August 1, 2018, 18-413, #18

A call out was sent at 1219, on August 1, 2018, for a 65 year old female from Granite Bay, CA who was experiencing AMS symptoms, including blue lips, headache, vomiting, lethargy, and tender/swollen abdomen near Big McGee Lake.  The subject had difficulty standing and/or walking. 


Subject was reported to be camping on the north shore of Big McGee Lake; RP was the subject's daughter. Base was established at McGee Creek Road. & Crowley Lake Road.  R3 was parked at the McGee Creek trailhead to act as a communication relay. Three teams, consisting of 7 members, were dispatched to Big McGee Lake. 

H40 was requested to assist.  After H40 located the subject, they went to base to drop off some equipment in order to reduce weight. After the team members reached the subject, they prepared her for transport to the LZ, about 1/2 mile away. 


The subject was littered to the LZ where she was placed in the helo and transported to the Mammoth airport. From there she was transported by ambulance, to Mammoth Hospital. After the Team members arrived back at the trailhead, a de-briefing was held and the call ended at 2230. 

Responders were:  Greene (Ops), Pelichowski (IC), Bush, Patterson, Kaufman, Guffey, Haugh, Wallace, Buchanan, and Torrence.  The Team volunteered 112 man hours for this call.

July 29, 2018, 18-404, #17

A call out was sent at 1329 for a 21 year old injured hiker from Oregon, located between Mt. Conness and North Peak at 11,400 feet.  The reporting party was climbing near the glacier when he heard someone yelling "Help". 

The RP hiked to a higher elevation where he had cell service. He provided the approximate coordinates of the subject's location. Base was established at the Saddlebag Lake parking lot. Three teams for a total of eight members were dispatched to the saddle between Mt. Conness and North Peak. After lots of boulder climbing/scrambling, the teams located the subject. His leg was wedged and trapped between boulders that he unintentionally caused to fall.

Leg entrapment

Leg entrapment

The team learned that two climbers, who heard the subject's yelling, climbed up to the subject and helped hold him in a somewhat vertical position. They also applied a tourniquet to the subject's leg. Helicopter assistance was requested and a National Guard UH-60 (Blackhawk Guard 823) responded.

The Blackhawk moving in for the extraction

The Blackhawk moving in for the extraction

Team members set up three mechanical advantage systems in order to move the boulders away from the subject's leg.  Helicopter assistance was requested and a National Guard UH-60 (Blackhawk Guard 823) responded.

The helo crew lowered a medic who made his way to the subject. After extracting the subject's leg from the boulders, the team littered him down to a snowfield where the subject was hoisted into the helo.

Extraction successful!

Extraction successful!

As the helo flew to the Lee Vining Airport,  Team members retrieved all the rigging equipment and began hiking back to base. The two climbers, who assisted the subject, hiked out with the team. The call out ended at 2300. 

Responders were:  Beck (Ops), Pelichowski (IC), Kaufman, Quiring, Bush, Endo, Dunne, Wallace, Hagan, Luke Hammack, Buchanan, Eimen, and Torrence.  The Team volunteered 145 man hours for this call.

July 26, 2018, 18-396, #16

A family of four from Santa Maria, CA, hiked up to Heart Lake from the parking lot at Coldwater campground.  After they had lunch, the 60 year old subject felt unsteady with an irregular heart rate and that he would not be able to walk out.  His son walked out and found someone with a cell phone who called 911 for assistance. 

When the SAR Team arrived at the trailhead, the subject and his family were there.  The subject was able to walk out unassisted after resting and drinking water. 

Responders were: Beck (Ops), Pelichowski (IC), Buchanan, Bush, Haugh, Kaufman, Cowan, Hennes, Dunne, Wallace, and Cucura.  The Team volunteered 22 man hours for this call.

July 20, 2018, 18-382, #15

A callout was initiated at 1203 for an injured subject due to an equestrian accident near the Golden Gate Mine (38.5139, -119.5317). R1 & R3 were enroute, but the call was canceled at 12:53 since CHP helicopter H24 extracted the subject and transferred him to Mono County paramedics for transport to medical care. 

The subject, a 65 year-old male, sustained a head injury when he and his mule parted company.  The incident was in Alpine County, and Mono County was requested to assist. 

Responders were:  Beck (Ops), Pelichowski (IC), Wallace, Patterson, Torrence, Kaufman, and Buchanan.  The Team volunteered 21 man hours for this call.

July 18, 2018. 18-377. #14

The Team was called out at 1615 for a missing 72 year-old male from San Diego who was hiking near Patricia Lake/Peak area. The subject and his companion (the RP) stopped for a while and then continued hiking. The companion realized he left his GoPro where they stopped, so he hiked back a short distance to retrieve his GoPro. When he returned to where he left his companion (the subject), the subject was gone.

The companion searched for a while and then returned to where their car was parked.  Car was still there. He went back to look for the subject but couldn't find him. The companion called for assistance.  The SAR team arrived at the Hilton Lakes trailhead and sent a team of four members up the trailhead.  A few minutes later, Base received a call from the ICs that they had located the subject driving his car.  They interviewed the subject, who had walked out on his own while the field teams were being briefed.  They drove him to his campsite to be reunited with his companion. 

Responders were:  Beck (Ops), Pelichowski & Hansen (IC), Hennes, Gilbreath, Kaufman, Torrence, Eimen, Quiring, and Wallace.  The Team volunteered 29 man hours for this call.

July 12, 2018, 18-366, #13

At 1137 the Team was called to provide assistance to June Lake Fire and Mono County Paramedics for a carryout of a fallen climber at the Clark Canyon climbing area.  The call was canceled two minutes later since the subject had been extracted to the parking area. 

Responders were:  Endo (others may have responded).

July 3, 2018, 18-344, #12

A 37 year old male climber from San Francisco was injured (possible broken ribs) while climbing on 3rd pillar of Mt. Dana with a companion (RP). The RP had cell service and called for assistance. Base was established at the Lee Vining Airport and H-40 was requested. 

Team member Hagan, who happened to be on Mt. Dana, reported to base that he was within 900 meters of the subject.  He climbed to the top of the 3rd Pillar, where he was able to make contact with the subject, who was 100- 150 feet from the summit, and provided updates throughout the incident.  Yosemite's Helicopter 551 took over the airspace and over-flight assessment. 

They picked up YOSAR personnel at Gaylor Pit and flew to the Mt. Dana summit.  They extracted the subject and companion and flew them to the Lee Vining Airport where they were met by Mono County paramedics, who drove them to Mammoth Hospital. 

Responders were: Beck(Ops), Pelichowski (IC), Kaufman, Haugh, Dunne, Torrence, Greene, Rae, Wallace, Quiring, Buchanan, Unsworth, Endo, Creager, Hartstrom, Cowan, and Hagan.  The Team volunteered 119 man hours for this call.

July 1, 2018, 18-339, #11

Four climber/hikers from San Francisco were hiking from Mt. Conness, to the trailhead at the Saddlebag Lake parking lot when their PLB accidentally sent an emergency activation.  All rescue vehicles, which were at the previous Matterhorn Peak call out, responded.

When the four subjects reached Saddlebag Lake Road., they were met with a large group of Team responders. They were embarrassed but appreciative of the Team's effort. After determining the four subjects were in good condition, the call was ended at 2215. 

Responders were:  Beck(Ops), Pelichowski (IC), Wallace, Buchanan, French, Bush, Zila, Hennes, Haugh, Hagan, Creager, Torrence, Quiring, Hartstrom, Cowan, Greene, Kaufman, Patterson, and Dunne.  The Team volunteered 52 man hours for this call.

July 1, 2018, 18-338, #10

Two 30+ year-old male climbers from San Jose, CA were reported missing while climbing Matterhorn Peak.   The RP had been climbing with the subjects but decided not to summit, and waited for them.  When the subjects failed to show up, RP hiked out and called for assistance.  Base was established at Mono Village at upper Twin Lakes. 

Seventeen members responded.  Four field teams were dispatched to locate the missing climbers.  CHP helicopter H40 also responded and located the climbers.  They were not injured but the flight medic felt it was best to extract the pair and flew them down to Mono Village. 

Responders were:  Beck (Ops), Pelichowski (IC), Hammack L, Wallace, Buchanan, French, Bush, Zila, Hennes, Haugh, Hagan, Torrence, Quiring, Hartstrom, Cowan, Greene, Kaufman, and Patterson.  The Team volunteered 170 man hours for this call.

The LZ for the subject retrieval

The LZ for the subject retrieval

Delivery to Mono Village

Delivery to Mono Village

June 28, 2018, 18-328, #9

At 1244, a San Diego woman notified the Mono County Sheriff’s Office of SPOT activations she had received from her husband.  She stated that her husband, brother-in-law, and two nephews were camping, hiking, and fishing in the area of Green Lake. Her husband's SPOT had been activated 4 times at 1154, 1158, 1243, and 1254. 

The four coordinates were moving away from the trailhead toward West Lake. She was concerned because her husband had recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure and was on new prescription medications. The SAR Team was called out at 1333, and 12 members responded, climbed up 1700 feet toward West Lake in 3 miles, and located the party at 1619. 

There were no reported injuries, and no assistance needed. The SPOT device was inspected, and showed the flap over the emergency activation button was loose, likely causing the device activations. 

Responders were:  Beck (Ops), Hansen (IC), Hagan, Creager, Kaufman, Bush, Patterson, Endo, Greene, Rea, Haugh, Wallace, and Buchanan.  The Team volunteered 51 man hours for this incident.

June 24, 2018, 18-318, #8

On Sunday morning, June 24, 2018 at 11:23 AM, the Team was called out for rescue of a 25-year old woman from Massachusetts who had sustained a possible broken ankle at Crystal Crag in the Mammoth Lakes basin.  She and a friend had almost summited the crag when a boulder dislodged and struck her ankle.  Her friend and other climbers lowered her off the crag to the base, while the Team assembled and hiked in with equipment to extract her from the backcountry. 

Low angle lowering down the snowfield

Low angle lowering down the snowfield

She was transported by wheeled litter to the SAR team staging location at Lake George.  Her friend transported her to Mammoth Hospital for treatment.

Rolling out to the trailhead

Rolling out to the trailhead

Responders were:  Greene (Ops), M. Hansen (IC), Torrence, Hennes, Kaufman, Wallace, Cowan, Guffey, Bush, Endo, Haugh, Quiring, and Rae.  The Team volunteered 57 man hours for this call.

June 19, 2018, 18-307, #7

At 1115 on Tuesday June 19, the Team was called out in aid of a 70 year old Bishop woman who was reported to have an injured leg after a fall above Emerald Lake.  Ten Team members responded to the Emerald Lake trailhead and hiked in, located the subject in Sky Meadows at 37.57645, -118.98917, and assessed and packaged the patient for transport. 

The Sheriff’s Office requested helicopter aid, and a SH-60 Seahawk crew from Lemoore Naval air station arrived quickly and transported the subject to Mammoth airport, where Mono County Paramedics transported her to Mammoth Hospital for treatment. 

Responders were: Beck (Ops), Pelichowski (IC), Torrence, Bush, Ackerman, Greene, Thompson, French, Cowan, Quiring, and Hennes.  Of interest to team members is the fact that the subject is the wife of a former Team member in the June Lake Mountain Rescue Team days.  The Team volunteered 48 man hours on this call.

May 30 & 31, 2018, 18-265, #6

At 2115 on the night of May 30, the Team was called out to search for a missing 76 year old man who had hiked over Mammoth Pass to fish in the San Joaquin river, but had not returned to his car at Horseshoe Lake. 

He left his companions in the afternoon, intending to hike back to Horseshoe Lake alone.  His companions called 911 after failing to find him.  Ten Team members responded, and sent field teams to search and track over Mammoth Pass to McLeod Lake and on down to Crater Meadows.  The subject was located at a campsite (37.58525, -119.04841) near Crater Meadows, where he was aided by Pacific Crest Trail hikers.  The SAR team escorted him back to his car, arriving at 0315. 

Responders were:  Beck (Ops), Reigle (IC), Hagan, Torrence, Kaufman, Wallace, Patterson, Hennes, Eimen, Endo, and Brodbeck.  The Team volunteered 82 man hours on this call.

May 10, 2018, 18-239, #5

At 1500, the team was called out in aid of a local 29 year old mountain guide with a dislocated hip in the vicinity of Matterhorn Peak at 38.10710, -119.376091.  15 team members responded, and 4 field teams were sent in from the Twin Lakes trailhead. 

The subject was reported to be located below the snow level, but this turned out to be false information, so field teams were recalled to get ice axes and crampons for safe glacier travel.  Helicopter aid was requested, and a Blackhawk crew from LeMoore NAS was able to fly in the dark, and during a short break in the bad weather was able to extract the subject.  He was transferred to Medic 7 in Bridgeport, and taken to Mammoth Hospital for treatment. 

Responders were:  Hammack and Beck (Ops), Pelichowski (IC), Hartstrom, Kaufman, Wallace, Haugh, Quiring, Bush, Eimen, Beechan, Buchanan, Endo, Lyon, Creager, Case, and Kallemeyn..  The Team volunteered 120 man hours on this call.

March 3, 2018, 18-92 #4

At 1655, immediately following the finish of the avalanche probing call on Mammoth Mountain, the Team was assigned to respond in aid of two snowboarders and one skier who had called 911 and requested assistance because they were in very deep snow and didn't know where they were located. 

They had started at Lake Mary, intending to finish in Old Mammoth but got into deep snow where the snowboarders had difficulty continuing and were stranded at 37.627, -118.999 near the Valentine Reserve.  Thirteen Team members responded for 2-1/2 hours with two rescue trucks and two snowmobiles, located the subjects and provided snowshoes for the snowboarders.  They were escorted out where they were met by Mono County Paramedics, and refused medical care. 

Responders were: Barnum (Ops), Pelichowski (IC), Torrence, Buchanan, Carole Schilz, Brad Schilz, Kaufman, Bucklin, Cowan, Woods, Tonseth, Case, French, and Bush.  33 Team man hours.

March 3, 2018, 18-91, #3

On Saturday morning March 3 at approximately 1015, Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol was performing routine avalanche mitigation work in a closed area when a large avalanche released on the Climax ski run, and traveled down Upper Dry Creek and terminated at the bottom lift terminal of High Five Express [Chair 5]. 

The powder cloud from the avalanche extended about 100 meters into an area open to the public, where two guests were partially buried. Both were able to immediately free themselves without serious injury.  Additionally, employees working at the bottom of the closed lift were partially caught, but freed themselves quickly. Ski Patrol was on scene with initial rescue efforts within moments, and search operations began immediately.

Ski Patrol led a six-hour search, which included 200 employees and first responders, including the Mono County Sheriff SAR Team that was called out at 1030.  Fifteen Team members responded to probe and beacon-scan the avalanche debris in search of any buried victims.  None were found and the Mountain returned to normal operations the next day. 

Responders:  Beck (Ops), Pelichowsky (IC), Hansen (IC), Carole Schilz, Kaufman, Buchanan, Brad Schilz, Bush, Traxler, Barnum, Vianzon, Woods, Cucura, Cowan, Case, Kallemeyn, Tonseth, and Bucklin.  The Team volunteered 130 man hours for this call. 

January 14 & 15, 2018, 18-30, #2

At 2357 on Sunday January 14, the Mono County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) Team was called out for rescue of a 20 year old man from Hayward, CA, who was reported overdue from a climb of White Mountain Peak. 

He and the companion RP departed from Black Eagle Camp, but the RP turned back short of the summit, and later reported to 911 that the subject had communicated via cell phone that he had slipped and fallen 15 feet and was unable to hike down to his car. 

The Team responded with five rescuers, 3 rescue trucks, and a Polaris Ranger ATV.  By the time the Polaris crew reached the subject’s car, he had managed to hike down unassisted, though painfully.  He was followed down to Base, where he refused medical assistance.  Due to the remote location, Team vehicles logged a total of 550 miles. 

Responders were: Beck (Ops), Pelichowski (IC), Torrence, Case, Luke Hammack, and Wallace.  The Team volunteered 46 man hours for this call. 

January 1, 2018, 18-3, #1

At 12:15 PM the Mono County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) Team was called out for rescue of an injured ice climber.  A 64 year old Mono County man fell about 40 feet while climbing ice at Chouinard Falls in Lee Vining Canyon (37.94113, -119.22550). 

Five SAR team members hiked down from the green bridge on the Hwy 120 Tioga Pass road, while two more were lowered from CHP helicopter H40.  The subject was placed in a litter and carried to a location where a helicopter hoist was done by CHP helicopter H40.  He was transferred to Care Flight at Lee Vining airport, and flown to Reno for treatment. 

Responders were:  Beck (Ops), Pelichowski (IC), Kaufman, Bush, Guffey, Greene, Creager, Thompson, Torrence, and Traxler.  The Team volunteered 56 man hours for this call.