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Death Valley park crews aid 2 hiking groups within hours after both report troubles

DEATH VALLEY, CALIF. — The assistance of National Park Service crews was requested after two different hiking groups encountered problems during an excursion in Death Valley National Park on Sunday, Feb. 5.

The first incident, according to a park officials, involved a woman in her 30s who suffered a leg fracture while out on a group hike in Mosaic Canyon, which is described as a popular family-friendly hike in a narrow canyon lined with polished marble walls.

A good Samaritan

“The woman, from Illinois, broke her tibia and ruptured her ACL while hiking,” the release stated. “The woman’s companions stayed with her to support her while a bystander hiked out and called 911 to request assistance at 8 a.m.

More than a half dozen NPS employees and two American Conservation Experience, (ACE) interns carried the injured hiker out using a wheeled-litter carrier.”

Officials reported that a park ambulance eventually transported the patient to the Stovepipe Wells helipad at approximately 11:30 a.m., where a private helicopter ambulance flew her to a hospital in Lancaster, Calif.

Second incident

Several hours later, the next call for assistance came in at roughly 4 p.m, when park service crews 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 down the trailhead together.

However, the man from New Jersey got cold and decided to head down the trail to warm up.

Ups and downs

“He lost the trail and descended a drainage,” park officials said. “Then he went back uphill to the ridge before turning around and again walked back down the drainage. Wildrose Peak Trail is an 8.4-mile round-trip, but the lost hiker walked 18 miles, according to his fitness watch.”

Gone on arrival

Park officials noted noted that upon their return, hiking club members assumed that the man 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 the Stovepipe Wells Resort and reported the missing hiker.

Interestingly, at about the same time, park employees 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 forecast to drop below freezing overnight,” according to the release. “NPS notified California Highway Patrol and the 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, and a “hasty response team” located the hiker by making loud sounds and guided him toward the road.”

Park officials did not indicate how long the man was missing.

On Feb. 1, two hikers were rescued by CHP helicopter search teams after slipping down into an icy drainage area off of Telescope Peak Trail in a remote location of the park.

The hikers, who were stranded for more than four hours, sustained no injuries.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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