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#53317 - 06/03/18 09:04 PM Another Whitney Rescue
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
From the Inyo Sheriff face book page today:


Inyo SAR, Inyo County Sheriff's Office, and H-82 were at it again today. This time it was Mirror Lake on the Whitney Trail at approximately 10,700 ft. An injured hiker with several medical issues was assisted off the mountain.

As the busy hiking season begins in the Sierra’s, please take necessary precautions, be prepared, and know your limitations.

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#53321 - 06/04/18 06:27 AM Re: Another Whitney Rescue [Re: Bob West]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1130
Loc: NorCal
Glad the Whitney Zone donates to Inyo SAR when funding allows for it.

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#53327 - 06/04/18 01:09 PM Re: Another Whitney Rescue [Re: Bob West]
Wildside Offline


Registered: 06/04/18
Posts: 1
Loc: CA
I was just checking the forum to see if I could find an update on this. If anyone is curious:

I encountered this group at trail side meadow. We stopped to fill our water bottles (descending) and it was clear one member of their group was in a bad way. The group was shading him with a cloth as he leaned up against a rock. He was trying to drink water, but couldn't keep it down. I approached them to see if I could help and they explained that they were trying to descend, but their friend couldn't walk. They had triggered a distress beacon (a Garmin inReach?) and were told a litter would be dispatched. I made plans to meet back up with my crew at the portal so that they could go ahead while I stay back and assist.

The hiker was clearly dehydrated and feeling the heat. He was experiencing overwhelming lethargy and had lost some coordination. He also seemed foggy, or perhaps mildly confused, but was still trying. One of his party was concerned that he might be suffering from exertional rhabdomyolsis.

We dipped the injured's hat and shirt in the stream, gave him his hiking poles, put his helmet on and got him on his feet. He was wobbly and had an irregular gate, so his friends sandwiched him down the trail, clutching his shirt and placing his hiking poles for him and supporting him when necessary. We shuttled from shady-spot to shady-spot allowing the hiker to rest and sip water while everyone's packs were retrieved and the next section of trail coordinated.

As we descended, an alert was received through the emergency beacon that the litter had been upgraded to a helicopter. An eta was given with instructions to get to Mirror Lake. So that's just what we did. Obviously, once we got there, there was nothing else I could really help them with - so we said our good-byes & thank-yous and I continued down the mountain.

I hope that hiker is doing better today.

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#53330 - 06/04/18 03:00 PM Re: Another Whitney Rescue [Re: Wildside]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7527
Loc: Fresno, CA
Wildside, thanks for the report. And thanks for assisting the group!

Do you know how high the hiker had gone before descending? Had he spent the night higher up?

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#53341 - 06/05/18 05:37 PM Re: Another Whitney Rescue [Re: Wildside]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1007
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: Wildside
I was just checking the forum to see if I could find an update o He was experiencing overwhelming lethargy and had lost some coordination. He also seemed foggy, or perhaps mildly confused, but was still trying. One of his party was concerned that he might be suffering from exertional rhabdomyolsis.

exertional rhabdo would be a long shot

Going by the maxim that "Sickness at altitude is altitude-sickness until proven otherwise," this person exhibited several signs and symptoms of HACE : "lethargy," "lost coordination" (otherwise known as ataxia), "foggy/confused." Patients can go straight to HACE without initial AMS or headache, whether real or unrecognized. There are other situations that might mimic this, such as a diabetes patient with insulin-induced hypoglycemia and of course that can occur at any altitude.

As we have discussed here before, HACE is unusual at 11,000 ft but it happens anywhere above 8000 ft, the threshold of altitude illnesses. I hope the person improved with the rescue. It would be educational and instructive to know more.

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