been a very frightening experience to find yourself unable to cool down even in a pool of water! And as you say, sometimes people don't know the difference between an 'official' warning and a real warning. I'm hoping the sight and sound of a rescue helicopter flying overhead made it more real for the groups I ran into today.

Wildhorse, I'm afraid you're right--the summer insanity is about to begin. I guess it's time for me to post my 'annual warning rant'. :(
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Re: Skyline Rescue in Progress---Big Surprise!

Postby Ed » Mon May 16, 2016 9:58 am

One day can make a big difference. The high fell from about 98 on Saturday to about 10 degrees lower on Sunday. I counted eleven people who passed me on the trail. Some first-timers, but nobody looking like they would have problems. One couple said they saw a rattlesnake on the side of trail.

But the low was in the mid-60's, the same as it has been for some time. I'm not sure how much difference the high makes, so long as you start early and know you can do the 8k of elevation gain. Still, it probably is about time for Cynthia's rant, which I always look forward to.
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Re: Skyline Rescue in Progress---Big Surprise!

Postby cynthia23 » Mon May 16, 2016 2:27 pm

Totally agree with you that the low temp is actually the more important one, Ed--although if you start at 9 a.m., you're not getting much use out of it!

Thanks for looking forward to my rant, Ed. :)
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