On Thanksgiving Day, November 22, the team was notified of a hiker in distress, snowed in around the Garnet Lake area, near the PCT at approximately 9,900 feet elevation. The hiker’s condition was reported as stable. Winter weather restricted air access to the area.
On Friday, November 23, MOSAR team members rendezvoused with a National Guard CH-64 Chinook helicopter at the Mammoth-Yosemite Airport.
After loading equipment, the combined team of MOSAR and the National Guard flight crew waited on the runway for a weather window.
The flight crew of Guardian 803 navigated in the tight airspace, in a snowstorm, in the High Sierra, and were able to locate the subject. A suitable landing zone was located, and the Chinook set down less than 40 feet away from the subject.
The subject was rapidly onboarded, followed by a medical assessment and treatment. A Mono County medic unit met the helicopter at the Mammoth-Yosemite Airport and provided ongoing patient care and transport.
Responders were Hammack, Endo, Quiring, and Kaufman.