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Rescued! -- Missing Hiker Alert Mt. Whitney 5/20
#58717 05/22/21 07:32 PM
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Rescued! -- Missing Hiker Alert Mt. Whitney 5/20
Maverick #58718 05/23/21 07:34 PM
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Quote
National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks News Release

For Immediate Release     Reference Number: 8553-2109
Contact: Rebecca Paterson, Public Affairs Specialist
Media Contact: (559) 702-3400
E-mail: seki_public_affairs@nps.gov


Missing Hiker Found Alive in Mount Whitney Area

SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, Calif. May 23, 2021 – A high-elevation search and rescue operation ended happily this evening when ground searchers successfully located missing hiker Edward Lee Alderman, 33, in the vicinity of Timberline Lake, several miles west of the summit of Mount Whitney. Mr. Alderman is reported to be alert, despite injuries, fatigue, and exposure to sub-freezing temperatures.

Mr. Alderman was reported missing on Friday, after failing to return from his hike to the summit of Mount Whitney on Thursday, May 20. Helicopters searched the area from the air on Saturday, and ground searchers were deployed on Sunday, once a late-season winter storm cleared the area.

Mr. Alderman was located with the help of a tip from hikers who reported having heard a voice in the vicinity of Timberline Lake early this morning. Helicopter 552 from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks has evacuated Mr. Alderman from the wilderness and is delivering him to medical care.

“We are thrilled and relieved to report that Mr. Alderman is alive, safe, and on his way to definitive medical care,” says Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Incident Commander Dave Fox. “With large numbers of people heading into the wilderness this summer, we urgently remind everyone to prepare carefully for their trips and understand that there are real risks out there. We know that Mr. Alderman and his loved ones have been through a lot in the last few days and we’re so glad he’s going home.”

- NPS -

Re: Rescued! -- Missing Hiker Alert Mt. Whitney 5/20
Steve C #58719 05/23/21 08:15 PM
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If anyone in government is reading this, please put a better sign at the intersection of the JMT and the MWT. This keeps happening and there’s an easy fix.

Re: Rescued! -- Missing Hiker Alert Mt. Whitney 5/20
Steve C #58720 05/23/21 08:19 PM
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Great news.

Sounds like he took a wrong turn at the junction and headed down the west switchbacks instead of going up to Trail Crest.

Re: Rescued! -- Missing Hiker Alert Mt. Whitney 5/20
BFR #58721 05/23/21 08:22 PM
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Bob Rockwell got SeKi to work on the sign(s) a few years ago, but when I was there a few weeks ago, they sure didn't make the best sense to me, either. They could sure use some improvement.

Years past, I've even written that there should be a STOP sign just a few yards down the JMT toward the west side with text explaining that this is NOT the route to Whitney Portal.

Mr Alderman is not the first, and probably not the last to end up that way. He was descending in an icy cold storm, probably about 6 PM. Who knows if he even saw any signs at the intersection? It would be really good if he could share what actually occurred. The most important thing, though, is that his partner left him at the summit and hurried down without him.

Re: Rescued! -- Missing Hiker Alert Mt. Whitney 5/20
Steve C #58722 05/24/21 08:22 AM
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There should be a sign that says "WARNING - THIS TRAIL DOES NOT GO BACK TO WHITNEY PORTAL. TAKE THE OTHER TRAIL TO GO BACK TO WHITNEY PORTAL".

Re: Rescued! -- Missing Hiker Alert Mt. Whitney 5/20
BFR #58723 05/24/21 11:44 AM
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This particular incident, going down the West side happens more than you may think.

In the vast majority of the cases, I suspect it happens to day hikers, who, after hiking for several hours are tired, and not thinking properly.

In 2004, my daughter and I were camped at the Tarns above Guitar. It had been raining and hailing for 4 hours. It was nasty weather.

Around 7pm, the the rain and hail had stopped, since the trail comes by my campsite, I spoke with several hikers coming down, never suspecting that one of them would be coming down the wrong side of the mountain. I spoke to a women who was heading pass me. I asked how was it on top and she of course described terrible conditions. As we finished talking, I assumed that she was heading back to her campsite at either Guitar or Crabtree Meadows. It was then, she responded, "I am heading down to the Portal." I told her that she was on the wrong side of the Mountain. Without hesitation, she said, "Oh, I'll catch a ride back to the Portal. I then said, there are no roads back here. You are in the wilderness. She responded, "I'll head to the ranger station."

Now, it was 7:30, getting close to dark and I seriously doubt she knew where the ranger station was.

I have no idea what happened to her. I tried to convince her that she was only and 1 hour and half from Trail crest, but she wouldn't listen.

This was the second time that I have encounter a hiker heading down the wrong side over the years.

Paul

Re: Rescued! -- Missing Hiker Alert Mt. Whitney 5/20
BFR #58732 05/25/21 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by BFR
If anyone in government is reading this, please put a better sign at the intersection of the JMT and the MWT. This keeps happening and there’s an easy fix.
If anyone in government is reading this, please improve intelligence of US citizens.
This keeps happening and there may not be an easy fix.

Last edited by Yury; 05/25/21 12:02 PM.
Re: Rescued! -- Missing Hiker Alert Mt. Whitney 5/20
Yury #58742 05/25/21 05:51 PM
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Signage isn’t the solution . Personal responsibility is.
Personal responsibility includes situational awareness, contingency planning and risk assessment/mitagation.

Re: Rescued! -- Missing Hiker Alert Mt. Whitney 5/20
Dale E #58747 05/25/21 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Dale E
Signage isn’t the solution . Personal responsibility is.
Personal responsibility includes situational awareness, contingency planning and risk assessment/mitigation.

On the other hand, look at it this way: Mr. Alderman was hiking with a partner, who was obviously faster. He was just following, and in that mode, people sometimes don't pay any attention other than trying to keep up with that figure in front of them. He finally made it to the top, but you can imagine how wiped out he was, leaving the summit over 12 hours after he started from Whitney Portal. Then starting down, the partner figures he can just find his way down, and leaves him in the dust. Night is falling, and it is storming. He is stumbling along, and comes to that junction. Thinking "it's all downhill", it's actually easier just to keep descending. ...into near disaster.

Some of the personal responsibility lies on the partner that abandoned him leaving the summit. Two people descending can help each other make better decisions. There are so many instances of a slower hiker left behind and getting into trouble.

I can never understand why faster hikers leave slower ones behind. Sure, they can feel good sailing along. Problem is, if anything happens to the slower one, the one in front becomes a useless idiot.

Re: Rescued! -- Missing Hiker Alert Mt. Whitney 5/20
Dale E #58762 05/26/21 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Dale E
Signage isn’t the solution . Personal responsibility is.
Personal responsibility includes situational awareness, contingency planning and risk assessment/mitagation.

At the end of the day I'm suggesting spending maybe $100 on a new sign that could potentially save some lives and a lot of tax payer money.


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