02/08/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/08/2023 20:36
Contact:Abby Wines, 760-786-3221
DEATH VALLEY, Calif. - National Park Service (NPS) staff assisted hikers in two separate incidents on Sunday, February 5, 2023. Park rangers carried a woman with a broken leg out of Mosaic Canyon and located a man who had separated from his group on Wildrose Peak Trail.
Mosaic Canyon is a popular family-friendly hike in a narrow canyon lined with polished marble walls. A woman from Illinois in her 30s broke her tibia and ruptured her ACL while hiking.
The woman's companions stayed with her to support her. A bystander hiked out and called 911 to request assistance around 8 am. Nine NPS employees and two American Conservation Experience interns carried the injured hiker out using a wheeled litter. The park ambulance transported her to Stovepipe Wells helipad around 11:30 am. A private helicopter ambulance flew her to a hospital in Lancaster, CA.
Fortunately, this response concluded before the next request for assistance came in. Around 4 pm, the park received requests to locate a missing hiker along Wildrose Peak Trail.
A hiking club was near the 9,064-foot snow-covered summit when one man in the group decided to remain behind due to head and body aches. The group agreed upon a plan that he would wait for the group, then descend to the trailhead together.
However, the man (from New Jersey) got cold and decided to go down the trail to warm up. He lost the trail and descended a drainage. Then he went back uphill to the ridge before turning around and going back down the drainage. Wildrose Peak Trail is 8.4 miles round-trip, but the lost hiker walked 18 miles, according to his fitness watch.
The other hiking club members assumed he had hiked out ahead of them. When they arrived at the trailhead and discovered he was not there, they did a quick search. The group then drove to Stovepipe Wells Resort and reported the missing hiker. About the same time, the park received a 911 call from the missing hiker himself.
The man had no food, inadequate warm clothing, did not feel well, and was over 60 years old. Temperatures in the area were forecasted to drop below freezing overnight. NPS notified California Highway Patrol and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake of a potential request for a helicopter search, but the hiker was located before they were needed. Two park rangers -- a "hasty response team"-- located the hiker by making loud sounds, and guided him towards the road.